The Cosmic Codex
The Cosmic Codex
Of monsters, missions, and mollusks

Of monsters, missions, and mollusks

This year’s Locus Award winning sf novels
“The locus of worlds” by Brian S. Pauls, 2023; Digital illustration created using Midjourney
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In 1968, Charles N. Brown, Ed Meskys, and Dave Vanderwerf founded Locus magazine. Today, it's “the news organ and trade journal for the English-language science fiction and fantasy fields.” Each year, readers vote on the Locus Awards for works of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Participating readers make “up to five ranked nominations per category”. Subscriber votes "count twice as much as the votes of non-subscribers.”

Each year, presentation of the honors form the centerpiece of Locus Award Weekend. Online and in-person attendees celebrated this year's winners in June.

Here are the 2023 Locus award winners for sf novels:

Science Fiction Novel

The Kaiju Preservation Society, by John Scalzi

John Scalzi has won the Hugo and Heinlein awards. He's served as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association. He has published over twenty novels and many short stories. Netflix has adapted his writing for Love, Death + Robots. Two of his novels are currently in movie/TV development.

The MacMillan website describes The Kaiju Preservation Society as follows:

“When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls 'an animal rights organization.' Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm, human-free world. They're the universe's largest and most dangerous panda and they're in trouble.

It's not just the Kaiju Preservation Society who have found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.”

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Young Adult Novel

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, by Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon awards. She is also a Washington Post science fiction and fantasy book critic. A native of Connecticut, Anders attended Cambridge University and studied in China. She's the co-founder and former publisher of Other Magazine. Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak is the middle novel of her Unstoppable trilogy.

Here is MacMillan’s summary of her novel:

They'll do anything to be the people they were meant to be — even journey into the heart of evil.

Rachael Townsend is the first artist ever to leave Earth and journey out into the galaxy — but after an encounter with an alien artifact, she can't make art at all.

Elza Monteiro is determined to be the first human to venture inside the Palace of Scented Tears and compete for the chance to become a princess — except that inside the palace, she finds the last person she ever wanted to see again.

Tina Mains is studying at the Royal Space Academy with her friends, but she's not the badass space hero everyone was expecting.

Soon Rachael is journeying into a dark void, Elza is on a deadly spy mission, and Tina is facing an impossible choice that could change all her friends lives forever.”

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First Novel

The Mountain in the Sea, by Ray Nayler

Ray Nayler has worked for the Foreign Service and the Peace Corps. He's now an advisor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

MCD Books describes The Mountain in the Sea:

“Rumors begin to spread of a species of hyperintelligent, dangerous octopus that may have developed its own language and culture. Marine biologist Dr. Ha Nguyen, who has spent her life researching cephalopod intelligence, will do anything for the chance to study them.

The transnational tech corporation DIANIMA has sealed the remote Con Dao Archipelago, where the octopuses were discovered, off from the world. Dr. Nguyen joins DIANIMA’s team on the islands: a battle-scarred security agent and the world’s first android.

The octopuses hold the key to unprecedented breakthroughs in extrahuman intelligence. The stakes are high: there are vast fortunes to be made by whoever can take advantage of the octopuses’ advancements, and as Dr. Nguyen struggles to communicate with the newly discovered species, forces larger than DIANIMA close in to seize the octopuses for themselves.

But no one has yet asked the octopuses what they think. And what they might do about it.”

You can watch the 2023 Locus Awards Ceremony online:

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The Cosmic Codex
The Cosmic Codex
Living in a science fiction universe...