This recommended reading list, published in Locus Magazine’s February 2012 issue, is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers — Liza Groen Trombi, Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, Faren C. Miller, Russell Letson, Paul Witcover, Graham Sleight, Carolyn Cushman, Adrienne Martini, Tim Pratt, and Karen Haber, and, for short fiction, Jonathan Strahan, Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, David G. Hartwell, Rich Horton, Lois Tilton, and others.

Essays by many of these contributors, highlighting their particular favorite books and stories, are published in the February issue.

Novels – Science Fiction


Novels – Fantasy


Young Adult Books


First Novels





Anthologies – Original


Anthologies – Reprint




Art Books



  • ‘‘The Men from Porlock’’, Laird Barron (The Book of Cthulhu)
  • Gravity Dreams, Stephen Baxter (PS)
  • The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs, James P. Blaylock (Subterranean)
  • ‘‘The Adakian Eagle’’, Bradley Denton (Down These Strange Streets)
  • ‘‘Rampion’’, Alexandra Duncan (F&SF 5-6/11)
  • ‘‘The Ice Owl’’, Carolyn Ives Gilman (F&SF 10-11/11)
  • ‘‘Near Zennor’’, Elizabeth Hand (A Book of Horrors)
  • ‘‘The Man Who Bridged the Mist’’, Kij Johnson (Asimov’s 10-11/11)
  • ‘‘Kiss Me Twice’’, Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s 6/11)
  • ‘‘The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary’’, Ken Liu (Panverse Three)
  • A Brood of Foxes, Kristin Livdahl (Aqueduct)
  • ‘‘Dust to Dust’’, Tochi Onyebuchi (Panverse Three)
  • Blue and Gold, K.J. Parker (Subterranean)
  • ‘‘The Ants of Flanders’’, Robert Reed (F&SF 7-8/11)
  • ‘‘The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine’’, Peter Straub (Conjunctions 56: Terra Incognita)
  • Silently and Very Fast, Catherynne M. Valente (WSFA)



  • ‘‘The Silver Wind’’, Nina Allan (Interzone 3-4/11)
  • ‘‘Six Months, Three Days’’, Charlie Jane Anders ( 6/8/11)
  • ‘‘My Husband Steinn’’, Eleanor Arnason (Asimov’s 10-11/11)
  • ‘‘Dying Young’’, Peter M. Ball (Eclipse Four)
  • ‘‘Blackwood’s Baby’’, Laird Barron (Ghosts by Gaslight)
  • ‘‘Underbridge’’, Peter S. Beagle (Naked City)
  • ‘‘The Last Ride of the Glory Girls’’, Libba Bray (Steampunk!)
  • ‘‘Queen of Atlantis’’, Sarah Rees Brennan (Subterranean Summer ’11)
  • ‘‘Object Three’’, James L. Cambias (F&SF 11-12/11)
  • ‘‘Moth’s Tale’’, Isobelle Carmody (Tales from the Tower: Volume One: The Wilful Eye)
  • ‘‘Late Bloomer’’, Suzy McKee Charnas (Teeth)
  • ‘‘The Copenhagen Interpretation’’, Paul Cornell (Asimov’s 7/11)
  • ‘‘Bronsky’s Dates with Death’’, Peter David (F&SF 7-8/11)
  • ‘‘The Iron Shirts’’, Michael F. Flynn ( 5/4/11)
  • ‘‘Digital Rites’’, Jim Hawkins (Interzone 11-12/11)
  • ‘‘Steam Girl’’, Dylan Horrocks (Steampunk!)
  • ‘‘The Ki-Anna’’, Gwyneth Jones (Engineering Infinity)
  • ‘‘The Vicar of Mars’’, Gwyneth Jones (Eclipse Four)
  • ‘‘Clean’’, John Kessel (Asimov’s 3/11)
  • ‘‘The Maltese Unicorn’’, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Supernatural Noir)
  • ‘‘The Little Green God of Agony’’, Stephen King (A Book of Horrors)
  • ‘‘A Long Walk Home’’, Jay Lake (Subterranean Winter ’11)
  • ‘‘Catastrophic Disruption of the Head’’, Margo Lanagan (Tales from the Tower: Volume One: The Wilful Eye)
  • ‘‘Ghostweight’’, Yoon Ha Lee (Clarkesworld 1/11)
  • ‘‘The Summer People’’, Kelly Link (Tin House: The Ecstatic/Steampunk!)
  • ‘‘The Cold Step Beyond’’, Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov’s 6/11)
  • ‘‘The Choice’’, Paul McAuley (Asimov’s 2/11)
  • ‘‘The Boneless One’’, Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog 11/11)
  • ‘‘The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from The Great Book)’’, Nnedi Okorafor (Clarkesworld 3/11)
  • ‘‘Hand to Mouth’’, Reggie Oliver (Haunts: Reliquaries of the Dead)
  • ‘‘Mysteries of the Old Quarter’’, Paul Park (Ghosts by Gaslight)
  • ‘‘A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong’’, K.J. Parker (Subterranean Winter ’11)
  • ‘‘Vampire Lake’’, Norman Partridge (Subterranean: Dark Tales 2)
  • ‘‘A Response from EST17’’, Tom Purdom (Asimov’s 4-5/11)
  • ‘‘Purple’’, Robert Reed (Asimov’s 3/11)
  • ‘‘The Old Man and the Martian Sea’’, Alastair Reynolds (Life on Mars)
  • ‘‘What We Found’’, Geoff Ryman (F&SF 9-10/11)
  • ‘‘Laika’s Ghost’’, Karl Schroeder (Engineering Infinity)
  • ‘‘Restoration’’, Robert Shearman (Everyone’s Just So So Special)
  • ‘‘The Dala Horse’’, Michael Swanwick ( 7/13/11)
  • ‘‘Fields of Gold’’, Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four)
  • ‘‘The Projected Girl’’, Lavie Tidhar (Naked City)
  • ‘‘White Lines on a Green Field’’, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Fall ’11)


Short Stories

  • ‘‘Attlee and the Long Walk’’, Kage Baker (Life on Mars)
  • ‘‘Memories of Chalice’’, Peter M. Ball (Electric Velocipede Fall ’10)
  • ‘‘The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees’’, John Barnes (Engineering Infinity)
  • ‘‘Martian Heart’’, John Barnes (Life on Mars)
  • ‘‘Smoke City’’, Christopher Barzak (Asimov’s 4-5/11)
  • ‘‘The Invasion of Venus’’, Stephen Baxter (Engineering Infinity)
  • ‘‘The Way It Works Out and All’’, Peter S. Beagle (F&SF 7-8/11)
  • ‘‘Dolly’’, Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s 1/11)
  • ‘‘Absinthe Fish’’, M. David Blake (Bull Spec Spring ’11)
  • ‘‘∞’’, Darin Bradley (Electric Velocipede Fall ’10)
  • ‘‘The Beancounter’s Cat’’, Damien Broderick (Eclipse Four)
  • ‘‘Walls of Paper, Soft as Skin’’, Adam Calloway (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7/14/11)
  • ‘‘East of Furious’’, Jonathan Carroll (Conjunctions 56: Terra Incognita)
  • ‘‘And Go Like This’’, John Crowley (Naked City)
  • ‘‘The Brave Little Toaster’’, Cory Doctorow (TRSF)
  • ‘‘The Shaddowwes Box’’, Terry Dowling (Ghosts by Gaslight)
  • ‘‘Slow as a Bullet’’, Andy Duncan (Eclipse Four)
  • ‘‘Breaking the Ice’’, Thoraiya Dyer (Cosmos 2-3/11)
  • ‘‘Daddy Long Legs of the Evening’’, Jeffrey Ford (Naked City)
  • ‘‘Younger Women’’, Karen Joy Fowler (Subterranean Summer ’11)
  • ‘‘Movement’’, Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s 3/11)
  • ‘‘And Weep Like Alexander’’, Neil Gaiman (Fables from the Fountain)
  • “The Case of Death and Honey”, Neil Gaiman (A Study in Sherlock)
  • ‘‘Pug’’, Theodora Goss (Asimov’s 7/11)
  • ‘‘Tidal Forces’’, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Eclipse Four)
  • ‘‘Goodnight Moons’’, Ellen Klages (Life on Mars)
  • ‘‘Mulberry Boys’’, Margo Lanagan (Blood and Other Cravings)
  • ‘‘Canterbury Hollow’’, Chris Lawson (F&SF 1-2/11)
  • ‘‘Durgen’s Party’’, Tim Lees (Black Static 4-5/11)
  • ‘‘Valley of the Girls’’, Kelly Link (Subterranean Summer ’11)
  • ‘‘Black Feathers’’, Alison J. Littlewood (Black Static 4-5/11)
  • ‘‘The Paper Menagerie’’, Ken Liu (F&SF 3-4/11)
  • ‘‘Tying Knots’’, Ken Liu (Clarkesworld 1/11)
  • ‘‘The Hanged Poet’’, Jeffrey Lyman (Intergalactic Medicine Show 6/11)
  • ‘‘The Surface of Last Scattering’’, Ken MacLeod (TRSF)
  • ‘‘The Best Science Fiction of the Year Three’’, Ken MacLeod (Solaris Rising)
  • ‘‘Digging’’, Ian McDonald (Life on Mars)
  • ‘‘Boumee and the Apes’’, Ian McHugh (Analog 5/11)
  • ‘‘After the Apocalypse’’, Maureen F. McHugh (After the Apocalypse)
  • ‘‘A Soldier of the City’’, David Moles (Engineering Infinity)
  • ‘‘All That Touches the Air’’, An Owomoyela (Lightspeed 4/11)
  • ‘‘Ragnarok’’, Paul Park ( 4/17/11)
  • ‘‘The Server and the Dragon’’, Hannu Rajaniemi (Engineering Infinity)
  • ‘‘The Immortality Game’’, Cat Rambo (Fantasy 6/11)
  • ‘‘Woman Leaves Room’’, Robert Reed (Lightspeed 3/11)
  • ‘‘Ascension Day’’, Alastair Reynolds (Voices from the Past)
  • ‘‘The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece’’, M. Rickert (F&SF 9-10/11)
  • ‘‘The Patrician’’, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Love and Romanpunk)
  • ‘‘My Chivalric Fiasco’’, George Saunders (Harpers 9/11)
  • ‘‘The Onset of a Paranormal Romance’’, Bruce Sterling (Flurb Fall/Winter ’11)
  • ‘‘For I Have Lain Me Down on the Stone of Loneliness and I’’ll Not Be Back Again’’, Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s 8/11)
  • ‘‘Red Dawn: A Chow Mein Western’’, Lavie Tidhar (Fantasy 11/11)
  • ‘‘The Smell of Orange Groves’’, Lavie Tidhar (Clarkesworld 11/11)
  • ‘‘The Bread We Eat in Dreams’’, Catherynne M. Valente (Apex 11/11)
  • ‘‘The Sandal-Bride’’, Genevieve Valentine (Fantasy 3/11)
  • ‘‘Botanical Exercises for Curious Girls’’, Kali Wallace (F&SF 3-4/11)
  • ‘‘The Panda Coin’’, Jo Walton (Eclipse Four)
  • ‘‘All You Can Do Is Breathe’’, Kaaron Warren (Blood and Other Cravings)
  • ‘‘Malak’’, Peter Watts (Engineering Infinity)
  • ‘‘Final Girl Theory’’, A.C. Wise (ChiZine Spring/Summer ’11)
  • ‘‘The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees’’, E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld 4/11)