Lauren Beukes's Locus Picks

The last week of voting for the 41st Annual Locus Awards has begun. Of course, we have our very own Voting Guide, but there are so many books on the Locus Recommended Reading List that making a choice is pretty hard. To aid you in the voting, we thought we’d call in a specialist. 

Lauren Beukes is a writer, TV scriptwriter and recovering journalist. She is also the author of the speculative science fiction Moxyland and dystopian thriller Zoo City. The latter has also been nominated for the Locus Awards for best fantasy novel, is reviewed here, and is on our Voting Guide.

The following are Lauren’s recommendations.


There’s a lot on the list that I haven’t read and I’m really looking forward to, but my stand-out favourites are:


Zero History by William Gibson (Best Sci-fi Novel)
On Twitter, Gibson has a knack for finding the most intriguing ephemeral detours of popular culture—in his fiction, he brings it all together in an imaginative, excursive, often haunting novel that’s part high-tech thriller, part love-story. Not since The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe have I wanted to step into a novel so badly. But Zero History’s reality is scarily credible right now, down to the rattan bone knits, military couture corporate espionage, secret hotels and flying bionic penguins. In the words of Tina Fey—I want to go to there.
Check out Zero History on Goodreads, and don’t forget to vote!
Kraken by China Miéville (Best Fantasy Novel)
After The City & The City which is this very taut, very cool and stripped down novel, Kraken is just mad imagination unleashed. It’s an exuberant sprawling romp through a London with pronounced supernatural tendencies, the creepiest assassin duo on earth, the best (most vicious) Star Trek in-joke ever and a doll-hopping union leader. Tentacular!.
Check out Kraken on Goodreads, and don’t forget to vote!
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Best Fantasy Novel)
David Mitchell tells a damn good story and he does it with an acrobatic literary flair few other writers would dare, let alone pull off. A straighter narrative than the inventively twisty Cloud Atlas (only my favourite book of all time), Thousand Autumns is a damning historical novel about misguided love and politics and culture clash in 18th Century Japan that dips its toes into fairytale horror..
Check out The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet on Goodreads, and don’t forget to vote!
“The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman (Best Novelette)
One of the stand-out tales in a book full of stand-out tales, Stories, Gaiman’s bleak fairytale is a sparse and tense affair. It plays off fairytale cadences to build to a devastating and yet quietly understated climax that left me reeling. He’s good, that Gaiman guy..
Check out Stories on Goodreads, and don’t forget to vote!
The Folding Knife by K.J. Parker (Best Fantasy Novel)
I first heard of K.J. Parker via PornoKitsch and by happy coincidence stumbled on this book going for half-price at my local bookstore a couple of days later. It’s a novel about imperial politics, empire-building and one man’s rise to dictatorship, but it’s also a deeply personal tragedy and it’s completely riveting. One of my favourite books of the year..
Check out The Folding Knife on Goodreads, and don’t forget to vote!
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar (Best First Novel)
The Bookman is completely mental, and all the more entertaining for it. It’s a steampunk adventure on the literary high seas, invoking all manner of historic fictional characters that Tidhar abuses terribly for his own diabolical purposes. Think Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen minus the grim darkness, with added adventure, frivolity and wonderfully twisted goings-on..
Check out The Bookman on Goodreads, and don’t forget to vote!


Thank you very much for sharing these with us, Ms. Beukes!

If you’re voting, don’t forget to save your confirmation and join the giveaway near the bottom of our Voting Guide!

About Stephan van Velzen

Stephan van Velzen
A 29 year-old Communications student, Stephan loves publicity and design, particularly web design. When he’s not designing websites, he’s busy being a total geek for fantasy. In The Ranting Dragon, he has found a way to combine these passions and discover a new love for writing too. Most of all, though, Stephan is just a crazy Dutch guy who enjoys doing things that people don’t expect.

View all articles written by Stephan van Velzen.


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