Issue 161 – February 2020


Editor's Desk: 2019 Readers' Poll Finalists

I’d like to start this month by thanking everyone for their support and understanding during my surgery and recovery over the last month. The procedure went off without a hitch. I’ll admit that I was nervous about the whole lasers-being-fired-in-my-heart thing, but I had an amazing team of doctors and probably the most space-age operating room I’ve ever seen. Recovery has been slower than I expected, but the pain levels are finally down and almost all of the doctor-mandated restrictions on my activities have been removed. It will likely be a few more weeks before the bruising, swelling, and remaining restrictions—mostly on the use of my left arm—are gone. In the meantime, I’m taking it easy when I can and staying home. It means I’ll miss Boskone this year, but it’s for the best. I hope to see everyone there next year!

In late January, we held the nomination phase for the annual Clarkesworld Magazine Readers’ Poll for best story and cover art. As in previous years, we went with a shortened (roughly one-day) nomination phase. We’ve found that this approach minimizes attempts at ballot-stuffing without any significant impact on the total number of participants. It was a close race from the start and once again it ended with ties. The story category was particularly close, with a six-way tie for fifth place. That’s more than we wanted, but the readers have spoken. If it doesn’t work out well, we’ll update the rules next year.

Finalists for Best Story

Finalists for Best Cover Art

Ghostship” by Pascal Blanche (January)

Alien Abstract VI” by Arthur Haas (March)

Vertigo” by Matt Dixon (May)

Adaptation” by Beeple (October)

Pizza Break” by Tomas Kral (November)

Halo” by Derek Stenning (December)

Congratulations to all our finalists!

Now it’s up to you to pick the winner in each category. Go to:

Voting will close on February 20th at 8PM EST and the winners will be announced in our March issue.

Speaking of awards, CoNZealand—the 78th World Science Fiction Convention—has opened the nomination period for this year’s Hugo Awards. Since there are still a few people who continue to nominate Clarkesworld for Best Semiprozine, I’d like to once again remind you that we haven’t been eligible for that award for a long time. Give your nomination to one of the many fine semiprozines out there instead. You can find a list at At present, there isn’t a category for professional magazines, but you can nominate me for Best Editor Short Form if you are so moved, and of course, all our original fiction is eligible in their respective categories. The list at can be helpful in determining what category each story is eligible in.

That’s about all for this month. I wish you all the best!

Author profile

Neil Clarke is the editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, and several anthologies, including the Best Science Fiction of the Year series. He is a ten-time finalist and current winner of the Hugo Award for Best Editor (Short Form), has won the Chesley Award for Best Art Director three times, and received the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award from SFWA in 2019. His latest anthology, New Voices in Chinese Science Fiction (co-edited with Xia Jia and Regina Kanyu Wang), is now available from Clarkesworld Books. He currently lives in NJ with his wife and two sons.

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