Editor's Desk: 2022 Readers' Poll Finalists
In late January, we held the first phase of our annual Clarkesworld Magazine Readers’ Poll for best short story, novelette/novella, and cover art. This is the first year that we have separated short stories from novelettes and novellas. It’s more in line with industry awards and there are differences between the categories. Since we only publish a few novellas each year—and they are all below twenty-two thousand words—it made more sense to group them with the novelettes.
Nominations were collected by following the model we’ve used in recent years: a forty-eight hour poll announced on a random day of the month. The narrow window has proven an effective tool in our efforts to minimize the effects of ballot-stuffing and campaigning. Someone always tries, but such instances were down by about half despite a ten percent increase in participation over 2021.
As the voting progressed, several stories and covers traded places at the top of the ballot for each category. This continued down to the final hours and at the buzzer, we were once again left with several ties. As per tradition, ties in the top five progress to the final round. Each category had a small cluster of ties just one vote shy of making the final ballot. We’ve added honorable mentions to this year’s results to recognize the quality of their work as well.
Without further ado, here are this year’s finalists presented in alphabetical order:
Finalists: Best Short Story
- “Calf Cleaving in the Benthic Black” by Isabel J. Kim
- “Termination Stories for the Cyberpunk Dystopia Protagonist” by Isabel J. Kim
- “The Massage Lady at Munjeong Road Bathhouse” by Isabel J. Kim
- “The Dragon Project” by Naomi Kritzer
- “Timekeepers’ Symphony” by Ken Liu
- “Company Town” by Aimee Ogden
- “Two Spacesuits” by Leonard Richardson
Runners Up: Short Story
- “Meddling Fields” by R.T. Ester
- “The Rhythm of the Soul” by Michelle Julia John
- “Accountability, and Other Myths of Old Earth” by Aimee Ogden
- “Sub-son” by Amal Singh
Finalists: Best Novelette/Novella
- “The Lonely Time Traveler of Kentish Town” by Nadia Afifi (novelette)
- “Bishop’s Opening” by R.S.A. Garcia (novella)
- “Carapace” by David Goodman (novelette)
- “Sweetbaby” by Thomas Ha (novelette)
- “Murder by Pixel: Crime and Responsibility in the Digital Darkness” by S.L. Huang
- “The Sadness Box” by Suzanne Palmer (novelette)
- “We Built This City” by Marie Vibbert (novelette)
Runners Up: Novelette/Novella
- “The Direction of Clocks” by Jess Levine (novelette)
- “Inhuman Lovers” by Chen Qian, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan (novelette)
- “Babirusa” by Arula Ratnakar (novella)
- “Polly and (Not) Charles Conquer the Solar System” by Carrie Vaughn (novella)
Finalists: Best Cover Art
“Art Block” by Daniel Conway
“Shrine of Nameless Stars” by Daniel Ignacio
“Canvas of Life - Violet” by Raja Nandepu
“Canvas of Life - Yellow” by Raja Nandepu
“Ashes” by Yuumei
Runners Up: Cover Art
“Return to Heaven 7” by Zezhou Chen
“Rebirth” by Luca Monteleone
Congratulations to all our finalists!
Now it’s up to you to pick the winner in each category. Go to:
And rank the stories by your order of preference. Voting will close on February 15th at 8PM EST and the winners will be announced in our March issue.
Thank you and happy voting!
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.