Issue 174 – March 2021


Editor's Desk: The Best from 2020

Over the last two months, Clarkesworld readers have been helping to determine the best story and cover art that we published in 2020. While there’s almost always someone (or a group of someones) who tries to sway the process, the voting went rather smoothly this year. Participation was up slightly over 2019 with the majority of the final voting happening in the opening and closing days. We’d like to thank everyone who participated this year and hope you’ll continue your involvement next year.

Best Cover of 2020

The race for this year’s best cover art was interesting. Our winner maintained a clear lead from the start, but the remaining places were very close and frequently shifting. In the end, our readers selected:

3rd Place: “Alien Scout” by Arjun Amky (November)

Alien Scout

2nd Place: “Home Planet” by Beeple (April)

Home Planet

And this year’s winner is:

“Ancient Stones” by Francesca Resta (October)

Ancient Stones

Best Story of 2020

As the final round of voting was taking place, the rankings were constantly shifting right down to the closing hours. At the bell, our winner squeaked into the top spot. A total of twelve points separated the top five. While each had a strong showing, this is the first year that the story with the most first place votes did not place in the top three. (It finished fourth, missing first place by six points.) It was the second and third place votes that ultimately made the day and to reinforce that every vote matters, the participation of one more voter could have easily changed everything.

3rd Place:To Sail the Black” by A.C. Wise (Novelette, November)

2nd Place:The Translator, at Low Tide” by Vajra Chandrasekera (Short Story, May)

And this year’s winner is:

AirBody” by Sameem Siddiqui (Short Story, April)

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and finalists! The close races and strong support shown for each story and cover are something that this community can be proud of and we look forward to providing readers with much more to be excited about in the year ahead.

Author profile

Neil Clarke is the editor of Clarkesworld Magazine and Forever Magazine; owner of Wyrm Publishing; and a nine-time Hugo Award Nominee for Best Editor (short form). His anthologies include Upgraded, Galactic Empires, More Human Than Human, Touchable Unreality, The Final Frontier, Not One of Us, The Eagle has Landed, and the Best Science Fiction of the Years series. His next anthology, The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 6, will be published this November by Night Shade Books. He currently lives in NJ with his wife and two sons.

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