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, 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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