Locus is a semiprozine that is sf's principal professional news journal. It is a monthly, 8½ x 11-inch, full-color, slick magazine, usually between 60 and 88 pages long. Locus publishes news of the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and genre young-adult publishing field, with extensive reviews and listings of new books, short fiction, and magazines.
Locus also runs the Locus Awards, Locus Press, and Locus Online, a semi-autonomous web version of Locus.
Locus was founded as a mimeographed fanzine in 1968 (when the previous group of newszines had ceased publication). Charlie Brown, Ed Meskys and Dave Vanderwerf created Locus as a newszine to promote the (ultimately successful) Boston in 71 Worldcon bid. It was called Locus because, if a lot of news were to break quickly, they would publish “a plague of LOCUSes.” (It could have been LGM for "Little Green Men.") The original plan was for it to be a single sheet where each news item would be added to a mimeo stencil as it came in and, when two stencils was filled, it would be run off and mailed out.
The first trial issue was sent out along with a flyer for the 1968 Belknap College Tolkien Conference that Meskys was organizing. A second trial issue was mailed to more prospective subscribers and then Locus #1 was mailed to actual subscribers. It was originally intended to run only until the Worldcon site selection vote at St. Louiscon, but after #4, Dave Vanderwerf dropped out and after #11, Ed Meskys did, and Brown decided to continue publishing Locus as a mimeographed newszine devoted to both fandom and professional sf.
Locus became the successor to the decades-old monthly newszine Science Fiction Times (formerly Fantasy Times, founded 1941), when SFT ceased publication in 1970. Along with his then wife, Dena Brown, Charles N. Brown directed Locus as publisher and editor-in-chief for more than 40 years, from 1968 until his death in July 2009. Since then, Locus has been run by Liza Groen Trombi.
The Best Semiprozine Hugo category was created in 1984 to remove Locus from the Best Fanzine Hugo category, since, by the early 1980s, its circulation had grown to make it completely dominant in the category, and its focus had changed to be substantially a trade magazine for the sf field.
Awards and Honors
Locus has had an almost unparalleled record in awards:
- Best Fanzine Hugo: 13 nominations, 8 wins (every year between 1970 and 1983 except 1979)
- Best Semiprozine Hugo: 27 nominations, 21 wins (every year between 1984 and 2011)
- 2006 -- Neffy Award for Best Print Fanzine
- 2016 -- Alfie Award
The Locus Awards, created by the magazine's editor/publisher, Charles N. Brown, have been given since 1971. The awards cover most areas of SF publishing, and are voted upon by the readers of Locus. The annual event usually attracts one of the largest vote totals of any SF award. The actual physical awards have varied from year to year.
Some stfnists have argued that the Locus Awards actually are more representative of the best work in the field than the more celebrated Hugos and Nebulas, drawing as they do upon larger vote totals.
The Locus Awards: Thirty Years of the Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Brown and Jonathan Strahan, was published in 2004.
Locus Science Fiction Foundation
The Locus Science Fiction Foundation (LSFF) is a registered nonprofit dedicated to the promotion and preservation of SF, fantasy, and horror which was established by Charlie Brown and was the principle beneficiary of his estate.
Its central activity is the publication of Locus and Locus Online.
LSFF is also responsible for the annual Locus Awards and for preserving the Locus Collection, a large, historical library of sf materials.
April Fool's Articles
Beginning in 1998, when Charles Brown suggested to Mark Kelly that Locus Online run an April Fool's issue, Locus Online ran a series of joke articles on its website on April 1.
Of various cleverness and humor, the tradition came to an end in 2013 after Lawrence Person posted an article entitled "WisCon Makes Burqas Mandatory for All Attendees." According to Person, he selected his target as "a direct jab (in humorous form) at WisCon's previous decision to yank their Guest of Honor invitation to Elizabeth Moon for daring to voice (in the mildest possible form) politically incorrect thoughts about certain aspects of modern Islam."
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