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The Locus Magazine poll for the best science fiction of 2006 is closing soon — the poll is open to everyone, and invites you to select your favorite works published last year for receipt of the prestigious Locus Award (I’ve won it twice: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom won Best First Novel in 2004, and I, Robot won best Novelette in 2005).

I’m especially excited about the Best Novelette category, where I’m eligible twice: first for my story When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth, about the geeks who babysit the Internet after the apocalypse; and I, Row-Boat about robots who find religion in Asimovism after the humans all leave the planet. Both stories have been picked up for several reprints, including some of the Year’s Best anthologies, and I’ve got Locus Award hopes there, too! If I had to pick one (and I do) I’d pick Sysadmins. I think it’s got a little more heart.

2006 was an incredible year for sf. In the best novel category, we have two books by Charlie Stross; Karl Schroeder’s magnificent post-singularity pirates-in-a-Dyson-bag adventure Sun of Suns, and Vinge’s groundbreaking Rainbows End — along with Rudy Rucker’s sweet, smart Mathematicians in Love. Oh, and Jo Walton’s haunting, blistering Farthing and Peter Watt’s dark and savage Blindsight, his best book to date.

The Young Adult category has three Scott Westerfield novels — and Larbalestier’s wicked Magic Lessons.

I’m also going to have a hard time choosing my pick for the Best First Novel — for me, it’s a toss up between Klages’s Green Glass Sea and Buckell’s Crystal Rain.

In Novellas, I’m torn between Bradley Denton’s “Blackburn and the Blade,” Greg Egan’s “Riding the Crocodile,” and Bill Shunn’s Nebula-nominated Inclination.

In Best Short Story, there’s Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties and Rosenbaum’s The House Beyond Your Sky, neck and neck for my vote.

I won’t go into the other categories — but my oh my, what a fine body of work we all managed to field in 2006. A vintage year.