The 2015 Analytical Laboratory Readers' Awards

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who voted in our annual poll on the previous year’s issues. Your votes help your favorite writers and artists by rewarding them directly and concretely for outstanding work. They help you by giving us a better feel for what you like and don’t like—which helps us know what to give you in the future.

We have six categories: novellas, novelettes, short stories, fact articles, poems, and covers. In each category, we asked you to list your three favorite items, in descending order of preference. Each first place vote counts as three points, second place two, and third place one. The total number of points for each item is divided by the maximum it could have received (if everyone had ranked it 1) and multiplied by 10. The result is the score listed below, on a scale of 0 (nobody voted for it) to 10 (everybody ranked it first). In practice, scores run lower in categories with many entries than in those with only a few. For comparison, the number in parentheses at the head of each category is the average for that category.



  1. “Builders of Leaf Houses,” Catherine Wells (4.10)
  2. “Defender of Worms,” Richard A. Lovett (3.49)
  3. “Sleeping Dogs,” Adam-Troy Castro (2.97)
  4. “Zen Angel,” Rajnar Vajra (2.87)


  1. “Racing to Mars,” Martin L. Shoemaker (1.79)
  2. “Karma Among the Cloud Kings,” Brian Trent (1.69) 
  3. “The Audience,” Sean McMullen (1.38)
  4. (tie) “A Case of Identity,” Edward M. Lerner (1.28)
  5. (tie) “The Wormhole War,” Richard A. Lovett (1.28)


  1. “The Museum of Modern Warfare,” Kristine Kathryn Rusch (1.28) 
  2. “Down, Please: The Only Recorded Adventure of Lars Fouton, Captain’s Lift Operator on Starship Magnificent,” Adam-Troy Castro (.97)
  3. “Three Bodies at Mitanni,” Seth Dickinson (.87)
  4. “An Immense Darkness,” Eric James Stone (.77)
  5. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful,” Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (.72)


  1. “Challenges of Manned Interstellar Travel: An Overview,” Nick Kanas, M.D. (2.15)
  2. “Five Wagers on What Intelligent Life Elsewhere in the Universe Will Be Like,” Steven L. Peck (1.79)
  3. “New Horizons at Pluto: The Grand Tour Finally Completed,” Richard A. Lovett (1.33)
  4. “Brain Hacking: The Legal, Social, and Scientific Ramifications of the Latest (Very Real) Mind-Reading Techniques,” Richard A. Lovett (1.18)
  5. “Orbits to Order,” Stanley Schmidt (1.08)

POETRY (0.75)

  1. “The Impending Apocalypse Helps Me Maintain Perspective,” Steven Dondlinger (1.33) 
  2. (tie) “Ectopoiesis,” Joe Haldeman (1.13)
  3. (tie) “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle,” Alan Ira Gordon (1.13)
  4. (tie) “The Secret of Cold Fusion,” Bruce Boston (.82)
  5. (tie)  “Voting Rights,” Ken Poyner (.82)

COVER (.84)

  1. May, by Donato Giancola (1.44)
  2. April, by Daniel Romanovsky (1.28)
  3. November, by Tomislav Tikulin (1.13)
  4. June, by Vincent DiFate (1.08)
  5. July/August, by Tomislav Tikulin (1.03)


I never cease to be surprised by the variety of stories that strike a chord with readers, and I mean that in the best possible way. The short story category this year is a good example: The pieces range from the heartbreaking to the wryly comedic and the high-concept. (No spoilers; if you haven’t read them all, you may or may not be able to guess which is which.)

I’m glad to see a nice spread of new and familiar authors across the categories. There are plenty of regular contributors represented, but high placement for pieces like Brian Trent’s “Karma Among the Cloud Kings,” Seth Dickinson’s “Three Bodies at Mitanni,” and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is proof that it’s not the name on the story but the story itself that people respond to.    

We also had a healthy array of responses for the poetry category, so we’ll be keeping it around for the foreseeable future. (The lion’s share of the credit for that goes to Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor Emily Hockaday, as well as the poets themselves, of course.)

Since AnLab votes are so important to encouraging authors and artists to do their best work, and to giving you the kind of magazine you most like to read, we hope to get even more next time. Use our online ballot, e-mail, or “snail mail,” whichever you prefer, but please vote! (Please be careful to vote in the right category, as listed in the annual index. Sometimes a few votes are wasted by being cast in the wrong category, and those simply can’t be counted. Using our online ballot makes this much less likely.)

-Trevor Quachri


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