This Year’s Nebula Award Nominees

Oh, look, I just happen to have the SFWA Press Release for this year’s Nebula Award nominees right here. Let’s just put this sucker up, shall we?

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are pleased to announce the nominees for the 2014 Nebula Awards (presented 2015), nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Novel

  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
  • Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
  • Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
  • Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)

Novella

  • We Are All Completely Fine, Daryl Gregory (Tachyon)
  • Yesterday’s Kin, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
  • “The Regular,” Ken Liu (Upgraded)
  • “The Mothers of Voorhisville,” Mary Rickert (Tor.com 4/30/14)
  • Calendrical Regression, Lawrence Schoen (NobleFusion)
  • “Grand Jeté (The Great Leap),” Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’14)

Novelette

  • “Sleep Walking Now and Then,” Richard Bowes (Tor.com 7/9/14)
  • “The Magician and Laplace’s Demon,” Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 12/14)
  • “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” Alaya Dawn Johnson (F&SF 7-8/14)
  • “The Husband Stitch,” Carmen Maria Machado (Granta #129)
  • “We Are the Cloud,” Sam J. Miller (Lightspeed 9/14)
  • “The Devil in America,” Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com 4/2/14)

Short Story

  • “The Breath of War,” Aliette de Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/6/14)
  • “When It Ends, He Catches Her,” Eugie Foster (Daily Science Fiction 9/26/14)
  • “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye,” Matthew Kressel (Clarkesworld 5/14)
  • “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family,” Usman T. Malik (Qualia Nous)
  • “A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide,” Sarah Pinsker (F&SF 3-4/14)
  • “Jackalope Wives,” Ursula Vernon (Apex 1/7/14)
  • “The Fisher Queen,” Alyssa Wong (F&SF 5/14)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Edge of Tomorrow, Screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Interstellar, Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures)
  • The Lego Movie, Screenplay by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller  (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

  • Unmade, Sarah Rees Brennan (Random House)
  • Salvage, Alexandra Duncan (Greenwillow)
  • Love Is the Drug, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
  • Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, A.S. King (Little, Brown)
  • Dirty Wings, Sarah McCarry (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Greenglass House, Kate Milford (Clarion)
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton (Candlewick)

An excellent selection of nominees, I have to say. Congratulations to all of them!

34 thoughts on “This Year’s Nebula Award Nominees

  1. I am woefully ill-equipped to pass judgment on this years’ slate of nominees, since the only ones on there I’ve read are Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor. Sword was good, but ended inconclusively; it really needs the (presumable) sequel to complete it. It doesn’t stand alone well.

    The Goblin Emperor was excellent, although all the “thees” took getting used to, and it was, overall, a slow book in which not much happened. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – Addison/Monette does very good royal court drama, which is what this is – but it’s not exactly action-packed.

    I’ve seen two of the movies listed – Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain America suffered from the existence of Marvel’s greater overarching plot; without the existence of, and knowledge of, that plot, the film doesn’t hold up its own weight at all. It’s a part of a greater whole, and not really a key part.

    Guardians of the Galaxy was fun space opera. It deserves comparison to Star Wars: A New Hope or Flash Gordon, or it would if those films didn’t occupy drastically different spots in the history of science fiction film. Divorced of the context that’s piled upon its predecessors by history, it compares quite well. Certainly it has its problems – the villain is a weak point – but, unlike Captain America, it stands quite well on its own merits.

  2. thanks for the nom list. every year i print and save these in case i ever have more time to read stuff. um, said day not yet within sight.

    as a longtime lurcker but finally now registered to comment wanna give heartfelt thanks for the blog. almost makes me feel like a member of the scalzi family, um, uncle john.

    ——- siggy ———–
    “don’t worry, captain hammer will save us”

  3. I actually think Winter Soldier does pretty well on its own. Guardians is kind of a mash up, with cool parts and less cool parts. Edge of Tomorrow was the kind of well done, non-franchised SF film which we all say we want, but then don’t go see. It wasn’t 2001, but it was better than the other stuff I saw this year. Lego had some fun scenes, mostly the Batman ones, but was disappointing to me on the whole. I sadly admit I did not see Interstellar this year, reference my comment on Edge of Tomorrow.

  4. This looks like its a non-english book translated to english. Has a non-english book been nominated and/or won before/ Translations often lose alot in the prose. I’m sure its the same way for english books translating to other languages.

    When I was in college I had to read a Mexican classic called ‘The Death of Artemio Cruz’. Interesting story layout. It told the story backward in time. If I remeber write the main character was on his death bed at the beginning (20 year old memory). Paragraphs ran for multiple pages and the translation didn’t flow real well.

    Just asking. I have seen some rave reviews of Russian Fantasy books translated to english on elitist book reviews.

    The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)

  5. MtnGeek:

    The Martian was (successfully) self-published a couple of years back, so it might not have been eligible. It is likely to have the same problem with the Hugos. Andy Weir may have to settle for outselling every other science fiction book this last year.

  6. Really nice to see Cixin Liu there and almost any other year that one would have gotten my vote & blessings et cetera… but I was truly blown away by the Southern Reach trilogy, so it’s great one of those books made it to the list.
    You could argue it doesn’t make sense to nominate just one piece of a jigsaw but them’s the rules and I am just happy VanderMeer got this nomination: he’s an awesome writer and I really think these are the best books he’s ever written.

  7. Andy Weir may have to settle for outselling every other science fiction book this last year.

    I believe (though I would welcome the opinion of those wiser than me) that Andy Weir is eligible for the Campbell, since this, unlike the Hugos proper, has rules requiring professional publication. I think voters should bear this in mind.

  8. Re: translated works

    Translations vary a lot depending on the works, the people involved AND the time allowed the translator to do their work. Some are excellent (some, even better than the originals. Yes, I said it!), and some are appalling, and every shade of gray in between.

    What I am actually proud to see is that the translator is mentioned in the nomination. Thank you! Too many awards and book critics just never mention the name, even if that person had a tremendous influence on the final work in the submission language.

  9. It’s a really solid list. I haven’t yet read The Three-Body Problem but I’m going to rectify that within a week or so.

  10. Now about the blog post itself:
    Like cupertinjay, I will tuck this list in my archives so I have ideas for English-language reading this year. So many books, so little time!
    I was going to say I was sad to not see “Only Lovers Left Alive” in the Dramatic Presentations list, but a quick search reminded me that although I saw it in 2014, it actually came out in December 2013. D’oh!

    I actually saw all the movies listed except for Birdman (of which I’ve only heard good things). It’s on the list, just harder to see when my husband is not really enthusiastic about it.
    I think it’s very hard to have all these movies in the same category and I’ll be curious to know which one is chosen. Except for the two that are part of the same franchise, they all have very different objectives and scales.

    The Lego Movie was excellent, but has very little rewatch value for me, not a lot of layers there. But I didn’t expect it to have more, it’s ok.

    Then there is Guardians of the Galaxy. It was entertaining, but it lacks character development, a lot. Sure, it’s action-packed, but it felt like the story was rushed.

    To my taste, Captain America had a much better balance, AND it was better than the original. But it is, indeed, not only a sequel, but a part of the Marvel plan, which makes the end not so satisfying when seen as a single movie.

    Edge of Tomorrow surprised me, mostly because I hate stories with time loops with a passion. They’re just not for me, and they usually suffer from one or four too many loops. That one? No, actually. It did bug me that main character from the original novel changed race and age to fit Tom Cruise, be he actually did a good job (which is not always a given).

    Interstellar was BEAUTIFUL. I saw it in IMAX and didn’t regret it. Photography and effects are fantastic. The story? Parts of it were great, others? meh. The love story/sexual tension was not necessary. The father daughter relationships were much more interesting and could have been developed further. To me, this film is head and shoulders above anything else in the category (except for Birdman, because I haven’t seen it) but I would have trusted Nolan to accomplish even more with the scenario, not with different shots or effects, just with shifts in character relationships and some dialogue.

    I read in this thread that Edge of Tomorrow and Interstellar were the kind of non-franchise movies people don’t go and actually see. Really? Those are actually the ones I rush to see first, in theaters, because I want more of them. Vote with your wallets, folks!

    On a totally different note : I’d be interested to read more comments about the shorter works of fiction in nomination. Anyone?

  11. That lineup for the Bradbury is amazing. The only one I haven’t seen yet is “Birdman”, and *none* of them would be a disappointment to me if they won.

  12. Regarding the short fiction, I’ve read “The Mothers of Voorhisville” and “Grand Jeté (The Great Leap)” of the novellas, all the novelettes except the Alaya Dawn Johnson one (although I’m keen to read it if I can track down a copy, I loved her novel The Summer Prince), and the short stories except for the Pinsker and Wong.

    I thought “Grand Jete” was outstanding and really loved “Jackalope Wives” (on the short story list). I also liked “Breath of War”, and “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye” was good in a sort of Vernor Vinge-readalike way, I thought. None of the rest of them particularly caught my fancy, although the inclusion of some of them on this list surprises me less than others – I’ll predict “The Devil In America” will win for novelette, it’s certainly a strong contender and would deserve it despite it not being my personal favorite sort of thing. “The Husband Stitch” reminded me in a weird way of that “Guy Walks Into A Bar” story from the New Yorker, taking a well-known joke and trying to turn it into a serious story. I am not convinced this is a genre that works for me, “Husband Stitch” got the “what did I just read?” side-eye, but I got the impression from “Guy Walks Into A Bar” that maybe it’s something a lot of other people like?

  13. Wow, I actually read two of the novels (Gannon and McDevitt) and saw one of the movies (Guardians of the Galaxy)! These days thats about three times as many nominees as I’ve usually read/seen. (I rarely read shorter fiction nowadays.)

  14. I’ve seen all but two of the Dramatic Presentation nominees.

    Right now, my urge is to root for The Lego Movie to win, but I think that’s partly a reaction to the lack of Oscar animated picture nomination.

    I loved CA:TWS and GotG, but I’m not sure I’d give them the award.

    I liked Interstellar, and I feel a bit sad that’s about all I can say about it. It didn’t really stay with me the way some of Nolan’s other movies have.

  15. The Bradbury award is the only category I’m at all qualified to judge, and I still haven’t seen Birdman or Interstellar. From what’s left I’d give it to Guardians Of The Galaxy, I think. It was just so much fun, even more than the Lego Movie. My second choice would be Edge Of Tomorrow, even though I enjoyed Winter Soldier more. I just can’t forgive Winter Soldier for deciding the entire history of SHIELD has been secretly controlled by Nazis. There were probably even some Illiinois Nazis in there, and I hate Illiniois Nazis. The whole thing has soured me a bit on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and made me wonder what the point of the Agent Carter TV show is. Doesn’t matter what she does, the firggin’ Nazis are going to take over SHIELD anyway. I hate those guys.

  16. Disappointed that City of Stairs didn’t make the list, but the four other novels and two novellas I’ve read were incredible. Of those categories, my money is behind Annihilation and We Are All Completely Fine. For the Bradbury, Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s everything I’ve wanted from a sci-fi flick since the disappointment of Episode 1.

  17. Dang, I have GOT to get the new Jack McDevitt book. The last ‘Alex Benedict’ book had me shouting out loud at the end.

  18. I was also wondering about translated works. A superficial look at the nominees/winners list for novels on Wikipedia makes me think it’s very rare. Only one name jumped out at me: Italo Calvino in 1976 (nominated for Invisible Cities) Of course, I didn’t know every author listed, so I probably missed someone. But I’m very excited about Three Body. I keep trying to push it into everyone’s hands. (Why, oh why, won’t my husband listen? He’d LOVE it!)

  19. When I was a geekling I always preferred Nebula Award winners as opposed to Hugo winners. Since funds were very limited I had to consider carefully. Now as an older geek I’ve learned that Hugos seem to carry more prestige. Can anyone explain why the Hugos are the Oscars of the SciFi world and the Nebulas the Golden Globes?

  20. I think it is very much in the eye of the beholder whether the Hugo or the Nebula carries more prestige.

    My solution to limited funds and not being sure whether I will like a book is the public library. Sometimes it takes a while to get things, but if I don’t have the money, I can still read the book. Some of the nominated books really haven’t done it for me in the past, but since they didn’t affect my book budget, no harm, no foul.

    I was very glad to see _Jackalope Wives_ on the list, and _The Goblin Emperor_and _Ancillary Sword_ were a lot of fun. _Annihilation_ didn’t do it for me; bewilderment has to be short-term for me to enjoy it. To each their own. I was sad that _City of Stairs_ didn’t get a nomination; I thought it was very good.

  21. Oh great leader, please tell us who is politically and socially pure enough that we should vote for them!

    Not that I think that is the way it works but simply because I know it will irritate the snot out of certain people to see that.

  22. Interesting list this year.

    I find it unsettling that ‘The Martian’ was disqualified. As you point out, it was self-published several years back. However it was only published in what the SFWA regards as a professional market this year. At the time ‘The Martian’ was self published writers could not qualify for SFWA membership based on self-pub earnings. Thus it seems a bit hypocritical for the SFWA to disqualify one of the year’s strongest science fiction offerings in the professional market on that basis.

    First ‘The Martian’ was not a contender because it wasn’t published in a professional market. Now, having been published in a professional market, it is not a contender because it was previously published in a non-professional market. Shrugs.

    Two other interesting omissions are William Gibson’s ‘The Peripheral’ and Simon Ings’ ‘Wolves’.

  23. @Mord Fiddle Worth noting in this case that Nebula nominees don’t have to be from SFWA qualifying markets–if you release the greatest story of the year free on your blog, it can totally win a Nebula, even if it can’t qualify you to join SFWA. (And I have looked this up specifically because I have released free stories on my blog and wanted to check if they were eligible!)

    So far as I know, The Martian absolutely could have been nominated when first released in 2012–it just wasn’t. Nothing in the rules kept it from being nominated, just the fact that nobody nominated it.

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