Preliminary Nebula Ballot
Posted on January 6, 2006 Posted by John Scalzi 3 Comments
For those of you in the SF tribe, here is the preliminary Nebula Ballot, the long list of nominees for SFWA’s Nebula Award. In all these categories, the nominees will be whittled down to five for the final ballot, but for now all of them can bask in their shinyness. Shine on, shiny writers!
I’m pleased to see that several friends and acquaintances have made the first cut, among them Kelly Link, Cory Doctorow, James Cambias, Jim Kelly and Benjamin Rosenbaum. I was also happy to see that Robert Metzger’s book CUSP made the first cut for novel — he had been kind enough to send along an inscribed copy of the book when it came out, and not only did I enjoy reading it, but then we had fun speculating about the physics of a moon made from cheese in the comment thread of the entry in which I talked about the book. I should have had him write a story on it for the Subterranean cliche issue. Still kicking myself about that.
Old Man’s War is not on the prelim ballot; its eligibility window expired on New Year’s Day, and it had two recommendations, which is eight short of the number needed to get on the prelim ballot. There’s a small chance the book could still land on the ballot if the Nebula novel jury hauls it up and recommends it, but this is not at all likely, not in the least because the Nebula juries go out of their way to recommend works that are obscure for whatever reason but worth award consideration. Say what you will about OMW, but it’s not exactly been unflogged. In the unfathomable situation where a Nebula jury were deciding whether to pick OMW or some excellent but unheralded novel, even I would tell them to pick the latter. So no Nebula for me. I’ll manage to make it through the pain.
Overall I think the prelim selections are pretty good, although I have to catch up on my reading, particularly in the short fiction category. The only place where the prelim ballot is clearly falling down is in the first cut nominations for the new Andre Norton Award for Young Adult, of which there is only one: Holly Black’s Valiant. This is not to suggest Ms. Black’s book is not worthy of the consideration, but there are at least a few other books that also deserve to make the first cut: I would particularly recommend Scott Westerfeld’s Mightnighters series and Peeps, and Justine Larbalestier’s Magic or Madness. But then again, my criticism cannot be too sharp, since I am a SFWA member, and I’ve not exactly been industrious in my recommendations. I aim to fix that, probably later today. In the meantime, the Norton Jury can add up to three books to the slate; now they know what I think they should pick.
In any event, congratulations to those folks who made the first cut! That’s pretty cool. And good luck for the final selection.
I have to say, I read Trash Sex Magic and found it to be interesting, but rather unfocused. Certainly not what I’d consider one of the best speculative fiction novels of the year. The rest of the list seems pretty solid, at least what I’ve read of it.
I love Metzger’s State of the Art column in the Bulletin. It’s the best part of every issue.
I actually started to outline a cheese-moon going supernova story for you, but life and deadlines being what they are, I wasn’t able to get much past the outline phase. I guess this will be the cliche that got away. I should mention that the tale’s protagonist was set to be an astrophysicist/cheese maker from the University of Wisconsin who suffered from such a degree of lactose intolerance, that even the mere mention of cheese caused his gut to rumble. This worked very well in establishing the “inner conflict” every protagonist needs in the telling of a quality story.