This Year’s Nebula Awards Nominations

Of all people in the world, I think I’m allowed to use the official SFWA press release for this directly:

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is proud to announce the nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards (presented 2012), the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.


  • Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press)
  • Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
  • God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
  • Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)
  • The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)


  • “Kiss Me Twice,” Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2011)
  • “Silently and Very Fast,” Catherynne M. Valente (WFSA Press; Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2011)
  • “The Ice Owl,” Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2011)
  • “The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011)
  • “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” Ken Liu (Panverse Three, Panverse Publishing)
  • “With Unclean Hands,” Adam-Troy Castro (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2011)


  • “Fields of Gold,” Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse 4, Night Shade Books)
  • “Ray of Light,” Brad R. Torgersen (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2011)
  • “Sauerkraut Station,” Ferrett Steinmetz (Giganotosaurus, November 2011)
  • “Six Months, Three Days,” Charlie Jane Anders (, June 2011)
  • “The Migratory Pattern of Dancers,” Katherine Sparrow (Giganotosaurus, July 2011)
  • “The Old Equations,” Jake Kerr (Lightspeed Magazine, July 2011)
  • “What We Found,” Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2011)

Short Story

  • “Her Husband’s Hands,” Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine, October 2011)
  • “Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son,” Tom Crosshill (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2011)
  • “Movement,” Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 2011)
  • “Shipbirth,” Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2011)
  • “The Axiom of Choice,” David W. Goldman (New Haven Review, Winter 2011)
  • “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees,” E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2011)
  • “The Paper Menagerie,” Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2011)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Attack the Block, Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
  • Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)
  • Hugo, John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount)
  • Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony)
  • Source Code, Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit)
  • The Adjustment Bureau, George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

  • Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor (Viking Juvenile)
  • Chime, Franny Billingsley (Dial Books; Bloomsbury)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • The Boy at the End of the World, Greg van Eekhout (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
  • The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson (Greenwillow Books)
  • Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson (Orchard Books; Carolrhoda Books)

The winners will be announced at SFWA’s 47th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, to be held Thursday through Sunday, May 17 to May 20, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, near Reagan National Airport. As announced earlier this year, Connie Willis will be the recipient of the 2011 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements in the field. Walter Jon Williams will preside as toastmaster, with Astronaut Michael Fincke as keynote speaker.  More information on the Nebula Awards Weekend can be found at:

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of  SFWA. Voting will open to SFWA Active members on March 1, 2012, and close on March 30, 2012. More information about voting can be found at:

Back to me personally: Congratulations to all the nominees!

22 Comments on “This Year’s Nebula Awards Nominations”

  1. There is some very fine writing here and mind-blowing originality, but the nominees again show a distinct trend towards fantasy and away from SF. Since I am a dedicated SF fan , what can be done to increase the output of MY favorite subgenre, other than be sure to buy the books, advice which my overloaded shelves and extensive Kindle inventory will attest that I follow assiduously.

  2. Angie Boyter:

    Convince others to buy science fiction, too.

    That said, I think across all the categories there’s a good mix of science fiction and of fantasy (plus the stuff that’s somewhere in the middle).

  3. Angie, shouting out on twitter and other media when you find science fiction you love never hurts.

    I really love a lot of the pieces on this list, but here’s some science fiction that didn’t make it (long and short form) which I also loved from 2011:

    SOFT APOCALYPSE by Will McIntosh – a novel with short story sensibilities and a novel’s breadth, detailed near-future sf like China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh

    Simulacrum” by Ken Liu – He’s splashng everywhere, but I thought this short story was a perfect balance of emotional and intellectual components

    Hero-Mother” by Vylar Kaftan – a visceral story about alien physiology and gender

    The Silver Wind” by Nina Allen – the discovery of mysterious science fiction technology, in a story with intense characterization

    Houses” by Mark Pantoja – what do the artificially intelligent houses do when all the people have gone? funny and smart.

    My favorite science fiction so far this year is: “Murder Born” by Robert Reed in Asimov’s, a well-plotted, emotionally evocative novella about the ethics of trading some lives for others.

    Again, though, I really adore a lot of the pieces on this ballot, and I’m excited to see the conversation they’ll engender. And I am honored to be on it!

  4. Hmm, any chance the Doctor Who “The Doctor’s Wife” got a nod because it was written by Neil Gaiman? It was a good episode and all, but was it the best TV had to offer? I’m not so sure of that.

  5. Alternatively, A Dance with Dragons might not have been indisputably one of the 5 best novels this year. Just throwing that out there.

    On a dearth of SF: Among Others was a contemporary fantasy novel about *reading* sf. :) And Embassytown was a year’s worth of SF ideas in one novel. Of the 6 novellas, at least 5 are SF. (I haven’t read “The Ice Owl” yet.)

  6. Wow, I think this is the first year I’ve only read one of the Novel Noms (Jack McDevitt’s “FIrebird”)*. Now, while I LOVE McDevitt’s work, this wasn’t his best. His series tend to peter out as he’s getting tired of them instead of ending on a high note. Oh, well, maybe he’ll get excited about a new series and we can get good, classic McDevitt Science Fiction again (this post was in no way paid for by Mr. McDevitt ;) ).

    *Hey, what do you expect from me? I’m in graduate school for math and stats which means I take 3 classes AND teach AND run my own business on the side.

  7. Keri Wiker:

    Part of it’s probably just the massive gravity of Neil Gaiman’s popularity, combined with the massive gravity of Doctor Who Fandom (2 super giants in the SF/F community, to be sure) but also there wasn’t much in the way of SF/F on TV or in theaters this year that didn’t also get a nod. Sure, we could argue Game of Thrones deserves some recognition, but which episode really stood out from the other 11 (And I loved GoT but season 1 had one of the tightest styles in a TV series I’ve ever seen. It was like a 12 hour feature film. Hard to pick one segment and say this is the best.)

  8. “Apparently the nominating committee has never heard of George RR Martin.”

    Here’s how the ballot is determined:
    “From March 1, 2012, to March 30, 2012, 11:59pm PDT, SFWA Active members may vote on the final ballot for the 2011 Nebula Awards (presented 2012), the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book.”

  9. Somebody was handing out free copies of “Mechanique” at Renovation, and my husband snagged one. I picked it up and started reading it last fall, and despite thinking it was one of the weirdest books I’d read in a long time, couldn’t put it down. It’s a post-apocalyptic type story, and hangs on the technical work of a mechanical genius, but despite that is much more fantasy than science fiction. Four days later, I still couldn’t tell my husband whether I’d liked it or not, but I also couldn’t quit thinking about it or talking about it. ;) I’d never heard of the author before, but she’s now on my list.

    Walton’s “Among Others” was nowhere near as surreal, but was a solidly written and emotionally literate fantasy story set in modern south Wales. It has no meaningful overlap with any extruded fantasy product. :-) I’ve read it twice through, and sections of it more than that. Excellent book. (I think I picked it up on Scalzi’s recommendation in the first place, come to think of it — if so, thanks for the tipoff, John!)

    I haven’t read the other novels, although Mieville’s “Embassytown” is on my “to be read” shelf. I grab anything by China Mieville when it comes out; IMHO he’s not just one of the best living SF writers, but one of the best living writers period. I’ve read other books by Jack McDevitt, was impressed with “Deep Six”, but not as fond of other books. I’ll get around to Firebird eventually, and the other nominees.

  10. I just finished Firebird last night (actually in the wee hours of the morning). It was quite good.. There is nothing better than sci-fi that presents new and novel ideas/situations that you feel in your gut that future humans will be dealing with (assuming we last the next 50 years, that is).

  11. Whoo! Another Jack McDevitt-penned ‘Alex Benedict’ story. Just bought the last one, haven’t even cracked it yet.

    The first, ‘A Talent For war’ remains on my ‘top ten ever’ list.

  12. Hmm, any chance the Doctor Who “The Doctor’s Wife” got a nod because it was written by Neil Gaiman? It was a good episode and all, but was it the best TV had to offer? I’m not so sure of that.

    I’m not so sure there actually was much better in what has been (to be blunt) a pretty shitty year for genre television. Game of Thrones, overall, was pretty impressive but the “sexposition” and seriously uneven writing made the show merely very very good when it should have been great.

    The Bradbury nomination that really was a “bitch, please…” moment for me was Midnight in Paris. I’m more of a Woody Allen fan than most nowadays, I suspect, but at 90 minutes the film outstayed its welcome by at least an hour. To put it politely, I think the film (and it’s script in particular) have been grossly over-rated.

  13. I’m not so sure there actually was much better in what has been (to be blunt) a pretty shitty year for genre television.

    Well, The Walking Dead is pretty darned good, although I’m not sure either season aired at the right time to qualify for the award.

  14. These are the times when I feel it most appropriate to express myself through music. Big-time thanks to The Host for the phone call of last Thursday. Big-time thank you to all SFWA members who liked my novelette, “Ray of Light,” enough to give it their nod of approval during the initial nomination process. It’s a massive honor to be sharing that ballot with such a terrific and hard-working group of writers. See my blog post on the matter, for further details. Suffice to say, I am psyched. =^)

  15. Well, The Walking Dead is pretty darned good, although I’m not sure either season aired at the right time to qualify for the award.

    I think I’ll just say The Walking Dead really better lift it’s game a loooong way in season 2.5 or I’m done. Adaptation isn’t transcription and I don’t think TWD has ever really figured out a way to gracefully transpose Kirkman’s stop-and-go storytelling (which, for the most part, works splendidly on the page) to television.

    All that said, while deeply flawed (IMO & YMMV, of course) it isn’t flat out True Blood-level “OMFG, was this crap written by meth-heads with ADHD?” bad. It’s a success for AMC, and more ambitious genre programming aimed squarely at grown-up isn’t a bad thing, even if I don’t always think the results stick the landing.

  16. Of course the die is cast for Nebula, but Game of Thrones can still be nominated for Hugo, and the whole season could potentially be nominated for best dramatic presentation long form, since it is essentially an adaptation of a single novel and more of a cohesive whole than most TV series, in which case one wouldn’t need to pick a particular episode.

    This might be an advantage for GoT since it sounds like short form is all but already awarded in the minds of the Hugo voters and I haven’t even seen the Who episode in question yet.

    There is a discussion here:

  17. First, congrats to you John on all these awards/nominations; fully deserved!

    I’m a little sad to see that Cline’s “Ready Player One” isn’t among the novels – unique + fun – anyone who tries something similar will always seem like a come-lately IMO.

    I thought McDevitt’s “Firebird” was much better than the last Alex Benedict installment, “Echo,” but agree with others that “A Talent for War” will always be my favorite.

    Lately, I’ve been enjoying the Jon & Lobo SF series by Van Name – there’s a new volume due out soon; hoping to see it on these lists next year.

  18. I don’t wish to seem impertinent, but given that our host has shown that he disdains the use of “A New Hope” (the retrospective retitling of Star Wars after the release of The Empire Strikes Back), I would hope that he recognizes that the term “Reagan National Airport” should be similarly disdained, and for analogous reasons – even though in Virginia (of course) you’ll see road signs using this form, and even though the Washington Post deemed it an acceptable short form for “Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport” (the House-Senate compromise in February 1998; the bill passed by the Gingrich-led House had deleted the “Washington,” whereas the Senate bill retained it). Recall that the renaming was pushed through by a Republican-controlled legislature – as an 87th-birthday present for Ronnie – at the moment of Bill Clinton’s lowest ebb (that is, within weeks of the initial Monica Lewinsky revelations) such that he’d have been unable to successfully veto it.

    My point is that legitimizing this sort of thing is an inseparable element of what has driven our nation to its current state of divisiveness. (Here in the DC area, one hears the airport called “Reagan” by some and “National” by others, depending on their politics. Likewise, the established all-news radio station religiously uses “Reagan National” in its weather reports every 10 minutes around the clock, whereas the new competitor station – thank god – avoids it in weather reports and uses “National Airport” in news stories.)

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