This Year’s Nebula Award Nominees

Getting to tell you all who the year’s Nebula nominees are is one of my favorite things to do, and not just because I’m president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the organization that hands out the Nebulas. It’s also because these are awards from writers, to writers. It’s always lovely to be recognized by one’s peers.

Now, without further ado, this year’s Nebula Award nominees, straight from the press release. Congratulations to all the nominees, and I hope I will see them at the Nebula Awards weekend in May! (P.S.: You can attend Nebula Weekend even if you are not a nominee — see the details below).

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announces the nominees for the 2012 Nebula Awards (presented 2013), nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
“The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s 10-11/12)
“All the Flavors”, Ken Liu (GigaNotoSaurus 2/1/12)
“Katabasis”, Robert Reed (F&SF 11-12/12)
“Barry’s Tale”, Lawrence M. Schoen (Buffalito Buffet)

“The Pyre of New Day”, Catherine Asaro (The Mammoth Books of SF Wars)
“Close Encounters”, Andy Duncan (The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories)
“The Waves”, Ken Liu (Asimov’s 12/12)
“The Finite Canvas”, Brit Mandelo ( 12/5/12)
“Swift, Brutal Retaliation”, Meghan McCarron ( 1/4/12)
“Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia”, Rachel Swirsky ( 8/22/12)
“Fade to White”, Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 8/12)

Short Story
“Robot”, Helena Bell (Clarkesworld 9/12)
“Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
“Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes”, Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 4/12)
“Nanny’s Day”, Leah Cypess (Asimov’s 3/12)
“Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream”, Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed 7/12)
“The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species”, Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/12)
“Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain”, Cat Rambo (Near + Far)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
The Avengers, Joss Whedon (director) and Joss Whedon and Zak Penn (writers), (Marvel/Disney)
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (director), Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Abilar (writers), (Journeyman/Cinereach/Court 13/Fox Searchlight )
The Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard (director), Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (writers) (Mutant Enemy/Lionsgate)
The Hunger Games, Gary Ross (director), Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray writers), (Lionsgate)
John Carter, Andrew Stanton (director), Michael Chabon, Mark Andrews, and Andrew Stanton (writers), (Disney)
Looper, Rian Johnson (director), Rian Johnson (writer), (FilmDistrict/TriStar)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown)
Black Heart, Holly Black (S&S/McElderry; Gollancz)
Above, Leah Bobet (Levine)
The Diviners, Libba Bray (Little, Brown; Atom)
Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst (S&S/McElderry)
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House; Doubleday UK)
Enchanted, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
Every Day, David Levithan (Alice A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books)
Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Fair Coin, E.C. Myers (Pyr)
Above World, Jenn Reese (Candlewick)

The Forty-Eighth Nebula Awards Weekend will be held May 16-19th, 2013, in San Jose at the San Jose Hilton. Borderland Books will host the mass autograph session from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17th at the San Jose Hilton. This autograph session is open to the public and books by the authors in attendance will be available for purchase. More information about the Nebula Awards Weekend is available at


50 Comments on “This Year’s Nebula Award Nominees”

  1. It’s surprising that John Carter is nominated… I don’t have much interest for Avengers, Hunger Games or movies alike, but as far as blockbusters go, John Carter seems to be in a league of its own (not in a good way). I’ve re-read the Mars trilogy recently, and I’d say it has not aged too well. I don’t have a vote, but I really enjoyed Looper this year.

    What are the criteria for the ‘young adult’ writer award? I’m surprised that someone as established as China Miéville (who’s probably in his 40s) can be considered for the award. That would make me young though, so it’s a good thing!

  2. Man, was “Throne of the Crescent Moon” only 2012? That seemed like forever ago. I looked online for the sequel the other day, only to discover it didn’t exist yet…

    Real good book; I’m looking forward to more in that series.

  3. I didn’t even realize Railsee was intended as young adult fiction when I read it. Maybe because it read more like the older adventure tales I read as a young adult, rather than the more modern form.

    (And jeez, don’t call China Miéville old…that makes me feel ancient.)

  4. I have read none of the best novel nominees but I have seen all the movies. That makes me feel bad about myself.

    I did read two of the Norton nominees at least! I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Railsea on the regular ballot, but I suppose China Mieville already has enough Nebula nominations, and I doubt he’d have any shot at winning,

  5. In order to appreciate the novels (and the films derived from them) of Edgar Rice Burroughs, you are required to truly suspend disbelief. Heck, I enjoyed John Carter, despite a few flaws.

  6. I read “Avengers” on the list and was confused for a moment before I realised it was the superheroes movie and not the one based on the old BBC TV series.

    Just curious, but since, as an example, the Dr.Who shows are made in the UK, are they not eligible? Or is it a case that television show episodes as a class are inelligable, or more that they simply don’t generally make the Nebula cut?

  7. Congrats to the nominees, though I really think Blue Remembered Earth deserved a nod. No disrespect to any of the honored writers, but with five fantasies and one SF, perhaps more balance would have been nice.

  8. Excellent, there’s a lot of stuff on there I haven’t read. I hope Every Day gets the Norton, that was really good.

  9. San Jose, or as Heinlein put it, “A thousand villages in search of a city.”

    Original Joe’s is a reputable restaurant a block away from the Convention Center.

  10. @lee s:

    Last year the Neil Gaiman scripted episode of Doctor Who won, and I don’t believe they’ve changed the rules since that win.

  11. Huh. I read a couple of hundred books a year, over half SF-fantasy, and only two of them (The Killing Moon and Vessel) were nominated out of 18 nominees. I rarely go to movies, and yet the only two movies I saw last year (Hunger Games and John Carter) were nominated. Go figure.

  12. I’m pleased to see Andy Duncan’s “Close Encounters” on the list. Hearing him read that story is fantastic, someone needs to have him to do an audio version.

    I’m also happy that Robert Reed finally got a second Nebula Nomination with “Katabasis”. He had three really strong novellas last year and I wondered if they might cancel each other out (the others were “Murder Born” and “Eater-of-Bone”).

    Seeing Beasts of the Southern Wild in there with the others is nice too, though I guess I have to get over my perception of it as an obscure little film at some point.

  13. Looper is probably the smartest film I’ve seen in years. It was genuinely and pleasantly surprising that it wasn’t a dumb action film, but a real existential exploration of life and what it means to live.

  14. On the boardwalk in Ocean city Maryland they have deep fried oreos. I wonder if they have deep fried gingerbread oreos?

  15. I think they should break the Best Novel award up into Best Fantasy and Best Science Fiction. I think its better for like to like comparison.

    Do any books that get nominated in the best young adult fiction also get nominated for Best Novel or are they totally separate categories?

  16. Of course, thanks! I had not realized Miéville had written a ‘young adult novel’. I have not read Railsea, so my experience with the author (Perdido Station and Scar namely) may have mislead me…

  17. Oops, I’d better order Drowning Girl for my library system. Thanks for posting this list!

  18. I own one of the novel nominees, & I’ve read part of one of the ya nominees, but I’ve seen three of the movies. This makes me sad for some reason.

  19. lee s – the “Avengers” TV series was an ITV (commercial TV) production, not the BBC’s. And the film allegedly based on it was an utter WOMBAT (Waste Of Money, Brains And Time). If you’re ever, ever tempted to watch it, please just don’t.

  20. Wow, 4 out of the 6 best novels were written by women. That’s gotta drive dispshit misogynists nuts. Not for me, I’ll likely end up getting all of them.

    I got the Google Chrome warning as well. I blame the Chinese Army.

  21. The phrase WOMBAT is my new favorite thing. In that context, of course. Actual wombats have been among my favorite things since I was a teenager playing Magic: The Gathering and made a point of having a “Rabid Wombat” in all of my decks.

  22. And, you don’t have to be a SFWA member to attend the Nebula Awards. If you live in the area, try to make it to the mass autographing at least, which is free and open to the public.

  23. I’m not sad I’ve seen more of the movies than I’ve read the books. Movies take a lot less time to experience.

  24. Will individual episodes of The Human Division be Nebula eligible in the short story or novella categories, and the work compiled as a whole be eligible in the novel category?

  25. Aaaaand, again, even though I spend more hours reading science fiction (non-comic book form) than I watch TV I haven’t read anything on this reading list. There must be a shit-ton of books being produced every year. Which is discouraging to this wannabe science fiction writer since that implies the market is over-saturated.

  26. I can’t recommend Seraphina enough. My 10 year-olds and I both loved it.
    FINALLY a unique dragon story. And I’m not just saying that because I know the author.

  27. Huh, I read Throne of the Crescent Moon and while I liked it and want to see more, I didn’t think of it as Nebula material. I guess daring to break out of the traditional pseudo-European setting paid off.

    (Not slighting Throne at all, just honestly surprised)

  28. Whenever the politics that revolves around art get too brash, bright creativity fades and you get 6 artistic snooze-fests like these novels.

    For example, although fine art photography experienced a brief revitalization due to counter-culture say, from ’65 to ’75, it’s been pretty much gutted since. Politics and a conformity that claimed iconoclasm did that.

    Nothing near as bad has happened in SF because it’s more market driven and less subsidized. SF experienced a similar thing from maybe ’60 to ’70 but the combination of market and a lack of “I’m okay, you’re okay” worked to dampen the effect quite a bit, and in fact some brilliant work with bright new perspectives was published in SF. They had stubborn editors then who knew their stuff.

    Today, for complex reasons, but once again centered around politics, bright creativity for it’s own sake is getting pushed into the background and the white noise and static of a politically correct and over-saturated market is threatening to gut SF and fantasy artistically, even while it’s at an all time high of popularity. In a tight competition where politics and promotion are the deal-breakers, cream doesn’t rise to the top but fades into the murk.

    Once again a conformity that claims for itself a status of idol breakers is doing it. 25 years from now, if anyone even bothers to look, these novels will be considered quaint and time bound. What SF&F needs right now is a centralized site with credibility and ruthless reviews and a sense of history, like the old New York City newspaper Broadway reviews, which were not haters, but done out of a love of the art. Art is highly subjective, but not completely. The old SF Hall of Fame paperbacks make an excellent case for that as does the first editions of The Hugo Winners – practically a creative how-to manual.

    Unfortunately such a site would work against paying bills or might be career suicide. But every time I see an SF writer’s name attached to a review I know it’s going to be “okay.” I shouldn’t be able to predict that.

  29. I was rather surprised that none of Brandon Sanderson’s novellas were nominated. Is his work not well – received by SFWA’s membership?

  30. @Geoff Thorpe : “Placed in Quotes” is a convention used in academia & elsewhere – means the short work exists within a larger collection, journal, etc., rather than as a free-standing entity available for purchase on its own. #abooksellerwrites

  31. I like science fiction, but don’t really enjoy fantasy and am always a little tweaked when the two genres are lumped together, be it in a bookshop or otherwise. The above list of nominations for novels is an example where I think one of the genres gets drowned out by the other.
    (Fantasy lovers please don’t take this as a criticism, I just wish the two genres were treated individually.)

  32. @Cole Mak: I’m sympathetic, but it’s not always easy to determine where the boundaries of the two genres lie. Terms like Speculative Fiction and Science Fantasy have been invented to cover either the broad superset or the works on the fuzzy boundaries. Some people claim Star Wars is fantasy, not science fiction. Who decides?

    One of my favorite examples is the two Roger Zelazny novels, Lord of Light and Creatures of Light and Darkness. The former is more-or-less science fiction, but reads like fantasy; the latter is more-or-less fantasy, but reads like science fiction. At least, that’s how I classify them; others can and have classified them in all sorts of other ways. Another classic example of potential confusion is Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun, where the first novel of the series had everyone thinking it was fantasy (and giving it the World Fantasy Award), but then in the second novel, we discover it’s really science fiction (and the second novel won a Nebula).

  33. I DO know the way to San Jose, and have a car with a big trunk.

    Why so many nominees for the Norton? Is it anything that gets above a certain amount of recommendations, or what? Just curious.

  34. @John Samuel: I don’t think Chrome detects malware. It does false-positive on SSL error detection. It doesn’t give clear information about this, so it’s hard to nail down why Chrome does this, but it’s a browser issue, not a website issue.

    @Geoff: Italics are for book or magazine titles. Titles of pieces published within books, magazines, or other compendia are shown in quotes.

  35. @Edward How in the world did Bacigalupi’s “Drowned Cities” not make this list?

    QFT! One of the best books I read last year. Far better than Railsea. (I’m a huge CM fan, and Railsea had some really cool ideas, but collapsed under its own weight at the end.) And since there are 12 books on the nomination list for the Norton award, it almost seems like a deliberate omission.

  36. Five out of six of the nominees are fantasy. Although I’ve read quite a bit (lately the Nebula lists have been full of them), I much prefer science fiction. I am beginning to think of the Nebula award to be synonymous with fantasy. The BFSA and PKD lists have nominees much more to my liking.

  37. the SFWA site is short on details. It’s been 25 years since I attended an SF convention. What else goes on beside the actual awarding of the awards? Booksellers? Talks/symposiums? I’d like to attend but I have no idea if it’s worth 80 bucks. thank, bill

  38. As a long time but ill-informed SF fan I had to look up both BFSA and PKD. A Google search for “BFSA” brings up:

    Bass Fishing South Africa
    British Fire Services Association
    Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority (the city, not the animal…)
    Black Faculty and Staff Association (University of Central Florida)

    That tickled my fancy enough to finally lure me out of lurkerdom!

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