In Case You Rely On Me For These Things: The 2013 Nebula Awards Nominees
Posted on March 3, 2014 Posted by John Scalzi 42 Comments
And I have to say, it’s an excellent slate this year. All information taken from here. The winners will be announced at the Nebula Weekend this May, in San Jose.
Congratulations to all the nominees!
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)
‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise,’’ Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun, Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick)
‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica Schanoes (Tor.com 6/19/13)
‘‘Trial of the Century,’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (lawrencemschoen.com, 8/13; World Jumping)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)
‘‘Paranormal Romance,’’ Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
‘‘The Waiting Stars,’’ Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass,’’ Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters,’’ Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King,’’ Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,’’ Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)
Best Short Story
‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth,’’ Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers,’’ Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’’ Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’ (Nick Hurran, director; Steven Moffat, writer) (BBC Wales)
Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero, director; Philip Gelatt, writer) (Start Motion Pictures)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, director; Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, writers) (Warner Bros.)
Her (Spike Jonze, director; Spike Jonze, writer) (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, director; Simon Beaufoy & Michael deBruyn, writers) (Lionsgate)
Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, director; Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, writers) (Warner Bros.)
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)
For those wondering why I’m nearly a week behind on noting these, please remember I was out of the country and not on the Internet all last week.
As usual, my reading is not current. Out of that entire slate (with the exception of the Dramatic Presentations), I… am in the middle of “Ancillary Justice”. But that’s it.
Dunno if you want to update your post, John, but Burning Girls is on the TOR website here. (it’s fresh in my browser history since I just read it a few weeks ago)
Is it sad I mostly love these nominations as an opportunity to check out new books I may have missed? My favorite of the novels thus far is “Golem and the Jinni” but I’ve got a few more to go.
I’ve read six of the eight nominees for Best Novel (and the first chapters of the other two) and have to say it’s a fantastic field, isn’t it? Big misses (for me) are KSR’s Shaman and Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, but if you can’t get excited about sf/f with books like those that did make the list, I don’t know why you’re reading sf/f. (I will say that both Hild and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, besides both being fantastic books, have almost no (if any?) overt fantasy or sf elements that I recall, which make them interesting picks, but they both have the sensibility of the best sf/f as well.)
Questions from the gallery, for the gallery: is Linda Nagata’s book the first self-published novel to be a nominee? And is Gannon’s book the first non-Bujold Baen book to be a nominee in some years? I am too lazy to check but those were among my first hypotheses.)
A very interesting list, and not one that I think is going to resemble too many other shortlists this year. Are some of the nominations indicative of insularity on SFWA voters’ parts, I wonder? I’ve offered some commentary of my own on the list this year. (The link is to a video, in fair warning to those who don’t care for such things.)
I also am out of date. Of all the nominees, The Golem and the Jinni is the only one I’ve read or seen, though Gravity and Her are high on my to-see list. Glad to see excellent representation of women among the nominees, although unsurprisingly not among the dramatic presentations (glass ceiling there is still pretty impervious).
I am aware of Mr. Scalzi concern and viable stance for under represented voices in Science Fiction, so I choose my words carefully. Also, I just reviewed the rules at Nebula on how works are nominated and voting is conducted. I have to say that I am distraught that “Ender’s Game” was not nominated for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. It may be that the proper forms weren’t filled out on time by the proper folks, or it may be that it simply did not sell enough tickets, or that the novel was written too long ago, and the accolades had already been collected, so the film could be bypassed.
But what I actually think happened is that the story showed accurately the violence of humanity– whether it be institutionalized bullying or genocide– and no matter how accurate a reflection of ourselves that might be, it is far easier to ignore such a movie and praise yet another derivative giant robot movie.
“Ender’s Game” was a well crafted piece of film making that stayed true to the original text– something rare in science fiction. The original novel and series was groundbreaking and moved the entire genre ahead a few steps. “Ender’s Game” should be at least be considered in the same class with “Rendezvous with Rama.” And if they ever did a film an adaptation of “Rendezvous with Rama,” one would hope that they would do at least as good a job in the film making, as was done with “Ender’s Game.”
In contrast, I wish to cite the dramatic adaptation of the second of Susan Cooper’s “Dark Is Rising” Sequence: “The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising” which was really tragic considering the wonderful source material. In seeking a quick profit among young audiences from a Newberry Award winning series, the original work seemed to have been trampled. I don’t think that given that it was done so quickly after the author’s death was a coincidence. And now that the first movie was so crappy, the probability of seeing the entire sequence in film is unlikely for sometime.
But that wasn’t the case with “Ender’s Game.” The cast and crew were terrific.
A quick glance at history shows us that genocides are becoming more frequent, not less so: whether we start with the attacks on Native American peoples or the Armenian genocide, if we proceed through the twentieth century to The Holocaust to the Khmer Rouge to Yugoslavia to Sudan to the Central African Republics (and I know I left out some, I’m sorry), we see that over the last two hundred years these mass killings based on race or culture or religion have become an almost constant norm on some part of the planet.
Science Fiction allows us to view these problems, and the results of ethical solutions, from a moderately safe distance and to begin to create a better set of operations by which the problems and solutions and their ethics can be described.
I consider this promise of Science Fiction to be greater paradigm by which the genre should be judged or graded, rather than if it was merely entertaining or exciting or holds some key for a new technology.
While Jules Verne predicted many technologies, Captain Nemo (Prince Dakkar) is remembered for his decision to use a weapon as a lesser wrong to stop what he perceived as a greater wrong, and that is a question of ethics. It is the ethical choice which makes “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” compelling and still a viable piece of literature today, not the extraordinary technology of the submarine.
So while giant robots have been a hit since at least UltraMan, and an entire generation was raised on commercial cartoons to sell Transformer play sets, I would have thought that the Nebula Awards committee would have been somewhat immune to the allure of giant robots by now.
I hope that “Ender’s Game” takes it’s indelible place in our cultural memory next to another panned Harrison Ford film that was relatively ignored when it was originally released, “Blade Runner.”
I love the diversity of sources for short work now. It was not that long ago that the short fiction was all drawn from the three big magazines (F&SF, Asimov, Analog) and the few prominent anthologies. To see the websites and self-published and indie sources gaining prominence is quite impressive.
@drunkenafficianado, 12:37 pm:
Missing from your reason: the possibility that the “Ender’s Game” movie simply wasn’t as well regarded as any of the others. Not because it depicts something accurately and uncomfortably, but because people simply feel it wasn’t as well *done*.
You may disagree with that assessment – you may feel it was extremely well done, and that it’s obviously deserving of a spot on this list. I don’t think that’s an insane position – I actually really liked the movie. But a lack of nomination votes isn’t evidence of anyone avoiding an uncomfortable topic – it could be (and likely *is*) simply that different people, acting in good faith, reached different conclusions about it than you did. (A lot of my friends who *really* *adored* the book were really disappointed with the movie.)
I would also note that the *book*, “Ender’s Game”, already has an “indelible place in our cultural memory”. It’s widely known. It’s widely regarded as an Important Work of Science Fiction. I make no claims about how widely *liked* it is, but it’s definitely not *ignored*.
@Stephen Dunscombe: Pacific Rim was awful. Its on several worst of lists. Enders Game didn’t get nominated because there are alot of SFWA members who don’t like card so they shun him. Enders Game wasn’t great. Its not close to the book. Its better than Pacific Rim.
Dr. Who gets a token nomination every year. Its obvious with how much SFWA members bicker with each other they have cliques in the organization.
Out of the 1500 members Id be surprised if 500 nominate anything. Most people in trade groups are not very active. Id bet that in some cases 5-10 nominations gets you nominated.
As far as best novel. I have heard of 2 of them and thats it. The biggest snub was Memory of Light. It should be nominated in recognition of the entire series just like its going to be for the Hugo. (The Wheel of Time fan base is making sure of this). There is a really good Fantasy Book Review site called ‘Elitist Book Reviews’. They review alot of lesser known authors and do high quality reviews. They bring up the same point many people do, some authors get nominated every time no matter what. Every book you release can’t be the best book to come out that year…
John: This is my 1 wheel of time fan boy post .Just grant me this one. Started reading the books when I was 16 when they first came out.
Much as i loved Ocean at the End of the Lane, I really hope the award goes to the fantastic Ancillary Justice – one of the best books I’ve read in years. Hild, on the other hand, I had trouble pushing through and found meh.
Wow, I’ve actually read the Neil Gaiman book and the Alethea Kontis book. Usually I haven’t read any books on award nomination lists.
@Guess, 1:11 pm:
“Pacific Rim was awful. Its on several worst of lists.”
“Enders Game wasn’t great. Its not close to the book. Its better than Pacific Rim.”
On Rotten Tomatoes…
Critics: Pacific Rim 71%, Ender’s Game 61%
User: Pacific Rim 71%, Ender’s Game 70%
Critics: Pacific Rim 64%, Ender’s Game 51%
Users: Pacific Rim, 75%, Ender’s Game 69%
Both of these sites are aggregators of large numbers of critics. Neither are indicative of broad-based adulation for either movie – and neither indicate broad support for a preference for “Ender’s Game”.
“Enders Game didn’t get nominated because there are alot of SFWA members who don’t like card so they shun him.”
Possible! But not a given.
I loved Ancillary Justice so much, it’s a pity she’s up against Gaiman (whose work was also wonderful).
Karen Fowler’s “We Were All Completely Besides Ourselves” may lack rocketships, but it was about a woman raised by a scientist in a scientific experiment, and the consequences thereof, and is chock full of actual, you know, science. In this case primatology. Quite possibly more real science than all the other novels combined. So, rocketships no, but science yes. It definitely belongs on a “best science fiction novel” list, being a _novel about science and its consequences_.
I realize you (montsamu) weren’t arguing against it being on the list, but you may have misread the novel in a way many others may as well. If “overt science fictional elements” comes to mean “only made up sh*t allowed, real science is disqualified” then I say science fiction is in trouble.
It’s also a terrific novel.
Enders Game didn’t get nominated because there are alot of SFWA members who don’t like card so they shun him.
Nebula voters, being Card’s fellow writers, are, compared to the general public, a bit more likely to know the difference between a novelist’s work and a film adaptation by others. I’d say the lack of a nomination for Ender’s Game is probably due more to a feeling the film was mediocre at best. It was largely poorly reviewed, and performed far less well at the box office than Pacific Rim.
I read Ender’s Game many years ago and liked it a lot (after some of other stuff that I thought was terrible). I also liked the first few of the Alvin Maker series, even though I was already annoyed by the Mormon allegories. Card himself I find disgusting, but that wouldn’t necessarily prejudice me against a movie made from one of his books — if it were good. The reviews I’ve seen suggest that it wasn’t.
Case in point: Loved Asimov’s I, Robot. Can’t imagine watching the movie. (Too bad they wouldn’t use Ellison’s screenplay).
I actually just saw Ender’s Game yesterday – our group of friends does a regular good food/bad movie night. The movie was very pretty, but not groundbreaking or anything. My objection is not to Card personally as much as it is to the disgusting morality of his books..
in reference to an earlier comment – I was both pleased and a bit saddened to see that the short fiction market has gotten large enough that there are no nominees from Analog and F&SF. Those two magazines (along with Asimov’s and the last dying gasps of Galaxy and Amazing/Fantastic) were my lifeline when I was desperate to find anything SF to read as a young’un.
I can remember seeing (and snatching up and not letting go until my parents paid for it) the first issue of Asimov’s on the newsstand. The fact that a NEW SF magazine was coming out was surely a sign that it wasn’t going to die out, right? (I was a huge, huge fan of the shortlived Asimov’s SF Adventure magazine too).
Given many of the other ick people in the SF world on the subject of gays, women, etc, who still manage to get accolades & success, I find it hard to believe that the subset of people who have animosity for Card’s views would keep it out of the running. I think it’s more likely there were a lot of people like me who liked the original novel but thought (a) it likely woudn’t work well as a movie (particularly the magic book/Jane stuff) and (b) the previews and advanced stuff just looked blah. Given the poor gross it seems a lot of people has the same impression and didn’t go. So they wouldn’t have nominated it.
@cythraul mentions ratings aggregation comparisons. Compare the box office mojo worldwide gross.
Ender’s Game: Worldwide: $112,231,473 ,
Pacific Rim Worldwide: $411,002,906
Assuming public perception was equal, that’s 4x as many satisfied Pacific Rim viewers.
It would be lovely if this thread were about something other than why a particular movie isn’t a nominee.
t saddens me to see that the final book of the Jenna Fox trilogy by Mary Pearson did not place on the YA list.
Probably the best science fiction in years, not only in YA but in general.
Sadly I can only knowledgeably comment on the Bradbury. For once I think the Doctor Who nomination is a valid choice, rather than a partisan one. That was a spectacular episode. Of course Gravity is also a great choice, as the Academy have proclaimed. Europa Report is a solid SF work, harder science than the rest; Pacific Rim is heavy on sfx and light in most other areas. I look forward to Her; I’m only missing The Hunger Games series as I was turned off by the “kids killing kids” concept, which in no way reflects the quality of the fiction, only my preferences or tolerances.
Lots and lots and lots of the short fiction is now freely available online, and I’m flip-flopping between being joy at having so many great picks ready-made, and frustration that compiling web-pages and PDFs into one big file for my Kindle is going to be a serious pain in the neck.
(Yeah, yeah. Spoiled rotten by the internet, I know…)
The older I get, the less I seem to read of award-nominated books and stories.
Of the novels, have copies of 3, read none so far.
Novella: Have read the Valente.
Novelette: Only read the Liu. (Heard via podcast, actually.)
Short story: Only the Swirsky.
Bradbury Award: Only seen the Doctor Who.
Andre Norton Award: None. (Have the Holly Black book on my wishlist to borrow from the local library.)
I read what I consider quite a lot of SF/fantasy – well over 100 books a year – and haven’t read anything that was nominated. Or even heard of most of them. Only nominee I’ve experienced was the second Hunger Games movie. If nothing else, it points up the amount of SF/fantasy that’s being published these days, I guess. And, I suppose, the extent to which my tastes differ from the sort of people who nominate for the Nebula.
And to think I can remember back in the 1950s and early 1960s when I read virtually every SF/fantasy book published, along with every issue of most magazines in the field, although I didn’t read much if any more than I do now…
“Much as i loved Ocean at the End of the Lane, I really hope the award goes to the fantastic Ancillary Justice – one of the best books I’ve read in years. Hild, on the other hand, I had trouble pushing through and found meh.”
I think I just found my next read, because Ocean at the End of the Lane was the most impactful book I’ve read in a long time. So if you thought Ancillary Justice was even better, that’s high praise indeed.
For the Ray Bradbury Award, you have a fascinating slate of nominees, each very different than the others. I could make a strong argument for three of the nominees: “The Day of the Doctor” had to live up to a fifty-year television legacy, and succeeded with a brilliantly executed story and production. Gravity is the first hard science fiction movie in a long time, with an emphasis on the science even if the details had to be fudged at times for dramatic purposes. Her, like Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is the kind of pure science fiction that many moviegoers wouldn’t even consider science fiction. Like the best science fiction, Spike Jonze’s script and film marries well-developed characters with well-developed ideas.
Helene Wecker! Helene Wecker! Helene Wecker! My favorite book of last year: http://infinitefreetime.com/2013/12/17/the-top-10-new-books-i-read-in-2013/
@Benny – Not sad at all, the bulk of additions to my reading list these days come from award slates (and the Big Idea of course!) That is part of the point of awards is it not, to raise the profile of books/authors?
@Thomas M. Wagner – Warning much appreciated, videos are a blanket no-no for me due to being at work… :)
@All those with predictable award-nomination-announcement responses – With a nod to OGH’s (numerous) previous posts on the topic I shall summarise:
“I thought x should be nominated and it wasn’t/I thought x shouldn’t be nominated and it was” ≠ “There is something wrong with the system/the nominators are all biased/no one really nominates ‘properly’ anyway”
I do rely in you for info…so thanks. Looking up a few titles right now.
Oh…and I enjoyed Ancillary Justice. Other people: read it. You’ll like it. Or not. But most likely you’ll like it.
@Joe mac I have been pushing that book on people for months. And they all like it. even the ones who get confused in the middle.
To me, the novel category comes down to Leckie and Gaiman. Leckie is cerebral, Gaiman is emotional. They are both marvelous books.
@lumi. Awesome. I read it right after it came out on The Big Idea. Either I don’t think for myself or I know when to take good advice…
I enjoyed it and thought it finished pretty strong. Glad you liked it as well.
I just started The Red tonight. One of the benefits of e-books is the potential for a short “thought to action” timeline. In reality, I wish that I could by a hard/soft cover book and simply pay an addition $2 for a companion e-book. I enjoy both- practicality and ease of transport/multiple device access combined with the longevity, feel, and smell of tradition. And with that I’ll conclude my unsolicited short commentary on “what I wish for in books.” Have a good night!
I also wish that I could type more accurately on a cellular device so that spelling mistakes did not plague my comments. (By=buy…I really am educated- honest!)
@Joe Mac – It happens to the best of us… *hangs head in shame*
Well, yes… and I could probably quibble around the edges of every nominee list for every literary/movie/arts award out there. In the end, isn’t it healthy that there’s more good SF out there than there are slots on an award ballot?
The Hugos and Nebulas are great at identifying some good authors, but don’t restrict your reading to just this list. For example, Pratchett …
Does anybody know why there are EIGHT novel nominees instead of six? SFWA PR doesn’t bother explaining and I haven’t even been able to find this discussed anywhere online. I suppose it must have been a tie per http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/rules/ 12.4, but I can’t imagine how complicated this would have to be for two extra nominees considering the clauses to limit proliferation. Thanks,