Nebula Award Winners for 2013

And now, for those of you who haven’t read the news anywhere else, the results of the 2013 Nebula Awards Ceremony, which were awarded last night in San Jose. Congratulations to all the winners!


Winner: Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
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)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)


Winner: ‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise,’’ Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee,’’ Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun)
‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica Schanoes ( 6/19/13)
‘‘Trial of the Century,’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (; World Jumping)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)


Winner: ‘‘The Waiting Stars,’’ Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
‘‘Paranormal Romance,’’ Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
‘‘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)

Short Story

Winner: ‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
‘‘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)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Winner: Gravity
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’
Europa Report
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Pacific Rim

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

Winner: Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award: Michael Armstrong

2013 Damon Knight Grand Master Award: Samuel R. Delany  

The 2013 Nebula Awards were presented May 17, 2014 at the  SFWA’s 49th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, CA.

89 Comments on “Nebula Award Winners for 2013”

  1. The beat goes on for Ancillary Justice!


    I am so happy for Ann. She seems like such a great person.

    Am I the only one that wonders why Gravity wins awards? I thought that movie was just ok. Definitely something that was visually cool to see on a big screen, but ultimately the sequence of events that transpired were impossible. No way she would have survived.

    Congratulations to all the winners!

  2. Kyle – I really disliked Gravity due to all of the bad flight dynamics and I am stunned that it won the Nebula.

    Congrats to all the other winners, though.

  3. Kyle wrote: “I really disliked Gravity due to all of the bad flight dynamics” — OTOH, my wife and I are professional “rocket scientists”, who’ve taught science in 4 countries, and worked several decades in the Space Program. She chairs a university division; the Chair of Astronomy reports to her. I have also been an Astronomy Professor. We both adored the film Gravity.

  4. Yay! I’m really looking forward to reading Ancillary Justice (hurry UP library!). And “If You Were A Dinosaur My Love” I thought was a very powerful story. I hit the end, realized why the odd construction, and just dissolved.

  5. Just to echo Jonathan here:

    Every twitter, blog, and website run by actual Astronauts or NASA personnel that has seen Gravity had nothing but praise for it. Chris Hadfield, in particular, couldn’t stop talking about how much he loved the film, he mentioned it on his twitter for weeks after the film first aired.

    It’s really funny that people actually involved in the space program or in astrophysics all love the movie, and it’s only the hipster-snob lay sci-fi fans who sneer at it and look down on it.

    Hell, even Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who posted a couple of times about the inaccuracies he found in the movie, still repeatedly said that he loved it and that it was a wonderful film.

  6. Gravity, ye Gods.

    For the rest a great selection of books and stories: the winning entrances and the excellent company they were in. A good story year, 2013.

  7. PS: I don’t care about the mechanics of Gravity. I just thought it was a very light weight, almost boring story.

  8. It is well to know that Gravity is explicitly set in an alternative future. In the movie timeline, Space Shuttles are still operational. The Shuttle mission at the beginning of the movie is STS-157: in our timeline the last was STS-135 in 2011. And there never was an operational orbiter called Explorer. If we accept that the Hubble in that timeline is at the same inclination as ISS, either because it has been so from the beginning or was moved later, a lot of the orbital mechanics issues are less troublesome.

  9. OTOH, the Kaizu mechanics in Pacific Rim were dead on the money. Why didn’t IT win?

  10. “It’s really funny that people actually involved in the space program or in astrophysics all love the movie, and it’s only the hipster-snob lay sci-fi fans who sneer at it and look down on it.” Sorry, but I have worked in flight dynamics at Goddard for 24 years and as I said above I really disliked the film. The only way it would work for me as a film, is if it was an oxygen deprived hallucinated after the first few minutes.

  11. Stevie, thank you for posting that essay. I had never read it before and found it very powerful. That made my day.

  12. Kyle, you’re not the only one who wonders about Gravity. Weak story, boring characters, and an hour (or so it seems) of the Perils of Pauline. Oh, and an obnoxious soundtrack, to boot. It was pretty, though.

    Congrats to everyone!

  13. So why do you guys bother reading SF if you hate it when creative people pushes the boundaries of their craft? (the amount of skill and cleverness that went into filming that movie is absolutely staggering, and no, the story is not that simple — if you think that, chances are that you missed quite a bit.) Doesn’t compute.

  14. (…and the music is actually great, and Steven Price won a ton of awards for it…)

  15. Yay for Ancillary Justice. Fingers crossed for the Hugo for it, much as I like Neptunes’ Brood, I think AJ was a better book.

    Now all I need to do is work out HTH the Hugo voting works. Damn Australians.

  16. “Sorry, but I have worked in flight dynamics at Goddard for 24 years and as I said above I really disliked the film.”

    How nice for you. I value Commander Hadfield and Dr. Nyberg’s (not to mention Dr. Tyson’s) opinion of the movie several orders of magnitude more than yours.

    Back to the original post, though: This definitely makes me bump Ancillary Justice up on my to-buy queue by several notches.

  17. Well, one of the things Gravity had going for it was that it wasn’t Doctor Who. This is a major plus point, even for those of us who enjoy Dr Who, because the frequency with which it wins awards suggests to people who don’t actually like it that this is the best SF has to offer. And if DW is the best SF has to offer then there is no point in them looking elsewhere in the field, and thus large numbers of people who might otherwise become afficionados of the genre are turned off.

    Gravity is, amongst other things, both a love letter to our planet and a recruitment drive for getting people off our planet; I’m fairly sure that the SFWA membership had those aspects in mind when they voted.

    If it takes George Clooney to get people onside for this then surely we can live with it; the thing that propelled Gravity to the top was the sheer number of people who went to see it and thought it was both great and realistic. In a world in which a not insignificant number of people think the Moon landings were faked that does seem to me to be a vitally important fact.

    I can understand that individuals watching it may have been jerked out of the moment by an error, and thus the experience damaged; something similar happened to me reading Vylar Kaftan’s ‘The Weight of the Sunrise’, to the point of not being able to finish it.

    In an alternative history in which South America’s contact with the English language has been via England people do not cut their bangs, particularly when the bangs cutting is necessary so that a character can first encounter someone from a North American country which, unlike the US of our history, is still a colony of England. In English English bangs has many meanings but none of them include hair; it is such an obvious howler that I just couldn’t get past it…

  18. Before Scalzi swoops in and mallets the lot of ya:

    MrManny: you made a snarky swipe and an overly broad generalization and got called on it. Do you really want to double down on that? Think hard, now.

    Studer: not only does your post mix media (i.e. “read SF” vs. “filming that movie”), but enjoying one SF work neither implies nor requires that one will like all SF.

  19. Well, I’m glad I added “Ancillary Justice” to my Nook. Now to read the thing…

    I’ve seen 4 of the 6 Bradbury Award noms, all but “Her” and “Gravity”. What I’ve heard about “Gravity” puts it over what I know about the other 4:

    “Day of the Doctor” was good, but not great.

    “Europa Report” was interesting, but a bit amateurish, and I could have done without the B.E.M.

    “Catching Fire” suffers badly from “Part 2 of 3 Syndrome”. It also ends with a shot so wrong it still bugs me 6 months later.

    “Pacific Rim” was just… no. Even my inner 11-year-old thought it was inexcusably stupid.

  20. Wait! There are more awards than just the Hugo? Have we discussed who couldn’t win a Nebula if they were alive today?

  21. It makes me happy every time Ancillary Justice wins an award. That’s one fine book.

  22. I’m very pleased for Aliette de Bodard, whose “The Waiting Stars” may be my favorite SF short of all time. I read it while in a coffee shop, and so when I got rather weepy I lost a little dignity. Oh well.

    The space opera anthology from whence it came, The Other Half of the Sky, is a great read. The protagonists of all of its shorts are women and its vision was basically to just start over: forget Manifest Destiny, patriarchy, heteronormative family structures, etc. and start from scratch. The resultant sci-fi is quite inventive.

    Happy for all the winners, though de Bodard is the only one I’ve read so far.

  23. I’ve seen 3 of the Bradbury noms. “Day of the Doctor” was a bit overhyped, and I say that as big fan of the series. I adore the Hunger Games, so enjoyed “Catching Fire” – I just hope the movie doesn’t flub the ending as much as the books did. “Pacific Rim” was gloriously ridiculous, the kind of film that is fun to watch but falls apart as soon as you start thinking about it.

  24. You’re really going to complain about Pacific Rim? It was made of pure fun! That movie didn’t pretend to be anything other than what it was: A live-action Saturday morning cartoon. One of my favorite movies of the year.

    As for “getting called” and “doubling down”, yeah, no, you’re mistaken. Like I said, the opinions of some random flight engineer don’t mean much to me compared to the opinions of people who’ve actually served on the ISS, and of the leading astrophysicists of this generation.

    They know how to have fun and how to appreciate that a movie is just a movie, something you should learn.

  25. “Fritz Leiber is snubbed again.”

    But he glows brightly in my heart….

  26. OK, so Gravity (I film I liked with very heavy reservations having nothing to do with the science) won an award. Would I have chosen differently if it was up to me? Certainly: Orphan Black wasn’t even on the ballot.

    But what does that really prove, in the end, beyond the Nebula judges and I might end up having some words come movie night?


    Well, one of the things Gravity had going for it was that it wasn’t Doctor Who. This is a major plus point, even for those of us who enjoy Dr Who, because the frequency with which it wins awards suggests to people who don’t actually like it that this is the best SF has to offer.

    No, what it screams at top of its voice is that the judges of a specific award — looking over a specific ballot — came to the conclusion that Doctor Who was the best on offer. Which, of course, you’re in no way obliged to agree with.

    And if DW is the best SF has to offer then there is no point in them looking elsewhere in the field, and thus large numbers of people who might otherwise become afficionados of the genre are turned off.

    Really? With all due and sincere respect, why would anyone who doesn’t really like SF give the proverbial rodent’s rectum who won the Nebulas?

  27. Orphan Black can’t seem to make it on any ballot; I’m not sure if it’s just too niche or what.

  28. That does kind of bother me, now that you mention it. Orphan Black is really good, it deserves more praise than it’s getting.

    I feel the same way about Continuum.

  29. I’m not familiar with Continuum but assume it’s on Netflix or Hulu; seems like a fun thing to get caught up on this summer. The thing about Orphan Black is that it gets so much praise by fans and media but then awards time comes around and *silence*.. Maybe it’s just anti-Canadian prejudice? :)

  30. Cranapia

    I think the source of your confusion lies in the fact that I didn’t actually suggest that people ‘[don’t] really like SF’.

    I suggested that quite a few people who flick on and through ‘Dr Who’, which is broadcast at prime viewing times on the BBC, are unimpressed by it. The BBC provides vast amounts of attendant publicity to the show and all the awards it wins; unenchanted viewers can hardly be blamed for concluding that, if this is the best SF has to offer, then they are not interested. Particularly if they’ve had the cruel and unusual punishment of ‘Torchwood’ inflicted on them.

    Your assumption appears to be that Nebulas and Hugos are only reported in SF specific places; that simply isn’t true when it comes to a prime time tv show like Dr Who.

    So, reverting to my original point, ‘Gravity’ is a gateway which enables those viewers to think differently about SF, and may encourage them to try it out to discover whether, given a chance, they might actually enjoy some of the vast array of stuff in the genre on offer to them.

    I am all in favour of people giving it a whirl, because I want people to have fun, and buy books, graphic novels, comics etc. etc. etc., not least because this means I get to read/see more stuff, and authors, artists, agents, editors, etc. etc. etc. get to eat three square meals a day plus the odd glass of wine, or, in the case of our host, Coke Zero.


    Fritz Leiber, revered model for just about everything, won five Hugos and two Nebulas, plus numerous World Fantasy Awards, and, lest we forget, all the Grandmaster Awards going.

    I like to think he would have approved of Terry Pratchett immortalising his work in a rather different way…

  31. Torchwood is “cruel and unusual punishment”? Them’s fighting words!

    Ok, the first two seasons had ups and downs, but “Children of Earth” was an incredible achievement in filmmaking.

  32. I don’t know if it is the first year where women swept the awards except for the Bradbury, but that is what happened. And Vylar Kaftan had a sky-blue ballgown that was gorgeous. Off-topic I know, but gorgeous.

  33. Tatiana Maslany has won at least 4 awards for her role(s) on Orphan Black, including a Critics’ Choice and a Canadian Screen Award. She is nominated for a Golden Globe too.(This is per wikipedia.) I think the word is trickling out into the mainstream about the quality of that show.

  34. @Stevie:

    The BBC provides vast amounts of attendant publicity to the show and all the awards it wins; unenchanted viewers can hardly be blamed for concluding that, if this is the best SF has to offer, then they are not interested.

    Sorry, I’m still not getting the chain of reasoning here. I think you’re severely over-estimating the influence awards actually have on people’s tastes — I find The Big Bang Theory about as amusing as a battery acid enema. Obviously, enough people disagree for CBS to re-up the show with a three season order. I’m not really sure what causal relationship, if any, you can draw between that and its relatively modest showing at the Emmys (which, sorry, get a LOT more mainstream media attention than the Nebulas, Hugos, BSFAs and Clarkes combined). Let alone draw any grand unified theory about whether television comedy is for you.

    How television shows and movies cut through the white noise of an incredibly crowded marketplace is a LOT more complicated than that. Frankly, if Doctor Who isn’t your cup of tea, and you’re not that interested in trying something else, I don’t see how banning it from the Hugos and Nebulas for the next fifty years would signify.

  35. lumi – Orphan Black is nominated for a Hugo Award and I am planning on giving it my top vote there. At the moment I doubt it will win, but maybe there will be a groundswell of Hugo voters.

  36. @Neil, and there you go exposing my lack of paying attention! It’s a hard choice for me between that and the GoT episode. They are both brilliant in different ways. I’m just happy to see real competition for the Doctor Who award.

  37. That makes me realize I hadn’t payed attention either: Continuum has won some Gemini and Leo awards and has been nominated by several other academies. I forget that Hugo and Nebula aren’t the only game in town.

  38. Cranapia

    This the second time you have asserted that I said something which I did not, as a question of fact, say.

    I appreciate that, for some unknown reason, you apparently find it much easier to construct arguments about things I did not say, rather than things I did say, but you can hardly expect me to assist you by pretending that I did indeed say something which I didn’t actually say.

    I have never suggested that Dr Who is not my cup of tea. I said ‘for those of us who enjoy it’ and it is clear that I am included in that group. I am, therefore baffled as to why you infer otherwise.

    Equally I have never suggested that I have any wish whatsoever for DW to be banned from Hugos and Nebulas ever at all, much less for fifty years.

    I have to say that I am astounded that you chose to put those words into my mouth. Anyone familiar with the ongoing vigorous, and sometimes vicious, debate about alleged censorship, and alleged disregard for freedom of speech, in the SF community today, knows perfectly well what the issues are. Portraying me as someone who really wants to ban DW from the Hugos and the Nebulas, for half a century, is exactly the sort of lie we have had to get used to; its usual follow up is that I’m doing it because I’m one of those nasty feminists, or a person of colour, or, God forbid, a non-straight white guy, trying to destroy Western civilisation as we know it.

    Finally, as your take home point; please strive to bear in mind that there may be people reading your thoughts who actually understand the way the process works. Telling them not to bother their little heads about it really, really does not help; it just makes you seem an even bigger idiot. Yes, it is indeed complicated but if strawmen are all you can muster then the best best place to leave them is in the fireplace. At least they may be useful there…

  39. I love movies and t.v. to an embarrassing degree. But is it odd if I think it’s odd that the big argument/discussion here is on one award for film/t.v. instead of the awards for written fiction? Or maybe we’re just happy with the fiction choices. (Well, unless you’re in the “Heinlein can’t get nominated today thought police” contingent.) I guess it’s because more of us have seen them than have read the works of fiction.

  40. Kat, I think it’s that print SF takes more effort to find (except novels), and not everyone can breeze through a story before bed, Movies and TV are more accessible and easier to absorb.when your mind is fogged by hours of work.

    And probably a little bit that most people are happy with the fiction winners.There’s no controversy there so nothing to argue about.

  41. @Stevie:

    TL;DR: “Someone’s being wrong on the internet, and in my opinion today’s lucky winner is you”? Fair enough. I’ll leave the rest of it there, because my health insurance doesn’t cover mallet-induced head injury.

    @Kat Goodwin:

    Or maybe we’re just happy with the fiction choices.

    Put me down in that column — Ancillary Justice was a well-deserved winner for best novel, but I wouldn’t have been nerd-raged if it had gone any other way. Very strong field this year. And what I’ve read of the shorter fiction nominees (and winners) have been equally impressive — not all my cup of tea, of course, but no unpleasant surprises either.

  42. I love “The Day of the Doctor”, but am pleased “Gravity” got the award. They’re both great entertainment in different ways. But “Gravity” has the potential to get people interested in and excited by real space travel. Especially young people. (You think excitement and danger will scare off teenagers? Really?)

  43. Mythago

    Good question; I have decided that it would probably be safer if I break out the gin…

  44. Oh, Stevie, you were just waiting for an excuse :)
    I just love the politeness of arguments here. I don’t think it’s just fear of the Mallet either.

  45. Congratulations to the winners! And TY Mr. Scalzi for posting them on your site.

  46. Yay for Ancillary Justice!! Since my description of it tends to be that it’s ‘Delany-ish,’ it was lovely that its year in the sun coincided with Samuel R. Delany’s becoming a Grand Master.

  47. Lumi

    I’m shocked; I really don’t need an excuse for breaking out the gin. Self-medication is an accepted part of the armoury, particularly when the local water supply seems a bit dodgy, but I have to confess my admiration for anyone who can sit down to watch Torchwood without getting totally sozzled before hand.

    I have concluded that this is because I am too shallow to rise above all those Welsh accents; turning off the volume worked for a while, but then I grasped that turning off the picture as well really did the trick.

    Fortunately my response to embracing my inner shallowness is to go and buy a handbag, and, when things are really bad, matching shoes.

    I suspect that this isn’t what the Torchwood people were hoping for, but, on the other hand, I am happy to have been of use to my fellow humans, particularly the ones who transform uneaten bits of animals into useful objects like shoes…

  48. While I’m sure all the awards are richly deserved (haven’t read ANY of the nominees!), the fact that all the winners of the writing categories are women, the DP stars a woman, and the Grandmaster Award* went to a gay African-American feminist sure is a poke in the eye to the Rabid Weasels.

    And that is another good thing.

    They’ll never believe it’s on actual merit. They never do. I’m hoping their brains will explode and paint the walls of their fallout shelters.

    *In that case I CAN say it’s richly deserved. Decades delayed, if anything.

  49. Geez what a read so far here, it’s been enjoyable. Now, I just saw Godzilla at the Imax and had a glorious if very juvenile, time … what explosions and magnificent destructions! Godzilla is my hero right now, and sometimes romance among alien parasites actually can be yuckky. No reason SF should ever lose Godzilla-luster, is there? Though it’s great to see the written SF genre explore more reasoned areas of science and sociology, as discussed here.

  50. @Stevie, I meant that all in good fun. You’ll have to come by sometime and try to endure our Northern Michigan accents. (I can barely tolerate them) I am wiling to accept your completely wrong opinions if you show me pics of your new swag.

  51. Lumi

    Fair warning: an invitation to North Michigan is dangerous; I might turn up!

    I’m sorry to say that my Facebook page is short on philosophical ruminations on humanity’s destiny; on the other hand, clothes and accessories feature rather highly. To give you some idea of the ethical quandaries I face, I have received an invite to Ann-Louise Roswald’s sample sale.

    A good person would pass this on without a qualm; I’m locked in indecision because most people get up much earlier than I do, and I would be unhappy if I got there after they’d grabbed the best bargains. It makes voting for the Hugos look positively easy by contrast.

    Of course, if you ever come to London I would be happy to be your tour guide; living here for over 30 years has to be valuable for something…

  52. Visiting London is a big dream; should I get the money to do so, you are first on my list to look up :)

  53. Seems like a good lot of winners this year; I really must get around to reading Ancillary Justice sometime.

    W/r/t Gravity, I enjoyed it, even if the religious aspect did jar with my own deeply held beliefs. But then I also enjoyed Pacific Rim, even if the military strategy made absolutely no sense. I enjoyed The Day of the Doctor too, even if it wasn’t the best Doctor Who story they’ve told in the past several years (That’d be Silence in the Library/Forests of the Dead). Of those three (those being the ones I’ve seen) I have to say Gravity was the one with the least amount of cheesiness in it. Pacific Rim was an awesome dumb robot movie/dumb awesome robot movie, and the Doctor has always defended the universe from atop a stout raft of cheese.

    A lot of the novellas and short stories I must track down in some form, if possible; there are a lot of titles there that intrigue me.

    “If you were a dinosaur, my love” was linked in Scalzi’s Twitter feed, and was quite good – and seemed quite pointed, given the kerfuffle surrounding Theodore Beale et al.

  54. I’m not sure what to make of the fact that almost all of the disagreement about the winners in this thread are about which media presentation won in a literary awards ceremony. Certainly I understand why those presentations were more viewed than many of the books were read: pure ease of exposure and far less time required. I just find it interesting that people are arguing the merits of Gravity versus Pacific Rim and Doctor Who, but no one is arguing about Ancillary Justice versus The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for example.

  55. Cool cover art on Ancillary Justice, BTW. Is that John Harris, the guy who did your Old Man’s Series covers? Sure looks like.

  56. @Stevie
    “Fritz Leiber, revered model for just about everything, won five Hugos and two Nebulas, plus numerous World Fantasy Awards, and, lest we forget, all the Grandmaster Awards going.

    I like to think he would have approved of Terry Pratchett immortalising his work in a rather different way…”

    Of course. Also, he’s dead, so not writing anything right now, and I expect the criteria for Grand Master require at least some rudimentary signs of life. If’s a riff on the “Heinlein couldn’t win a Hugo” meme that some people like to trot out. Though not round here, at least not surviving mallets.

    Note to self. If you need to explain a joke, it wasn’t a very good one…

  57. And now live in your hometown, The orbital mechanics (because the name is so, you know, controversial).

  58. Wizardru

    Part of it is due to the fact that Anne Leckie’s work is a remarkable achievement in a first novel which really focuses the attention on the writer; another is that it is, I think, too complex for the inner child which Neil Gaiman’s Ocean is directed to. AS Byatt’s review in the Guardian sets this out rather better than I can:


    I know; I couldn’t resist the temptation to play along. Not least because it encouraged me to dig out some of my disintegrating paperbacks and reread them one last time…

  59. If you want controversy, just look around in certain less salubrious neighbourhoods of the internetz, where there is much clutching at pearls and fainting over the fact that it was a sweep by women writers at the Nebulas, and therefore the credibility of the award is destroyed FOREVER!!!!111!!1eleventy. Or some other such complete and utter codswallop.

    I have to admit that the only novel I read was Ancillary Justice, so can’t comment on the others. As I enjoyed it, I have no problems with it winning.

  60. @Stevie, I was just taken by the scale of people with invested opinions on the media presentation category and the absence of any large disagreements over any of the other categories, not just Ancillary Justice. That’s not intended as any sort of criticism. I personally am familiar with all of the media entries, even if I’ve only watched two of them. I personally am only aware of a handful of any of the nominees in any category…mostly due to hearing about them here.

    I just find the lack of discussion surprising, given how many posters here are much bigger written SF fans than I am.

  61. does anyone know if they typically package up the novellete, novellas, and short stories or some combination of them into an anthology? I have gotten into shorter works the last few years, but tracking down all the publications is a hassle. I didn’t use to like shorter works, but now I like the ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ nature of shorter works. Plus authors do alot more creative stuff in shorter works so they can be really interesting.

    I have never actually heard of ‘lightspeed’. Not really in tune with the SF community…

  62. I loved Ancillary Justice so I’m very pleased to see it win. If you haven’t read it yet, you should! You can get the ebook instantly from Kobo, the book shipped immediately from Barnes & Noble, or find it on the shelves of your nearest bookshop—or you can order it from Amazon and wait 2 to 4 weeks for it to ship.

  63. @Guess – The Nebula Award Showcase anthology is published every year and contains most of the short fiction which was nominated the previous year. The latest volume is coming out tomorrow ago IIRC, but the stories in it were first published in 2012 and nominated in 2013.

    Anyway, I would’ve much preferred to see We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves win, but Ancillary Justice is a quatity work too, even though I didn’t love it as much as most other readers apparently did. I am happy to see De Bodard’s novellette win, it is really good and De Bodard has had so many excellent stories in the last few years.

  64. A lot of debates here about Gravity (which I think is a brilliant film), but I would say that Her was even better, and I urge people to see it if they haven’t already.

  65. What a great field, and what an exceptional set of winners! Especially glad to see Ancillary Justice, and totally jazzed that Chip Delaney was named Grandmaster.

  66. @wizardru

    I agree that I’d expect more discussion of the written texts on most SF blogs; JS spent years as a movie critic so regulars here are, I think, less likely to pull the whole ‘movies aren’t proper art’ stuff.

    Looking up the posts I see that I also commented on Vylar Kaftan’s ‘The Weight of the Sunrise’; that was a language problem which demonstrated that nobody had thought to run it past an English English reader to see if something jumped off the page at them as undermining the entire premise of the alternative history. It was a deal breaker for me, but that doesn’t make it a bad story.

    Nobody took that any further, possibly because the word ‘Dr Who’ in fairly close proximity precipitated a core melt down; I suspect, however, that elsewhere on teh inter webs dilithium crystals are taking a hammering because there are women in all the top current slots. Given that JS is not noted for his opposition to women in SF it again makes sense that the trolls, sorry, kittening candidates, will have decided not to bother trying to sound off here.

    I’ve already noted that I’m thrilled by Delany getting the GrandMaster award; the essay by Delany which I linked to earlier does refer back to the year in which he won two Nebulas; I was going to check on the precise date but the site for the New York Review of SF is currently down. I’m hoping that’s because people are reading the essay, as opposed to people whacking the server because they are outraged by being reminded that a black guy could win two Nebulas in one year back in the late 1960s.

    After all, the whole ‘Heinlein couldn’t win a Hugo today’ myth is predicated on the assumption that in those far off days of Platinum SF, where Heinlein ruled unchallenged, there were no people of colour, no women, no gays…

  67. A comment on the text offerings: I do adore Neil Gaiman, but that was a weird little work. Probably would have won against a weaker field. I’m planning to gift myself with Hild in the very near future.

    People are throwing tantys about the femaleness of the winners? Off to Google and make popcorn.

  68. That was a great ballot, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to be in the room when the winners were announced. So much professional squee. And, really, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Ellen Klages talk about The Scary Ham.

  69. There seems to be a lot of divided opinion on Gaiman’s book, that it was either decent but not brilliant Gaiman or very interesting and artistic Gaiman, so I’m sure there was probably some of that debate for the award jury. Leckie’s book may not be perfect, but she up-ended the game, taking some very old SF ideas and coming at them from a new direction, so it’s not surprising it’s been getting the attention it’s been getting. The other entries in that category were very strong, but I think Leckie had the edge this year. I think they had a hard choice for all categories this year.


    After all, the whole ‘Heinlein couldn’t win a Hugo today’ myth is predicated on the assumption that in those far off days of Platinum SF, where Heinlein ruled unchallenged, there were no people of colour, no women, no gays…

    On the contrary, they like to trot out that Delaney won those awards in the 1960’s to show that they did not block black people from the field, nor ignore the ones who got in. It’s the tokenism defense. That let’s them conveniently ignore things like Delaney’s story of Campbell turning down a story because he felt Americans didn’t want to read about a black protagonist. And the fact that this viewpoint — that Americans mostly don’t want to read about a black protagonist, especially in YA — is still highly prevalent among booksellers and thus publishers, over fifty years later, greatly effecting a lot of careers unfairly.

    Unless he was writing insane drivel, Heinlein would unquestionably be nominated for work today if he lived in major awards. He was one of the five “lions” of SF: Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein and Le Guin. Some of his works are educational standards for high school and college. You don’t lose that status in literature history just because a few more black writers get published or women continue to sometimes win awards for their work.

    An all woman Nebula winning slate should be no different from an all man Nebula winning slate, but it will be considered a threat by some because the former is not supposed to occur without political conspiracy. I do believe they are a minority, though.

    I’ve been wanting to read more Rachel Swirsky, so I’ll definitely check out her story.

  70. I just read a bunch of the short story nominees; I thought they were all very good and it must have been hard to choose among them.

    Partly I did it because this will be my first time voting in the Hugos and I’m trying to generate a “major SF award baseline” so to speak, below which is it reasonable to vote for No Award. I know I have a ways to go; I mean to read the longer works also, as many as I can fit in before my Hugo packet arrives and serious Hugo reading must start.

    I’m sure there are people who have been reading the Hugo and Nebula nominees longer than I have: did you feel like this year’s Nebula nominees were a stronger field than usual? Or is this, um, general level of excellence normal in the written works categories?

  71. This was a really strong slate overall I think, and gave me a lot of good suggestions for people to keep looking for. If there’s a crazy liberal conspiracy to make a professional association nominate interesting writers, please let them continue undisturbed.

    I like Ancillary Justice very much, though I am very slightly disappointed that it won over Hild, since AJ is winning all the things and Hild really deserved a nod. Still, it’s a good slate, and kinda sad they could only choose one.

  72. IMO this year’s Nebula list of nominees for Best Novel was one of the strongest I’ve ever seen for a SFF award. I consider Hild and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves to be masterpieces, and Ancillary Justice, A Stranger in Olondria and The Red: First Light were really good too. I was somewhat disappointed by Gaiman’s novel, but still it was technically very well written on a technical level, just didn’t work for me for some reason.

    I haven’t read enough of the short fiction to comment on the overall level there, but there are some really impressive nominees. De Bodard’s novellette, Valente’s novella, Barzak’s Paranormal Romance, etc.

  73. Well, I commend to everyone Delany’s comments about his award:

    ‘This award astonishes me, humbles me, and I am honored by it. It recalls to me–with the awareness of mortality age ushers up–the extraordinary writers who did not live to receive it: Roger Zelazny, Joanna Russ, Thomas M. Disch, Octavia E. Butler–as well, from the generation before me, Katherine MacLean, very much alive. I accept the award for them, too: they are the stellar practitioners without whom my own work, dim enough, would have been still dimmer.’

    Quite a guy!

  74. Steve @ 9:42:

    “I have concluded that this is because I am too shallow to rise above all those Welsh accents; turning off the volume worked for a while, but then I grasped that turning off the picture as well really did the trick.”

    Heh. That’s part of my dilemma with Torchwood. On the one hand, “Yay Welsh sci fi full of bi folks!” On the other hand, “Wow, I hate *everybody* on this show.”

  75. Read all the novels nominated, enjoyed them all.

    Voted for my friend, in the end.

    I attended the ceremony, and was wowed by Ellen Klages fantastic skills as an engaging MC. She had some serious technical delays to overcome, and ad-libbed for quite some time, thoroughly entertaining the audience.

    What really got me was her intro to Delany, speaking about how when she set out to do it, she was sure she was going to be able to hammer a nail in the white male patriarchy that she was certain dominated SFWA in the early days, that she would be able to point to bad things and declare how different things are now when compared to the bad ole days.

    Then she spoke of her, tongue-in-cheek, disappointment when she discovered SFWA had always nominated (and often awarded) Nebulas to people of color who wrote excellent fiction.

    She then went on to illustrate just how society at large back then would not have been as accepting of Delany as SFWA was and remains, “SFWA, The Great Leveler.”

    Really, you should just watch it, it’s an amazing speech, she starts talking about what touched me so strongly at about the 32 minute mark: