NEBULA AWARDS SHOWCASE 2016
Edited by Mercedes Lackey
If you’re late to the party, the Nebula Awards are chosen every year by the members of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America); in other words, they are chosen out of all of the science fiction and fantasy literature written that year by the peers of those writers. By writers, for writers. As such, the nominators and voters tend to have a slightly different outlook on the work that comes up for the Nebulas than the average reader.
Those who nominate and vote want something more. Something different. It may or may not equate to what has gotten popular acclaim that year. It probably won’t be what the “average reader” would like.
Kafka said it best, I think:
Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, at a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.
—Franz Kafka, from a letter to Oskar Pollak dated January 27, 1904
Ideally, there is nothing in the works that follow this introduction that will make you feel cozy and comfortable. Ideally, they will challenge you. Ideally, while they might leave you deciding you are absolutely never going to reread a story, you will
A Nebula winner should be, as Harlan Ellison put it in the anthologies he edited, a “dangerous vision.” Danger wakes us up, makes us realize we are alive, makes us realize why we want to stay alive. It may move us to terror, to joy, to tears, but it should never leave us unmoved.
Here’s to danger.
ABOUT THE SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY WRITERS OF AMERICA
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (formerly known as the Science Fiction Writers of America; the original acronym “SFWA” was retained), includes among its members many active writers of science fiction and fantasy. According to the bylaws of the organization, its purpose “shall be to promote the furtherance of the writing of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres as a profession.” SFWA informs writers on professional matters, protects their interests, and helps them in dealings with agents, editors, anthologists, and producers of nonprint media. It also strives to encourage public interest in and appreciation of science fiction and fantasy.
Anyone may become an active member of SFWA after the acceptance of and payment for one professionally published novel, one professionally produced dramatic script, or three professionally published pieces of short fiction. Only science fiction, fantasy, horror, or other prose fiction of a related genre, in English, shall be considered as qualifying for active membership. Beginning writers who do not yet qualify for active membership but have published qualifying professional work may join as associate members; other classes of membership include affiliate members (editors, agents, reviewers, and anthologists), estate members (representatives of the estates of active members who have died), and institutional members (high schools, colleges, universities, libraries, broadcasters, film producers, futurist groups, and individuals associated with such an institution).
Readers are invited to visit the SFWA site on the internet at www.sfwa.org.
ABOUT THE NEBULA AWARDS
Shortly after the founding of SFWA in 1965, its first secretary-treasurer, Lloyd Biggle, Jr., proposed that the organization periodically select and publish the year’s best stories. This notion evolved into the elaborate balloting process, an annual awards banquet, and a series of Nebula anthologies.
Throughout every calendar year, members of SFWA read and recommend novels and stories for the Nebula Awards. The editor of the
A complete set of Nebula rules can be found at www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/rules/.
2014 NEBULA AWARDS BALLOT
“The Regular,” Ken Liu (
“The Mothers of Voorhisville,” Mary Rickert (
“Grand Jeté (The Great Leap),” Rachel Swirsky (
Winner: “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” Alaya Dawn Johnson (
“Sleep Walking Now and Then,” Richard Bowes (
“The Magician and Laplace’s Demon,” Tom Crosshill (
“The Husband Stitch,” Carmen Maria Machado (
“We Are the Cloud,” Sam J. Miller (
“The Devil in America,” Kai Ashante Wilson (
Winner: “Jackalope Wives,” Ursula Vernon (
“The Breath of War,” Aliette de Bodard (
“When It Ends, He Catches Her,” Eugie Foster (
“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye,” Matthew Kressel (
“The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family,” Usman T. Malik (
“A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide,” Sarah Pinsker (
“The Fisher Queen,” Alyssa Wong (