The 2010 Nebula Award Finalists: Trending Personal and Next-Gen

NebulaThe Nebula Award finalists for 2010 have been announced by SFWA (the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America). Presented in several categories, from novel to short forms, The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The novel finalists are:

Of the six books in the novel category, two---Who Fears Death and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms---appeared on Amazon’s SF/F top 10. Who Fears Death has, in particular, been one of the most talked about SF/Fantasy releases from 2010. For finalist Nnedi Okorafor, the nomination is just another step in an ongoing and unpredictable journey that started with a book signing  on the Michigan State campus. During the event, she was verbally attacked by African academics for addressing issues of female circumcision in a science fiction setting.

Who Fears “Since then," Okorafor told me, "I’ve had plenty of Africans attack me via email and snail mail for the same thing [but] even more Africans have applauded me for writing ‘African science fiction’ and addressing such volatile issues. Nigerians of the Diaspora continue to let me know how interesting it is to read fantasy/sf based in mythology and cultures specifically germinated and grown in ‘Naija’ (slang for Nigeria). I’ve had feminists both applaud and condemn the way I handled the circumcision scene [in the novel]. I had one guy email me in a fit of rage because something happened to a character that he really loved. I read a wonderfully glowing review of Who Fears Death written by a '30-something white American male' who usually typically preferred '30-something white American male stuff.' I recently learned that male prisoners have been 'devouring' my novels, including Who Fears Death…Considering the plethora of reactions to the novel I’ve encountered, all so strong and passionate, I think did something right.”

As for the short fiction categories, a trend toward more representation from online magazines was blunted somewhat this year, with publications like Realms of Fantasy, Analog, Asimov’s SF Magazine, and The Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy earning nods. However, the new online magazine Lightspeed, edited by John Joseph Adams, had two nominations, including "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno" by Vylar Kaftan. Kaftan, who is helping organize FOGCon next month, describes "I’m Alive…" as "a love story about two people who just can't get in sync…Add to that the time adjustments caused by nearly-light-speed travel, and they've got a lot of problems." Kaftan’s story was the first chosen for publication by Lightspeed.

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Comments (15)

I think I learned that it's okay to be slow and detailed. I had gotten into a mode before Iowa where I was very aware of word count, and felt like everything had to move as swiftly as possible.

Posted by: Excel 2010 Courses Online | Thursday November 10, 2011 at 3:44 AM

I believe Adam-Troy Castro will be on the list of nominees this year.

Posted by: Design Courses | Monday November 7, 2011 at 10:35 PM

Sigh. Obligatory note that SFWA is the Science Fiction AND Fantasy Writers of America. Fantasy is eligible; indeed, welcome. Many of the nominees write both quite adroitly.

When I was a nominee some years ago (for a fantasy story), I was seated at the banquet next to a certain much older SF writer, who ranted at length about the horror of all that wretched fantasy appearing on the ballot, and how the whole organization was swirling down the toilet due to the influence of fantasy writers. (He didn't know I was a fantasy writer, or a nominee, so he wasn't being deliberately rude.)

Ever since then, the ritual, inevitable cries of "But that's a FANTASY! What's IT doing here?" whenever the Nebula and Hugo ballots come out make me inexpressibly weary.

Posted by: Tim Pratt | Tuesday March 1, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Jack McDevitt is fantastic I hope Echo wins !

Posted by: James | Saturday February 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

anon15319 having a dick and being one who does not write carries no special privileges. must the tea-bagging mentality intervene everwhere we gather. and must they always present themselves online as anon?

Posted by: Lorq Von Ray | Saturday February 26, 2011 at 7:55 AM

Steve in Philly-both the Connie Willis and the Jack McDevitt are SF.
Berend-I imagine that is becausen the pb doesn't come out until next October.
I loved Who Fears Death and the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms but where is The Dervish House and Half Made World? Both much better than the McDevitt which is entertaining but nothing special.

Posted by: Steve Oerkfitz | Friday February 25, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Just checked Echo, but its Kindle edition is more expensive than the paperback. Hello?

Posted by: Berend de Boer | Friday February 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

None of these are science fiction. Are the Nebula Awards changing to the Fantasy Awards?

Posted by: Steve in Philly | Friday February 25, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Good Grief! When did my genre become a PC propaganda instrument? The only books with male leads have them as an antiques dealer and a Christian Crusader. The rest have female leads who, oddly enough, don't behave like any woman I know. Who has the final approval of SciFi books these days? NOW? DNC? NAACP? NAMBLA? GLAD? Where has the truth gone?

Posted by: anon15319 | Friday February 25, 2011 at 10:13 AM

I've been reading Science Fiction for over forty-five years, the best Science Fiction tackles social issues, head-on.

In a manner of thinking, Science Fiction is social issues extrapolated, blended with high-tech.

One can go as far as to state that social issues in a future setting is the foundation of Science Fiction.

Posted by: terrapin | Friday February 25, 2011 at 9:55 AM

I'm sad not to see any reference to the Andre Norton Award except in Jenny's comment. I'd like to think that is because you are preparing a whole post on the finalists and asking them right now if they read Andre Norton when they were younger and what the prize means to them.

Posted by: Manon | Thursday February 24, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Great post. I especially enjoyed the insight from the respective writers regarding their stories/novels. Hoping to read more.

Posted by: Dominik | Thursday February 24, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Excellent survey of quite a diverse selection of books. Slightly off topic, but what a gorgeous cover for Nnedi Okorafor's novel.

Posted by: John Kenny | Thursday February 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Great, well, it looks like I have some reading to do. It turns out that the only books on the finalist list that I've read fall under the young adult category - Ship Breaker and The Hunger Games. I can't imagine The Hunger Games not winning, especially considering the momentum it has seemed to have with word-of-mouth readers.

Posted by: Jenny | Thursday February 24, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Thanks for a nice depth of field in the answers here -- Barzak's description of adapting a myth, El-Mohtar's enthusiasm at being nominated, and Swirsky's description of the idea she's tackled in her story... As far as another trend, or at least one which appears to be concomitant with personal stories from the next generation of authors, I'll echo World SF's Lavie Tidhar's thoughts on the nominations: "This is probably the most diverse short-list in the award’s recent history".

Posted by: Sam M-B | Thursday February 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM

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