The Nebula Award finalists for 2011 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. You can read the full list here. The finalists for best novel are as follows:
• Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
• Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press)
• Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
• God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
• Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)
• The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
It’s a very strong list, with four of the six on my own year’s best list for Locus Online, and a fifth, The Kingdom of Gods, acknowledged as another strong read. The Kingdom of Gods is the conclusion to a great epic fantasy series that readers should seek out if they haven’t encountered it already.
Departing from a sometimes staid tradition of honoring established writers, Nebula voters also turned the spotlight on two great first-time novelists whose work has received considerable acclaim: Kameron Hurley and Genevieve Valentine. Not only are these two novels wonderful reads, but both writers took considerable chances. In God’s War, Hurley created a unique science fictional world settled by Moslems that featured bug-based tech/magic along with a centuries-old war. Valentine’s Mechanique, meanwhile, fused Steampunk and circus fiction while creating brilliantly complex characters. God’s War recently won a Kitschie Award and Mechanique won the Crawford Award for best first fantasy novel.