It’s award season, dear readers, and while the Oscars may indeed be just around the proverbial corner, today, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced their nominees for the 2017 Nebula Awards, and I could not be more excited.
The Nebula Awards were first awarded in 1966, and have grown in prestige to be recognized as one of the most significant awards for science fiction and fantasy in publishing. Each year, a novel, novella, novelette, and short story are chosen…and just in case you, too, were wondering what a “novelette’ is, it is defined by SFWA as “a work between 7,500 and 17,500 words”, while a “novella” is between 17,500 and 40,00 words. Any book written in English and published in the United States is eligible for nomination, and members of SFWA cast their ballots for the favorite books. This means that, essentially, the awards are chosen by readers and genre devotees, which means that they are not only of high quality in terms of genre and style, but that they are also a darned good read. As you will see, screenplays are also recognized with the Ray Bradbury Award, and middle grade and young adult fiction is nominated for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
In a world that is proving increasingly hostile to difference, this year’s Nebula nominees represent a really impressive diversity, both in terms of their subjects and their authors. As we’ve noted here, science fiction and fantasy are both genres that provide room to critique the world around us, and offer ways to explore change without remaining beholden to current cultural structures, times, or locales. And these nominees showcase some of the most daring, imaginative, and courageous authors at work today. From Nisi Shawl’s re-creation, re-assessment, and re-invention of the Belgian Congo in Everfair to Victor LaValle’s scathing, terrifying, and wonderful commentary on race, class, and power in The Ballad of Black Tom (one of my favorite reads of last year!), to Fran Wilde’s story of female friendships and adventure, these stories all, in their own way, have something to say about the world we live in, as well as the world that might be, somewhere, sometime, some day. In addition, the presence on this list of small, independent publishers, print, and online magazines, provide a diversity of story type, audience, and format that make this list so different from a lot of other awards out these today.
If you have never picked up a science fiction or fantasy book, this list is an excellent indication of where to start your exploration of the genres. If you are a longtime fan eager to find more reading fodder, then look no further. And if you are one of those lucky and remarkable people who have read all the tales on this list, then let us know which you liked best, and where a new reader should begin!
And here, without further ado, are this year’s nominees for the 2017 Nebula Awards, with links, where possible, to the books in the NOBLE or MetroBoston network. Where that isn’t possible, for example, in the case of online or specialty magazines (like Lightspeed, F&SF, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, to name a few), links have been provided for you to find an access to the stories. Many of them are published online, making them easily accessible through the links. Enjoy!
- All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
- Borderline, Mishell Baker
- The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin
- Ninefox Gambit,Yoon Ha Lee
- Everfair, Nisi Shawl
- Runtime, S.B. Divya
- The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson
- The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle
- Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire
- “The Liar”, John P. Murphy (F&SF)
- A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson
- “The Long Fall Up”, William Ledbetter (F&SF)
- “Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea”, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
- “Red in Tooth and Cog”, Cat Rambo (F&SF)
- “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories”, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
- The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde
- “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny)
- “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny)
- “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
- “Sabbath Wine”, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
- “Things With Beards”, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld)
- “This Is Not a Wardrobe Door”, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine)
- “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Alyssa Wong
- “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed)
- Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistics
- Doctor Strange, Directed by Scott Derrickson, Screenplay by Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill, Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
- Kubo and the Two Strings, Directed by Travis Knight, Screenplay by Mark Haimes & Chris Butler; Laika Entertainment
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Directed by Gareth Edwards, Written by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy; Lucusfilm/ Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
- Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’, Directed by Jonathan Nolan, Written by Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan; HBO (Coming Soon!)
- Zootopia, Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Jared Bush, Screenplay by Jared Bush & Phil Johnston; Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill
- The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi
- The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
- Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine
- Railhead, Philip Reeve
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar
- The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman
And if you’re interested to see all the nominated books, the SFWA website has the full list. Check back here after the awards are announced on May 20th for the winners!