Thoughtful Thursday: Who should win the Nebula Award?

It’s award season! Next Saturday, May 14th, the 2015 Nebula awards will be announced, and the Hugos are coming up in August. Like last year, there is excitement, and plenty of controversy in many categories, although both Best Novel shortlists look solid.

As always, there are books we here at the site loved, and some we didn’t warm up to that much. And as always, there are books we hope will win and books we think will win, and those aren’t always the same books.

Let’s talk about the Nebula nominees first. We’ll do the Hugos in August.

The Nebula Candidates for Novel are:


I am terrible at predictions and if I’ve learned anything over the past couple of years it’s that I really can’t predict these awards at all. That said, I want Charles E Gannon to win the Nebula for Raising Caine, because I like that series a lot, and because this particular book pulls together every single thing the books do well. And it was exciting. I think Barsk, the Elephant’s Graveyard, is a book that is original, and so it should have a good shot at winning, but I think probably the winner will either be Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, or Uprooted.

Who do you think will win? Who do you want to win? Give us your thoughts below and one random commenter with a USA address will win a book from our Stacks.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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23 comments

  1. I am strongly pulling for The Fifth Season, as I really think that it stands out in many ways as being award worthy.

  2. Bryan G. /

    The Grace of Kings! The Grace of Kings!

  3. I think The Fifth Season is going to win.

  4. Kevin Ramirez /

    Hoping for the fifth season!

  5. April /

    I’ve only read two of these and I generally ignore awards for the most part so I don’t really have a voice on this one. I did enjoy the two I read (Uprooted and Updraft) but as I haven’t read the others I can’t compare.

    However, I was just thinking that it seems odd for a book in the middle of a series to be nominated. I can see the first – something new, different, something old done better, something unique or twisty or startling for good reasons – these I can see winning awards. But. If the first book in a series hasn’t won, how could another book in the series do so? (I’m not trying to be argumentative here, I’m really curious.) And for the same reasons, if the first in a series wins, should the rest of the series be eligible for later awards?

    Now, realize that these questions are from someone who doesn’t pay attention to awards in how and why they are awarded and whether a book she is interested in reading has won an award.

    And, since I’m being honest here – I tend to shy away from books that are awarded prizes like this because in the past I’ve found that those books that win awards generally bore me. Feel free to tell me why I should pay attention to these awards!

    • There are two series books on the list that aren’t Book One; ANCILLARY MERCY and RAISING CAINE. In the CAINE series, each book has been a different type of adventure, with the same overarching issues and long-range goals, and many of the same characters. In this case, I felt that each of the previous books did several things well… but RAISING CAINE had some specific story goals and they were *all* done well. That was the difference for me.

      One reason I wouldn’t have nominated ANCILLARY MERCY, even though I absolutely loved it, was for the reason you mention. It completed the story beautifully and provided some surprises, but didn’t break new ground to me.

      As to why we should care about awards… well, you’ve got me there! I don’t know if we should, but we certainly do, whether it’s the Oscars, the People’s Choice Awards, the Grammies or the CMAs. For me sometimes it’s curiosity — I want to see how my taste compares to the voters or the jury.

    • April /

      Oops. I have read Ancillary Mercy so I’ve actually read three of the nominated books.

  6. I wanted to make one more comment, April; a award might get me to read a book I hadn’t previously considered, but losing an award could never make me lose interest in a book, if that makes sense.

    • April /

      I understand completely. Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

  7. margo /

    An award nomination gets my attention, so being on a finalist list is already a win in my opinion. I agree with you that Nora and Naomi are the frontrunners, and I’m hoping The Fifth Season wins the Nebula and/or Hugo. Or something. It’s innovative and I can’t wait for book the second. I haven’t read RC or Barsk, though. So my opinion is limited by my experience. And I’m totally biased in favor of Ann’s silly airy Mercy because Zeiat. (I’m not changing that autocorrect because brilliant!)

  8. dr susan /

    I have a question. Is there a book you felt should be a finalist that is not?

    • RedEyedGhost /

      I think The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis should have been nominated.

    • I was disappointed that THE LIBRARY AT MOUNT CHAR, by Scott Hawkins, did make any of the lists.

  9. Melanie Goldmund /

    Like April, I, too, have only read Uprooted and Updraft, and of the two, I think Uprooted would be more likely to win. I loved them both, in different ways.

    I did read Ancillary Justice, the first book of the trilogy by Ann Leckie but though I finished it, it didn’t thrill me. I’m not sure the third book would, either.

    I could also put in a plug for The Mechanical, by Ian Tregillis, as that’s another book that I was wowed by.

    Again, like April, I find that many award-winning books just aren’t my taste. But I’m usually willing to give them a try, just in case, and sometimes I’m very pleasantly surprised.

  10. I would definitely vote for NK Jemisin’s Fifth Season, though the only other book here I’ve read is Ancillary Mercy, which I was disappointed by.

  11. Ctgt /

    I’ve read four of the seven, Fifth Season, Barsk, Uprooted and Grace of Kings, of those four I would give the edge to Barsk over Fifth Season. IMO Barsk had more interesting ideas and some great world building from a cultural perspective. It was probably my favorite book of the last year.

  12. I have my fingers crossed for The Fifth Season.

  13. The winner was Naomi Novik for UPROOTED.

  14. Melanie, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

  15. Melanie Goldmund /

    Yay! Thank you!

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