Nebula Award


Magazine Monday: Nebula-Nominated Short Stories

Seven short stories from six sources have been nominated for the Nebula Award. Six of them are available for free online, so by following the links in this article, you’ll be able to find them and pick the one to which you’d give the prize.

The only exception to the “available online” category is Harlan Ellison's story, “How Interesting: A Tiny Man,” which was pulled from the internet when the Nebula voting period ended, and which is therefore available only in the February 2010 issue of Realms of Fantasy. In my opinion, you’re not missing the winner if you can’t track this one down. It’s a well-written story, as one would expect from Ellison, about a man (the narrator) who creates a five inch tall man whom he teaches to speak, refuses to name, and dresses in tiny suits. All is going well until the creator and the man appear on a Sunday morning news show, and so... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nebula Nominated Novelettes

The novelettes nominated for the Nebula Award this year are so dissimilar that it’s going to be difficult for the judges to compare them and make a decision. Ranging from hard science fiction to the softest of fantasy, these stories are a testament to the breadth of the field. Ruth Arnell and I teamed up to take a look at the seven nominated stories.

One of the nominees is from the pages of Analog:  Eric James Stone’s “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made.” Its central character is Harry Malan, the president of the Sol Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – a church that exists at the heart of the sun, adjacent to the interstellar portal that exists there. The story does not explain how humans came to discover this portal, or the energy shield that allows humans to exist at the core of a star, literally in the middle of an ongoing fusion reaction – but then, th... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nebula-Nominated Novellas

I’ve always thought that the novella was a perfect length for short science fiction or fantasy, because it gives an author space enough to build a complete world and form characters who live and breathe in the reader’s imagination. You need more room to do this in these genres than in mainstream literature, where an author can assume that the reader is at home in the world of his characters. Yet a novella is also short enough to be read in a single sitting – a perfect lunchtime read, for instance – and a reader can take in an author’s entire milieu and ideas in one gulp. Where copies of the novellas are available online for those who wish to read them, I have linked them so that you can have as good a week of lunches this week as I had last.

There are six novellas nominated for the Nebula this year. They are all of exceptionally high quality, and the variety is enormous, so much so that comparison of one to another seems almost silly. The jury is going to have ... Read More

Magazine Monday: 2012 Nebula Award Nominees for Best Short Story

For the second year in a row, Adam-Troy Castro has a short story nominated for the Nebula Award which I think the best of the nominees. “Her Husband’s Hands,” originally published in Lightspeed Magazine, posits a world in which medical technology is so advanced that virtually any bit of a soldier can be retrieved from the battleground and kept alive, complete with a memory recorded at some point before the attack that “killed” him or her. In Rebecca’s case, only her husband’s hands have survived. They have been fitted with light-sensitive apertures at the fingertips, which allow her husband to see; the wrists end in thick silver bands that house his life support and his “brain.” It’s at least as creepy as it sounds, particularly as Castro describes how the relationship between ... Read More

Magazine Monday: 2012 Nebula Award Nominees for Best Novelette

It was a treat to reread Geoff Ryman’s “What We Found” to prepare to write this column. As I noted when I wrote about this story for my review on the issue of F&SF in which it originally appeared, Ryman has been writing in recent years of third-world cultures, in such a way that the reader becomes immersed in the culture, surrounded by sights, scents, tastes and sounds of a world so foreign to a first-worlder that it might as well be an alien civilization. This time, the setting is Makurdi in central Nigeria, a city with air conditioning, solar panels, smartphones -- and roosters crowing outside the window on the morning of the narrator’s wedding day. As Patrick tells his story of his strange scientific findings and their decay, the ... Read More

Magazine Monday: 2012 Nebula-Nominated Novellas

I do not envy the awards panel for the Nebula Awards this year. There are two excellent novellas equally deserving of the award in that category.

The first of the novellas I refer to is “The Man Who Ended History:  A Documentary” by Ken Liu.  This story concerns the Pingfang District in China and the infamous Unit 731 maintained there by the Japanese for biological and chemical weapons research before and during World War II. I had never heard of Unit 731 before reading this novella, and was shocked to learn of its existence and the role of the United States in hushing it up after the war in order to profit from the research. It sounds so innocuous to refer to “the research”: in fact, the Japanese used Chinese peasants for their research, including amputating limbs, infecting them with syphilis, and vivisection without anesthesia. But Liu hasn’t written ... Read More

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