Feb 21

Nebula Award Novel Shortlist

The Nebula Award nominees have been announced (click on the link for the full list).  For the novel category, this is what the SFWA members chose:

I’m less than excited by this years group of nominees.  It might have something to do with the appearance of the Gannon and the McDevitt, two books I wouldn’t normally bother with if I wasn’t partaking in the madness of reading award shortlists.  The Gannon is a sequel to last years Nebula nominated novel and clocks in at over 200,000 words.  While long novels generally don’t intimidate me – in 2014 I read both The Goldfinch and The Luminaries – 200,000 words of MilSF by a Baen author is piss your pants scary.  The McDevitt is nowhere near as long but it’s the seventh book in a series.  Though given how many times McDevitt has been nominated for a Nebula, anyone who’s been keeping up with the award has probably read the other six books.

I’m pleased to see Annihilation on the ballot because it’s a damn fine book (click the link above for my review).  And I’m genuinely looking forward to reading Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem, partly because of the praise it’s received, but also because of how intelligently Ken Liu spoke about the translation process on the Coode Street podcast.  Talking of praise, The Goblin Emperor generated its fair share as well, and so it’s no surprise to see it nominated.  I’m thinking it’s a certainty to appear on the Locus Award list for Fantasy and the World Fantasy Award.

And the Leckie, well it’s already been nominated for a BSFA.  Except it to receive a Hugo nomination.  While the sequel to Ancillary Justice has been, for the most part, critically well received, I can sense increasing resentment toward Ancillary Sword.  If it does bag a Hugo nomination I expect that resentment to spill over (though it might have to contend with some Sad Puppy action).

And finally Larry Nolen has also shared his thoughts on the nominations (with focus on the novels).  He’s less than impressed.


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  1. Cat

    No reason to be scared of the Gannon. It’s the author’s job to hook you in and keep you interested. So give it ten or twenty pages. Then, if it’s not keeping you interested, you can quit reading with a clear conscience, and minimal wasted time.

    1. Mondyboy

      I’ll probably give it more than 10 or 20 pages, but I will parachute out if I’m getting nothing out of the novel.

  2. Lindsay

    Hi Ian,

    Your link to Larry Nolen’s post is incorrect. This is the correct one: http://ofblog.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/brief-thoughts-on-nebula-shortlists.html

    I think his viewpoint is that of someone who has long since decided that SF&F does not matter, probably because its mainstream is not heading in the direction of works he indicates as desirable: literary fiction writers using SF elements. While such material is an important element of the field, I don’t believe that’s how most SF&F readers define the term “best”. Or SF&F writers for that matter.

    And I strongly believe that his opinion of the Goblin Emperor is rubbish and probably comes from someone unaware of the conversation that the book is having with the rest of the Fantasy sub-genre over the last few years.

    I think the presence of the Goblin Emperor, Annihilation and the Three-Body Problem are all very positive additions to the list. Do we need to be happy with all entries on it? (Although I do sympathise with you if you’re going to have to read the McDevitt book … like the literary equivalent of eating chalk.)

    1. Mondyboy

      Thanks for the correct link. Not sure what happened there.

      Larry’s tastes definitely tend to the literary side of the equation, and he has said in the past that’s he’s drifted away from “core” SF (that is SF published either by familiar names or familiar publishers). But Larry and I have similar tastes, and while I have more patience with core or traditional SF, I’d also like to see more innovation in the genre. And Larry is more than aware of the fantasy sub-genre.

      And no, we don’t need to be happy with all the entries. An award list where I love every book is doing something wrong for someone else.

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