Here are the seven finalists for best novel. (The full list of nominees can be found here).

  • Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
  • Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
  • Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

Some quick observations:

  1. Over at his blog, Chaos Horizon predicted all seven nominees a few days before they were announced.  Given the nature of the historical data – that is the Nebula’s recommended read list has, in the past, played a major role in determining who will feature on the ballot –  it might be argued that picking the ballot isn’t a major feat.  Of course that’s easy to say in hindsight, so good effort there from Mr Chaos.
  2. I’ve read one book on the ballot – Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy which I liked very much.  (Something that surprised me given how much I didn’t like the second novel).
  3. I will not be reading the third book in Charles Gannon’s Caine series.  I could barely read a quarter of the second book last year so I see no point in punishing myself further.  Good on Charles, though, for having a strong fanbase that keeps nominating him for a Nebula – whether it’s deserving is a matter of taste.
  4. Good mix of gender here and it’s nice to see two people of colour on the ballot. It’s worth repeating that last year, of the 62 novels nominated for a genre award, only five (5) were written by a POC.  The problem, as has been pointed out elsewhere, is while having 2 POCs nominated for the Nebula is a good step forward, it’s often the same POCs who are nominated.  Low representation and the same names appearing again and again will continue to occur if we, genre readers, don’t bother to read outside our comfort zones.  [It also helps greatly when genre publishers actually put out novels by POC writers].
  5. 5 of the 7 books are part of a series / trilogy / duology.  Yes, I’m going to keep pointing this out.