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SFWA Announces the 2016 Nebula Award Nominations

Saturday, February 20th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Fifth Season Jemisin-smallThe Nebula Award is one of the most prestigious awards our industry has to offer, and last year’s awards were a pretty big deal for me. I was asked to present the award for Best Novelette of the Year at the Nebula Awards weekend in downtown Chicago, an honor which I won’t soon forget.

The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) has announced the nominees for the 2016 Nebula Awards, and this year’s nominations are a pretty big deal for me as as well, but for different reasons. Several Black Gate bloggers and authors — including Amal El-Mohtar, Lawrence M. Schoen, and our website editor C.S.E. Cooney — have captured nominations, and that’s even more thrilling.

This year’s nominees are (links will take you to our previous coverage):

Novel

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

Novella

Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
“The Bone Swans of Amandale,” C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
“The New Mother,“ Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s SF, April-May 2015)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,“ Usman T. Malik (Tor.com, April 22 2015)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
“Waters of Versailles,“ Kelly Robson (Tor.com, June 10, 205)

Wings of Sorrow and Bone-smallNovelette

“Rattlesnakes and Men,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s SF, February 2015)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead,“ Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, February 2015)
“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds,“ Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, June 11, 2015)
“The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society,“ Henry Lien (Asimov’s SF, June 2015)
“The Deepwater Bride,” Tamsyn Muir (F&SF, July-August 2015)
“Our Lady of the Open Road,“ Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s SF, June 2015)

Short Story

“Madeleine,“ Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed, June 2015)
“Cat Pictures Please,“ Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
“Damage,“ David D. Levine (Tor.com, January 21, 2015)
“When Your Child Strays From God,“ Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld, July 2015)
“Today I Am Paul,“ Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld, August 2015)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,“ Alyssa Wong (Nightmare, October 2015)

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt

Nimona Noelle Stevenson-smallThe Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

It was an especially good year for Tor.com and Asimov’s SF in the short fiction categories. The top sources for nominees are:

Tor.com – 4
Asimov’s SF – 4
Clarkesworld – 3
Lightspeed – 2
F&SF – 1
Nightmare – 1
Beneath Ceaseless Skies -1

If you’re interested in reading some of the fiction, the tireless John DeNardo has compiled a complete list of nominees with cover scans (and free fiction links) at SF Signal.

The winners will be announced at the Nebula Awards Weekend at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Illinois, May 14th, 2016. Derek Kunsken covered the event for us last year.

See last year’s Nebula nominations here, and the winners here.

14 Comments »

  1. When isn’t it a good year for Tor?

    I’m counting Tor with seven or are Tor.com and Tor Teen not a part of subsidy of Tor. Don’t those guys have franchise lawyers to put the beat down on others trying to crowd in on the brand name? That is about 20% of the over all picks and almost a third of all the novels. Considering that last year’s Hugo Tor got a mere 60% of all the novel picks and last years Nebula only 30% overall. I have no idea why anyone would even try to enter a contest with Tor. They would probably lose.

    Year after year Tor routes the competition. I have read so many stunning Tor books that I can no longer process their amazing award winning stories with the exception of Howard Andrew Jones. I read all of Howard’s books.

    The Nebulas winners are usually the Hugo nominees. Besides Tor sweeping in for another victory it would be interesting mental exercise to see who else would it be without Tor and their award dominating championship books.

    I’m certain that Raising Caine will never see a Hugo award. Never mind that it is a great series and has cool aliens and is nominated for a Nebula. Ironically the aliens and bad guys in the story are named K’tor and that might endanger draw the ire of Torling fans everywhere because the names are too close. They might find it insulting to the honorable and highly exhalted Tor. Thousands of No Award Torling partisans might point and screech a torch burning mob into another No Award frenzy in order to take down those who mock the sacred Tor and their bitchin cool stories. The K’tor are alien lizards bent on eating and killing the Consolidated Terran Republic. Evil lizards trying to destroy republicans. Hmmm. That might cool off a few torch bearing Torlings though, we’ll see.

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 21, 2016 12:05 pm

  2. Ape,

    I know there’s a narrative going around that Tor somehow exerts undue influence on award voting. But I don’t buy it.

    Tom Doherty (founder and publisher of Tor) worked damn hard to build his publishing company. Through hard work (and a little luck) he managed to secure some of the top selling SF & fantasy of the 20th century, including ENDER’S GAME and the WHEEL OF TIME.

    Tom funneled the proceeds into building the biggest and most successful genre publishing company in America. Tor pays the top rates for novels, and it has attracted many of the best editors in the field. The Tor publicity department is second to none — they’re a talented group of folks who work their butts off to make sure their authors get the attention they deserve (and that includes awards).

    I’m not at all surprised that there are books from competing publishers out there with villains named “K’tor.” There’s a lot of jealousy out in the market. Jealously is to be expected. But all this conspiracy talk about a “Tor mafia” from other publishers? Please. I think the word for that is “sour grapes.”

    Comment by John ONeill - February 21, 2016 1:00 pm

  3. “I’m not at all surprised that there are books from competing publishers out there with villains named “K’tor.” There’s a lot of jealousy out in the market. Jealously is to be expected. But all this conspiracy talk about a “Tor mafia” from other publishers? Please. I think the word for that is “sour grapes.””

    Uh….I need to work on my humor I guess. Surely you don’t think that I was being serious about aliens named K’Tor are a mockery of Tor in some weird publication on publication war? Of course those with the tin foil hats are saying that this is Baen’s reply to the Tor books Elvenbane and the Mortal Bane series for mocking them. I can’t be held responsible for that.

    Tom Doherty did a commendable job. He was the mountain behind Tor. Other companies also model and imitate his success which is proof of his greatness. How is it underhanded to cast influence to ensure your writers “get their due” with regards to pay and awards? At what point does it become undue?

    When I was a kid I spent some time living on an Indian reservation. I was fast and strong and I won a lot of foot races. Some of the kids were mad at me because I was white and some were also mad because I won a lot. I was told by my father that the Navajo and others think it greedy to win to much. They think it is better for the tribe if the “winning” is passed around and rude if it is hogged. I found that I had more friends when I didn’t win every time and I also saw that the Navajo do not have as many sour grapes as you say. They value sportsmanship and they find it far better to be accepted and respected by your peers and tribe than to be titled the best of the best. Don’t think for an instant that the Navajo aren’t competitive. They show politeness in different ways.

    “I’m not at all surprised that there are books from competing publishers out there with villains named “K’tor.”

    John, I was totally kidding about that. If that is what you think publishers would actually do that it speaks volumes just how twisted the publishing world is. I wouldn’t know. I’m sorry for stepping on a nerve. I will try to study you a bit better so as not to step on that one again.

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 21, 2016 1:48 pm

  4. Chaos Horizons predicted to the T which books would be nominated!

    https://chaoshorizon.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/2016-nebula-prediction-2-0/

    Wow! They boast an 80% accuracy. Evidently the SFWA has a recommended reading list and this an extremely accurate predictor of the Nebula picks. Vox Day also predicted without even reading the books who would win based on who they were.

    So, if you are an aspiring publisher who wants to achieve Tor status you need to ask yourself: who makes up the SFWA recommended reading list and how can you get your deserving writer on that list?

    Also, Tor had 4 of 10 recommendations on that list so only half made it. Tor had twice as many as any other competitor on that list.

    I’d be interested to know how many Tor affiliates are on the SFWA besides the president Cat Rambo.

    To be clear. I am not asserting any wrong doing. I’m not injecting humor. I’m saying if I was a publisher I would probably try to have a connection or two with the SFWA who was an associate with favorable standings too. It makes good business sense. I would no doubt in friendship or whatever send them a book that I thought was amazing to have them read it and hopefully promote it. It simply improves the odds of your book getting an award and more circulation. Is this–in all seriousness—considered wrong?

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 21, 2016 2:15 pm

  5. When I used to go to writing conferences and retreats, which tend to be a few days longer than fan conventions, there would usually be at least one Tor editor there scouting for talent. I volunteered with programming for one — A Writer’s Weekend was its name at the time — and my part of the work included phoning NYC people we thought might be interested in coming as guests. The conference paid travel, hotel, and food expenses for editors and agents. Other publishing houses occasionally sent a person, but none of the others were as consistent year after year, and none of them ever sent more than one editor at a time.

    Proactively searching for new talent is only one of the things Tor does effectively that contributes to its success on the awards ballots, but I think it’s an important one. As more and more big publishers and imprints stop considering unagented submissions, and the slush piles at the few that still do consider them grow accordingly, it gets incredibly difficult for them to process the sheer volume of stuff people send them. Meeting new writers and neo-pros face to face and inviting direct submissions from interesting ones offers both sides a work-around. Other presses that would like to see their names on the ballots could consider following Tor’s lead on this.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - February 21, 2016 2:55 pm

  6. @Sarah—-I think Tom Doherty brought in success to Tor in much the same way that John Steinbrenner did. Steinbrenner, former owner of the Yankees was not interested in anything but having the Yankees win the World Series. He paid top dollar to bring the top talent to the team. Yankee fans loved him but his enemies hated him. From what I understand Tom was respected by his peers and not hated really.

    So how do you build a book empire? Well, part of that would be to gather writers and a good editor team. I certainly would try to advance the writers careers. Having connections on the SFWA president’s chair would be a plus. Especially since they mirror the Nebula winners and the Hugos. Those kind of prestigious titles sell books.

    Looking at the past SFWA presidents you see consistent Tor affiliations. Steven Gould, Cat Rambo, and John Scalzi have all worked with Tor at one time or another as writers or editors or something. They have also chaired the Presidential office of the SFWA. I’m not accusing any wrong doing here but wouldn’t it be human nature to build bonds and ties with those that you know? Wouldn’t it be possible that your old Tor editor and the president would swap information back and forth? How would sending a book be anything less than a book bomb to a fanzine? I would think that your recommendation to the SFWA editor would carry weight more so than some independent or small press book mailed in.

    Sarah you call this a work around. I call it a good model and smart business practice. And sending people to writers workshops and such is pretty smart too.

    That is why last year when several editors at Tor lashed out at the Sad Puppies that I became so alarmed. Tom Doherty seemed very level headed. What if the next one isn’t? What if some radical takes his place? What if a radical took control of the SFWA? I would think that fandom would have to endure them.

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 21, 2016 3:18 pm

  7. So to quell any suspicions about the name of the exosapient race in my series known as the K’tor (I seriously doubt such suspicions actually exist, but these days, you can never tell), allow me to share these pertinent facts:

    1) The first submission of Fire With Fire, in which the K’Tor are first named, was in 2009. Those were, by comparison, halcyon days of peace and civility in our genre. Let us hope we may return to some semblance of that.

    2) The name is actually a corruption of another name which shall come to light in subsequent books. (Ectoran, which was lost during a post-apocalyptic long night. The same sort of shattered “memberment” that occurs in “Riddley Walker.)

    3) I think if folks look at the body of my work, they will search in vain for any sign that I use my fiction as a platform for anything partisan. That’s just not part of my project.

    I knew Wild Ape was joking since, if you know the series, the concept of the K’tor as ravenous anthropomorphic saurians is pretty LOL funny. (well, *I* laughed out loud–and I invite the rest of you to laugh, too. We can use some levity these days, no? And if my series is a foil for a joke…well, I’d like to think there’s no harm in that.)

    Best to you all,
    Chuck Gannon

    Comment by Chuck - February 21, 2016 5:25 pm

  8. Thank you sir! I finished book two a while back and I loved. Book three is in the que to be read soon. Years back Black Gate wasn’t known. Now it is and it is amazing who will pop in. Black Gate is now a hit. I’m glad you have a sense of humor.

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 21, 2016 8:55 pm

  9. > Uh….I need to work on my humor I guess Surely you don’t think that I was being
    > serious about aliens named K’Tor are a mockery of Tor

    Hey Ape,

    Sorry, I misread your comment. It was obvious on second reading. The fault is mine, not yours!

    I still think there’s plenty of anti-Tor jealousy out there, especially among the small press. I guess that’s human nature. But I really believe a successful publisher (and author) brings more readers into the field. Genre publishing is not a zero sum game, we’re not all fighting over the same stagnant pool of readers. Great writers expand the market, regardless what publisher they’re writing for.

    … but there I go again. OK, I’ll get down of my horse now. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - February 21, 2016 9:00 pm

  10. > I knew Wild Ape was joking since, if you know the series, the concept of the K’tor as ravenous anthropomorphic saurians is pretty LOL funny.

    Hey Chuck,

    Welcome! The fault for this misunderstanding is mine, not Ape’s. Sometimes it seems there are so many feuds going on, I have trouble keeping track…

    Anyway, thanks for straightening me out. Very glad to hear I was totally off base.

    Good luck at the Nebulas! Will you be in Chicago in May?

    Comment by John ONeill - February 21, 2016 9:03 pm

  11. It’s all good John. I know all this feuding grates on your nerves but I appreciate that you maintain a neutral ground here on Black Gate. Plus, your a human and not an ape like me, so you don’t have prehensile toes to help you multi task or fling poo like I do.

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 21, 2016 9:14 pm

  12. Hi John and Wild Ape:
    John, I will be in Chicago come May, and if you are there, would love to meet in person (as an upgrade from electrons).

    I fully understand your uncertainty in our current in-genre minefield and have seen innocent remarks spin out of control–largely because someone who was *not* part of the initiating exchange (either innocently or intentionally) takes a piece of that exchange out of context….and then we’re off to the polarization and poo-flinging races.

    You may be aware of my call for civility that I had posted on both John Scalzi’s site and Larry Correia’s. That, as the above, reflects my desire to bring down the temperature in our community. Not that there shouldn’t be debates and disagreement–there always will be, and it’s a sign of health–but it’s become so vituperative and personal that I tend to hang back, now.

    However, I was both amused by Wild Ape’s jam on the whole K’Tor bit (I would not have seen that in a thousand years–well, maybe a hundred), and yet also realized, “well, this might be the moment for a little preemptive clarification.”

    So certainly not trying to straighten anyone out: just trying to provide some backstory so that happenstance was not construed as intentional sardonic commentary-via-titling.

    I think Black Gate is great and have enjoyed our chat. Keep up the good work, and yes–sense of humor is one of the great signs of discursive health! (Well, I think so anyhow…)

    Best to you all,

    Chuck

    Comment by Chuck - February 22, 2016 1:31 am

  13. And here I was assuming Chuck was purposely evoking David Gerrold’s Chtorr!

    (And of course Gerrold — Sad Puppy Public Enemy #3 or 4, right? — must have had it in for Tor!)

    — just joking as well, of course — I could see that Ape was having fun.


    Rich

    Comment by Rich Horton - February 22, 2016 12:09 pm

  14. LOL–I thought of that Rich but Chtorrians will eat anything. I’m sure Gerrold’s name is written somewhere in the Tome of Grudges For People That Make Sad Puppies Sad. It is a long and distinguished list so Gerrold will need to ramp it up a bit I think. I haven’t got the update as yet.

    I do know that Sarah Hoyt and Kate the Impaler have taken pains to make sure that the list remains open for ALL to recommend the best in each class. I think they have made good on that and have even taken Puppies to task for trying to derail the recommended and turn it into a platform for mischief.

    I like that Kate has taken the long view of things and seeks to make the Sad Puppies a superior recommended list much like the SFWA’s. There is much more input this year and more investment in the works presented. I would also argue that it is much more of a fan recommended list by comparison to the SFWA’s. There is nothing wrong with Cat Rambo’s team or their recommended lists but they do have a more insider perspective.
    I also plan to vote in the Locus contests as well because they are very fan driven.

    I understand why people were angry with the Sad Puppies but I hope that the anger dies down and people take the long view that works better for all of fandom. Honestly, I haven’t heard of any talk about Gerrold since the Tribble spoofing after the Awards Ceremony.

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 22, 2016 10:13 pm


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