The 2015 Nebula Award Winners

The 2015 Nebula Award Winners

Henry Lien and the Eunuchs of the Forbidden City perform the brilliant Radio SFWA at the 2016 Nebula Awards 2-small

Henry Lien and the Eunuchs of the Forbidden City
perform the brilliant “Radio SFWA” at the 2016 Nebula Awards

I attended the 2016 Nebula Awards banquet here in Chicago on Saturday night, and I thought that meant I’d be able to announce the winners in a timely fashion. Instead, I wasted my time hobnobbing with winners, nominees, and just all around cool people until very late in the evening, got home at 2:15 am, and fell asleep for roughly 24 hours. So I’ve been scooped by every website in the industry (and even some periodicals that only publish monthly).

Ah, that’s okay. For those loyal readers who steadfastly looked away when other sites reported the winners, and waited with confidence for the Black Gate report, thank you (both of you.)

The highlight of the weekend was the awards ceremony, hosted by the genuinely hilarious John Hodgman (from The Daily Show). And the surprise highlight of the ceremony was the opening number by Henry Lien and the Eunuchs of the Forbidden City, “Radio SFWA,” which I’ve been humming non-stop for the past two days. You don’t attend an SF conference expecting to hear live pop music, much less an 80s New Wave/Space Disco anthem that doubles as a recruitment tool for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, but that’s exactly what it was. I’m a 52 year-old guy who can’t dance, but at the end I was on my feet, pounding my hands together and ready to jump into the mosh pit.

Songwriter, lead singer and front man Henry Lien is some kind of genius. Listen to the whole thing here (be sure to read the hilariously brilliant lyrics by clicking “Show More”), and read the background here.

The 2015 Nebulas were presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America at the 51th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend on Saturday, May 14th, at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago. The event was attended by the brightest and most dazzling talents in the industry, and was a mini-reunion for many members of the Black Gate staff, including bloggers Tina Jens, Derek Kunsken and Beth Dawkins, authors Steven Silver, Jeremiah Tolbert, and Michael Livingston — whom I met for the first time — and especially website editor emeritus C.S.E. Cooney, who was being honored with her first Nebula Award nomination for “The Bone Swans of Amandale,” from her first collection, Bone Swans (read it free here.)

Uprooted-Naomi-Novik-smallAnd without any further ado, here’s a complete rundown on the winners.


Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)


Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (


“Our Lady of the Open Road,” Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, June 2015)


“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare, October 2015)


Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)


Mad Max: Fury Road (Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris)

CJ Cherryh received the Grand Master Award (now called the Damon Knight Grand Master Award) for lifetime achievement. I recorded the first 20 minutes of her Friday afternoon talk from the front row and posted it at Black Gate here.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2016-smallThe Solstice Award was awarded posthumously to Sir Terry Pratchett. Lawrence M. Schoen received the Kevin O’ Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award for his tireless recruitment efforts.

Over the last 24 hours several sites have made a big deal about the fact that all the Nebula Award winners were women:

Women Swept The 2015 Nebula Awards — Andrew Liptak, Gizmodo
Nebula Award swept by record number of women writers — Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
Women Destroy the 2015 Nebula Awards — Joel Cunningham, B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
Women won in every big category at the 2015 Nebula Awards — Adam Rosenberg, Mashable

But I think the real story here is that women swept the awards, and industry insiders barely seemed to notice. It wasn’t some strange anomaly. Certainly no one in earshot of me commented on it, and no one at my table even seem to notice (it didn’t even occur to me until I saw all the headlines). Frankly, given the number of women doing top-notch work in the field, it will likely be some time until women don’t dominate the award.

We reported on the Nebula Award nominations in February, and we reported on last year’s winners here. We covered the latest anthology of past winners, Nebula Awards Showcase 2016, edited by Mercedes Lackey, here.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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I think you had it exactly right: It should be no surprise, that so many women are winning, when so man ywomen writing so much great stuff.

And there is a nother thing: All those writers as far I can tell, tell NEW stories. I read space opera/heroic fantasy as much as the next BG-reader, but I do get a bit tired of the same stories where the names are the only things thats new. So I celebrate every new spin, and every fresh idea, every new take at an old genre.

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