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Vintage Treasures: Nebula Winners Fourteen, edited by Frederik Pohl

Thursday, July 5th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Nebula Winners Fourteen-small Nebula Winners Fourteen-back-small

Back in May, more or less on a whim, I paid $6.59 for a copy of the British paperback edition of Nebula Winners Fourteen, edited by Frederik Pohl. I already had the Bantam version (see below) but the gorgeously moody cover by the great Bruce Pennington hypnotized me, and what could I do?

I’m glad I did it, anyway. In this hot Illinois summer, a book I can dip into while relaxing on the porch is a perfect antidote, and having Nebula Winners Fourteen conveniently on hand has reminded me just how outstanding the Nebula anthologies were, and are, year after year. This one, for example, includes the three 1978 Nebula short fiction award winners, plus a 30-page excerpt from the winning novel:

“The Persistence of Vision,” by John Varley (Best Novella)
“A Glow of Candles, a Unicorn’s Eye,” by Charles L. Grant (Best Novelette)
“Stone,” by Edward Bryant (Best Short Story)
An Excerpt from Dreamsnake, by Vonda N. McIntyre

But it also includes some superb nominees, as selected by Pohl, including C. J. Cherryh’s Hugo Award-winning short story “Cassandra,” and Gene Wolfe’s massive 60-page novella “Seven American Nights.” I imagine Pohl got a lot of grief for cramming two long novellas into a slender paperback, displacing a lot of award-nominated short fiction in the process, but the years have proven the astuteness of his choice. “Seven American Nights” is one of the most acclaimed stories of the 70s, still discussed and enjoyed today, whereas the winner in the novella category, Varley’s “The Persistence of Vision,” is considered by many to be overrated (including by me.)

[Click the images for bigger versions.]

Nebula Winners Fourteen Bantam-small

Bantam US edition (1982). Cover by Gary LaSasso

Nebula Winners Fourteen also contains four non-fiction pieces, including an intro from Pohl (“A Guide for the Perplexed”), a look back at the SF of 1938 from Isaac Asimov, Norman Spinrad’s “The Future of Science Fiction,” and new Grand Master L. Sprague de Camp’s reprinted speech “Little Green Men from Afar.”

Here’s the complete TOC.

Introduction: A Guide to the Perplexed, by Frederik Pohl
“The Persistence of Vision,” by John Varley (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1978) — Hugo, Nebula & Locus Awards, Best Novella
“Stone,” by Edward Bryant (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1978) – Nebula Award, Best Short Story
“A Glow of Candles, a Unicorn’s Eye,” by Charles L. Grant (Graven Images, 1977) – Nebula Award, Best Novelette
Science Fiction: 1938, by Isaac Asimov
The Future of Science Fiction, by Norman Spinrad
An Excerpt from Dreamsnake, by Vonda N. McIntyre (1980)
Little Green Men from Afar, by L. Sprague de Camp
“Cassandra,” by C. J. Cherryh (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1978) — Hugo Award, Best Short Story
“Seven American Nights,” by Gene Wolfe (Orbit 20, March 1978)
The Nebula Winners, 1965-1978

Nebula Awards Showcase 2014-smallOur previous coverage of the Nebula anthologies includes:

Nebula Awards One and Two
Cloud Sculptors, Dragon Riders, and an Unearthly Craps Game: Nebula Award Stories 3, edited by Roger Zelazny, by William I. Lengeman III
Nebula Awards Showcase 2014, edited by Kij Johnson
Nebula Awards Showcase 2015, edited by Greg Bear
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016, edited by Mercedes Lackey
Nebula Awards Showcase 2017, edited by Julie E. Czerneda
The 2011 Nebula Award Winners
The 2012 Nebula Award Winners
The 2013 Nebula Award Winners
The 2015 Nebula Award Winners
The 2016 Nebula Award Winners
The 2017 Nebula Award Winners

Nebula Awards Fourteen was published in hardcover in August 1980 by Harper & Row, and reprinted in paperback in the UK by Star in March 1982, and in the US by Bantam Books in July 1982. The Star edition is 259 pages, priced at £1.75. The cover is by Bruce Pennington.

See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.

6 Comments »

  1. Is this the longest running SF/fantasy series ever? Surely it must be. I’ve read the first nine, and hope to get a lot further. Nice to see my edition (the UK one) get the headline treatment. The US paperback looks pretty moody as well!

    Comment by dolphintornsea - July 6, 2018 3:11 am

  2. I think the longest running SF/fantasy series is the German language Perry Rhodan (which introduced me to SF, some 40 years ago).

    The Nebula volumes are, I believe, the longest running English language anthology series in the genre. They’re currently published by Pyr, who’s doing a fine job.

    Comment by John ONeill - July 6, 2018 10:01 am

  3. “Seven American Nights” is just in there to emphasize to SFWA members their lack of taste in preferring Varley’s overrated “Persistence of Vision”.

    Comment by Rich Horton - July 6, 2018 5:08 pm

  4. Rich,

    I believe it!

    Comment by John ONeill - July 6, 2018 6:49 pm

  5. “The Persistence of Vision” also won the Hugo that year, so fans as well as writers were taken by it. I remember enjoying it when I read it in the collection of the same name.

    Of the stories in this collection, I liked “Stone” by Ed Bryant the best.

    Comment by Eugene R. - July 9, 2018 10:01 pm

  6. […] example in 1980, for Nebula Winners Fourteen, Frederik Pohl jettisoned virtually every single short fiction nominee (and all the novelettes) so […]

    Pingback by Pixel Scroll 8/14/18 I Never Saw A Purple Pixel, I Never Hope To See One | File 770 - August 14, 2018 9:59 pm


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