Nebula 2014: Initial Analysis
It’s an intriguing set of texts this year: a heavyweight (Gaiman), two respected SFF authors pushing the limits of genre (Fowler, Griffith), a well-regarded SF debut (Leckie), and an interloper from the literary fiction world (Wecker). Rounding out the large slate (8 instead of the usual 6) are three lesser known writers (Gannon, Samatar, and Nagata) who don’t stand much of a chance of winning. Such nominations play an important role, though, of bringing attention to lesser known texts. Drawing attention to emerging authors is a key aspect of any award, and the Nebula often pushes up 1-2 such authors in their nomination process–even if they rarely, if ever, win. Nebula staples like Mieville and Jemisin both got their start with these kind of nominations.
I see this as breaking down to a three horse race between Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane (the early favorite), Fowler’s We Are All Complete Besides Ourselves (would have been my favorite if it had more explicit genre elements), and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice (the more traditional SF alternative). I think Griffith’s Hild is too long and not “genre-y” enough, and Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni too mainstream for the SFWA audience.
Stay tuned for the first official prediction!