2014 Nebula Prediction: Indicators #8 and #9

Now we’re on to the critical reception of these books. Critics play an important role in bringing attention to novels, and give us a good indication as to whether or not these books are well respected. While the internet does provide year end critics’ lists, these are a relatively new phenomena, and many of them don’t have long histories.

I took a look at a number of possible year end critics lists. Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading was by far the best of the bunch. It has a long history, and the eventual Nebula Winner has appeared on those lists 12/13 times since 2000, with the only exception being Asaro’s win for The Quantum Rose in 2002.

Beyond that list, nothing has the same kind of reliability or history. I looked at the NPR and Publisher’s Weekly lists, but the Nebula winners haven’t been consistently appearing on their SF/F lists. A couple online blogs are more promising: Tor.com and io9.com, but these don’t have long histories. io9 has three years of history (including this year), and Tor.com only two. Still, they’ve managed to include the winners on their list, so that’s something. What I’m going to do is give a low weight to this indicator and see if it improves over time.

Indicator #8: Nominee appears on the Locus Magazine Recommended Reading List (92.3%)
Indicator #9: Nominee appears on the Tor.com or io9.com Year-End Critics’ list (100%, but low weight due to lack of history)

So where does that put us for this year?
Indicators 8-9
As we might expect from previous indicators, Gaiman and Leckie rise to the top, appearing on all the recommended lists for the year. Everyone else was divided. Fowler, Griffith, and Wecker likely missed some lists because of the lack of genre elements in their work, not the quality of their writing. This same confusion over genre, however, will likely extend to the voters and hurt them in the final tally.

Once again, two more indicators clearly “won” by Gaiman and Leckie.

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