Nebula Award Nominations
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)
A fascinating list with a couple surprises. Annihilation, Ancillary Sword, and The Goblin Emperor were all well-received and well-reviewed texts. Any of those three could easily win. Expect all three of those to grab Hugo nominations later this year. McDevitt has a huge Nebula following, and this marks his 12th Nebula nomination for Best Novel. He won back in 2007 and I don’t see him winning again. Gannon scores his second Nebula nomination in a row for this by Fire series, but it’s very hard to pick up a Nebula for the second novel in series; I don’t see him as having much of a chance.
The Cixin Liu is the big surprise. The Nebula has never shown much flexibility towards works in translation in the past, but this was definitely was one of the most original and interesting hard SF novels of the year. As more people begin to read The Three-Body Problem, I think it’s chances of winning will increase. I expect this to be the biggest “novel of discussion” in the next six or so months, and that’s going to put Liu in real contention for a Hugo nomination as well.
My initial thoughts are that this category will be a showdown between The Three-Body Problem and Annihilation. SFWA voters won’t want to give the award to Leckie twice in a row, and the Nebula still—but just barely—leans SF.
Chaos Horizon only got 3 out of 6 right in my prediction: not terrible for my first year, but not great either. My formula is in definite need of refinement! Coming Home was 9th on my list and the Liu 19th. I didn’t figure the Gannon would make it because it was a sequel. The McDevitt and the Gannon nominations prove the strength of the SF voting block in the Nebulas, and I’ll have to adjust that area up for future predictions. It’s interesting that the Nebula didn’t go with a literary SFF novel this year: I thought Mandel or Mitchell would have made it.
The rest of the ballot:
We Are All Completely Fine, Daryl Gregory (Tachyon)
Yesterday’s Kin, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
“The Regular,” Ken Liu (Upgraded)
“The Mothers of Voorhisville,” Mary Rickert (Tor.com 4/30/14)
Calendrical Regression, Lawrence Schoen (NobleFusion)
“Grand Jeté (The Great Leap),” Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’14)
“Sleep Walking Now and Then,” Richard Bowes (Tor.com 7/9/14)
“The Magician and Laplace’s Demon,” Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 12/14)
“A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” Alaya Dawn Johnson (F&SF 7-8/14)
“The Husband Stitch,” Carmen Maria Machado (Granta #129)
“We Are the Cloud,” Sam J. Miller (Lightspeed 9/14)
“The Devil in America,” Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com 4/2/14)
“The Breath of War,” Aliette de Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/6/14)
“When It Ends, He Catches Her,” Eugie Foster (Daily Science Fiction 9/26/14)
“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye,” Matthew Kressel (Clarkesworld 5/14)
“The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family,” Usman T. Malik (Qualia Nous)
“A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide,” Sarah Pinsker (F&SF 3-4/14)
“Jackalope Wives,” Ursula Vernon (Apex 1/7/14)
“The Fisher Queen,” Alyssa Wong (F&SF 5/14)
I’ll be back with some more analysis tomorrow!