2015 Nebula Prediction: Indicators #9-#10

Here are the last two indicators currently in my Nebula formula. These ones try to chart how well a book is doing in the current awards season, based on the assumption that if you are able to get nominated for one award, you’re more likely to win another. Note that it’s nominations that seem to correlate, not necessarily wins. Many of the other SFF awards are juried, so winning isn’t as good a measure of votes like the Hugo and Nebula use. Nominations raise your profile and get your book buzzed about, which helps pull in those votes. If something gets nominated 4-5 times, it becomes the “must-read” of the year, and that leads to wins.

Indicator #9: Receives a same-year Hugo nomination (64.29%)
Indicator #10: Nominated for at least one other major SFF award (71.43%)

I track things like the Philip K. Dick, the British Science Fiction Award, the Tiptree, the Arthur C. Clarke, the Campbell, and the Prometheus. Interestingly, the major fantasy awards—the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award—don’t come out until later in the year. This places someone like Addison at a disadvantage in these measures. We need an early in the year fantasy award!

In recent years, the Nebula has been feeding into the Hugo and vice-versa. Since the same awards are talked about so much in the same places, getting a Nebula nom raises your Hugo profile, which in turn feeds back and shapes the conversation about the Nebulas. If everyone on the internet is discussing Addison, Leckie, and Liu, someone like VanderMeer or Gannon can fall through the cracks. More exposure = more chances of winning.

So, how do things look this year?

Table 5: 2015 Awards Year Performance for 2015 Nebula Nominees
Table 5 Awards

The star by Leckie’s name means she won the BSFA this year. 2015 is very different than 2014: at this time last year, Ancillary Justice was clearly dominating, having already picked up nominations for the Clarke, Campbell, BSFA, Tiptree, and Dick. She’d go on to win the Clarke, BSFA, Hugo, and Nebula.

This year there isn’t a consensus book powering to all the awards. I thought VanderMeer would garner more attention, but he missed a Philip K. Dick Award nomination, and I figured the Clarke would have been sympathetic to him as well. Those are real storm clouds for Annihilation‘s Nebula chances. Maybe the book was too short or too incomplete for readers. Ancillary Sword isn’t repeating Leckie’s 2014 dominance, but it has already won the BSFA. Liu has some momentum beginning to build for him, while Gannon and McDevitt are languishing.

So those are the 10 factors I’m currently weighting in my Nebula prediction. I’ve been tossing around the idea of adding a few more (publication date, sequel, book length), but I might wait until next year to factor them in. I’d like to factor in something about popularity but I haven’t found any means of doing that yet.

What’s left? Well, we have to weight each of these Indicators, and once I do that, I can run the numbers to see who leads the model!


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