2016 Nebula Winners Announced: Novik Wins Best Novel
Novel Winner: Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)
Novik wins for her fairy-taleish feeling Uprooted. This year, popularity seems to have won out. Compare Novik’s number of ratings to Jemisin’s and Leckie’s as of today, 5/16/16:
|The Fifth Season||5,658||120|
In fact, Uprooted is about the most popular Science Fiction or Fantasy book of last year. I can’t think of a single book that has more Goodreads ratings this year. It just passed Armada this past month. You can check my list, which only tracks until March 31st (I only use it for predicting nominees, not winners, although maybe I should start using it for both!). Seveneves, Armada, and The Aeronaut’s Windlass still beat Novik out on Amazon, though. Novik being so much more popular than anyone else seems to have given her the edge: more readers, more potential voters, even in the relative small pool of the SFWA.
This makes Uprooted a prohibitive Hugo favorite. When a Nebula winner is up for the Hugo, it almost always wins. Sadly, my Nebula prediction formula isn’t working very well; I’ll have to tweak it this summer to take raw popularity more into account.
Congrats to Novik!
UPDATE 5/16/16: Here’s some historical data on the Best Novel winners from the SFWA recommended reading list. Eventual winner is in orange, nominees in green.
This year, Novik won even though she was much lower down on the list, in position #4. She was beaten in the recs by Gannon, Schoen, and Wilde. I think each of those books had a very strong nomination support group that didn’t translate to the larger voting audience. Any thoughts on why this data wasn’t predictive? Here’s this year SFWA Recommendations, with perfect correlation to the nominees but not the winner. Far left column is the number of recs.
|35||Barsk: The Elephants’ G…||Schoen, Lawrence M.||Tor Books||12 / 2015|
|33||Raising Caine||Gannon, Charles E.||Baen||7 / 2015|
|29||Updraft||Wilde, Fran||Tor Books||9 / 2015|
|25||Uprooted||Novik, Naomi||Del Rey||5 / 2015|
|22||The Grace of Kings||Liu, Ken||Saga Press||4 / 2015|
|21||Ancillary Mercy||Leckie, Ann||Orbit||10 / 2015|
|19||The Fifth Season||Jemisin, N. K.||Orbit||8 / 2015|
|18||Beasts of Tabat||Rambo, Cat||WordFire Press||4 / 2015|
|18||Karen Memory||Bear, Elizabeth||Tor Books||2 / 2015|