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Nebula Awards Showcase 2016
By Mercedes Lackey
Prometheus BooksCopyright © 2016 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.)
All rights reserved.
If you're late to the party, the Nebula Awards are chosen every year by the members of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America); in other words, they are chosen out of all of the science fiction and fantasy literature written that year by the peers of those writers. By writers, for writers. As such, the nominators and voters tend to have a slightly different outlook on the work that comes up for the Nebulas than the average reader.
Those who nominate and vote want something more. Something different. It may or may not equate to what has gotten popular acclaim that year. It probably won't be what the "average reader" would like.
Kafka said it best, I think:
Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn't shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we'd be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, at a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.
— Franz Kafka, from a letter to Oskar Pollak dated January 27, 1904
Ideally, there is nothing in the works that follow this introduction that will make you feel cozy and comfortable. Ideally, they will challenge you. Ideally, while they might leave you deciding you are absolutely never going to reread a story, you will never be sorry you read it in the first place.
A Nebula winner should be, as Harlan Ellison put it in the anthologies he edited, a "dangerous vision." Danger wakes us up, makes us realize we are alive, makes us realize why we want to stay alive. It may move us to terror, to joy, to tears, but it should never leave us unmoved.
Here's to danger.
Excerpted from Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 by Mercedes Lackey. Copyright © 2016 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.). Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction Mercedes Lackey, 11,
About the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, 13,
About the Nebula Awards, 15,
2014 Nebula Awards Final Ballot, 17,
Nebula Award Nominees: Best Short Story,
"A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide" Sarah Pinsker, 21,
"The Breath of War" Aliette de Bodard, 32,
"The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family" Usman T. Malik, 49,
"The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye" Matthew Kressel, 64,
"When It Ends, He Catches Her" Eugie Foster, 80,
"The Fisher Queen" Alyssa Wong, 87,
Nebula Award Winner: Best Short Story,
"Jackalope Wives" Ursula Vernon, 100,
Nebula Award Nominees: Best Novelette,
"Sleep Walking Now and Then" Richard Bowes, 113,
"The Devil in America" Kai Ashante Wilson, 134,
"The Husband Stitch" Carmen Maria Machado, 169,
"The Magician and Laplace's Demon" Tom Crosshill, 189,
"We Are the Cloud" Sam J. Miller, 211,
Nebula Award Winner: Best Novelette,
"A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i" Alaya Dawn Johnson, 233,
Nebula Award Nominees: Best Novella,
Excerpt from Calendrical Regression Lawrence M. Schoen, 258,
Excerpt from "The Mothers of Voorhisville" Mary Rickert, 264,
Excerpt from "The Regular" Ken Liu, 270,
Excerpt from "Grand Jeté (The Great Leap)" Rachel Swirsky, 275,
Excerpt from We Are All Completely Fine, 280,
Nebula Award Winner: Best Novella,
Yesterday's Kin Nancy Kress, 283,
Nebula Award Winner: Best Novel,
Excerpt from Annihilation Jeff Vander Meer, 384,
Past Nebula Award Winners, 401,
About the Editor, 412,
About the Cover Artist, 412,