A Nebula award shortlist that makes me feel good about SF

The Nebula award shortlists have just been announced by the Science Fiction Writers of America. And they are excellent. Focusing on Best Novel…

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
  • Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
  • A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
  • The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

This contains three of my favourite books of the year by authors Neil Gaiman, Nicola Griffith and Helene Wecker.  The Golem and The Jinni in particular is a wonderful, wonderful novel that I cannot recommend highly enough. Go and read it!

Quick thought experiment. Apply the common (and deeply flawed) definition of “Hard SF” that many of the field’s awards have fallen in to the trap of applying.  It’s likely that Wecker, Samatar, Griffith and Gaiman would be excluded, and the award would be far less rich and less representative of the best the SF field has to offer.

The SFWA has been at the centre of numerous difficult stories this year. But it’s worth noting that the organisation taken as a whole is standing right at the forefront of diversity of all kinds in science fiction and deserves wide recognition and applause for that.

See the full Nebula award nominees here.