What novels would you nominate for the Nebula Awards?

Guest blogger Jason Sanford often rants on his website at www.jasonsanford.com. His fiction has been published in Interzone, Year’s Best SF 14, Analog, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Pindeldyboz, and other places, and has won the 2008 Interzone Readers’ Poll and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship.

Nominations for the 2009 Nebula Awards ballot are now coming in. Unfortunately, only members of the SFWA can nominate works for the awards. But let’s throw aside the rules for a moment and assume anyone can nominate their favorite genre works for the award. What novels from the last year would you nominate?

In the interests of complete honesty, the reason I’m writing this post is because I’m frustrated that my favorite novel of 2009, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, has received only a few nominations so far. If you want to read my rant on this, pop over to my website.

In addition to Bacigalupi’s amazing book, I’ve also nominated for best novel Green by Jay Lake and The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko. Since I can nominate up to five novels, I’ll likely pick two more novels before the Feb. 15 deadline.

So what 2009 novels would you nominate for the Nebula?


  1. says

    I don’t have a vote, but besides Jeff’s [i]Finch[/i], here are a few other 2009 releases that might be worthy of a nomination:

    Brian Evenson, [i]Last Days[/i]

    Cherie Priest, [i]Boneshaker[/i]

    Terrence Holt, [i]In the Valley of the Kings[/i] (collection)

    Caitlín Kiernan, [i]The Red Tree[/i]

  2. says

    The Windup Girl and The City & the City, for certain. Probably Green. I’m loving The Quiet War so far, and if it’s eligible I’d likely give it a slot. The Steel Remains was flawed but very memorable. The Ask and the Answer deserves more recognition. The Devil’s Alphabet, Palimpsest, Finch, and Boneshaker are on the TBR pile, and all look like strong enough candidates that I’d want to finish them before I voted.

  3. says


    I believe [i]The Ask and the Answer[/i] is eligible for the Norton Award that’s awarded at the same banquet as the Nebulas, so I’ll second that. And I believe the McAuley book is eligible, since it wasn’t released in the US until a couple of months ago.

  4. says

    I’ve been wanting to read The Quiet War but haven’t done so. Will have to look for it. And since the American edition only came out in September, the novel is definitely eligible for the Nebula.

    Update: As I was posting this, Larry posted his comment. Anyway, he is correct, the novel is eligible

  5. Molly says

    I don’t have a vote, but I hope Moxyland by Lauren Beukes is nominated (if it is eligible). I’ve been obsessing over Windup Girl and Moxyland for weeks now!

  6. says

    Certainly The Windup Girl; would be hard-pressed to pin down some other ones. And I have a soft spot for YA novels, too, and am glad to see Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan near the top so far of the Andre Norton Award list.

  7. says

    And my thought on the low numbers of The Windup Girl nominations: Paolo’s Novelette “Pump Six” is getting a lot of love; some people might not want to nominate him in multiple categories?

  8. jeff vandermeer says

    The question is irrelevant because the Nebula is corrupted beyond redemption, unfortunately.

  9. Ennis Drake says

    This isn’t the first time I’ve seen you say this, Jeff. I commend you for saying it (because, frankly, I believe you). I wonder, you ever gonna be willing to dish further on the subject? Inquiring minds want to know . . .

  10. jeff vandermeer says

    The Nebula oversight committee process is compromised and susceptible to pressure. I am also frequently and cynically lobbied for votes by SFWA members who don’t know I am not a SFWA member. I have no interest in participating in this system. That said, I love and respect the individual writers who belong to SFWA. But a collective writer brain in organization form is not always a pretty sight.

  11. says

    Okay, the lobbying for votes is what drives me crazy. Yes, I will promote works I think are worthy of being nominated–as I did with Bacigalupi’s novel–but only works by other writers. The whole “if you vote for me I’ll vote for you” attitude is what leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths over awards like this.

    Still, I’m somewhat optimistic that the new rules will help the situation. But I’ll reserve final judgment until I see what the final ballot looks like (i.e., see if the new process helps the best stories make the ballot, or if it’s the same old same old).