Finch is a Nebula Award Finalist

The Nebula Award finalists have been announced, and my novel Finch is up in the best novel category. To be honest, when I got the call Wednesday it was a complete shock. I was in the middle of reading for the big book of weird fiction and my first response was something along the lines of “this is a joke, right?” followed by “are you sure they got the votes right?” I don’t lobby for or even mildly suggest people nominate me for awards, don’t belong to SFWA, and had no idea I was even in the running. Anyway, after Mary Robinette Kowal started laughing at my wide-eyed bewilderment, it finally kind of sunk in, and I am happy about it—especially for my publisher, Underland, and its founder/editor, Victoria Blake, and glad people have liked the book. Congrats also to the other nominees.

I’m especially happy to see crazy-ass brilliant work like the Kij Johnson up in the story category, and that, in general, the ballot more accurately reflects the landscape of short fiction (see Clarkesworld’s showing, for example).

Okay, back to reading weird fiction and finalizing Steampunk Reloaded and finishing off that Lovecraft-Borges reunion story.


  1. says

    I have not read everything, but for what I have which is on this list, I approve.

    Finch, The City & The City, and The Windup Girl would all be excellent choices for novel. Something common to these is a sort of “gritty realism” amidst (variously) weird, science fiction, and (vaguely) fantasy settings. It may say something about our 2009-2010 appetites that these kids of books are connecting so deeply with us, but not having read the others (yet, Boneshaker is on my list…) I could simply be turning a self-selected half of the data into a “trend.” Ah well.

    “Spar” (the Kij Johnson story you mentioned) was unsettling and memorable. I said back when I first read it that it shook my conception as to what SF could be. Clarkesworld has really put forward some amazing stories this year. As a coward, I’m not sure I could have publishing “Spar” — or would even be completely comfortable pointing to it as “here, world, is the best science fiction going.” Not because it isn’t, because it was amazing, authentic, and all the rest. But because (like The Windup Girl, like Perdido Street Station) graphic sex is still a complete taboo. Perhaps it is SF’s “job” to shake this, perhaps it is again (like I mentioned with the “gritty realism” comment about the novels) saying something about us that these are the stories we are connecting with at the turn of the decade here.

    In the novelette category, The Gambler (another Bacigalupi along with novel The Windup Girl) and A Memory of Wind were among my favorites this year.

    The only novella on the list I’d read was (thanks to my IZ sub) Sanford’s Sublimation Angels. Personally I would have liked to see a couple of my other favorite novellas make the list (Alan Smale’s “Delusion’s Song” in particular) but since I haven’t read many of the others on this list I shouldn’t complain, now should I? But I shall. Delusion’s Song was very, very good. Also Jason Chapman’s “The Singers of Rhodes.”

    Kage Baker in multiple categories. A good thing.

  2. says

    Thanks! You know, Finch has a strong noir plot, but at its heart, it is deeply deeply strange, so I’m gratified it made the list. I have no idea who will win, and when it’s announced I’ll probably be off the internet reading weird fiction. LOL.

  3. says

    Huge congratulations Jeff – you and Ann are the power SF couple! Now all you need is one of those trendy portmanteau names like Brangelina. Jann? No, that’s a real name. Okay, it’s a bad idea, clearly. You’re keeping some good company there – Windup Girl was one of my fave reads of 2009, and from what I’ve read of Finch so far, you certainly hold your own. Kudos.

  4. Jan says

    I agree and I won’t be surprised, if the Hugo shortlist appears to be pretty much the same. Congrats to Jeff and to all the nominees:-) Indeed, “Finch” is a very good novel.

  5. Hellbound Heart says

    a piece of literature that is this groundbreaking, disturbing, brilliant and visionary richly deserves all of the accolades that it gets (please excuse the gushing, i’ve had a coupla glasses of primo australian vino… should get down to your local grog shop and see it they stock any…..if not…..move to another neighbourhood….)
    seriously….bloody well done, mate….bonza!!!!!!

    peace and love…..

  6. Jeff VanderMeer says


    Sam–It seems to me that there are clear choices here, among the books I’ve read, in terms of how they’re situated in time. The Wind-up Girl is about the future, Finch and City & City are actually most connected not because of noir/fantasy elements (because these are deployed in totally different ways in each novel), but because they’re both interested in history and some depiction of the present-day–with perhaps a peek at the day after tomorrow–while Boneshaker is about the past. Alas, I haven’t read the other two.

  7. says

    Well put… and based on what I’ve read about Mr. Barzak’s novel I’m very interested in it as well.

    And I noticed I forgot one thing: Congratulations! I got wrapped up in bloviating that I forgot the sentimental basics. It’s been awesome to have followed Finch, come to a reading on your tour, get some “behind the scenes” stuff with your posts on the different openings and some of the real life experiences behind some of the details. (More bloviating ensues, sorry for this dumping on your comments area…) Also, Paolo Bacigalupi let folks in pretty well through his Twitter feed, and it’s really given me as a fan/reader such an ineffable “connection” to both of those books (Finch, The Windup Girl) in a way that I really can’t remember ever having felt previously. Maybe I’m being suckered in by platform/marketing but I think what we’re really seeing is the emergence of writers who *get it* when it comes to really connecting, not just with great, great stories and writing (these are separate of course) but with an authentic (not staged) person behind the story letting us in on the pain and the joy and all the work and all the rest behind how these novels came to be.