Nebula Award

Last updated

Nebula Award
Nebula Award logo.png
Nebula Award logo
Awarded forThe best science fiction or fantasy works of the previous calendar year
Presented by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
First awarded1966
Website nebulas.sfwa.org

The Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States. The awards are organized and awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. They were first given in 1966 at a ceremony created for the awards, and are given in four categories for different lengths of literary works. A fifth category for film and television episode scripts was given 1974–78 and 2000–09, and a sixth category for game writing was begun in 2018. In 2019 SFWA announced that two awards that were previously run under the same rules but not considered Nebula awards—the Andre Norton Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction and the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation—were to be considered official Nebula awards. [1] The rules governing the Nebula Awards have changed several times during the awards' history, most recently in 2010. The SFWA Nebula Conference, at which the awards are announced and presented, is held each spring in the United States. Locations vary from year to year.

Contents

The Nebula Awards are one of the best known and most prestigious science fiction and fantasy awards [2] and together with the Hugo Awards have been called "the most important of the American science fiction awards". [3] Winning works have been published in special collections, and winners and nominees are often noted as such on the books' covers. SFWA identifies the awards by the year of publication, that is, the year prior to the year in which the award is given.

For lists of winners and nominees for each Nebula category, see the list of categories below.

Award

The Nebula Awards are given annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for the best science fiction or fantasy fiction published during the previous year. To be eligible for consideration works must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The awards are not limited to American citizens or members of SFWA. Works translated into English are also eligible. [4]

There are no written rules as to which works qualify as science fiction or fantasy, and the decision of eligibility in that regard is left up to the nominators and voters, rather than to SFWA. [5]

The winner receives a trophy but no cash prize; the trophy is a transparent block with an embedded glitter spiral nebula and gemstones cut to resemble planets. [5] The trophy itself was designed for the first awards by J. A. Lawrence, based on a sketch by Kate Wilhelm, and has remained the same ever since. [6]

Nebula Award nominees and winners are chosen by members of the SFWA. Works are nominated each year between November 15 and February 15 by published authors who are members of the organization, with the six works that receive the most nominations forming the final ballot. Additional nominees are possible in the case of ties. Members then vote on the ballot throughout March, and the final results are presented at the Nebula Awards ceremony in May. Authors are not permitted to nominate their own works, though they can decline nominations. Ties in the final vote are broken, if possible, by the number of nominations the works received. [4]

History

Nebula Award for Best Novella for The Green Leopard Plague, by Walter Jon Williams Nebula Trophy.jpg
Nebula Award for Best Novella for The Green Leopard Plague , by Walter Jon Williams

The first Nebulas were given in 1966, for works published in 1965. The idea for such an award, funded by the sales of anthologies collecting the winning works, was proposed by SFWA secretary-treasurer Lloyd Biggle, Jr. in 1965. [6] The idea was based on the Edgar Awards, presented by the Mystery Writers of America, and the idea to have a ceremony at which to present them was prompted by the Edgar and Hugo Awards. [5] The initial ceremony consisted of four literary awards, for Novels, Novellas, Novelettes, and Short Stories, which have been presented every year since. A Script award was also presented from 1974 to 1978 under the names Best Dramatic Presentation and Best Dramatic Writing and again from 2000 through 2009 as Best Script, but after 2009 it was again removed and replaced by SFWA with the Ray Bradbury Award. [6] [7] In 2018, a new Game Writing category was added, for writing in video and tabletop games. [8]

Prior to 2009, the Nebula Awards employed a rolling eligibility system. Each work was eligible to qualify for the ballot for one year following its date of publication. As a consequence of rolling eligibility, there was the possibility for works to be nominated in the calendar year after their publication and then be awarded in the calendar year after that. Works were added to a preliminary list for the year if they had ten or more nominations, which were then voted on to create the final ballot. [9] In 1970, the option was added for voters to select "no award" if they felt that no nominated work was worthy of winning; this happened in 1971 in the Short Story category and in 1977 in the Script category. [5]

Beginning in 1980 the eligibility year for nominations was set to the calendar year, rather than December–November as initially conceived, and the SFWA organizing panel was allowed to add an additional work. Authors were also allowed to use the mass-market paperback publication of their books as the beginning of their nomination period, rather than the initial hardback publication. As a consequence of the combination of this rule and the rolling eligibility, the 2007 awards, despite nominally being for works published in 2006, instead were all given to works initially published in 2005. Beginning with the 2010 awards, the rolling eligibility system and paperback publication exemption were replaced with the current rules. [6]

Categories

Categories
CategoriesYearsDescription
Best Novel 1966–presentStories of 40,000 words or more
Best Novella 1966–presentStories of between 17,500 and 40,000 words
Best Novelette 1966–presentStories of between 7,500 and 17,500 words
Best Short Story 1966–presentStories of less than 7,500 words
Best Script 1974–1978, 2000–2009Movie or television episode scripts
Best Game Writing 2018–presentWriting in video and tabletop games
Andre Norton Award 2006–present
(Promoted to official category in 2020)
Middle grade and young adult fiction
Ray Bradbury Award 2010–present
(Promoted to official category in 2020)
Dramatic presentations

Beside the Nebulas, several other awards and honors are presented at the Nebula Awards ceremony, though not necessarily every year. Two of them are annual literary awards voted by SFWA members on the Nebula ballot: [10] the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, inaugurated 2006, and the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, which replaced the Best Script award in 2010. [6] [11] [7] The others are the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award since 1975 for "lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy", the Author Emeritus since 1995 for contributions to the field, the Kevin O'Donnell, Jr. Award for service to SFWA, and the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award since 2009 for significant impact on speculative fiction. [6] [12] All four are discretionary but a Grand Master, selected by the officers and past presidents, has been named every year for more than a decade. [13] The Solstice Award may be presented posthumously (where only living writers may be named Grand Master or Author Emeritus); in all, twelve have been awarded in five years to 2013. [14] The Andre Norton Award and Ray Bradbury Award were previously annual literary awards on the Nebula ballot but not considered full award categories, but in 2020 both were added as official categories and their full names changed to be "Nebula Awards". [1]

Recognition

The Nebula Awards have been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards. [3] [15] Along with the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award is also considered one of the premier awards in science fiction, with Laura Miller of Salon terming it "science fiction's most prestigious award", and Justine Larbalestier, in The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (2002), referring to it and the Hugo Award as "the best known and most prestigious of the science fiction awards". [16] [2] Brian Aldiss, in his book Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction , claimed that the Nebula Award provided "more literary judgment" while the Hugo was a barometer of reader popularity, rather than artistic merit, though he did note that the winners of the two awards often overlapped. [17] David Langford and Peter Nicholls stated in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2012) that the two awards were often given to the same works, and noted that some critics felt that the Nebula selection reflected "political as much as literary ability" as it did not seem to focus as much on literary talent over popularity as expected. [6]

Several people within the publishing industry have said that winning or being nominated for a Nebula Award has effects on the author's career and the sales of that work. Spider Robinson in 1992, as quoted in Science Fiction Culture (2000), said that publishers "pay careful attention" to who wins a Nebula Award. [18] Literary agent Richard Curtis said in his 1996 Mastering the Business of Writing that having the term Nebula Award on the cover, even as a nominee, was a "powerful inducement" to science fiction fans to buy a novel, and Gahan Wilson, in First World Fantasy Awards (1977), claimed that noting that a book had won the Nebula Award on the cover "demonstrably" increased sales for that novel. [19] [20]

There have been several anthologies collecting Nebula-winning short fiction. The series Nebula Winners, published yearly by SFWA and edited by a variety of SFWA members and renamed as the Nebula Awards Showcase series since 1999, was started in 1966 as a collection of short story winners and nominees for that year. [21] The sales of these anthologies were intended to pay for presenting the awards themselves. [6] The anthology The Best of the Nebulas (1989), edited by Ben Bova, collected winners of Nebula awards from 1966 through 1986 officially selected by SFWA members. [22] The unofficial anthology Nebula Award Winning Novellas (1994), edited by Martin H. Greenberg, contained ten stories which had won the novella award between 1970 and 1989. [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc., or SFWA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. While SFWA is based in the United States, its membership is open to writers worldwide. The organization was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. The president of SFWA as of July 1, 2021 is Jeffe Kennedy.

Gene Wolfe American science fiction and fantasy writer

Gene Rodman Wolfe was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He was noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith. He was a prolific short story writer and novelist, and won many literary awards. Wolfe has been called "the Melville of science fiction", and was honored as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Joe Haldeman American science fiction writer

Joe William Haldeman is an American science fiction author. He is best known for his novel The Forever War (1974). That novel and other works, including The Hemingway Hoax (1991) and Forever Peace (1997), have won science fiction awards, including the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. He was awarded the SFWA Grand Master for career achievements. In 2012 he was inducted as a member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Many of Haldeman's works, including his debut novel War Year and his second novel The Forever War, were inspired by his experiences in the Vietnam War. Wounded in combat, he struggled to adjust to civilian life after returning home. From 1983–2014, he was a professor teaching writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Andre Alice Norton was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy, who also wrote works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. She wrote primarily under the pen name Andre Norton, but also under Andrew North and Allen Weston. She was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, to be SFWA Grand Master, and to be inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

Nebula Award for Best Novel Science fiction and fantasy literary award

The Nebula Award for Best Novel is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy novels. A work of fiction is considered a novel by the organization if it is 40,000 words or longer; awards are also given out for pieces of shorter lengths, in the categories of short story, novelette, and novella. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration, a novel must have been published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible, provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The Award has been given annually since 1966. Novels which were expanded forms of previously published stories are eligible, and novellas published individually can be considered as novels if the author requests it. The award has been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.

Nebula Award for Best Novella

The Nebula Award for Best Novella is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy novellas. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novella if it is between 17,500 and 40,000 words; awards are also given out for pieces of longer lengths in the novel category, and for shorter lengths in the short story and novelette categories. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration, a novella must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible, provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The Nebula Award for Best Novella has been awarded annually since 1966. Novellas published by themselves are eligible for the novel award instead, if the author requests them to be considered as such. The award has been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.

Nebula Award for Best Script

The Nebula Award for Best Script was given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy scripts for movies or television episodes. Awards are also given out for published literary works in the novel, novella, novelette, and short story categories. The Nebula Award for Best Script was awarded annually from 1974 through 1978, and from 2000 through 2009. It was presented under several names; in 1974, 1975, and 1977 the award was for Best Dramatic Presentation, while in 1976 the award was for Best Dramatic Writing. The award was discontinued in 2010 and replaced with The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation; this award, though not a Nebula, is presented at the Nebula Awards Ceremony and follows Nebula rules and procedures. The Nebula Awards have been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.

Nebula Award for Best Novelette

The Nebula Award for Best Novelette is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to a science fiction or fantasy novelette. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novelette if it is between 7,500 and 17,500 words; awards are also given out for pieces of longer lengths in the Novel and Novella categories, and for shorter lengths in the Short Story category. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration a novelette must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The Nebula Award for Best Novelette has been awarded annually since 1966. The Nebula Awards have been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.

Nebula Award for Best Short Story literary award given for science fiction or fantasy short stories

The Nebula Award for Best Short Story is a literary award assigned each year by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy short stories. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a short story if it is less than 7,500 words; awards are also given out for longer works in the categories of novel, novella, and novelette. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration a short story must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The Nebula Award for Best Short Story has been awarded annually since 1966. The award has been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.

Kate Wilhelm American science fiction writer

Kate Wilhelm was an American author. She wrote novels and stories in the science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres, including the Hugo Award–winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, and she established the Clarion Workshop with her husband Damon Knight and writer Robin Scott Wilson.

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is a lifetime honor presented annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to no more than one living writer of fantasy or science fiction. It was inaugurated in 1975 when Robert Heinlein was made the first SFWA Grand Master and it was renamed in 2002 after the Association's founder, Damon Knight, who had died that year.

Andre Norton Award

The Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction is an annual award presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to the author of the best young adult or middle grade science fiction or fantasy book published in the United States in the preceding year. It is named to honor prolific science fiction and fantasy author Andre Norton (1912–2005), and it was established by then SFWA president Catherine Asaro and the SFWA Young Adult Fiction committee and announced on February 20, 2005. Any published young adult or middle grade science fiction or fantasy novel is eligible for the prize, including graphic novels. There is no limit on word count. The award was originally not a Nebula Award, despite being presented along with them and following the same rules for nominations and voting, but in 2019 SFWA announced that the award was considered a Nebula category.

Mary Robinette Kowal American author and puppeteer (born 1969)

Mary Robinette Kowal is an American author and puppeteer.

The Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy dramatic works such as movies or television episodes. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration a work must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released either on a website or in an electronic edition. Only individual works are eligible, not serials such as television series, though miniseries of three or fewer parts are allowed. The award, named to honor prolific author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury, was begun in 1992 as the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. It was not considered a Nebula Award, despite being awarded at the same ceremony, and was chosen by the President of SFWA instead of by a vote. This form of the award was given in 1992, 1999, 2001, and 2009. In 2010, the Nebula Award for Best Script, which was awarded for scripts from 1974 to 1978 and from 2000 to 2009, was discontinued. The Ray Bradbury Award, though still not considered an official Nebula category, was converted to follow the normal nomination and voting procedures of the Nebula Awards in its place. In 2019 SFWA announced that the award was considered a Nebula category, and the following year the award was retitled the Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation.

Aliette de Bodard

Aliette de Bodard is a French-American speculative fiction writer. She is of French and Vietnamese descent, born in the US, and grew up in Paris. French is her mother-tongue, but she writes in English. A graduate of École Polytechnique, she works as a software engineer specialising in image processing and is a member of the Written in Blood writers group.

Hugo Award Annual awards for science fiction or fantasy

The Hugo Award is an annual literary award for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year, given at the World Science Fiction Convention and chosen by its members. The Hugo is widely considered the premier award in science fiction. The award is administered by the World Science Fiction Society. It is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. Hugos were first given in 1953, at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, and have been awarded every year since 1955.

N. K. Jemisin American science fiction and fantasy writer

Nora Keita Jemisin is an American science fiction and fantasy writer, better known as N. K. Jemisin. She has also worked as a counseling psychologist. Her fiction includes a wide range of themes, notably cultural conflict and oppression. Her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and the subsequent books in her Inheritance Trilogy received critical acclaim. She has won several awards for her work, including the Locus Award. The three books of her Broken Earth series made her the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years, as well as the first to win for all three novels in a trilogy. Jemisin was a recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant in 2020.

Rachel Swirsky is an American literary, speculative fiction and fantasy writer, poet, and editor living in Oregon. She was the founding editor of the PodCastle podcast and served as editor from 2008 to 2010. She served as vice president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2013.

Sarah Pinsker is an American science fiction and fantasy author. A nine-time finalist for the Nebula Award, Pinsker's debut novel A Song for a New Day won the 2019 Nebula for Best Novel while her story "Our Lady of the Open Road" won 2016 award for Best Novelette. Her fiction has also won the Philip K. Dick Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and been a finalist for the Hugo, World Fantasy, and Tiptree Awards.

The Nebula Award for Best Game Writing is one of the various Nebula Awards presented each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy game writing, defined as "an interactive or playable story-driven work which conveys narrative, character, or story background". To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration a work must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. Works in this category have no set word count and must have at least one credited writer. The Nebula Award for Best Game Writing has been awarded annually since 2019. The Nebula Awards have been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards. The Game Writing category is the newest category of the Nebulas, which were originally awarded in 1966 solely for printed fiction. The drive to create the Game Writing category was promoted by then SFWA president Cat Rambo after game writers were made eligible for SFWA membership in 2016. According to a statement by SFWA when the category was announced, it was added to reflect how changes in technology had expanded the media used for science fiction and fantasy storytelling.

References

Citations

  1. 1 2 Levine, David D. (2019-04-10). "I am now officially a Nebula Award winner!". daviddlevine.com. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  2. 1 2 The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, p. 255
  3. 1 2 Flood, Allison (2009-04-28). "Ursula K Le Guin wins sixth Nebula award". The Guardian . Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  4. 1 2 "Nebula Rules". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. October 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  5. 1 2 3 4 A History of the Hugo, Nebula and International Fantasy Awards, pp. 9–11
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd ed. "Nebula"
  7. 1 2 "Ray Bradbury Award". Locus . 2009-01-15. Archived from the original on 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
  8. "Game Writing Nebula Category". Locus . 2017-05-23. Archived from the original on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  9. "About the Nebula Awards". The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Awards. Locus Publications. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  10. "2012 Nebula Awards nominees announced". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. 2013-02-20. Archived from the original on 2017-07-04. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  11. "Norton Award Blog Tour". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. 2012-12-01. Archived from the original on 2017-11-28. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  12. "Service to SFWA Award". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Archived from the original on 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
  13. "About the SFWA Grand Master Award". Locus Publications. Archived from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  14. "Solstice Award". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Archived from the original on 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
  15. Garmon, Jay (2006-10-03). "Geek Trivia: Science-fiction double feature". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  16. Miller, Laura (2011-08-20). "The Death of the Red-Hot Center". Salon . Archived from the original on 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  17. Trillion Year Spree, p. 349.
  18. Science Fiction Culture, p. 61
  19. Mastering the Business of Writing, ch. 15
  20. First World Fantasy Awards, p. 17
  21. 1 2 The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd ed. "Nebula Anthologies"
  22. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, p. 15

Sources