Last night the 2013 Nebula Awards were handed out in San Jose, California, which meant that watching the livestream required staying up Way Past My Bedtime. I think I nodded off at a couple of points but got to see the tchotchkes handed out.
For the current issue of Ecdysis, Tamara and I contributed some short essays on the Nebula short fiction nominees, but they were thematic in nature, rather than talking about which stories should or shouldn’t win. I wasn’t trying to dodge the question; I just think that handicapping the awards is one of the least interesting things we can talk about in this field.
That said, I was very happy to see Rachel Swirsky’s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” and “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard win for best short story and best novelette, respectively. Swirsky’s story hit me the hardest of the category’s nominees: some might quibble about its science fictional content, but this prose poem’s use of science tropes to tell its story more than qualifies it in my opinion. De Bodard continues to develop her Xuya universe in new and (in this case) horrific ways, creating a future history that is strange and detailed and very much alive. The novella winner, “The Weight of the Sunrise” by Vylar Kaftan, wasn’t my first choice, mostly because I got sucked in by the prose of other finalists, but it’s a damn good bit of alternate history, a story involving an Inca empire that never fell, the American Revolution, and a smallpox vaccine.
I have not yet read Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, the novel winner, but I plan on fixing that soon: I ordered it today. (It’s been nominated for the Hugo, and there has been some whinging from some quarters about the fact that its publisher, Orbit, will only be including excerpts of its nominated novels in the Hugo voter’s packet. I figure that if having to buy books sends you into paroxysms of outrage, you’re probably not cut out to be a Hugo voter.)
So that’s my take on the Nebula results. What’s yours?