Diversity Shines with Nebula Nominees

Tgrace-of-kingshe Science Fiction Writers of America announced the Nebula Award Nominees this weekend and there is a whole lot to be excited about, especially the diverse cast of nominees. Is this a backlash against the Sad Puppies campaign? Or a commentary on the flap over the Oscars’ lack of diversity? (The Nebulas are sort of Sci-Fi’s equivalent of the Academy Awards.)  I don’t really care, because it’s great to see so many women and people of color on the shortlists.

Fantasy dominated the novel nominees, from Ken Liu’s magnificent Homer-meets-the-Chu-Han-contention debut, The Grace of Kings, to Naomi Novik’s Polish fairytale rewrite,  Uprooted. But there are strong sci-fi contenders as well. uprootedAnn Leckie snared her third nomination with Ancillary Mercy, while Lawrence M. Schoen’s late-entry, Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard, made a surprise showing, especially considering it was released in the late December dead zone between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s been vaulted onto the must-read ASAP list (along with N.K. Jemisin’s Fifth Season) as I prepare my Hugo ballot in the coming months.

Further down the list, I’m excited for Alyssa Wong’s  “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers.” Her 2014 story “The Fisher Queen” racked up accolades last year and it looks like this piece, from Nightmare Magazine’s “Queers Destroy Horror” issue will as well.

wings of sorrow and boneAnd the Bradbury Award shortlist is damn near perfect. Choosing between Ex Machina, Fury Road, The Martian and Star Wars? I’m not an SFWA member, but I don’t envy having to make that choice (although I’d probably end up going with Mad Max).

But I’m most excited about the novella category, where my friend Beth Cato has snared a nomination with her steampunk tale of gremlins, cheese and viral marketing, Wings of Sorrow and Bone. She does have some tough competition as well from Nnedi Okorafor’s  Binti as well as works from Usman Malik and Kelly Robson.

The awards will be presented during the Nebula Conference in Chicago on May 14. Good luck to all the nominees!

fifth seasonNovel



ancillary mercyShort Story

BarskRay Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Jessica Jones: AKA Smile
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

About Michael Senft

I am a freelance writer and critic from Phoenix Arizona. I spent 10 years covering music, the arts and pop culture for the “Arizona Republic” before life circumstances took me away from newspaper. But I never lost my joy at writing. Or reading.
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6 Responses to Diversity Shines with Nebula Nominees

  1. Laura says:

    Is “Wings of Sorrow and Bone” enough of a side story that it can be read on its own? Or will it be confusing or too much of a spoiler for the Clockwork duology?


  2. Tarl Kudrick says:

    Hey Michael, do you remember hanging out with a kid named Tarl Kudrick when you were little? If so, that’s me. If not… sorry for bothering you! (But I’ve published some of Ken Liu’s fiction, so either way we may have at least that in common…)


    • Oh my God! Yeah, I remember you – playing D&D way back when. Great to hear from you, it’s weird how this writing blog (which is hopelessly not getting updated right now) has reintroduced me to old friends – one of the authors I interviewed was in high school band with me. Cool that you’ve published Liu’s work, I just got the short story collection and am looking forward to digging in – I’ve only read a handful of his stories and Grace of Kings, which is one of my favorites from last year. I’ll have to check out your site. I’m trying to read more short fiction, because I’m feeling completely overwhelmed when doing my Hugo nominations!


  3. Pingback: Day one at Tucson Festival… The Pain! | Relentless Reading

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