Nebula Awards 2008 Final Ballot

SFWA has announced the nominees for the 2008 Nebula Awards. The awards will be presented at the 2009 Nebula Awards Weekend, April 24-26, 2009, in Los Angeles, California. 

Novels: “Little Brother” – Doctorow, Cory (Tor, Apr08); “Powers” – LeGuin, Ursula K. (Harcourt, Sep07); “Cauldron” – McDevitt, Jack (Ace, Nov07); “Brasyl” – McDonald, Ian (Pyr, May07); “Making Money” – Pratchett, Terry (Harper, Sep07); “Superpowers” – Schwartz, David J. (Three Rivers Press, Jun08)

Novellas: “The Spacetime Pool” – Asaro, Catherine (Analog, Mar08); “Dark Heaven” – Benford, Gregory (Alien Crimes, Resnick, Mike, Ed., SFBC, Jan07); “Dangerous Space” – Eskridge, Kelley (Dangerous Space, Aquaduct Press, Jun07); “The Political Prisoner” – Finlay, Charles Coleman (F&SF, Aug08); “The Duke in His Castle” – Nazarian, Vera (Norilana Books, Jun08)

Novelettes: “If Angels Fight” – Bowes, Richard (F&SF, Feb08); “The Ray_Gun: A Love Story” – Gardner, James Alan (Asimov’s, Feb08); “Dark Rooms” – Goldstein, Lisa (Asimov’s, Oct/Nov 07); “Pride and Prometheus” – Kessel, John (F&SF, Jan08); “Night Wind” – Rosenblum, Mary (Lace and Blade, ed. Deborah J. Ross, Norilana Books, Feb08); “Baby Doll” – Sinisalo, Johanna (The SFWA European Hall of Fame, James Morrow & Kathryn Morrow, Ed., Tor, Jun07 <trans. from the Finnish by David Hackston>); “Kaleidoscope” – Wentworth, K.D. (F&SF, May07)

Short Stories: “The Button Bin” – Allen, Mike (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, Oct07); “The Dreaming Wind” – Ford, Jeffrey (The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Ed., Viking, Jul07); “Trophy Wives” – Hoffman, Nina Kiriki (Fellowship Fantastic, ed. Greenberg and Hughes, Daw Jan08); “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” – Johnson, Kij (Asimov’s, Jul08); “The Tomb Wife” – Jones, Gwyneth (F&SF, Aug07); “Don’t Stop” – Kelly, James Patrick (Asimov’s, Jun07); “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” – Nestvold, Ruth (F&SF, Jan08)

Scripts: “The Dark Knight” – Nolan, Jonathan; Nolan, Christopher, Goyer, David S. (Warner Bros., Jul08) “WALL-E” Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter (Walt Disney June 2008); “The Shrine” – Wright, Brad (Stargate Atlantis, Aug08)

Norton: “Graceling” – Cashore, Kristin (Harcourt, Oct08); “Lamplighter” -Cornish, D.M. (Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 2, Putnam Juvenile, May08)); “Savvy” – Law, Ingrid (Dial, May08); “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” -Pearson, Mary E. (Henry Holt and Company, Apr08); “Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room) -Wilce, Ysabeau S. (Harcourt, Sep08)

Posted February 27, 2009; see

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Update 03/02/2009: SFWA released a corrected slate of finalists after discovering two omissions. The list above has been fixed. SFWA’s explanation follows:

Errata: Upon a procedural review, we discovered an error in the final Nebula tally. Two works that should be on the final ballot were not listed: the novelette “The Ray_Gun: A Love Story” – James Alan Gardner(Asimov’s, Feb08) and “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” – Ruth Nestvold (F&SF, Jan08) in short stories. No other changes have been made to the final ballot. We apologize for the error and have made changes to the procedures to keep this sort of mistake from happening again.

Why Johnny Can’t Count Worldcon Bids

Craig Miller perceptively noticed that I posted the wrong stat for defeated LA Worldcon bids in my article about Reno and Seattle in 2011. Somehow I had LA hosting a measly two Worldcons instead of a robust four during the past 50 years.

Upon reflection, there were LA bids that went to a final vote for 1964, 1968, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1990, 1996 and 2006. LA hosted Worldcons in 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2006. The right number is six losses out of ten.

I was trying to highlight the lost bids and wanted to reach back to Mordor in ’64 without being required to count the successful bid for the “South Gate in ’58” Worldcon. This being 2009, I could get away with using the nice round number of 50 years. What I could not get away with was counting less than four LA Worldcons.

To the outside world it seemed like one darned LA bid after another. Fans said as much. I remember Milt Stevens in the Seventies blandly answering this complaint saying, “Well, we always field a team.”

The Bay Area beat LA in 1964 and again in 1968 – the second time despite LA bidders simultaneously running a fan fund to bring Takumi Shibano to the Worldcon. Only the fan fund succeeded, consequently Shibano-san attended the BayCon.

By winning the rights to L.A.Con in 1972 Chuck Crayne and Bruce Pelz changed the town’s luck. However, that was the last of their teamwork. There followed the bizarre spectacle of Chuck Crayne running an LA bid against Australia for 1975, while Bruce Pelz chaired an LA bid solely for the 1975 NASFiC. My earliest hornbook in practical fanpolitics was witnessing Crayne capitalize on his lost Worldcon bid to defeat Pelz’ bid for the NASFiC. (And after I carried all those cases of beer to Bruce’s party!)

Bruce and company lost their next Worldcon bid for 1978 to Phoenix with some unintended help from young LA fans (myself included) who successfully bid for the 1978 Westercon.

The Crayne and Pelz rivalry surfaced one last time in the 1981 race, in a manner of speaking. Chuck led a Worldcon bid for LA. Lois Newman, a LASFSian who had moved to Colorado, initiated a Denver bid which enjoyed the distant support of active LASFS members including Bruce. Lois was no longer involved by the time the site selection vote took place and Denver fandom secured the win over Crayne’s bid.

LA fans absorbed a lot of lessons from the school of hard knocks and successfully campaigned for the right to hold L.A.con II in 1984. Yet a lesson or two must have been immediately forgotten: some napkins appeared at L.A.con II’s dead dog party printed with an apparent announcement of an immediate new bid for 1990 (under the rules, LA’s earliest opportunity to host another Worldcon). That bid lurched along to its inevitable defeat three years later. Sometimes LA can be accused of displaying a Kzin-like eagerness to start the battle long before we’re ready to win.

And it being us, within two years we had removed the two-by-four planted between our mulish eyes and started running for another LA Worldcon – though showing some slight wisdom by aiming for 1996 despite 1993 being the next Western Zone year. (It would be contested by San Francisco, Phoenix and Hawaii, eliminating the winner and exhausting the losers). So in due course there was an L.A.con III in 1996, and with patience, an L.A.con IV in 2006.

Thus the scoreboard reads four wins and six losses over a 50 year span.

The Rockies May Tumble

Today comes the stunning news that the Rocky Mountain News will stop publishing on Friday. Financial losses and the inability to find a buyer for the paper after months of effort led to the announcement.

Seems like only yesterday I was watching its website until it was Connie Willis’ Turn at “A Dozen on Denver”, one more thing to like about a paper with a scintillating track record:

In the past decade, the Rocky has won four Pulitzer Prizes, more than all but a handful of American papers. Its sports section was named one of the 10 best in the nation this week. Its business section was cited by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as one of the best in the country last year. And its photo staff is regularly listed among the best in the nation when the top 10 photo newspapers are judged.

[Via Whatever.]

Watchmen’s Hugo Win Remembered

Two magazines adding their bit to the Watchmen movie’s pre-release publicity frenzy have cited the comic’s 1988 Hugo victory in the one-shot Best Other Forms category.

Steven Silver told the Smofs list that the February 27 issue of Entertainment Weekly — released with six different covers featuring Watchmen characters – lists the Hugo win among the comic’s accolades, accompanied with a photo of the Nolacon II Hugo trophy.

Wired‘s article “Filming the Unfilmable” also mentions the Hugo:

When legendary comics writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons created Watchmen in 1986, the Owlship didn’t have chain guns. Which means Snyder’s version, while inarguably cool, is also very risky. Adapting a cult comic into a Hollywood blockbuster is fraught with danger, especially when it’s the only superhero comic book ever to win a Hugo Award or land on Time’s list of the top 100 novels. Even slight changes to Watchmen, changes that will enhance its appeal to the masses, seem certain to alienate the very people who loved it in the first place.

[Via Steven Silver and the Smofs list.]

Another Chance at Serenity

Firefly fans urge you to visit NASA’s poll and cast a vote to name the International Space Station’s new habitat node “Serenity.” They’ve dominated the early results – “Serenity” has received 82% of the votes to date — but there’s almost a month to go. Voting will be open until March 20th, 2009.  NASA will announce the winning name in April 2009:

NASA wants your opinion in naming the International Space Station’s Node 3 – a connecting module and its cupola – before the two segments travel to space and are installed on the orbiting laboratory. The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity- and Node 2- Harmony.

Maybe it’s this generation’s answer to the campaign that named the first Space Shuttle “Enterprise.”

[Via ConDor YahooGroup.]

Fans Converge on Glendale Bookstore
For an Escape From Hell

 Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle autographing Escape From Hell

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle ready to autograph copies of Escape From Hell.

The new Niven/Pournelle novel Escape From Hell (a.k.a. Inferno II) is a treat long-awaited by LA fans. They showed up to help the authors celebrate at a launch party hosted by Mystery and Imagination Bookshop in Glendale, CA on February 21.

Pournelle told Chaos Manor readers: “Escape from Hell continues the adventures of Allen Carpenter, who finds himself in the Inferno as described by Dante Alighieri. One of my working titles for the book was ‘Vatican 2 meets Dante.’ People encountered include Sylvia Plath, Albert Camus, and Carl Sagan. There are many others. Most think it’s a pretty good read. We got a number of awards for Inferno and some consider it our best book.”

John King Tarpinian took these pictures at the bookstore while the authors were being interviewed by Warren James for Hour 25 Online.

Warren James interviews Niven and Pournelle

Warren James interviews Niven and Pournelle. Suzanne Gibson is at left.

Hugo Nomination Deadline: February 28

Hugo nominating ballots must be cast by the end of the day on February 28 reminds Diane Lacey of Anticipation’s Hugo Administration Committee. Printable ballots and online voting are both available through the Montreal Worldcon’s web page.

To vote, one must either have joined Anticipation by January 31, or have been a member of last year’s Worldcon, Denvention 3. A PIN issued by Anticipation is required for online voting – see details at their website.

The specific deadline is 23:59 Pacific Standard Time on February 28.

Diane hopes you won’t wait ’til the last minute because “computers have, occasionally, been known to fail.” A word to the wise…


It’s Reno in 2011

I’m overdue to post about Seattle pulling out of the race for the 2011 Worldcon. They didn’t have the required facilities committed by the February 6 filing deadline. Only Reno put in an official bid, so when the votes are counted in August Patty Wells’ crew should receive most of them.

Fans in Los Angeles know from hard-earned experience there’s nothing pleasant about losing a Worldcon bid, with a record of six defeats in ten campaigns over the past 50 years. Yet I am sure it’s even more painful and frustrating to pour out years of effort and thousands of dollars and be forced out short of the final vote – a thing Seattle fans have endured twice in the last 11 years.

Seattle’s bid for 2002 collapsed in 1998 when Starwood hotel management declined to commit any of their facilities, so it became impossible to meet the hotel and convention center reservations requirements set by the World Science Fiction Society. Now, a fatal inability to secure necessary facilities has overtaken Seattle’s bid for 2011. Seattle Chair Bobbie DuFault told readers:

This is due to an unforeseen event and our inability to reach a formal first option agreement with our preferred facilities. We had initial options on facilities, but when it came time to reduce them to formal writing, we found that our preferred facilities had groups willing to make the financial commitment ahead of us. Seattle is such a popular destination for conventions that all of the reasonable dates (early August through early September) already have groups that have firmer commitments than we do.

Cheryl Morgan observed, “The Seattle folks were obviously trying right up until the last minute to find a deal that would rescue their bid.”

That’s possible, though I suspect hope genuinely slipped away months earlier – not based on any inside knowledge, but on the indefinite nature of the answers given me about facilities when I asked about them in June 2008, right after Reno announced. For some of the most respected Worldcon runners to launch a bid for 2011 at that time seemed an implicit criticism of a political weakness in the Seattle bid that I wanted to understand. Seattle’s facilities and committee were two obvious areas to probe.

A Seattle bidder, on background, emphatically assured me they had commitments from many hotels to block rooms for the traditional Labor Day weekend — yet, at the same time said their bid was negotiating to move earlier in the month. In my mind, that begged the question: Why would a committee risk existing facilities arrangements and abandon the weekend promised by its campaign publicity – unless it already had a compelling need to do so?

No committee makes a binding financial commitment to a hotel or convention center before it is voted the rights to the Worldcon. That’s why Worldcon bids are always vulnerable to the possibility of losing their intended facilities to another group able to immediately sign a contract.

Seattle was already trying to shift dates in June 2008. In the end, they were unable to get acceptable facilities on a workable date. One can only guess how long the bidders spent grappling with this crisis behind the scenes.

Lead Time: Most analysts of Seattle’s predicament dwell on the facilities problem, the reason given by the bidders, becase it fuels a perpetual debate about how much lead time should be built into the site selection process.

Tom Veal reminded Stromata blog readers:

In 1986, the site selection lead time was changed from two to three years, largely in hopes of mitigating this problem. It didn’t work very well, as the subsequent travails of the D.C. in 1992 bid (withdrawn after another group preempted their main hotel), Baltimore in 1998 (forced to change its date) and San Francisco in 2002 (exiled to San José) illustrate. Now we are back to a two-year cycle, and nothing has changed.

Just the same, there’s been a lingering sense that Seattle’s best chances expired awhile ago. The fans at the Las Vegas Westercon I questioned about the 2011 race (none of them part of either committee) felt Reno had all the momentum, and that has never changed.

Lead time isn’t an isolated factor, but must be balanced against the requirement to keep a volunteer committee together and motivated for years of bidding and years of preparation after they win the Worldcon.

Selecting Worldcons three years in advance did not keep bidders from losing dates and facilities. The shorter two-year cycle, however, reduces the stress and punishment inflicted on bidders – which may encourage more fans to get involved or, at least, make the experience more tolerable for veteran conrunners.

Go North, Young Fan: I’m sorry Seattle is such a tough market for a 5,000-person Worldcon. Nor is the irony lost on me that in just a few weeks Corflu members (meeting in the University District, not downtown) will be enjoying everything that Seattle in 2011 has talked up, especially the Science Fiction Museum. Maybe you can’t pass a camel through the eye of a space needle, but Corflu Zed will slip through, and room to spare.