2016 Nebula Award Nominees

SFWA has announced the nominees for the 2016 Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book.

Update: SFWA has issued a correction to the novelette category. See the linked post for an explanation. The changes are reflected below.


  • All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Ninefox Gambit,Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)


  • Runtime, S.B. Divya (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “The Liar”, John P. Murphy (F&SF)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)


  • “The Long Fall Up”, William Ledbetter (F&SF)
  • “Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea”, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
  • “Red in Tooth and Cog”, Cat Rambo (F&SF)
  • “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories”, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • “The Orangery,” Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny)

Short Story

  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny)
  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Sabbath Wine”, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
  • “Things With Beards”, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld)
  • “This Is Not a Wardrobe Door”, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com)
  • “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station?Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed)


  • Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistics
  • Doctor Strange, Directed by Scott Derrickson, Screenplay by Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill, Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
  • Kubo and the Two Strings, Directed by Travis Knight, Screenplay by Mark Haimes & Chris Butler; Laika Entertainment
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Directed by Gareth Edwards, Written by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy; Lucusfilm/ Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
  • Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’, Directed by Jonathan Nolan, Written by Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan; HBO
  • Zootopia, Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Jared Bush, Screenplay by Jared Bush & Phil Johnston; Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios


  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
  • The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK; Abrams)
  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press; Switch)
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar (Kathy Dawson Books)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)

The awards will be presented during the annual Nebula Conference, which will run from May 18-21. On May 19, a mass autograph session, open to the public, will take place at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center.

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25 thoughts on “2016 Nebula Award Nominees

  1. My first reaction is that I’m especially happy to see Ninefox Gambit, Obelisk Gate, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Red in Tooth and Cog, and Seasons of Glass and Iron on the list. Other reactions may follow 🙂

  2. Aren’t there meant to be at least six things per category? One of the novels seems to have disappeared.

    Well, this does help to point out what some of the leading works are. All The Birds and Ninefox Gambit are not altogether surprising. I’ve felt that the field has been rather diffuse this year, with nothing massively standing out, and that impression was confirmed by the BSFA nominations – only one book I had read, which isn’t surprising, as I haven’t read much, but also only two books I had heard of, which is more disturbing. Here, by contrast, there is only one book I haven’t heard of (Borderline).

    Novellas: Five out of six are from Tor.com, which is relevant to other discussions here. But I think there’s actually more agreement about the leading novellas of he year than the leading novels.

    Bradbury: Is anything important missing? (Hidden Figures was ruled out of order by the committee, so this shouldn’t be taken as indicative of its support.)

    Norton: The Lie Tree, which qualifies by US publication, won the Costa (formerly Whitbread) prize – for all books – in the UK last year. Definitely worth considering for the Hugo. (Not the YA not-Hugo, which in any case doesn’t exist yet; the actual Hugo.)

  3. Everfair and Borderline look interesting. The other novels are three of my favourites.

    I’m woefully behind on my short fiction reading. I’ll have to go on a strict short fiction diet until Hugo nominations close.

  4. Happy to see You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay on the shortlist. It’s my favorite of Wong’s stories so far.

  5. Well, the Norton list doesn’t have as many adult novels on it as it has in some years in the past, so I’ll take that as a win. I would have a very hard time choosing between The Girl Who Drank The Moon and The Lie Tree.

  6. I liked Borderline but my socks stayed on. I’m not too surprised at its inclusion because plenty of people liked it and I could see what was attracting them about it, it’s just it didn’t work quite as well for me.

    @Andrew M

    Fair point about the Tor novellas in the context of that previous discussion. The only magazine novella, The Liar, is one that I read but didn’t see as an award contender. However, it has a very small town USA folksiness that I imagine played much better with SFWA members than it did with me.

  7. Although “Red in Tooth and Cog” is listed as a Novelette, I note that Kindle counts it as having only 6828 words, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have over 7100 by any reasonable measure. Unlike the Hugos, I think the Nebula’s don’t have an allowance on the word count.

    However, F&SF listed it as a “Novelet” [sic]. Maybe a ‘t’ is worth 500 words. 🙂

  8. The question of the word count, which I hadn’t been aware of, has been raised. The story I sold them was 8k; Charlie says he doesn’t think edits took it much below that but he’s looking at the story when he gets home today.

    I will post when I know what’s up; I am certainly interested in finding out the answer.

  9. Oh, I’m sure it’s my fault that I’ve never heard of it. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise; my point wasn’t that it must be an obscure book that didn’t deserve nomination, just that there is too much to keep track of this year, and nothing, or very little, that stands out above the rest.

  10. Andrew M: my point wasn’t that it must be an obscure book that didn’t deserve nomination, just that there is too much to keep track of this year

    I didn’t think you were saying that, I just figured you’d missed the Filer comments, and that you (and anyone else) might find them useful in terms of determining whether you want to read the book. 🙂

  11. As Greg said, “Red in Tooth and Cog” is listed in my Kindle edition as a “Novelet,” but gives the word count at 6828. Copying the text into a word processor (LibreOffice) shows the word count as 7079.

    (Very fun story either way!)

  12. @Andrew M.: It’s the Hugos that have gone to six items on the shortlist per category, not the Nebulas.

  13. Pingback: 2016 Nebula Award Nominees – Book Reviews & Reading Guides

  14. David Goldfarb: Certainly it’s the Hugos that have gone to six. I thought the Nebulas had always been six. (Well, perhaps not literally always, but throughout recent history.) Wikipedia agrees with me. I can’t remember ever seeing a ballot (in any category) which has fewer than six, though there are sometimes more, owing to ties. Are we to take it that there is always at least one tie?

  15. Update: The Nebula rules agree with me and Wikipedia, in saying that the FINAL BALLOT is composed of the top six nominees. However, there is a clause that may be relevant here:

    ‘If more than two works are tied for the last place in any category, then the last place (including all tied works) will be cut from the ballot.’

    I think this must be a new rule, since there are previous results that could only be explained by a tie of more than two for last place.

    If that is what happened in this case, it implies that there are three works lurking just below the edge of the ballot. It would be interesting to know what they were. (Obviously we can’t be told now. I’m not sure if we might find out later – as far as I can remember SFWA, unlike Worldcon, doesn’t release longlists.)

  16. I think that Cat Rambo is subscribed to this thread; why not just ask her why there are only 5 Novel finalists? Cat? 🙂

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