2016 Nebula Awards Winners

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the winners of the 50th Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book tonight in Chicago.

Novel

  • Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

Novella

  • Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)

Novelette

  • ‘‘Our Lady of the Open Road’’, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story

  • ‘‘Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers’’, Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

  • Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

Other Awards: Gay Haldeman presented the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award to Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen.

Jodi Lynn Nye presented the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award to Sir Terry Pratchett. The Solstice Award is presented to individuals who have had a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, and is particularly intended for those who have consistently made a major positive difference within the speculative fiction field, much like its namesake.

Cat Rambo presented the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award to C.J. Cherryh. This award is given by SFWA for “lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.”

75 thoughts on “2016 Nebula Awards Winners

  1. The “In Memoriam” slideshow recognized the following people:
    (my apologies for missing one name)

    Clarence Howard “Bud” Webster
    Merl “Bill” Baldwin
    Adrienne Martine-Barnes
    E.L. Doctorow
    Luis Bermejo Rojo
    Roger Bollen
    Tom Arden aka David Rain
    Perry Chapdelaine
    Katherine Dunn
    Yal Ayerdahl
    Ray Girvan
    Robert Conquest
    Jon Arfstrom
    Jean Darling
    Peter Dickinson
    Paul Bacon
    Bruce Edwards
    Johan Frick
    Kathleen A Bellamy
    Marjorie “Jor” Jennings
    Dave Gibson
    Daniel Grotta
    David G. Hartwell
    Göran Hägg
    Dr Philip Kaldon
    Gordon Honeycombe
    Wolfgang Jeschke
    ?
    George Clayton Johnson
    Justin Leiber
    Nick Kisella
    Rena Wolner
    T.M. Wright
    F.W. Armstrong
    Harriet Klausner
    David J. Lake
    Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
    Mark Justice
    Florin Manolescu
    Jeremy P. Tarcher
    Marvin Minsky
    Markus Wolfson aka Mark McCann
    A.R. Morlan
    Warren Murphy
    Liviu Radu
    Charles Runyon
    Graham Lord
    John A Williams
    Tom Piccirilli

  2. An outstanding group of winners. Congrats to them all.

  3. Looks like a good list of winners. I’m really happy about “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” winning the short story category – excellent piece of writing.

  4. @JJ:

    There were almost 50 names you listed, by my count. That you got all but one is impressive! I doubt I could have even come close to that on my best day (July 24, 1980).

    Good set of winners. I particularly like the Wong.

  5. Oneiros on May 14, 2016 at 8:42 pm said:

    Looks like a good list of winners. I’m really happy about “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” winning the short story category – excellent piece of writing.

    A bit too far down the horror end of the genre spectrum for me – but yes, great writing.

  6. I believe that Alyssa Wong is 24, which makes her the second youngest Nebula winner ever (after Ted Chiang). She is the first winner of either Hugo or Nebula to have been born in the 1990s.

    All the other winners for written fiction were born in the 1970s – the first time no Nebula has been won by someone older than me (born in 1967).

  7. Yay for Uprooted, Binti, and Our Lady of the Open Road. They were all on my ballot for the Hugos. Looking forward to reading the others.

    Re In Memoriam- I had missed the news that Harriet Klausner had died. I used to go to a used bookstore in Riverdale, GA and would find ARCs that had been sent to her. She lived in another nearby suburb.

    Went looking for Klausner reviews just now on Amazon and couldn’t find anything; also looks like they no longer have the ranked reviewers and Hall of Fame? Has Harriet been purged?

  8. I thought most of the novel nominees were darned good books (I read all but the Gannon), so no complaints there. But I still need someone to explain to me what was so wonderful about Binti — it actively annoyed me in a couple of ways. And though I enjoyed watching the latest Mad Max, I have no clue why it was considered Nebula-worthy. Shrug.

  9. Congrats to all the winners.

    @Cmm
    I was reading a review on Amazon within the last month and it sounded so familiar – looked at the name sure enough it was Harriet Klausner. Don’t remember the book.

  10. Contrarius: I still need someone to explain to me what was so wonderful about Binti — it actively annoyed me in a couple of ways.

    I thought that “Binti” had a lot of promise — but it needed more development. Its deus ex machina ending was, in my opinion, rushed and unsatisfying.

  11. Robert Reynolds: There were almost 50 names you listed, by my count. That you got all but one is impressive!

    Believe me, I was typing like a crazy person! I quickly decided to omit the <Shift> key and used MS Word’s “Capitalize each word” feature afterward. 😉

    I’ll try to retrieve that last name after the recorded footage has been posted.

  12. @JJ —

    I wish we had spoiler tags here! IMHO the setup and moralizing aspects of the story were pretty YA and simplistic, and then we had those oh-so-convenient plot devices that Binti brought with her, and then one thing about the plot really ticked me off — but since I don’t want to spoil the plot for folks who haven’t read it, I won’t get any more specific than that.

  13. Contrarius: I wish we had spoiler tags here… since I don’t want to spoil the plot for folks who haven’t read it, I won’t get any more specific than that.

    Filers generally encode spoilers with rot13, and then anyone who’s read a book/story can participate in a spoiler discussion to their heart’s content.

    For example: V gubhtug gur raqvat jnf gbb cng naq pbairavrag; fhqqrayl fur’f gur evtug fcrpvrf.

  14. @Camestros Felapton: Sadly, most of Wong’s stories veer quite deeply into dark/horror territory. Probably the least horrorful of her stories that I’ve read is this year’s “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” (available at tor.com) – but this is also the most difficult to untangle. I’ll have to read it another time or two, I think. But again, excellent writing. (it’s on my currently very short longlist of stories for next year’s award season)

  15. @Contrarius: Have you read Vajra Chandrasekera’s review of Binti, where he puts it into a colonial context that makes a lot of sense of it?

    @Aaron: indeed – all authors except DP are women, the DP is Fury Road, Grand Master is a woman, two of the winners are writers of color, two are queer writers with stories starring queer women… It’s the apocalypse!!!

  16. @JJ & Contrarius: I have similar thoughts on her Lagoon too. I liked it, to a point. Then gur guvat jvgu fhcrecbjref unccrarq naq V whfg xvaqn fgnegrq ybfvat vagrerfg va gur fgbel.

    I wanted to like it more than I did, in the end. It’s not a bad story; it just gets a bit too… I don’t know, simplistic, I guess?

  17. @JJ —

    Hmmmm. Okay, let’s give this a try:

    V nterr gung gur uloevqvmngvba guvat fur unq tbvat ba jnf bireyl pbairavrag. Nf jrer gur zntvp urnyvat qveg naq gur zntvp negvsnpg fur unq orra tvira gung pbairavragyl nyybjrq gurz gb pbzzhavpngr. Naq gura gur havirefvgl cebsf jrer jnnnnnnnl gbb pnyz naq npprcgvat bs gurfr nyvraf jub unq whfg znffnperq na ragver fuvcybnq bs fghqragf. Ohg jung ernyyl sebfgrq zr jnf gung gur nyvraf arire qb nppbhag sbe, znxr ercnengvbaf sbe, be trg chavfurq sbe gung znffnper — vg’f nyy whfg “Bu, jr’er nyy sevraqf abj! Znffnper, jung znffnper?”

    Bah, I say.

  18. @Vasha — No, but I’ll check it out. Thanks! In the meantime, see my response to JJ.

  19. @Vasha: I didn’t really get a horror vibe from it. You know, despite the constant string of apocalypses. It seemed much more intimate than all that, and more about the sisterly love/hate/rivalry than anything else. (Although you could argue that “Scarecrow” is more about coming out/the secret relationship than the horror elements, or really make similar arguments about most of her stories, because she’s a good writer who can combine her themes and genre trappings in brilliant ways without it seeming totally inorganic and pushy like… certain other writers)

  20. @Contrarius: I wasn’t wowed by “Binti” at all.

    @Vasha: Thanks for the review link. I’m not sure a review has ever changed my opinion of a story, but I like reading reviews of works I’ve read, so it’s interesting to read Chandrasekera’s take on it.

  21. @Vasha — Read it. Very interesting! That does give me more respect for the story, though it doesn’t resolve my complaints. But I’ll stop kvetching!

  22. And though I enjoyed watching the latest Mad Max, I have no clue why it was considered Nebula-worthy. Shrug.

    Well, it was a post-apocalyptic film that was easily the best action movie in the past decade. Or maybe past two.
    If sff action movies have a place in the awards (apparently they do) then a best-in-ten-years example of the form is a pretty strong contender

  23. @MaxL–

    What made it any better than The Martian or Ex Machina or Star Wars?

  24. Girl cooties everywhere!

    @Contrarius: Yeah, I felt the same way about “Binti”. It’s all so convenient.

  25. Vasha: Have you read Vajra Chandrasekera’s review of Binti, where he puts it into a colonial context that makes a lot of sense of it?

    Wow, thank you for linking to that. It really enhanced my personal knowledge and my understanding of the background for the story.

    I still have the same issues with the story — but it’s still well worth the read and the contemplation. I would love to see Okarafor develop it into a full-fledged novel and overcome the the storytelling issues.

  26. @Oneiros: I don’t know what a “horror vibe” is to you; to me, the oppressive doom of “A Fist of Permutations”, jurer gur znva punenpgre, jvgu cbgragvnyyl jbeyq-qrfgeblvat cbjref, fgehttyrf rire zber ubcryrffyl guebhtu ncbpnylcfrf gb fnir ure fvfgre sebz varivgnoyr ubeevoyr qrngu, naq jurer gur raqvat yrnirf bcra gur cbffvovyvgl bs rira jbefr, is very much horror. “Santos de Sampanguitas”, though, in spite of the fact that gur znva punenpgre vf yvgrenyyl n zbafgre, takes on its themes in a way that strikes me as more in fantasy territory: we are given gradual revelations about the nature of the world, the relationship of its gods to the cultural struggles between traditional Philippine beliefs, imported ones, and new ones, and between rich and poor, rural and urban; the main character is discovering herself and finding her place in this world.

    Tomayto, tomahto, though.

  27. @Vasha: Honestly I read it more as just an (extremely) dark fantasy. For whatever reason it never struck me as being “horror” in a genre sense – although it’s undoubtedly an extremely grim story. Like I said, I need to re-read it anyway so when I get around to it I’ll try and pick apart why I don’t get as much of a horror vibe from that as I got from “Hungry Daughters…” and “Scarecrow”.
    Agree on “Santos de Sampanguitas” – although it has obviously very “horror” things in it, it never really reads as a horror.
    All this talk is just confirming my belief that Wong is excellent and appeals to different people on different levels, though 🙂

  28. I feel Hungry Daughters and Uprooted weren’t the best in their categories (Madeleine and The Fifth Season were better imo) – but they were still pretty good, so I won’t complain.

  29. Contrarius: For spoilers, we use rot-13 encryption around here. You can use http://www.rot13.com/ to encrypt it, or there are various plug-ins and apps. So if you see sudden gibberish, the typist probably hasn’t had a stroke; try using rot-13 on it. Hope this helps.

    Edited to add: And I was beaten to the punch several hours ago. That’s what I get for not refreshing the page and reading everything before replying….

  30. @Cally — Thanks, Cally. I got the memo from JJ last night, but I appreciate the thought!

  31. I would love to see Okarafor develop it into a full-fledged novel and overcome the the storytelling issues.

    In order to fill plot holes, Chandrasekera had to hypothesize former contact between Meduse and humans, even though that’s not stated. If Okorafor had found a way to mention something like that in the text in spite of Binti not knowing about it, readers wouldn’t have felt like plot developments came out of nowhere, and I feel sure it could have been done without sacrificing all the thematic subtleties Chandrasekera discusses. Nonetheless, I found Binti fascinating, and would rather have it than a perfectly-constructed but routine story.

  32. @Vasha —

    “If Okorafor had found a way to mention something like that in the text in spite of Binti not knowing about it, readers wouldn’t have felt like plot developments came out of nowhere”

    Exactly right. We needed a few clues here and there. Otherwise we just see artificial plot devices and, later, inexplicable character reactions.

  33. Congratulations to the winners! The one that makes me happiest is Hungry Daughters, which has been rattling around my head since I read it.

  34. Gah. Keyboard ate my huge comment.

    Uprooted good, but not in sock-orbiting class of Fifth Season.

    Mad Max has ‘splosions AND social commentary. Nice choice.

    I wanna see the Radio SFWA part, since I heard a bare-bones version when Henry Lien was writing it.

    I heard it in the AWESOME weekly Google Hangout of Juliette Wade. She has a different author guest every week, and a different aspect of world-building is discussed. I nominated it for a Hugo. It is a must-watch (or check out the later summaries on her blog).

    LOTS of author activity goes on over at Google Plus. It’s not dead! It’s Facebook minus much of the stupid, with more granular controls.

  35. Pingback: Women just won so many major awards at one of science fiction’s biggest award shows - How to do everything!

  36. Xtifr: I admit that I would complain anyway, but if HWA can’t keep its own chronology straight that’s a problem.

  37. @Cora Buhlert: Torgersen lost my skimming very quickly with this silliness:

    Guess which future the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) voted as their favorite?

    Of course, the Bradbury award is for “Outstanding Dramatic Presentation” – not “what’s your favorite future.” But Torgersen never lets reality get in the way of a silly rant. 😉

    ETA: BTW thanks for the link, Cora!

  38. @Kendall

    That was pretty much my reaction to Torgersen’s rant as well.: It’s the Ray Bradbury Award for “Outstanding Dramatic Presentation”, not for “most liveable future” nor for the highest grossing movie. Never mind that The Force Awakens outgrossed everything else on the shortlist.

  39. Torgersen is hilarious as usual.

    Did I mention that The Martian had a world-wide take of $630 million dollars, while Mad Max took in just $378 million by comparison?

    Clearly, audiences across the globe had a much greater preference for the science fiction movie that focused on actual science being employed in a setting where science — and mankind — are making miracles happen.

    Yeah, that must be the reason it made more money. Never mind that the new Star Wars movie earned over 2 billion while its science was hilariously nonsensical. Then there are Avatar, the Matrix trilogy, Star Trek and all the other blockbusters where the science makes no sense whatsoever which made huge money. But he conveniently forgets about them.

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