Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction
or fantasy published in the United States. The awards are organized
and awarded by the Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of America
(SFWA), a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and
fantasy writers. They were first given in 1966 at a ceremony created
for the awards, and are given in four categories for different lengths
of literary works. A fifth category for film and television episode
scripts was given 1974–78 and 2000–09, and a sixth category for
video game writing was begun in 2018. The rules governing the Nebula
Awards have changed several times during the awards' history, most
recently in 2010. The SFWA
Nebula Conference, at which the awards are
announced and presented, is held each spring in the United States.
Locations vary from year to year.
Nebula Awards are one of the best known and most prestigious
science fiction and fantasy awards and have been called "the most
important of the American science fiction awards". Winning works
have been published in special collections, and winners and nominees
are often noted as such on the books' cover. SFWA numbers the awards
by the year prior to the year the award is given in; the 2012 awards
were presented in San Jose, California on May 18, 2013.
For lists of winners and nominees for each
Nebula category, see the
list of categories below.
5 See also
7 External links
Nebula Awards are given annually by the Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for the best science fiction or
fantasy fiction published during the previous year. To be eligible for
consideration works must be published in English in the United States.
Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible
provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic
edition. The awards are not limited to American citizens or members of
SFWA. Works translated into English are also eligible.
There are no written rules as to which works qualify as science
fiction or fantasy, and the decision of eligibility in that regard is
left up to the nominators and voters, rather than to SFWA.
The winner receives a trophy but no cash prize; the trophy is a
transparent block with an embedded glitter spiral nebula and gemstones
cut to resemble planets. The trophy itself was designed for the
first awards by J. A. Lawrence, based on a sketch by Kate Wilhelm, and
has remained the same ever since.
Nebula Award nominees and winners are chosen by members of the SFWA.
Works are nominated each year between November 15 and February 15 by
published authors who are members of the organization, with the six
works that receive the most nominations forming the final ballot.
Additional nominees are possible in the case of ties. Members then
vote on the ballot throughout March, and the final results are
presented at the
Nebula Awards ceremony in May. Authors are not
permitted to nominate their own works, though they can decline
nominations. Ties in the final vote are broken, if possible, by the
number of nominations the works received.
Nebula Award for Best Novella for "The Green Leopard Plague," by
Walter Jon Williams
The first Nebulas were given in 1966, for works published in 1965. The
idea for such an award, funded by the sales of anthologies collecting
the winning works, was proposed by SFWA secretary-treasurer Lloyd
Biggle, Jr. in 1965. The idea was based on the Edgar Awards,
presented by the Mystery Writers of America, and hosting a ceremony to
present them at was prompted by the Edgar and Hugo Awards. The
initial ceremony consisted of four literary awards, for Novels,
Novellas, Novelettes, and Short Stories, which have been presented
every year since. A Script award was also presented from 1974 to 1978
under the names Best Dramatic Presentation and Best Dramatic Writing
and again from 2000 through 2009 as Best Script, but after 2009 it was
again removed and replaced by SFWA with the Ray Bradbury Award.
In 2018, a new Game Writing category was added, for writing in video
Prior to 2009, the
Nebula Awards employed a rolling eligibility
system. Each work was eligible to qualify for the ballot for one year
following its date of publication. As a consequence of rolling
eligibility, there was the possibility for works to be nominated in
the calendar year after their publication and then be awarded in the
calendar year after that. Works were added to a preliminary list for
the year if they had ten or more nominations, which were then voted on
to create the final ballot. In 1970, the option was added for
voters to select "no award" if they felt that no nominated work was
worthy of winning; this happened in 1971 in the Short Story category
and in 1977 in the Script category.
Beginning in 1980 the eligibility year for nominations was set to the
calendar year, rather than December–November as initially conceived,
and the SFWA organizing panel was allowed to add an additional work.
Authors were also allowed to use the mass-market paperback publication
of their books as the beginning of their nomination period, rather
than the initial hardback publication. As a consequence of the
combination of this rule and the rolling eligibility, the 2007 awards,
despite nominally being for works published in 2006, instead were all
given to works initially published in 2005. Beginning with the 2010
awards, the rolling eligibility system and paperback publication
exemption were replaced with the current rules.
Stories of 40,000 words or more
Stories of between 17,500 and 40,000 words
Stories of between 7,500 and 17,500 words
Best Short Story
Stories of less than 7,500 words
Movie or television episode scripts
Best Game Writing
Writing in video games
Beside the Nebulas, several other awards and honors are presented at
Nebula Awards ceremony, though not necessarily every year. Two of
them are annual literary awards voted by SFWA members on the Nebula
Andre Norton Award
Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science
Fantasy Book, inaugurated 2006, and the Ray Bradbury Award
for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, which replaced the Best Script
award in 2010. The others are the Damon Knight Memorial
Grand Master Award since 1975 for "lifetime achievement in science
fiction and/or fantasy", the
Author Emeritus since 1995 for
contributions to the field, the Kevin O'Donnell, Jr. Award for service
to SFWA, and the
Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award since 2009 for
significant impact on speculative fiction. All four are
discretionary but a Grand Master, selected by the officers and past
presidents, has been named every year for more than a decade. The
Solstice Award may be presented posthumously (where only living
writers may be named Grand Master or Author Emeritus); in all, twelve
have been awarded in five years to 2013.
Nebula Awards have been described as one of "the most important of
the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and
fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards. Along with the Hugo
Nebula Award is also considered one of the premier awards
in science fiction, with Laura Miller of Salon terming it "science
fiction's most prestigious award", and Justine Larbalestier, in The
Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (2002), referring to it and the
Hugo Award as "the best known and most prestigious of the science
fiction awards". Brian Aldiss, in his book Trillion Year Spree:
The History of Science Fiction, claimed that the
Nebula Award provided
"more literary judgment" while the Hugo was a barometer of reader
popularity, rather than artistic merit, though he did note that the
winners of the two awards often overlapped.
David Langford and
Peter Nicholls stated in
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2012)
that the two awards were often given to the same works, and noted that
some critics felt that the
Nebula selection reflected "political as
much as literary ability" as it did not seem to focus as much on
literary talent over popularity as expected.
Several people within the publishing industry have said that winning
or being nominated for a
Nebula Award has effects on the author's
career and the sales of that work.
Spider Robinson in 1992, as quoted
in Science Fiction Culture (2000), said that publishers "pay careful
attention" to who wins a
Nebula Award. Literary agent Richard
Curtis said in his 1996 Mastering the Business of Writing that having
Nebula Award on the cover, even as a nominee, was a "powerful
inducement" to science fiction fans to buy a novel, and Gahan Wilson,
in First World
Fantasy Awards (1977), claimed that noting that a book
had won the
Nebula Award on the cover "demonstrably" increased sales
for that novel.
There have been several anthologies collecting Nebula-winning short
fiction. The series
Nebula Winners, published yearly by SFWA and
edited by a variety of SFWA members and renamed as the
Showcase series since 1999, was started in 1966 as a collection of
short story winners and nominees for that year. The sales of these
anthologies were intended to pay for presenting the awards
themselves. The anthology The Best of the Nebulas (1989), edited by
Ben Bova, collected winners of
Nebula awards from 1966 through 1986
officially selected by SFWA members. The unofficial anthology
Nebula Award Winning Novellas (1994), edited by Martin H. Greenberg,
contained ten stories which had won the novella award between 1970 and
Speculative fiction portal
List of science fiction awards
List of joint winners of the Hugo and
^ a b The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, p. 255
^ a b Flood, Allison (2009-04-28). "Ursula K Le Guin wins sixth Nebula
award". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2009-08-01.
^ a b "2012
Nebula Awards nominees announced". Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of America. 2013-02-20. Archived from the original on
2017-07-04. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
^ a b "
Nebula Rules". Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of America.
October 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-07-01. Retrieved
^ a b c d A History of the Hugo,
Nebula and International Fantasy
Awards, pp. 9–11
^ a b c d e f g h The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd ed.
^ a b "Ray Bradbury Award". Locus. 2009-01-15. Archived from the
original on 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
^ "Game Writing
Nebula Category". Locus. 2017-05-23. Archived from the
original on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
^ "About the
Nebula Awards". The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the
Awards. Locus Publications. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13.
^ "Norton Award Blog Tour". Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of
America. 2012-12-01. Archived from the original on 2017-11-28.
^ "Service to SFWA Award". Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of
America. Archived from the original on 2012-08-18. Retrieved
^ "About the SFWA Grand Master Award". Locus Publications. Archived
from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
^ "Solstice Award". Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of America.
Archived from the original on 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
^ Garmon, Jay (2006-10-03). "Geek Trivia: Science-fiction double
feature". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on 2012-02-14.
^ Miller, Laura (2011-08-20). "The Death of the Red-Hot Center".
Salon. Archived from the original on 2011-01-29. Retrieved
^ Trillion Year Spree, p. 349.
^ Science Fiction Culture, p. 61
^ Mastering the Business of Writing, ch. 15
^ First World
Fantasy Awards, p. 17
^ a b The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd ed. "Nebula
^ How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, p. 15
Aldiss, Brian; Wingrove, David (1988) . Trillion Year Spree: The
History of Science Fiction. Paladin. p. 349.
Bacon-Smith, Camille (2000). Science Fiction Culture. University of
Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1530-3.
Card, Orson Scott (1990-07-15). How to Write Science Fiction and
Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 0-89879-416-1.
Clute, John; Langford, David; Nicholls, Peter, ed (2011). The
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (3rd ed.). ESF Ltd.
Curtis, Richard (1996). "15". Mastering the Business of Writing.
Allworth Press. ISBN 1-880559-55-2.
Franson, Donald; DeVore, Howard (1978). A History of the Hugo, Nebula
Fantasy Awards. Misfit Press.
Larbalestier, Justine (2002). The Battle of the Sexes in Science
Fiction. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6527-X.
Wilson, Gahan, ed. (1977). First World
Fantasy Awards. Doubleday.
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