Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nebula Awards 2008 - short stories: Winner & nominees

SFWA: "Brook West, Nebula Award Report editor, announces the draft Preliminary Ballot for the Nebula Awards® for 2008. Subject to minor changes." "juries may add one work to the final ballot." (last year, they did add.) "The final ballot will be mailed in early March." "The Nebula Awards Weekend will be held April 24-26" (that's where winners are announced).
[via 42Blips, SF Signal, SHamm at F&SF Forum, & Jonathan Strahan]
Update 30 February 2009: Final ballot is announced. Includes an entry that wasn't in preliminary list.
Update 2 March 2009: SFWA announces a correction to the final ballot!
Update: 3 April 2009: Podcast of each finalist is available at StarShipSofa. I don't include individual links with the stories below because all but iTunes links are inconvenient to extract based on their publicity page. Follow the link above & you should be able to
Update 26 April 2009: Winners announced.

Note the eligible works are the ones published in the US during either 2007 or 2008. I find it very odd that of the 14 stories on the list below, only two were published during 2008!!! All others are from 2007. And the situation is not much better in other categories. So skip Nebulas if you're looking for "best of 2008" fiction.

Also, going by last year's experience, Nebula nominations tend to be far less interesting than Hugo nominations.

My rating is in brackets. Will add prefixes to story entries to mark the Nebula process stage. I provide download link where I'm aware of an online copy of the story. Links on authors yield more works by author; on publishers yield more works from publisher; on year yield more works published during that year. If I've posted separately on a specific story, story title links there.

List of stories (best first, unread last).

Of the 7 stories I've read so far, there is not even one I would call strong. And 3 forgettable ones among these - including 2 totally crappy ones.
  1. [prelim] Michael Cassutt's "Skull Valley" (B); download; Asimov's, October/November 2007: Cloned prehistoric ape men have run away from a modern human prison where they were about to be culled!
  2. [winner, final] Nina Kiriki Hoffman's "Trophy Wives" (B); download text/MP3; Martin H Greenburg & Kerrie Hughes (Eds)' Fellowship Fantastic, DAW Books, January 2008: Complicated dramatization of Arab-style harem culture.
  3. [prelim] Brian Plante's "The Astronaut" (B); download; Analog, May 2007: A teenage boy is infatuated with an older married neighbor woman.
  4. [final, prelim] Ruth Nestvold's "Mars: A Traveler's Guide" (B); download text/MP3; F&SF, January 2008; satire: Someone is frustrated with a manual that is not able to help solve an immediate problem.
  5. [final, prelim] Kij Johnson's "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" (B); download from author's site or from publisher's site, download MP3 from StarShipSofa; Asimov's, July 2008; fantasy: A bunch of monkeys can vanish at will, & later return.
  6. [prelim] James Van Pelt's "How Music Begins" (B); download; Asimov's, September 2007; non genre: Description of mostly human issues managing a music band of teenagers. Totally irrelevant aliens are added to make it sf, but it's really a non-genre story.
  7. [prelim] Ken Scholes' "Summer in Paris, Light From the Sky" (C); download; Clarkesworld, November 2007: An alternate history of Europe during mid twentieth century where Hitler becomes a savior of Jews.
  8. [final, prelim] James Patrick Kelly's "Don't Stop" (C); download text or MP3 at Internet Archive/StarShipSofa; Asimov's, June 2007: A woman has always been chased by a ghost, & is desperate to get rid of it.
  9. [prelim] M K Hobson's "The Hotel Astarte" (C); download; Realms of Fantasy, June 2007: A parable describing the US Great Depression of 1929, & probably with an eye at current economic crisis. With magic, spells, etc.

    It will probably make more sense to readers from US, possibly those with background knowledge of 1929 crisis. Most of it simply went over my head & sounded like so much meaningless babble.
  10. [final, prelim] Mike Allen's "The Button Bin"; download text;/MP3; Helix SF, October 2007: Not read.
  11. [prelim] Sheila Finch's "Stranger Than Imagination Can"; The Guild of Xenolinguists, Golden Gryphon Press, September 2007: Not read.
  12. [final, prelim] Jeffrey Ford's "The Dreaming Wind"; download MP3 from StarShipSofa; Coyote Road, Trickster Tales, Viking Juvenile, July 2007: Not read.
  13. [prelim] Samantha Henderson's "Bottles"; Realms of Fantasy, April 2007: Not read.
  14. [final, prelim] Gwyneth Jones' "The Tomb Wife"; download text from author's site/F&SF site, or MP3 from podcastdirectory/StarShipSofa; F&SF, August 2007: Not read.
  15. [prelim] Mary Rickert's "Holiday"; Subterranean, #7 (September 2007): Not read.


  1. Nebula Awards 2008 (current year): novelettes, novellas.
  2. Nebula Awards 2009 (next year): short stories, novelettes.
  3. Other awards choosing "best of 2008" fiction: Hugo Awards 2009 (short stories, novelettes, novellas, novels); BSFA Awards 2008 (UK); Aurealis Awards 2008 (Australia); Prix Aurora 2009 (Canada).
  4. Short stories (last year): Nebula Awards 2007, Hugo Awards 2008.
  5. My "best of the year 2008" list (links to some other lists too).
  6. "Best of" lists.