2001-02-03: Nebula Awards 33

Nebula Awards 33 (1999)

ed. Connie Willis (1945-)

This is the latest compilation of Nebula award winning stories in the local library. I read all the stories, and enjoyed them. I go years at a time without reading much SF; recently I have read quite a few anthologies (as well as Ursula K. LeGuin’s most recent novel). Often when I take up SF after a lapse, I start with the Nebula Award anthologies.

I liked Connie Willis’s comments, especially A Few Last Words to Put It All in Perspective:

And last of all, a few words for the “differently victorious,” the “differently nominated,” and the rest of us, just to keep things in perspective.

Neither Alfred Hitchcock nor Greta Garbo ever won an Oscar. Ditto Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, and Harrison Ford. Edward G. Robinson was never even nominated. Citizen Kane didn’t win an Oscar for Best Picture. Neither did The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Sunset Boulevard, High Noon, The Wizard of Oz, or Star Wars.

Closer to home, non-Nebula winners include William Gibson’s “Burning Chrome,” Samuel R. Delaney’s Dhalgren, Joan D. Vinge’s The Snow Queen, John Varley’s Titan, and R. A. Lafferty’s “Continued on Next Rock.” And five of the Grand Masters, including Robert A. Heinlein.

No awards system is perfect. Juries are subjective. Voting can turn into a popularity contest. Works can be overlooked, or ahead of their time, or published in the wrong year. When Frank Capra was asked what he would have done differently with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington if he had had the chance, he answered, “Not make it the same year as Gone with the Wind.”

But even though the Nebula Awards have missed a few here and there – and history will probably point out a few more – the list of Nebula Award winners and finalists is still the best recommended reading list around. Start with Nebula Awards 33 (if you’re this far, you probably already have – this message is for those reprehensible people who read the last page first). Then go back to Nebula Award Stories 1965, edited by Damon Knight, start with “The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of his Mouth,” and go forward from there.

Or skip ahead to Nebula Winners Twelve and read, “Houston, Houston Do You Read?” by James Tiptree Jr. Or twenty-five, and read Geoffrey Landis’s “Ripples in the Dirac Sea.” Or read the even-numbered volumes first. Or the primes. Or the novels.

Read the Nebulas. You’ll have a fabulous time. Trust me

Here is the list of novels and other special awards from each year:

Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1966)

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney (1966)

The Einstein Interaction by Samuel R. Delaney (1967)

Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin (1968)

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)

Ringworld by Larry Niven (1970)

A Time of Changes by Robert Silverberg (1971)

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov (1972)

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1973)

film: Soylent Green (1973)

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)

film: Sleeper by Woody Allen (1974)

Grand Master: Robert A. Heinlein (1974)

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1975)

dramatic writing: Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder (1975)

Grand Master: Jack Williamson (1975)

Man Plus by Frederick Pohl (1976)

Grand Master: Clifford D. Simak (1976)

Gateway by Frederick Pohl (1977)

Special Award: Star Wars (1977)

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre (1978)

Grand Master: L. Sprague de Camp (1978)

The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke (1979)

Timescape by Gregory Benford (1980)

Grand Master: Fritz Leiber (1980)

The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe (1981)

No Enemy But Time by Michael Bishop (1982)

Startide Rising by David Brin (1983)

Grand Master: Andre Norton (1983)

Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)

Grand Master: Arthur C. Clarke (1985)

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (1986)

Grand Master: Isaac Asimov (1986)

The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy (1987)

Grand Master: Alfred Bester (1987)

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988)

Grand Master: Ray Bradbury (1988)

The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (1989)

Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (1990)

Grand Master: Lester Del Rey (1990)

Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick (1991)

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)

Grand Master: Frederick Pohl (1992)

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (1993)

Moving Mars by Greg Bear (1994)

Grand Master: Damon Knight (1994)

The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer (1995)

Grand Master: A. E. van Vogt (1995)

Slow River by Nicola Griffith (1996)

Grand Master: Jack Vance (1996)

The Moon and the Sun by VondaN. McIntyre (1997)

Author Emeritus: Nelson Bond (1997)

Grand Master: Poul Anderson (1997)

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