The Nebula Awards 2014 showcase, for works published in 2013. In 2015. At last!
Kicking things off, genial editor Bear reminisces about past Nebula gatherings. Rachel Swirsky’s stunning Best Short Story manages, in little more than two pages, to delight your heart and then rip it still beating from your chest. The category nominees, however, yield more mundane fare. Matthew Kressel’s sentimental tale depicts mankind forced to abandon a ruined Earth; Sophia Samatar writes about shape-shifters among us; Kenneth Schneyer analyzes artworks; and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley tells of exiles on a poisonous alien planet. The novelettes, mostly, have more substance. Winner Aliette de Bodard conveys a power struggle between two radically different human civilizations. Of the nominees, incomprehensible robot spider–like beings occupy Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Earth, Henry Lien proposes kung fu on ice (sort of), and Ken Liu presents a typically wrenching tale of the Qing dynasty. Novella winner Vylar Kaftan writes tellingly of an alternate world where the Incan Empire survived and prospered. Ann Leckie captured the Best Novel award for her debut, Ancillary Justice—you can check out the excerpt. Robin Wayne Bailey celebrates the prolific Frank M. Robinson (sometimes known as “Frqnkie”), who died in 2014. Andre Norton Award winner Nalo Hopkinson’s Sister Mine makes an abbreviated appearance. Hopkinson herself writes an appreciation of Grand Master honoree Samuel R. Delany, whose famous “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (Best Novelette winner, 1969, and strong contender for Best Title Ever) takes a bow. Terry A. Garey won a Rhysling for short poetry, as did Andrew Robert Sutton for long, while Deborah P. Kododji claimed a Dwarf Star for tiny little poetry.
Not a banner year, all in all, but good enough to delight and entertain.