10 January 2004

2003 SFWA Nebula Awards Preliminary Ballot

The 2003 SFWA Nebula Awards Preliminary Ballot is out, and it's a bit strange. Cheryl Morgan has some comments about it, and Mark Kelly compares the novel list to Locus's recommended reading list.

The rules for eligibility seem clear, but the works chosen come from both 2003 and 2002, which perplexes me a bit. I'm not very familiar with Nebula ballots or eligibility, so I may be missing something...

But why why why isn't something such as James Patrick Kelly's "Bernardo's House" included? Yes, I'm biased -- I've known Jim for years -- but "Bernardo's House" is, even accounting for bias, one of his best stories, and therefore one of the best stories of the year, if not one of the best stories to be published in an SF magazine in the past ten years.

It's not that the list is bad -- there are a bunch of good stories out there -- it's just that it's weird. And weird in a way general awards shouldn't be: it's not the least bit representative of the past year of SF. If the Nebula is to maintain its distinction as a valuable and valued award, it cannot be so limited and bizarre.

Can anybody help me understand what the Nebula folks are thinking?