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Nebula Awards 30: SFWA's Choices For The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year

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Excellent in all departments (Kirkus Reviews), Nebula Awards 30 continues a tradition of excellence by offering, alongside works by the winners in all Nebula categories, a generous selection of fiction, poetry, and essays not found in any other best-of-the-year anthologies.


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Excellent in all departments (Kirkus Reviews), Nebula Awards 30 continues a tradition of excellence by offering, alongside works by the winners in all Nebula categories, a generous selection of fiction, poetry, and essays not found in any other best-of-the-year anthologies.

48 review for Nebula Awards 30: SFWA's Choices For The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    CONTENTS ◾Fiction: ◾Excerpt from winning novel: ▪️Moving Mars* - Greg Bear ◾Novella: ▪️"Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge"* - Mike Resnick ◾Novelettes: ▪️"The Martian Child"* - David Gerrold ▪️"The Matter of Seggri" - Ursula K. Le Guin ◾Short Stories ▪️"Inspiration" - Ben Bova ▪️"None So Blind" - Joe Haldeman ▪️"Understanding Entropy" - Barry N. Malzberg ▪️"Virtual Love" - Maureen F. McHugh ▪️"A Defense of the Social Contracts"* - Martha Soukup ▪️"I Know What You're Thinking" - Kate Wilhelm ▪️"Fortyday" [not a N CONTENTS ◾Fiction: ◾Excerpt from winning novel: ▪️Moving Mars* - Greg Bear ◾Novella: ▪️"Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge"* - Mike Resnick ◾Novelettes: ▪️"The Martian Child"* - David Gerrold ▪️"The Matter of Seggri" - Ursula K. Le Guin ◾Short Stories ▪️"Inspiration" - Ben Bova ▪️"None So Blind" - Joe Haldeman ▪️"Understanding Entropy" - Barry N. Malzberg ▪️"Virtual Love" - Maureen F. McHugh ▪️"A Defense of the Social Contracts"* - Martha Soukup ▪️"I Know What You're Thinking" - Kate Wilhelm ▪️"Fortyday" [not a Nebula nominee] - Damon Knight ◾Poetry: Rhysling Awards ◾Long Poem ▪️"Basement Flats"* - W. Gregory Stewart & Robert Frazier ◾Short Poem: [Tie] ▪️"Spacer's Compass"* - Bruce Boston ▪️"Flight Is for Those Who Have Not Yet Crossed Over"* - Jeff VanderMeer ◾Non-fiction: ▪️"Introduction" - Pamela Sargent ▪️"The Year in Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Symposium": 🔹"Genre Collapses! Thousands Crushed" - John Kessel 🔹"The New Aliens of Science Fiction" - Nicola Griffith 🔹"Embers" - Paul Di Filippo 🔹"Double Vision" - Jack Dann 🔹"Doctor, Will the Patient Survive?" - Sheila Finch 🔹"Biker Nuns and Social Revolution: An Optimistic Assessment of 1994"-Pat Murphy 🔹"The Year in Science Fiction" - James Gunn ▪️"In Memoriam: Robert Bloch" - Frank M. Robinson ▪️"From a Park Bench to the Great Beyond: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of 1994" - Kathi Maio ▪️"Appendixes": 🔹"About the Nebula Awards" 🔹" Selected Titles from the 1994 Preliminary Nebula Ballot" 🔹"Past Nebula Award Winners" *Award winner The Nebula Awards are given by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. This book is a collection of Nebula Award winners and nominees originally published in 1993 and 1994. There is also material relating to the field of science fiction and fantasy and to the awards themselves. At the time of the 1994 awards, the awards were given in the categories of Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Best Short Story. Awards were also given for poetry; these are called Rhysling Awards, named after a poet in Robert Heinlein's short story, "The Green Hills of Earth." Rhysling Awards were given in two categories, Best Long Poem and Best Short Poem. This particular volume has an excerpt from the Best Novel winner, Moving Mars by Greg Bear. There is also the winning novella, the winning novelette and one of the other nominees, and the winning short story and the other five nominees. The book also includes the Rhysling winners. (All of these are named above in the "Contents" list.) The editor of this anthology, Pamela Sargent, has written an introduction to the book and introductory material about the individual entries. All of this is interesting and well-presented. There are also seven short articles of widely varying worth by authors from within this field. There is, as well, a rather lengthy but not, in my opinion, very good tribute to the late author Robert Bloch. (The book is dedicated to Bloch and to two other deceased authors, Raymond Z. Gallun and Karl Edward Wagner.) Film critic Kathi Maio has an article titled "From a Park Bench to the Great Beyond: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of 1994." It concludes with an encomium to a film that is neither science fiction nor fantasy, but about a film-maker who worked in those fields. The film is Tim Burton's fine Ed Wood. There is also a Nebula Award given to someone dubbed a "Grand Master" for lifetime achievement in the field. The 1994 award went to Damon Knight. There is a story that Knight published in 1994 included in this volume. I am lamentably uninformed about poetry and would not ordinarily attempt to make judgments about it. I will, however, say that I like all three entries here (three because there was a tie for Best Short Poem). The long poem winner, "Basement Flats: Redefining the Burgess Shale" by W. Gregory Stewart and Robert Frazier seems especially striking to me. It concerns a married couple of scientists studying fossil lifeforms. The wife gets to travel back in time to examine the living creatures, but tragedy ensues. Jeff VanderMeer's poem, "Flight Is for Those Who Have Not Yet Crossed Over," is a fantasy about a miraculous event in a Guatemalan prison, which, however, brings no relief to the prisoner. If asked to name someone known for poetry in this field, I would immediately think of Bruce Boston. His poem "Spacer's Compass" tells of the vastness and strangeness of Space. I previously reviewed Damon Knight's 1956 story "This Way to the Regress" with the following comments: Probably my least favorite science fiction trope is the one used here by Damon Knight in "This Way to the Regress." [...] The trope is "living backwards," in which one comes in the world in a dug-up coffin, gets ever younger, and eventually winds up in mother's womb. I have never read one of these stories that did not seem silly to me. Knight's story "Fortyday," published almost forty years later, has a similar theme, except that the newer story posits that people age normally up to the age of forty and then begin to grow younger. I think that this is a better story, but just as preposterous. Martha Soukup's Nebula winning short story "A Defense of the Social Contracts" appears to indicate that love (or lust, or lunacy) should conquer all. Like the fine Goodreads reviewer Althea Ann, I believe that Soukup means the reader to sympathize with the selfish, dishonest main character. I hope that I am in error. Barry Malzberg's story "Understanding Entropy" deals with happiness and regret. Does it make sense to choose immediate joy if that will lead to horrible pain? Ben Bova says that in his tale "Inspiration," the "protagonist turned out to be a time traveler, sent on a desperate mission to the year 1896, where he finds [H. G.] Wells, [Albert] Einstein and [William Thomson, Lord] Kelvin and brings them together. " And one other person, as well." And that one other person had, in the short term, at least, the greatest effect on the world. "Virtual Love" by Maureen F. McHugh (who also had a story nominated for Best Novelette the same year) tells of people who spend much of their time in virtual reality environments, greatly changed from their true appearances and personalities. Can they still genuinely relate to others? Joe Haldeman's story "None So Blind" won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story that year. In the introduction to the story, Haldeman asks, "Since so much of the brain is given over to processing visual information, why don't blind people take advantage of the unused gray matter and become geniuses?" The story deals with what results when medical procedures are tried to make this work. (Totally off topic, in the play Butterflies Are Free by Leonard Gershe and the subsequent film, a woman has written a series of stories about a blind character. The stories continually repeat the adage, "There are none so blind as those who will not see." A person arguing with the writer says, "You just don't listen. There are none so deaf as those who will not hear. You could make up a lot of those, couldn't you? There are none so lame as those who will not walk. There are none so thin as those who will not eat." I love the "none so thin" version.) My favorites of the nominated short stories are "None So Blind" and "I Know What You're Thinking" by Kate Wilhelm. Stories trying to imagine what telepathy might truly be like are not uncommon. Wilhelm's story is unusually moving and persuasive. The "Best Novelette" winner is my favorite story in this book, "The Martian Child" by David Gerrold. This is not, most likely, a science fiction story at all. The narrator, an unmarried male science fiction author, adopts a son. The son is convinced that he is actually a Martian who had been implanted as an embryo in his "birth-mother's" womb. The narrator hears of other children who also believe that they are Martians. The other nominated novelette included is "The Matter of Seggri" by Ursula K. Le Guin. This is a much-praised story about a world in which women outnumber men by sixteen to one. From the age of eleven on, men and women are separated. The men live in castles. Their only functions are to excel at games and to have sex with (and impregnate) women in "fuckeries." The men are a decidedly second-class category, protected (in theory) but not allowed to be educated or to have careers. When the story begins, off-world humans have begun to visit the planet. Their very different life-styles do not have an immediate effect, but life on Seggri does change. This is not actually one story but a series of vignettes about different aspects of life om Seggri. I liked this, but I did not find it as powerful as many others have. The sexual role reversal seems rather too simplistic to me. The phrase "the matter of Seggri" is used only once, toward the end of the story, when one of the off-worlders is planning a report on "the condition of [the] society, 'the matter of Seggri,' as he calls it." I wonder if the explanation of the title is really intended to be that simple. I kept thinking that "the matter of Seggri" would be analogous to "the matter of Britain" or "the matter of France," that is, the basic legendary tales that underlie the civilization. (Probably not.) The Best Novella winner, "Seven Views of the Olduvai Gorge" by Mike Resnick, is, like "The Matter of Seggri," told as a series of vignettes in which an expedition from other worlds has come to Earth looking into the dying out of mankind. The stories go from pre-history to a time when Space travel is a normal activity. The point of each story seems to be that mankind is inherently vicious, even if also virtually indomitable. The section excerpted from the Nebula Best Novel winner Moving Mars is about a student protest following a mass university expulsion. The introduction to the excerpt says that "it stands alone very well." It does not. Considering the nature of this anthology, with almost all the fiction having won or been nominated for Nebula Awards, I found it somewhat disappointing. It certainly isn't bad, but I suspect that the only story I will remember is "The Martian Child. "

  2. 4 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    The 1996 annual from the prestigious awards committee. includes: 7 well-known authors weighing in on the year in sf&f... Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge - Mike Resnick A team of alien anthropologists are at the alleged birthplace of Man, Africa's Olduvai Gorge, to study the extinct species. By "assimilating" artifacts, one of the aliens is able to relive events associated with that item. Different items, arranged in chronological order, give insight into humanity and its demise. Inspiration - Ben Bova A time The 1996 annual from the prestigious awards committee. includes: 7 well-known authors weighing in on the year in sf&f... Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge - Mike Resnick A team of alien anthropologists are at the alleged birthplace of Man, Africa's Olduvai Gorge, to study the extinct species. By "assimilating" artifacts, one of the aliens is able to relive events associated with that item. Different items, arranged in chronological order, give insight into humanity and its demise. Inspiration - Ben Bova A time traveller conspires to have a depressed young Albert Einstein meet H.G. Wells, in order to be inspired. The jaded scientist Kelvin is also present at the informal meeting - as is a bigoted waitress and her son... Virtual Love - Maureen F. McHugh A handicapped woman is a talented virtuoso in the VR environments that are the social networking sites of the future - but when she meets an equally talented man online, she is afraid to admit what she is in reality... None So Blind - Joe Haldeman A socially inept genius falls in love with, and eventually marries, a blind woman. But when he turns his intellect onto the problem of her handicap, the world is in for a shocking change to the very fabric of society. Fortyday - Damon Knight In this rather inconclusive story, Knight postulates a society where people only age until their 40th birthday - then reverse the process and start growing younger, until they simply shrink away. A biographical sketch/memorial to Robert Bloch. The Martian Child - David Gerrold A partially autobiographical story about Gerrold adopting a young boy who believes that he is literally a Martian. 3 poems Understanding Entropy - Barry Malzberg A memorial, (or indictment?) it seems, to a gay friend who died of AIDS. I Know What You're Thinking - Kate Wilhelm A telepathic woman finds that her ability is driving away her husband and those around her. Can she strive to be 'normal'? Or can she find a use for her ability, or others like herself? A Defense of the Social Contracts - Martha Soukup OK, this story is weird. I can't quite figure it out. It posits a world in which individuals legally register their sexual habits - are they monogamous, in a group marriage, a swinger, celibate, etc. A woman becomes obsessed with her registered-non-monogamous lover, hacks his personal records, and without his assent, forces him into a legal "marriage" to her. Things go from bad to worse - she basically ruins his life, and he flips out. However, I get the impression that the author wants us to have sympathy for the woman, because she is "in love." The problem is - I have none. The character is well and truly crazy, disrespectful, and really a horrible person. Her actions are unconscionable and inexcusable. It's also not such a sci-fi kind of premise - plenty of people in today's world negotiate open relationships, and someone who would create an elaborate lie to make someone's other lovers believe he had agreed to a monogamous marriage with you, when they hadn't, would be a crazy jerk in this world as well as in some theoretical future! essay on sf & f films The Matter of Seggri - Ursula K. LeGuin An exploration of a society that springs up in a situation where women outnumber men 16 to 1. Shows the world through a number of vignettes from different characters' perspectives. an excerpt from Moving Mars - Greg Bear This excerpt deals with a student protest on Mars - which ends badly. (I'd read the book before.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam Meek

  4. 5 out of 5

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  5. 5 out of 5

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  6. 4 out of 5

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  7. 5 out of 5

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  8. 5 out of 5

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  9. 4 out of 5

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  10. 5 out of 5

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  11. 5 out of 5

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  12. 5 out of 5

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  13. 5 out of 5

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  14. 4 out of 5

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  15. 4 out of 5

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  16. 5 out of 5

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  17. 4 out of 5

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  18. 5 out of 5

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  19. 4 out of 5

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  20. 5 out of 5

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  21. 4 out of 5

    Forestofglory

  22. 5 out of 5

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  23. 5 out of 5

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  24. 5 out of 5

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  25. 4 out of 5

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  26. 4 out of 5

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  27. 5 out of 5

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  28. 4 out of 5

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  29. 5 out of 5

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  30. 4 out of 5

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  31. 5 out of 5

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  32. 4 out of 5

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  33. 4 out of 5

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  34. 4 out of 5

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  35. 5 out of 5

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  36. 4 out of 5

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  37. 4 out of 5

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  38. 4 out of 5

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  39. 4 out of 5

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  40. 5 out of 5

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  41. 5 out of 5

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  42. 5 out of 5

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  43. 4 out of 5

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  44. 4 out of 5

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  45. 4 out of 5

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  46. 5 out of 5

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  47. 5 out of 5

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  48. 5 out of 5

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