The Nebula Awards long list

Here’s the recently announced list of books in contention for this year’s Nebula Awards:

A Betrayal in Winter (The Long Price Quartet) by Daniel Abraham (Tor, July 07)
One For Sorrow by Chris Barzak (Bantam, September 07)
Territory by Emma Bull (Tor, July 07)
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor, April 08)
In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Tor, May 07)
Powers (Annals of the Western Shore) by Ursula Le Guin. (Harcourt, September 07)
Cauldron (Priscilla Hutchins) by Jack McDevitt (Ace, November 07)
Brasyl by Ian McDonald (Pyr, May 07)
Making Money (Discworld Novels) by Terry Pratchett (Harper, September 07)
The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW, April 07)

I find it fascinating that Little Brother is on this list. To me, this book is not fantasy. It is too close to real life—only a few little steps separate our lives from the book’s dystopian governmental oversight of each and every keystroke.

It’s also interesting to see books that were marketed as YA (Little Brother, Powers) included on the list. There seems to be a constant hum of doubt/appreciation/dislike about books that might appeal to grown ups being put into YA, and many readers of adult fantasy don’t seem to take YA fantasy all that seriously (based on my recent perusal of a freshly compiled list of science fiction/fantasy review blogs). But although the idea of YA books taking their place as equals in the fantasy cannon is a nice one, it hasn’t happened yet--both Le Guin and Doctorow had reputations on the other side of the bookstore before writing these books. Incidentally, I glanced at the Nebula lists back through 2005, and the only other “non-adult book” that I recognized was, no surprise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I myself like having lots of fantasy/science fiction titles in the YA section of bookstores, simply because I am more likely to enjoy them than the books in the adult section. Perhaps this is because I like reading about children and teenagers, who are more often found in MG and YA books. That being said, One for Sorrow is the story of two teenaged boys (one of whom is a ghost), which seems to me to have been a natural for YA, and The Name of the Wind (which I haven't read, but which looks like a good one) seems in large part to be about the childhood and growing up of an orphaned boy, so generalizations seem to be futile.

The thing that really and truly struck me most deeply while creating this post, however, is how very tricky it would be to start a collection of first edition Nebula winners-look at how many came out in 2007!

1 comment:

  1. I tend to agree with you about Little Brother. For the most part, it's speculative fiction. It's not a matter of when the technology used in the book will appear - since much of it exists - but whether it might be used against an unwitting public. I thoroughly enjoyed the book though, so I wouldn't mind seeing in win an award here or elsewhere.


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