Nebula Award Winners

From Locus Online:

Novel
Seeker by Jack McDevitt (Ace)

Novella
Burn by James Patrick Kelly (Tachyon)

Novelette
Two Hearts” by Peter S. Beagle (F&SF)

Short Story
Echo” by Elizabeth Hand (F&SF)

Script
Howl’s Moving Castle, Hayao Miyazaki, Cindy Davis Hewitt, and Donald H. Hewitt

Andre Norton Award
Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier (Razorbill)

Eh. Admittedly the ballot wasn’t the most inspiring thing in the world to start with, but I find myself distinctly unexcited about this set of results — with the exception of “Echo”, which I liked. I’m ambivalent about “Two Hearts” and “Burn”; and I’ll probably check out Seeker now, although nothing I’ve read about the book makes it sound particularly special. Opinions from the floor?

12 thoughts on “Nebula Award Winners

  1. Not read McDevitt for ages, but I remember him being a great short story writer in the late 80s – “To Hell With The Stars” and “The Fort Moxie Branch” are both among my favorites – and, among other things, love songs to sf. But his (first?) novel The Hercules Text, one of the last of Terry Carr’s Ace Specials, was a huge letdown, and my sense is that since he’s been writing the sort of technothriller/first contact stuff that doesn’t interest me much.

  2. I’ve not read McDevitt’s short fiction but his novels are rotten. The same sort of quality and type of novel as Sawyer. I find it hard to believe it was better than at least three of the rest of the shortlist.

  3. “Seeker” is a very satisfying and entertaining read. I’m glad McDevitt finally won an award. I’ve read a few of his novels and it’s the best of the ones I’ve read. It’s a mystery in space, and 3rd in a series, but it’s not necessary to read the other 2. I’ve read most of the others short listed and it is the brightest of the bunch. If had been me making nom’s I’d have had a different list altogether, but given what the choices where, it was an easy winner.

  4. I wondered on the ballot entry if McDevitt had signed a deal with the deal, and now I’m sure.

    I’ve enjoyed some of McDevitt’s novels very much (the standalones). Eternity Road is my favorite (and one of my favorite books, although I have no idea whether you’d like it or not. I (re)discovered him around 2001 or 2002, sucked down his new stuff and ripped through a good chunk of the backlist. The more recent novels have left me a little colder, and he keeps using a narrator with a voice that drives me nuts; I can’t remember if it’s Chase or Hutch.

    Which is the reason I’ve been steering clear of Seeker, but I just put it on the list. So we’ll see.

  5. re: Graham’s post, I wouldn’t call most the stuff I read around 2001 of ’em thrillers, though I confess I’m not entirely sure what qualifies something as such… But part of my objection with the recent stuff is that he’s started piling cliffhanger on crisis.

    Oh! I was Googling for my old posts on him, and it looks like I did read Seeker after all, and that was my problem with it: http://alecaustin.livejournal.com/54789.html

    Maybe I’ll reread Engines of God instead.

    (First contact, yes, though he is [traditionally] at least as interested by sifting through the rubble of gone-away aliens as he is by sitting them down for a chat.)

  6. I agree with Graham. McDevitt was an excellent short story writer. His first few novels showed quite a bit of promise too. I thought Engines of God was going to be one of the best pure sf novels ever written. It would have been too, if it wasn’t for the logically impaired, semi-mystical ending. I thought it was interesting that none of the major winners, except for Liz Hand, had ever won a Nebula before. I believe McDevitt and Jim Kelly had the most nominations without a win. So it was nice to see both finally break through. And I really thought that Kelly’s Burn was a fine book, a mini-novel with the economy and scope of all the great 50s and 60s sf I grew up ready. I know Niall disagrees with me, but I really thought it was a breakout book by one of the field’s finest short story writers.

  7. Burn is one of the most thoughtful SF books I’ve read in ages, not as flashy as Kelly’s most well-known work. I’m a big fan of his short fiction and recommend both his collections (Think like A Dinosaur and Starnge But mot A Stranger.)

  8. I’d second Jonathan’s opinion about Howl’s Moving Castle. It made no sense whatsoever and removed all that was good about the source material.

  9. I haven’t read Beagle’s “Two Hearts” although I have checked out the collection it’s in; I intend to do so, and I was routing for him anyway.
    (by way of acknowledging my less admirable sense of taste.)

    Anyway, I liked both Howl’s Moving Castles. I liked the literary allusions inherent in Diana Wynne Jones’s book. Her book represented what I view as a very British (if not strictly English) concern with the rules of how things work. Both Sophie with her confidence in her destiny as an underachiever because she’s an oldest, and the book as a whole in its plot points turning on the rules of how magic works in the two worlds illustrate that for me.

    I thought movie Howl’s … made sense, but it was something very different from the book. Sophie is still a strong, clever character, but the movie script moves on a more Japanese (or subset of Japanese) culture. The technology level is rather an alternate WWI and a half. The struggle is more between spirit and mechanism than Jones’s book. One may fairly not like that take on the original book, but the script does make an internally coherent sense.

    Finally in an off tipic yet other evidence of my different taste to the majority opinion here, I thought Un Lun Dun was a good read. I enjoyed it for the most part and read it straight through more or less over two days. (Not that that is fast reading, but I’m just saying it held my interest. If the characterization actually is shallow and inadequately done, perhaps the emptiness of the canvass left room for me to impose stuff that I liked that Mieville never intended.)

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