The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The selection process is relatively simple: the survivors of a Deathball tournament are examined by the Colossus-Skynet system for irregulationary defects, and if found acceptable, are sent to the haunted planet Arisia for mind-to-mind examination by the alien superbeing known as Mentor, and those who return sane are conducted to Wallach IV where the Bene Gesserit Witches test the candidate with a “gom jabbar” and the Box of Pain to distinguish the true humans from the mere human animals. Survivors are taught the Martian Language in order to achieve fourth level consciousness and exposed to the mind-altering rays of the Evolutionary Granolith, and expected to make at least one “drop” in full kit onto a planet controlled by the Klendathu. Then any remaining candidates are sent to Trantor, or maybe some other world covered entirely with buildings, and examined by the Jedi Council and the Psychohistorians to see whether passing the candidate will cause a disturbance in the force or throw off the predictive plan of history. The remaining candidates then cover themselves with walrus grease and wrestle nude with Harlan Ellison, or his evil twin Zebulon Ellison, in the Arena of Death, on a tightrope above a field of radio-active radium-knives. The winner is granted by the Padishah Emperor any space-kingdom on any of the garden-planets accidentally created by the Genesis Machine in the Multiple Green Sun system at the core of the galaxy, and any space princess for his bride, with the one exception (obviously) of the voluptuous yet deadly Princess Venomia, the Black Widow of Outer Space. The year Leigh Brackett won, instead of a space princess, she demanded her beloved World-Wrecker Hamilton be released from his disembodied confinement within the death-asteroid of the limbo dimension. The Padishah Emperor was loathe to set free so dangerous a planet-killer, but he had no choice.
Then the votes of the regular SWFA members are counted, and the winner of that vote is given the Nebula award for that category for that year. Also are granted certain ‘Grandmaster’ honors related to lifetime accomplishments independent of year.
That whole rigmarole about the Padishah Emperor and winning your own space kingdom really has nothing to do with the actual literary award, and if you are the kind of guy who can outsmart psychohistorians and wrestle maddened curmudgeons on a field of radium knives, you are obviously not spending enough time at the typewriter. Get back to work.
2008 Nebula Award Winners
The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books, Sept. 2009)
The Women of Nell Gwynne’s – Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, June 2009)
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,”
Eugie Foster (Interzone, Feb. 2009)
“Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct. 2009)
Ray Bradbury Award
District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug. 2009)
Andre Norton Award
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,
Catherynne M. Valente (Catherynne M. Valente, June 2009)
During the ceremonies, Joe Haldeman was honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master, while Neal Barrett, Jr., was honored as Author Emeritus. Vonda N. McIntyre and Keith Stokes were honored with SFWA Service Awards while the SFWA Solstice Award, bestowed upon individuals who have made a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, was presented to Tom Doherty, Terri Windling and the late Donald A. Wollheim.
Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world.
Funny, but I was not asked about the ‘daring’ qualification before I joined up. I just got a package at my normal drop when I joined SWFA, containing a light-repeater suit, a ceramic pistol, a pair of night-vision goggles, a wirepoon grapnel, suction-disk gloves and boots, a mind amplifying lens, a laser sword, jetpack with two hours fuel, a familiar named ‘Dickon’, a packet of glass throwing-blades, a flying guillotine with launcher, and a list of the names and habitual travel routes of the enemies of the Secret Masters. At first I wondered if I had gotten in over my head, but then I realized that since the stealth suit was pink and covered with a rose floral pattern, that the package was from the Romance Writers of America (RWA), and had been sent to me by mistake. A whiff of the memory-eraser perfume, and they let me live.
Congratulations to all Nebula Winners!