Sunday, January 12, 2014

Exploring the Nebulas: A New Series from WGTB

This year I’m starting a new blog series called: “Exploring the Nebulas”. Being a sci-fi fan, I’ve long understood the importance the Nebula Awards have to readers and writers of science-fiction and fantasy. Yet, while I’ve read a lot of these books, I haven’t yet read them all and have wanted to do so for many years. So to start 2014, I'm setting out to accomplish this goal and will write a short review for this blog after each book.  

Logo of the Nebula Awards.
As I'm not a particularly fast reader, this is a significant time commitment and I may not get it accomplished before the natural life of this blog comes to an end. But I’m going to give it my best and may even cheat by posting reviews of winners I've read within recent memory. I've also decided not to keep any specific time commitment (a book per week for example) or to read them in chronological order, so this should make things a little more manageable. Also, reviews will not be long, and given that each book has already been well received, I will won’t pick them apart. I will however point out where I think they might have been better and note how the genre has evolved from the first winner Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) to its most recent, 2312 (2012) by Kim Stanley Robinson. I’ll also note any sequels, prequels, comics, television shows, films, etc. that are related and of interest to readers of this blog.

As well as documenting winners, I’ll also read and review significant runners-up or books that with 20/20 hindsight might have won the prize instead. The best example of these would be George R.R. Martin’s, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords which were nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1996, 1997 and 2001 respectively but did not win. These novels are now (arguably) more famous than any other winner or nominee thanks in large part to the popular HBO television series Game of Thrones

Title card of HBO's popular television show Game of Thrones. This led to a resurgence of George R.R. Martin's books with A Game of Thrones reaching #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List in July 2011, 15 years after its initial release.  
What are the Nebula Awards? 

The Nebula Awards stand at the pinnacle of American science-fiction and fantasy writing. They are voted on each year by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), a professional association that works to advance the interests of its members. To qualify for membership, one must have sold one novel or script or three short stories and membership is not exclusive to Americans. The SFWA's Nebula Awards are – along with their International cousins the Hugo Awards presented each year to the winner. The five categories for the Nebulas include: Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story and Script. Perhaps unsurprisingly, while the first Nebula for Best Novel was awarded in 1966 and the first Hugo in 1954, there has since been considerable overlap, with the winner of the Nebula Award having won the corresponding Hugo on 22 occasions. 

The Nebula Awards for 2013 will be awarded In San Jose, California in May 2014 and I'll certainly follow that contest closely. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy Exploring the Nebulas and when the reviews are up, please feel free to voice any opinions you have about the reviewed book. And as always, thanks for reading WGTB  

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