Update: The Nebula Award for Best Novel (and the ones I’ve read)

Early in the history of the Nebula Award, the winning novels often corresponded to the Hugo award winning novels.  In recent years, this has changed somewhat.  The Nebulas — unlike the Hugos — are awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (so, by their peers).  Of the NON-Hugo award winning Novels I can only add a few….  Babel-17, Flowers for Algernon, The Einstein Intersection, Man Plus, Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, and Red Mars.  As always, I’m mostly lacking books from the last twenty years and the majority of the fantasy winners (Jeff VanderMeer is really the only recent fantasist which I have wholeheartedly devoured).  Unlike the Hugo List, where I’ve read 40/55 winners I’m barely reaching 50% for the Nebulas….

…Again, this is a useful list for those new to the genre!

Again, this is a useful list for those who have some substantial holes (ME) in their collections — maybe I should stop piddling around reading the worst of the famous sci-fi authors of the 60s and read some later classics…

(BOLD= Those I’ve read)

1965 – Dune, Frank Herbert

1966 – (tie) Babel-17, Samuel R. Delany

1966 – (tie) – Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes

1967 – The Einstein Intersection, Samuel R. Delany

1968 – Rite of Passage, Alexei Panshin

1969 – The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

1970 – Ringworld, Larry Niven

1971 – A Time of Changes, Robert Silverberg

1972 – The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimoc

1973 – Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke

1974 – The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin

1975 – The Forever War, Joe Haldeman

1976 – Man Plus, Frederik Pohl

1977 – Gateway, Frederik Pohl

1978 – Dreamsnake, Vonda McIntyre

1979 – The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke

1980 – Timescape, Gregory Benford

1981 – The Claw of the Conciliator, Gene Wolfe

1982 – No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop

1983 – Startide Rising, David Brin

1984 – Neuromancer, William Gibson

1985 – Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

1986 – Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card

1987 – The Falling Woman, Pat Murphy

1988 – Falling Free, Lois McMaster Bujold

1989 – The Healer’s War, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

1990 – Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea

1991 – Stations of the Tide, Michael Swanwick

1992 – Doomsday Book, Connie Willis

1993 – Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson

1994 – Moving Mars, Greg Bear

1995 – The Terminal Experiment, Robert J. Sawyer

1996 – Slow River, Nicola Griffith

1997 – The Moon and the Sun, Vonda McIntrye

1998 – Forever Peace, Joe Haldeman

1999 – Parable of the Talents, Octavia E. Butler

2000 – Darwin’s Radio, Greg Bear

2001 – The Quantum Rose, Catherine Asaro

2002 – American Gods, Neil Gaiman

2003 – The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon

2004 – Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

2005 – Camouflage, Joe Haldeman

2006 – Seeker, Jack McDevit

2007 – The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Michael Chabon

2008 – Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin

2009 – The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi

Again, as before, suggestions from this list (especially in regards to the best Fantasy entries — I suspect that genre has new material to offer every now and then and it’s just my obstinate character refusing to investigate) are greatly appreciated!  The Hugos are definitely more of my domain…

26 thoughts on “Update: The Nebula Award for Best Novel (and the ones I’ve read)

  1. One of the thing I love the best about the Nebula’s is the diversity of the books that have won. Compare Asimov’s The Gods Themselves, to the Dispossessed or Flowers for Algernon and you have tremendously different books, yet each excellent in their own right.

  2. I actually prefer the Hugo Award (I have a post on them as well)… Perhaps because I’ve read SO many more of the winners;)

    I’m not convinced if I like The Gods Themselves….
    The Dispossessed is wonderful…. (the Left Hand of Darkness is FAR superior)
    And, Flowers for Algernon — read that in 9th grade.

    But yes, the variety for both awards is quite broad (including, to my grave dismay, children/young adult books)

  3. I find it interesting that you read Ender’s Game but not the sequel, Speaker of the Dead. Did you like Ender’s? I loved it. The sequel isn’t anything like it, so consequently I was disappointed but I know a lot of people love it.

  4. That was a really interesting article by Kessel. Perhaps it’s because I had a happy childhood that I didn’t find ‘Ender’s Game’ all that great! I certainly didn’t identify with him (though I think I read it in my early- or mid-twenties, so felt rather distant). I’ve not read anything else by Card, having been rather put off by the one novel of his that I have read.

  5. I struggled through Ender’s Game as well… Not only did I not identify with Ender in the least but, as Kessel points out, Card repeatedly vindicating Ender’s brutal nature really really bothered me.

  6. The article is interesting. I did identify with Ender somewhat and I never worried about his personal morality because I saw it all as pre-defined training from the adults at the battle school. They wanted to crush this kid to make him a killer. I felt that the constant reassurances that he was good were never honest, but simply empty words meant to make Ender believe he was in the right and continue down the violent path that they wanted him to go down. Ender is a fairly shallow character and I can totally understand the criticism, but I still feel that it is a quality book despite these flaws.

  7. Doesn’t he kill someone in the very beginning of the book before he’s been conditioned? I read Ender’s Game a good nine or ten years ago so I’ve forgotten quite a bit about the specific plot….

  8. Hmm…. I always interpreted him as violent from the beginning — something which they definitely took advantage of in his conditioning. I still think that essay makes a good point — Card still want’s us to think that Ender is innocent despite the fact that he’s committing genocide.

    Is Speaker for the Dead better than Ender’s game?

    • I didn’t think Speaker for the Dead was anywhere near as good as Ender’s Game. It’s completely different though. Ender is like 40 in it and has become this quasi-religious figure searching for a new homeworld for the aliens. I don’t think it’s worth it.

  9. i might read it at some point just to fill in all the gaps of the Hugo Award winners…. (but that’s not any time in the near future). Have you ready any other works by Card?

    I used to own quite a few but ditched them all after I read Ender’s Game.

  10. I read a fair number of the Alvin Maker books (which had ups and downs), some of the Ender Cycle and Ender’s Shadow Cycle, bits of the Worthing Saga, and then there was Wyrms….

    I enjoyed much of his stuff… particuarly Enders Game (which I will differ from your view on… I quite liked it), but Wyrms was… well… disturbing.

    Any book in which ends with a fifteen year old girl having sex with a big grub (or at least really really wanting to) is not really my cup of tea. Were she older, I might not have found the whole concept quite so revolting… but fifteen? WITH A GRUB?

  11. Will: Have you read any Delany? ‘Nova’ is a great work… The ones he won Nebulas for on this list (The Einstein Intersection and Babel-17) are average…. But ‘Nova’ is a masterpiece. He’s quite literary which I suspect has reduced some of his popularity (doesn’t appeal so much to the 14 year old boys which constitute the bulk of sci-fi audiences in the 60s and 70s — hahaha)

  12. I realize the last comment was posted 7 months back, but I just found this site. So far, I really like that you are reviewing older and lesser-known titles. I noticed you haven’t read Gene Wolfe’s The Claw of the Conciliator (on the above list), which is book 2 of his Book of the New Sun quartet. Wolfe is as much a master as Vance (another favorite of mine), though quite different. I highly recommend Wolfe’s work to you, if you get a chance.

  13. Gene Wolfe’s “The Fifth Head of Cerberus” was written in the 70s and is truly excellent.Check out the cover of the British edition by Arrow with the evocative Bruce Pennington cover.

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