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FINALISTS: 2012 Nebula Awards (With Free Fiction Links!)

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2012 Nebula Awards (presented in 2013), nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13) [Our review.]
  • Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
  • The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK) [Our review]

  • On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
  • After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
  • “The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s 10-11/12)
  • All the Flavors“, Ken Liu (GigaNotoSaurus 2/1/12)
  • “Katabasis”, Robert Reed (F&SF 11-12/12)
  • Barry’s Tale“, Lawrence M. Schoen (Buffalito Buffet, Hadley Rille Books)
  • The Avengers, Joss Whedon (director) and Joss Whedon and Zak Penn (writers), (Marvel/Disney) [via Our review]
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (director), Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Abilar (writers), (Journeyman/Cinereach/Court 13/Fox Searchlight )
  • The Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard (director), Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (writers) (Mutant Enemy/Lionsgate)
  • The Hunger Games, Gary Ross (director), Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray writers), (Lionsgate) [via Our review]
  • John Carter, Andrew Stanton (director), Michael Chabon, Mark Andrews, and Andrew Stanton (writers), (Disney) [via Our review]
  • Looper, Rian Johnson (director), Rian Johnson (writer), (FilmDistrict/TriStar) [via Our review]
  • Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown)
  • Black Heart, Holly Black (S&S/McElderry; Gollancz)
  • Above, Leah Bobet (Levine)
  • The Diviners, Libba Bray (Little, Brown; Atom)
  • Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst (S&S/McElderry)
  • Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House; Doubleday UK)
  • Enchanted, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
  • Every Day, David Levithan (Alice A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books)
  • Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
  • Fair Coin, E.C. Myers (Pyr)
  • Above World, Jenn Reese (Candlewick)

The Forty-Eighth Nebula Awards Weekend will be held May 16-19th, 2013, in San Jose at the San Jose Hilton. Borderland Books will host the mass autograph session from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17th at the San Jose Hilton. This autograph session is open to the public and books by the authors in attendance will be available for purchase. More information about the Nebula Awards Weekend is available at

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. Voting will open to SFWA Active members on March 1 and close on March 30. More information is available from

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

89 Comments on FINALISTS: 2012 Nebula Awards (With Free Fiction Links!)

  1. Not impressed especially with 2312 which I didn’t enjoy and had to make myself finish.The rest is fantasy etc not real sci fi.So much for using these awards as a “must read” idea.

    • David Greybeard // February 21, 2013 at 8:34 am //

      I gave it a good solid try, myself. But I found the writing style mightily annoying.

    • Joshua Corning // February 23, 2013 at 12:56 am //

      The progressive utopian narrative is running very thin.

      Kim Stanley Robinson should just write a laundry list of all the things needed to control people and then his control freak fans can just write their own plots around it…..but if he did that he would not get any money from selling books.

      I wonder how much he hates himself.

  2. I am currently reading Glamour in Glass. When I’m done that will be the only novel of the nominated list I’ve read, but maybe I can work a few more in before the time comes for the awards.

    Not surprised to see Ken Liu and Aliette de Bodard all over the nominations lists as I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read of their work and, especially in Liu’s case, have been very prolific over the last year.

  3. Felica Day says Ironskin is ‘gross’.

  4. With twelve nominees for the Norton award, it’s surprising not to see Bacigalupi and McDonald in there. Or maybe it’s not, considering that the SFWA looks to have nearly completed its evolution from SFFWA to FWA. Oh, well.

  5. Sure is a huge slant towards women and the non white male. If we don’t start counteracting all the relentless one sided articles soon. Then SF is going to look a lot like the Romance Genre. And the funny thing is there wasn’t even a fight.

    Thats my Counterpoint Mirror to todays Half Truths(its the other half that will complete you)

    • David Greybeard // February 21, 2013 at 8:39 am //

      I was about to comment on that myself. It’s a very girly list for the most part. But looking back a few years, the Nebula’s been that way for quite some time.
      Not much of interest here for my reading tastes. I read 346 books last year and my tastes are quite wide and roaming, but I do tend to stick to male authors.
      That said, I’ll pick up a copy of the Mary Robinette Kowal’s series. As I’ve heard great things about it by folks I trust.

      • The Mary Robinette Kowal books are good, and an easy series to judge, in my opinion, on whether or not a person will connect with it. If you enjoy the period drama of stories like Jane Austen then these are a no-brainer. If that is not your thing I strongly suspect that these won’t appeal to you.

      • Dave Thompson // February 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm //

        I’d like to say I’m surprised people are complaining about women and fantasy infringing on their good ol’ manly Science Fiction, but that shit plays like a broken record this time of year, and it’s embarrassing.

        Do people complain about this site covering F as well as SF?

        Personally, I’m pretty pleased. It’s a very diverse list with some great fiction on it, and I’ve read exactly half of it. I look forward to reading the other half.

      • Dave Thompson // February 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm //

        @David Greybeard: Apologies, that comment wasn’t meant to be directed solely at you, but more in general.

        • Smiling Henry // February 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm //

          Don’t know if I have ever seen someone complain a list being “too diverse.” This is one of the strongest Nebula ballots in years. I have no idea what “Girly” means. If you mean “includes women” then I suppose the entire Earth is “Girly.” If you mean “Girly” in some derogatory “women are soft and like things that are pink and able to cook their men dinners” then you are dead wrong, because many of these stories are dark, brutal, and brilliant. Don’t ruin it with your bigotry.

          • Dave Thompson // February 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm //

            I’m guessing this directed at different comment than my own?

            (Glad to see I’m not the only one having issues with the threading…)

          • I myself didn’t see the 6 novels as diverse but political conformism trumping art. There is nothing new or even particularly good about Throne of the Crescent Moon or The Killing Moon. If you’re the type of person who thinks something not even on the level of Flamewinds by Norvell Page from 1938 is a novel by a “writer’s writer, which what I expect a nominee to be, then you’ll love Jemisin and Ahmed. I found the other 4 to be similar derivative and boring. What can you say about a novel, Ahmed’s, where virtually every review mentions how great it is it’s not Eurocentric. Who cares? Give me something good to read, set it in whitey whitesville Asgard or not.

      • Just so you know, there are girl parts in it. I also talk about dresses.

    • ” Then SF is going to look a lot like the Romance Genre.”

      Cause everybody knows that’s all us silly girls can write! Or all we’re interested in! Heavens only know why any of us ever picked up any SF to begin with, let alone read and enjoyed it. And no guys at all are ever interested in romance or relationships.

      I’m so sorry we got girl cooties all over your manly sci fi. I’m sure the masters from the good old days, like CL Moore or Andre Norton or Leigh Brackett, are turning over in their graves.

      Oh, and you are cordially invited to bite me.

      • Heck, I’d be happy with the sales figures of the Romance genre.

        • True that!

          Plus, you know, I’m not a romance fan, it’s just not my thing. But this “it’s romance, it must be crap!” thing pisses me off. Sure, maybe ninety percent of it is.

          A famous man once said something else was ninety percent crap.

          I’m not going to go out and look for romance to read, but I’ve run across romances that were very well done and I enjoyed them. And I don’t really get too exercised if not everything on an awards ballot suits my particular tastes.

          Then again, I’m not used to society telling me my particular tastes are objective, default, and universal and everything else was niche and special interest and maybe not real civilization.

          • Mette Ivie Harrison just tweeted today, “No wonder so many women read romance! It is all about women getting power by being women!”

            And I had a moment of duh. It seems so obvious once it’s pointed out. The corollary to that, of course, is that it isn’t worth reading because it’s about women getting power by being women.

          • Mary, that is indeed about the size of it.

          • Isn’t the real issue whether one wants Harlequin Romance novels in the Nebulas? Does that put one on the wrong side of history? What about car manuals? They have a lot of tech. This isn’t about diversity and discrimination, it’s about whether one wants the box score of a softball game submitted for nomination. If I don’t like Harlequin Romance novels am I mean? Funny how that stuff is introduced and disavowed at the same time.

      • Moore, Norton and Brackett didn’t do alternate history Regency where fantasy is spread over Sharpe’s Rifles like thin jam. Nor did anyone care they were women. They were too busy being stunned by their best work.

        • And if no one cared whether any of those writers were women, why did one use her initials and the other use “Andre Norton” and not “Mary Alice North”? And the third had an ambiguous name. Could it possibly be that there existed readers who refused to be stunned by their best work because they were women?

          You might try not caring if authors are women, yourself. I mean, sincerely so and not that disingenuous “I don’t care if its written by a woman so long as it’s a good story! You know, the kind that isn’t girly!” Of course, the way you know a story is girly is it’s by a girl. Because no guy ever wrote anything that might be considered romance if only its author had a more feminine name. Right?

          Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

          • Thanks for that fantasy short wherein you seize the moral high ground by reading my mind as well as the minds of people long dead. How does it end? Hahahahahah.

    • Disco BIscuit // February 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm //

      AHMAHGAHD, GIRL COOTIES. Getitorf! Getitorf!

      Seriously? You want to get back on this mobius strip of an argument? How very tiresome.

      Tell you what, the 1950s are back thattaway. How about you zip up your buttflap, save us some energy, and grab yourself a time machine? And in the meanwhile, we’ll enjoy the diversity and seeing ourselves represented in better order.

    • Disco Biscuit // February 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm //

      “the non white male”

      And I must add…seriously, that’s some racist isht right there.

      Ugh, anachronistic troll FTL.

      • Personally I could care less who wrote the books, I’m excited for every awards season because there are bound to be books on the list that I haven’t even heard of, let alone read, and that inspires me to broaden my reading horizons. I know it is the “happening” thing to complain about awards for any number of reasons whenever announcements are made but I for one am still enamored of the process and choose to be optimistic about the enjoyment that can be gained from the way in which the awards season can bring people together to talk about things we are passionate about, in particular science fiction and fantasy.

        • To clarify, the “care less” means I am not concerned about the sex or race of the authors nominated for the awards. I care very much for the individual authors and am excited for them and the attention and acknowledgment their work get from being nominated.

      • I agree. Promoting race as if it matters is sad.

        • Hmmm…if you are commenting in reference to what I wrote above then it is possible either you are misinterpreting what I meant or, more likely, I wasn’t communicating well. I don’t see anything wrong with an effort to promote race or sex in an effort to get people to at least dialogue about the role that these things continue to play in our existence, including in the realm of publishing. My “don’t care” means that I think it is silly to look at the list above and write it off because of a sad argument that the list is only the way it is because the committee who nominated it is trying to be politically correct rather than the idea that there just might be some good books on the list.

          • Such promotions are best left in the realm of fantasy as the KKK’s promotions are of little interest to me in real world terms. In that real world, we have a Bill of Rights, which we should take seriously not because we have to, but because it’s a good idea. Orwell warned of perceptual traps, in fact leaving us a how-to manual on how to avoid them, so SF fans, with a legacy of turning identity on its head, should be the least liable to fall into such traps, not the most.

    • *I* personally think that the strong representation of women on this list is a feature, not a bug.

      • My reply is that it is just as sad to put a person on a pedestal for such reasons as it is to ask them to stand in a ditch. It is an argument that can be turned around on a dime.

        • You misunderstand me.

          The fact that we’ve developed as a genre to the point where the field recognizes novels written beyond SF novels written by white men as among the best of the year is a good thing.

          There have always been these writers in the field, however few; now they are getting the attention and acclaim they deserve.

          If the output of 2012 was published in 1990, the list of Nebula nominees would look very different and it would NOT be a better one.

          • What does being a white man have to do with anything? You can’t promote the idea that skin and gender convey nothing and take away nothing and then negate that at the same time. It’s an Orwellian argument. A word processor has no idea what color you are or what you are sitting on.

    • “Sure is a huge slant towards women and the non white male.”

      While it is true that there are 3 female names for every 2 male names on that list – a devastating slant indeed! (not) – there is a grand total of (by my count, I may be wrong about some of the authors!) ONE person who is not lily white on that list for every FIVE people who are.


      This suggests that perhaps your problem with whatever “one-sided articles” you may be talking about may have more to do with your unwillingness to see facts you don’t agree with rather than any bias on the part of the authors of said articles.

    • Good grief, did someone actually say the “non white male”? Ah, me.

      In a country made up of non-whites, non-blacks, non-Asians, non-Hispanics, non-Native Americans, must we get all put out because there are some non-whites on the list? I gather it’s blacks/Asians/Hispanics/Native-Americans on one side and “white male” (the default) on the other? And god help the white male when non-white females are also added to the list.

      The demographics of the country is changing. Entitled White males no longer own the reading public.

      • No one cares if non-whites are on such a list. It is irrelevant. The issue of concern is whether non-whites are being promoted as non-whites to the detriment of what is on the page.

        • Disco Biscuit // February 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm //


          Dude, you’re just a bingo card exploding in a confetti of privilege.

          • Clever arguments similar to “privilege,” that seek to detach and attach morality according to ethnicity, were used on black folks and Jews. Of all people, SF readers should know how to avoid that pitfall, since it is our literary legacy that provides us with tools of self-criticism to make simple comparisons through a fog of misperceptions. We can be Orwell’s Children in a good or bad sense.

    • Making some notes here…ok, women are only allowed to write romances, but what are non-white males allowed to write? I’m terribly confused about what I ought to read because if I buy or read works by women and non-white males outside their accepted “place” that’s only going to encourage them to write more. Good lord! What if a non-white woman writes something? In what genre is she required to stay?? Is it romance or wherever the non-white males are supposed to stay? There’s no end to this madness.

      Hold me, I’m scared.

  6. I’m pulling for Throne of a Crescent Moon. I liked its heroic portrayal of ” older ” heroes and its handling of youthful romance.

  7. The last cover (and link) in the Norton Awards should be for ABOVE WORLD, the first book in the series, not MIRAGE, the second. (It’s not out until next month.) Happy to send the correct image if you’d like. It’s absolutely fantastic to see all the covers up there — thank you for the rush!


  8. The cover spread for the Norton includes the cover for the sequel to Above World, not the novel.

    The list is really exciting, and I look forward to reading all of it!

  9. “Sure is a huge slant towards women and the non white male. If we don’t start counteracting all the relentless one sided articles soon. Then SF is going to look a lot like the Romance Genre. And the funny thing is there wasn’t even a fight.”

    Funny. You know who’s threatened by equality in opportunity? Those with inferior talent who previously won success solely by virtue of external genitalia and lack of skin pigmentation.

    • Like Cortes and the East India Company? People doted on C.L. Moore and Brackett and even Francis Stevens decades ago. No one stinted Delany when he wrote his brilliant Time Considered As A Helix of Semi-Precious Stones. Give it a rest.

      • Disco Biscuit // February 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm //

        But please! Tell me more, oh great man, about the historical acceptance of women in the genre! Coz we’re so silly and hysterical and know nothing about it at all! *chin in fist*

      • The past looks so rosy when you edit out the things you don’t want to acknowledge, like the very real racism and sexism non-male and non-white authors faced decades ago, and still face now. There’s a reason all the writers you’ve mentioned either used initials, took masculine pen names, or already had ambiguous first names. And there were, indeed, those who stinted on praise for Delany, but it’s easier to ignore that when you’re looking back on a rosy vision constructed to convince yourself of your moral superiority, and avoid actually questioning any of your assumptions.

        And as Disco Biscuit says, actually a lot of women are pretty aware of the history of women in SF. And not just the bits you find consoling or convenient.

        • Is that why Delany won both the Hugo and Nebula for his short story? And contrary to belief, though they didn’t have the internet, the pages of the Munsey Magazine 100 years ago were full of letters from knowledgeable fans who knew very well what was going on and who was who. It was called fandom, and this very site wouldn’t exist without them. I find that a lot of people love to take down 140, or 200 million, Americans from decades ago, from a moral hill of very great height, though you never met those millions you lump together as endemic women-hating racists. In fact they were much like us.

  10. Congratulations to all the wonderful writers! I enjoyed Ironskin and Glamour in Glass, and look forward to reading the others.

    I’m amused* by the comments about the authors. When an awards list is all white males, voices go up, “There’s nothing to see here. It’s purely a meritocracy!” Now there’s actually a list that doesn’t look like that, and some people are shocked. Don’t worry, it’s purely a meritocracy.

    *not in a particularly good way

  11. Amazon has “Swift, Brutal Retaliation: A Tor.Com Original [Kindle Edition] Meghan McCarron (Author)” available free now at

  12. Found the other Tor nominees as well.
    Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia: A Tor.Com Original [Kindle Edition]
    Rachel Swirsky (Author)

    The Finite Canvas: A Tor.Com Original [Kindle Edition]
    Brit Mandelo (Author)

    The lady at is real good about finding these.

  13. I, for one, welcome our non-white and non-male and LBTQ(etc.) overlords. I also endorse science fiction and fantasy stories written by zebras and other animals that combine colors to dazzlingly awesome effect.

    Seriously, what a privileged little butthurt wanker, bemoaning the downfall of the white male. Ugh.

    More diversity = more diverse fiction by people who deserve a place at the ever embiggening, multi-wonderful table. Good all around, and congrats to everybody on the list!

    • Suggesting mere skin and gender innately conveys diversity is bigotry. Turn that argument around and see where it gets you.

      • Disco Biscuit // February 24, 2013 at 5:46 pm //

        “Reverse racism/sexism!!!1”

        Unoriginal argument is unoriginal. And incorrect.

        • The sun comes up every day. That is unoriginal too, yet doesn’t affect it’s correctness. A principle is for everyone, like a strike zone in baseball. Change a strike zone according to the skin and gender of who’s batting and pitching, and you’ll have chaos. Even Mr. Spock on a shallow TV show could see through that cultural conceit, which amounts to saying wine is in fact more sophisticated than soda pop, rather than merely having a different chemical make up. Guess people just like the spaceships rather than the lessons preached for 100 years about perception.

  14. Congratulations to all the nominees and best wishes for all.

  15. I share the concern about the Nebula award being dominated by women and non-whites.

    I want my sci-fi heroes to be named things like “Chip” and work in traditional naval-officer hierarchies. I am very concerned that if more women are encouraged to write, scenes of action and exploration will be replaced with delays for menstruation. Also, I find uteri to be unsettling and would not want to be pressured to read a book in which they become sentient and menace colonial outposts and possibly, if the girl writer is also non-white, eat spicy foods.

    This is why Tom Clancy is my favorite science fiction writer. He should get the Nebula.

  16. Lightspeed & Clarkesworld probably have free audio versions of the nominated short stories. Although Clarkesworld likes to hide them.

  17. Hey, thanks for posting the links to the stories. There’s an error in the link to my story, The Pyre of New Day. Not sure who I should let know, but the full story can be found here:

    Best always,
    Catherine Asaro

  18. I haven’t read any novels on the list yet, and use each years list to pick books to read. I am disappointed that five out of six of the novel nominees are fantasy. I’ve read quite a bit of fantasy, as there are usually some, lately most, on the list. But, I prefer science fiction, as in outer space, lots of tech, new worlds with interesting cultures type stories. Sometimes the line is hard to draw between the two, but I have noticed that the past few years have been skewed a bit more towards the fantasy type books. The PKD list and the BSFA list have more science type books, so I will probably read those first. But, a good book is a good book, regardless of the genre (or the race or gender of the author). I will end up reading them all, just to make sure I’m not missing something good.

    • I don’t understand why they don’t have two separate awards. More good stuff for everyone. Just nominate everything en masse, have a committee of 5 at the SFFWA vote on whether it goes into fantasy or SF without getting into pedantic arguments about definition because the majority vote will simply rule, and you’re ready to roll. Smiles all around.

      • Ahahahaha! I needed a good laugh! A committee of more than one person who is going to decide whether any given work is F or SF without getting into a pedantic argument….that has got to be the most hilarious thing I’ve heard in months.

        Don’t tell me you’re serious, because if you are I’d advise you to lie down in a dark room with a cool, damp cloth over your eyes until the spell passes.

      • The problem with that idea is when you get books that deliberately blur the non-existent line between SF and fantasy. The World Fantasy Award excludes SF, but I’d like to see what they think of fantasy novels with SF foregrounding, or SF novels that are on fantasy templates. (Jo Anderton comes to mind immediately)

  19. I’m not at all sure what it means, but I note that the three classic SF women writers mentioned above are Andre Norton (used a male name), C.L. Moore (used initials), and Leigh Brackett (name at the time could be either male or female). I mean, *now* we think of them as women, but they didn’t initially present that way.

    I like that women writers of today can succeed without obscuring their gender.

    • I knew someone would say that even as I wrote it. Read the original introduction to The Best of C.L. Moore – he couldn’t stress enough how important she was. People knew who those women were just like we know Kim’s not a girl and N.K. Jemisin’s not a boy. And lot’s of men used pseudonyms. You’re just never gonna convince me everyone before 1960 was some kind of a jerk. I never assume people I never knew were somehow less than me.

      • Yes, they *eventually* knew. And the people in the field would have known Brackett and Moore through their husbands, Edmond Hamilton and Henry Kuttner, and through fandom. J. Random Reader in Podunk was less likely to know. (Just looked up Moore in Wikipedia, and Kuttner met her after writing a fan letter to her in which he assumed she was a man.)

        Was it really necessary to do it? I don’t know. But they *felt* it was necessary. And I’m not saying people were all jerks; they were a product of their time. Even today, writers with gender-neutral names can be misidentified by people who aren’t seriously following the field. I’m guilty of assuming Chris Moriarty was male and I’m not the only one.

        For that matter, it’s rare for a male category romance writer to use a male name. As I understand it, this is because the publishers don’t want to challenge the readers’ expectations and insist on a pseudonym or initials.

        Anyway, as I said in the above post, I’m not sure what it means. I just find it interesting.

  20. I’ve read quite a bit of fantasy, as there are usually some, lately most, on the list. But, I prefer science fiction, as in outer space, lots of tech, new worlds with interesting cultures type stories. I myself didn’t see the 6 novels as diverse but political conformism trumping art. There is nothing new or even particularly good about Throne of the Crescent Moon or The Killing Moon. If you’re the type of person who thinks something not even on the level of Flamewinds by Norvell Page from 1938 is a novel by a “writer’s writer, which what I expect a nominee to be, then you’ll love Jemisin and Ahmed.

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