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2006 Nebula Awards 105

Posted by Hemos
from the in-the-news-today dept.
Embedded Geek writes "Locus is reporting on the winners of the 2006 Nebula Awards (as determined by voting by fellow SF authors). Joe Haldeman picked up the Novel award for Camouflage while Kelly Link took home both the Novella ("Magic for Beginners") and Novelette ("The Faery Handbag"). Off the printed page, Joss Whedon beat out Battlestar Galactica with his script for Serenity. You can check out the final ballot here or look at past winners here."
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2006 Nebula Awards

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  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:44AM (#15284799) Journal
    Unexciting year, imho. Look at the winners, look at the ballots...Meh.

    Glad Joss Whedon got something for Serenity.
    • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:57AM (#15284846)
      Both stories by Kelly Link are IMHO excellent. I'd even say that they are among the best I've ever read.

      They are also available online:
      - Magic for Beginners [sfsite.com]
      - The Faery Handbag [lcrw.net]

      • Re:Meh. (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928)
        Huh. I'll check 'em out.
      • That faery handbag story is pretty good so far. Bit simplified for my like but no problem. Reads like it would translate well to a Neil Gaiman graphic novel published by Vertigo. I could easily see it as a stand-alone or as a story in Sandman.
      • by Mprx (82435)
        I read The Faery Handbag and I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a joke or what. It's slightly clever, but nothing happens, it's like the story is one big troll. I got to the end and it feels like the ending of Lost in Translation, like I've been mugged and had a big chunk of free time stolen. Maybe only females can understand these types of stories.
    • Joss Whedon's done some great stuff but Serenity certainly isn't his best work. Very disappointing if you ask me - "Buffy in Space" is about right.
    • Too bad it sucked.

      Did they grab people off the street and
      say "Hey, wanna be in a movie?"
      Worst acting I've ever seen.

      Great visuals though.
  • Based on the novel "The forever war" of Joe Haldeman
    Marvano is responsible for the artwork.

    http://www.bibliotheek.haacht.be/Mijn%20afbeelding en/eeuwige%20oorlog.jpg [haacht.be]

  • by danigiri (310827) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:59AM (#15284862)
    Haldeman is a very good writer (read Forever War) and I think quite 'underrated' as well. I will definitely buy 'Camouflage' to read what this fuss is all about. I wondered at the content of the Forever War novel until I knew he is a Vietnam veteran (if anyone is interested, you can read a bio here [earthlink.net] and at the usual places [wikipedia.org]).

    Reading the finalist listing though, I've seen that there is the damn fine novel 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke. Very amazing book, superbly written, it even has annotations in essay style, definitely a contender which I recommend to anyone interested in reading a good novel and as a fantasy genre initiation (though I would never define it as 'fantasy').

    Even though I put off my judgement until I have read Camouflage, if S. Clarke lost to Haldeman, then it must be a damn fine novel indeed.

    (Speaking of runners-up, John C. Wright is also quite good, his Golden Age series give some needed fresh-air to the hard-sf speculative fiction genre.)

    • by Goncyn (472930) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:12AM (#15284914)
      Reading the finalist listing though, I've seen that there is the damn fine novel 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke. Very amazing book, superbly written, it even has annotations in essay style, definitely a contender which I recommend to anyone interested in reading a good novel and as a fantasy genre initiation (though I would never define it as 'fantasy').

      I recently finished reading this novel, and it was outstanding. I highly recommend it. Incidentally, it won several other awards, including the Locus Award, the 2005 World Fantasy Award, and the 2005 Hugo Award. You can find out more about it here: http://www.jonathanstrange.com/ [jonathanstrange.com]


      • Thirded! Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a brilliant piece of work. The writing is great and surprisingly sinister. Felt a bit sorry for his wife, though.
        • This is an amazing first novel for a woman writer, with believable characters and interesting approach to world deconstruction. To really appreciate it, you should be somewhat familiar with the works of English 19th Century fiction, including Thomas Hardy, the Brontes, and especially Jane Austen. In some ways it's a cross between Jane Austen and Tolkien, but with a little Pratchett-esque humour.

          Once you've finished it, and if you've acquired a taste for historical fiction with an SF&F spin, then check
          • Or you could avoid the Baroque Cycle like the plague. It's the only series I know of where the author keeps bringing up cool stuff going on around the world, only to run away from it to cover in more excruciating detail the pseudo-realistic financial transactions of a fictional world.

            It's like he *really* wanted to write a series of books on banking in historical France, but his publisher said no, so he bulked a single volume adventure about pirates chasing alchemical treasure into three volumes by stuffing
    • (though I would never define it as 'fantasy')

      Why not? In my mind it's pretty clearly one half fantasy and one half alternate history.

    • Reading the finalist listing though, I've seen that there is the damn fine novel 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke. Very amazing book, superbly written, it even has annotations in essay style, definitely a contender which I recommend to anyone interested in reading a good novel and as a fantasy genre initiation (though I would never define it as 'fantasy').

      Agreed, great book, and it's not so much a fantasy as a normal story with a counterfactual history that involves the presence of magi
      • If there's magic in the story, it's fantasy. If there's a consistant world built around the magic, and what the magic can and can't do is clearly defined, that just means it has the potential to be good fantasy.

        Poorly-defined magic is just a crutch for bad writing. There's so *much* bad writing in the genre that people can't believe that anything well-written is actually "fantasy". That's not the case.
        • I still think that magic in that novel is so much part of the basic fabric of its world, and yet people are so recognizably realistic (whether human, faery, or 'other') that this qualifies it to be more of a counterfactual historical novel (along the lines of Turtledove [amazon.com]).

          And you're more likely to find Jonathan Lethem [barnesandnoble.com] not in a fantasy or scifi section since the fantasy does not define the narrative, it only informs it.

          Perhaps you're right, that the mere presence of magic means it's a fantasy, like how the me
    • I'm not so sure.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by supercrisp (936036)
      I love Haldeman, and I loved the Strange and Norrell novel. BUT, I can't really trust taste when Serenity beats out BSG. That seems so klazy to me. I've read a lot of Haldeman, and his stuff is damn good, but it just seems to lack the psychological depth of the S&N novel. Like a lot of male-written SF, Haldeman's characters often seem to be little more than mouthpieces for an ideology or polemic, but no one is as transparent in that way as Orson Scott Card.
      • I'd take Serenity over the nonsensical mysticism of BSG any day of the week. Sure the miniseries started out with some interesting SF concepts - I particularly liked the idea that Cyclons put out so much viral spam that any open network is doomed - but subsequently it;s mishandled every single one of them. It's competantly made and everything, but it's SF aspects are it's weakest.
    • The golden age had to be the worst book I have read in years. I strongly urge everyone not to waste their $6 on the paperback. Read the first couple of chapters at Borders if you just have to know just how bad it is. The premise isn't bad, but the writing quality is horrible, and the universe is so painfully self inconsistent that I couldn't bring myself to read the follow up books, and I read all the way through Donaldson's Gap series. Read Alastair Reynolds if you'd like a similar far future premise w
      • Read Alastair Reynolds if you'd like a similar far future premise with characters that are more than a half inch deep, and a writing style that won't leave you thinking you could easily have done a better job.

        To show the variety of people's opinions, I recently picked up Mr. Reynold's Revelation Space. I've only stopped reading two sci-fi/fantasy books that I purchased in my life, and this one I managed to get to page 138 before I hit that realization of: "Why am I reading this?" The writing was poor, sti
        • I think the interesting question would be whether or not you liked Golden Age better. I wouldn't have claimed Revelation Space was a great novel, but I did feel like it was at least an adequately competent one. But I would find it hard to imagine that anyone with a critical eye could compare Golden Age and Revelation Space and not find Revelation Space the better of the two.
          • I would say Golden Age is better than Revelation Space, although I have read Revelation Space twice so it may be that it's issues or more glaring to me. Gold Age took a lot of effort to understand - it's in such a weird setting with so many weird things and ideas and people, I think it is a very unforgiving work - it doesn't cut the reader any slack. Once I had a solid understanding of wtf was happening though...
        • Try Chasm City - I think it's his most polished novel (if not Century Rain). Reynolds is one of my favorite authors but he seriously does need a new editor, I'm convinced his current editor only edits every other 10 pages or so because way too many mistakes are getting through but then big chucks of the book are completely error free). His short stories are consistently excellent so you may want to check those out too.
      • The Golden Age takes a bit to get into - but once you do, it is seriously some of the best SF of the past decade (or more). I strongly urge you to give it a second chance - I am not sure what you are talking about re:writing quality or inconsistency - as much as I love Alastair Reynolds' work I think he is a better target for your allegations. Absolution Gap in particular could have used another round of editing - that said I do highly recommend Reynolds to anyone, he has a fair number of short stories on t
        • Problems I had with Golden Age (some spoilers):

          Characters were utterly flat. Could the main character be any less interesting? He's a moralizing jerk who thinks he's better than everyone else, and not only does his viewpoint not evolve, we're apparently to imagine that in this far future society he's actually right!

          Storyline was self inconsistent (slight spoiler): why didn't he jump? The main character is both implausibly smart and implausibly dumb, as it suits the story. His armor is also conveniently
          • Well, I think pretty much all of your questions/problems are in fact answered or explained by the end of the trilogy and/or are the kind of ambiguity that is intentional and beneficial to the overall quality of a story. Playing with these questions become central to the later elements of the plot and are, in my opinion, what really pushes the Golden Age from just being good to being great. It's not just mindless action SF - it's dealing with fundamental questions about morality, justice, and progress.

            Re: i
    • I'm actually reading Guardian by Haldeman now. It's very different than his other pieces, reading more like historic fiction for the bulk of the story. It's okay, though I'd recommend folks start with things like Forever War and the Worlds series.

      I find his writing style very accessible and his themes compelling. A fine author indeed.
    • I ran into the same thing myself just a minute ago while looking for who his agent is (Ralph Vicinanza). My favorite part:

      "Ted sensibly didn't bring out the marijuana until after the last day's work. One time we indulged rather more than we should have, and everyone else was overcome by the traditional "munchies" and swarmed down to the local ice cream joint, but I went upstairs to my typewriter to see what kind of writing I would do, profoundly bent. The story just poured out of me, incredibly fast and sm
  • camouflage (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by lovebyte (81275) *
    Pretty typical of /. editors to mispell the title of a book!
    • First, I know it's everyone's favorite hobby, but don't flame the editors on this. I submitted the story and to the best of my knowledge, they posted it as I submitted it. If there was an error (see below) and you want to flame anyone, fire on me, not them (and, no, I don't want to hear any "That's what editors are for" whining. It's great if an editor catches a mistake by an author, but the responsibility for any work rests on the author).

      Second, was the story corrected at some point or something? I

      • "EDITOR", it's a word that means something not just a bunch of letters thrown together to look pretty. Sure, you screwed up but there's lumps enough to go around.

        Rich
  • by edremy (36408) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:19AM (#15284967) Journal
    I look over the list and see two contenders that shouldn't even be on an awards list, much less win (Haldeman and McDevitt, the former is slipping and the latter hasn't had a decent book since The Hercules Text), yet another in an unending series (give it a rest Terry), and one that's so obscure that even Amazon doesn't carry it (Ryman).

    I haven't seen Wright's fantasy anywhere (despite living in Virginia about an hour from his home), although I'd buy it based on the wonderful Golden Age, so I can't speak to it.

    At least to me the only entry on that list worthy of the award is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but I suspect it's simply too strange for most of the folks to vote for. But it's everything an award like this *should* recognize- beautiful world building, wonderful characters and a prose style that really sets the tone for a different world. (I can't remember the last piece of fiction with laugh-out-loud footnotes). It's not an easy read, but it's a *great* read nonetheless.

    There's simply so many other good books published in the last year to have this list. If you want fantasy, where's The Prince of Nothing series? I don't know if Banks' The Algebraist is eligible since it was published in England earlier, but even though it's not Banks' best it still outclasses almost the entire list. Olympos wasn't perfect, but again should have been up there.

    • Have you read Magic For Beginners? Strange and Norwell are pure normalcy compartively speaking.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:51AM (#15285197) Homepage Journal
      It's not an easy read, but it's a *great* read nonetheless.

      And in this sentence, we have everything I dislike about literary criticism in a nutshell.

      Not everything that's easy to read is good, of course; most of what's easy to read is crap. But pretty much everything that's hard to read is crap, because if you have to struggle to read it, then its other qualities just don't matter.

      The critical world has pushed for almost a century now the idea that good writing has to be difficult -- which has led to a glut of truly awful, highly praised mainstream fiction, and the marginalization of good storytellers into genre fiction. Folks, the writers who created the literary canon of the 19th century and before weren't trying to show off their distinctive prose style. (For the great stylists, that was just what came naturally.) They were telling stories, and they wanted lots of people to read those stories.

      Now, I haven't read Norrell, but people whose judgement I trust have told me that it's exactly the kind of pretentious crap that has ruined mainstream writing and is now invading SF, thickly layered language games that distract the reader from any virtues the story itself might have. In contrast, Haldeman's prose is always elegant and concise. I voted for Camouflage, and I'm glad it won; it's not his best ever (I'd say that's actually All My Sins Remembered, not The Forever War, as good as that was) but it's very good stuff.
      • Now, I haven't read Norrell, but people whose judgement I trust have told me that it's exactly the kind of pretentious crap that has ruined mainstream writing and is now invading SF, thickly layered language games that distract the reader from any virtues the story itself might have.

        Do yourself a favor and try it. I put it as the clear winner because of one thing: it has believable *people*, not cardboard cutouts. Strange and Norrell aren't very likeable, but they are believeable, and that puts the bo


      • I wouldn't describe it as a difficult read at all. It certainly doesn't worry about excluding those with limited english skills or fifteen second attention spans, but difficult makes it sound as if you have to make an effort to read it. The opposite is true. Goes down like chocolate!

        As to word games, the book is absolutely poetic! In the hands of someone else, the plot could still be compelling, but the atmosphere and the writing are pleasure in and of themself. If you don't appreciate a well-drawn atmo
      • I'm with you on this one. Enjoyed most everthing Haldeman has done; forgot my copy of Strange et al on a plane 3/4 of the way through it and have not regretted that loss since.
    • You're the second person to call Wright's Golden Age good. That makes the rest of what you wrote suspect for me, because frankly, that was the worst book I've read in many years. Terrible writing. Flat characters. Self inconsistency. Lots of errors (though those I tend to credit to the editor/publisher not the author). It was an awful book. Awful enough I doubt i'll ever read another book by the author, award nominated or not. I will give it credit for being somewhat inspiring though: reading that b
      • The Golden Age series was an odd one for me to like. I'm very big into characterization- if I can't believe the characters are real I generally lose interest rapidly, which is why I have such a short author list. Wright never managed this, but I still really enjoyed the series (although it was wildy uneven in places) probably because his world-building was good enough for me to overlook the fact that the characters were more or less lifeless props that he moved around to forward the story.

        That said, if

    • My brother gave me McDevitt's "Chindi". It was easily the worst I had read in years, right from the very first line. Can't a survey ship ever find something interesting right in the middle of anything? Or is there some union regulation that says it has to be "at the extreme limit of its survey territory"? Maybe we need an SF equivalent of the Bulwer-Lytton award, named after McDevitt.

      But I have to disagree about Pratchett: he's still getting better, (but don't read decide based on Monstrous Regiment.)
    • HEADLINE ALERT: some random guy on slashdot disagrees with a large collection of professional writers on the art and aesthetics of writing--obviously the writers are wrong, and the random slashdot guy is right!

      Opinions are like noses--most people have one, but some are more snotty than others! :)

      I strongly disagree with you about Haldeman and McDevitt--all writers have ups and downs, but Camouflage was one of Haldeman's best in years. And McDevitt keeps steadily getting better and better; in the last coupl
      • HEADLINE ALERT: some random guy on slashdot disagrees with a large collection of professional writers on the art and aesthetics of writing--obviously the writers are wrong, and the random slashdot guy is right!

        Who said I'm right? It's obvious from the discussion that people have different tastes. Personally, I think this was a weak ballot that left off a lot of good stuff. Judging by comments, it seems that some people agree with me, others don't. Ah well.

        And McDevitt keeps steadily getting better a

  • I had the pleasure of meeting Joe at his brother Jack's birthday party back in 2001 (I worked with Jack for almost five years at IFAS [ufl.edu] while at school). Joe is a great guy, very friendly, and a great cook - he served a delicious bean soup with Piri Piri sauce at the party. Unfortunately, Jack passed away shortly after; I still miss him terribly.
  • by stry_cat (558859) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:58AM (#15285246) Journal
    What's the difference between a NOVELLA, NOVELETTE, and a SHORT STORY?

    From:
    http://www.sfwa.org/awards/faq.htm#6 [sfwa.org]

            * Novel -- 40,000 words or more
            * Novella -- 17,500-39,999 words
            * Novelette -- 7,500-17,499 words
            * Short Story -- 7,499 words or fewer
            * Script -- a professionally produced audio, radio, television, motion picture, multimedia, or theatrical script
  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:23AM (#15285424) Homepage Journal
    The Nebulous Awards were also announced today:

    Best Whatever - Whats-his-name
    Best Ya Know - That one guy
    Top Thingamajig - Some hot chick
    Honorable Mention - Whoever
  • Kelly Link (Score:4, Interesting)

    by X_Caffeine (451624) on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:43AM (#15285575)
    I'm thrilled to hear that Kelly Link did so well, maybe this will translate into some new readers.

    For the uninitiated, I like to describe her as a sort of "female Neil Gaiman" for her similar fairy-tale sensibilities. But really I find her writing much more mature and abstract.

    Her first short story collection, Stranger Things Happen, is now available as a free download [lcrw.net] under the Creative Commons.
  • no Ian M Banks, no Alastair Reynolds, Battlestar losing to serenity. While the novella and novel winners are good they by no means represent to pinacle of sci-fi. I'll be waiting for the winner of the british science fiction award instead. IMHO while we have less excitng writers here we have better ones. I was rooting for men are tourble which was availible as a free CC licensed podcast from http://www.jimkelly.net/pages/free_reads.htm [jimkelly.net].
  • On occasion, I'll see a movie that was really good. Then, on even a more rare occasion, I'll see a movie worthy of owning.
    Then... once in a blue moon... I'll see a movie... and after the movie has ended... I MUST go and see it again!
    Serenity was this last scenario.
    I have to tell ya, It's been a L O N G time since I have seen a movie that I have enjoyed this much!

    Serenity ROCKS
  • I like Joe Haldeman. I consider Forever War a minor masterpiece. I also read Forever Peace and Forever Free, which are good but not as memorable as FW.

    But Camouflage was a major letdown. The first half is quite good, and contains some really interesting speculation about alien worlds and beings. Then the book dissolves into an ordinary thriller with overlong, meaningless passages à la Ludlum, without the trills. It just feels like padding.

    All in all, a bit of a lazy effort.

    YMMV, of course.

    Olrik

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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