I was unable to attend the Nebula Awards ceremony last night, but thanks to the magic of SFWA I watched the shindigs through the full-on glory of streaming video. Overall, I'm thrilled with the winners. As I mentioned when the finalists were announced, I believe this year's award represents some much needed generational change for our genre. This is still my view.
First off, I couldn't be more pleased with Eugie Foster and Paolo Bacigalupi winning. Eugie's story "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" was one of my favorite stories of 2009. Paolo's The Windup Girl was likewise my favorite novel of last year. As I wrote in my original review, The Windup Girl is a classic dystopian novel which deserves to be read and shortlisted for the major awards. While my review of Eugie's story was shorter, her tale stayed with me just like Paolo's novel.
In the other categories, I'm excited to see "Spar" by Kij Johnson and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente among the winners. And while I didn't win in the best novella category, I was thrilled "The Women of Nell Gwynne's" by Kage Baker took top honors. I'm ashamed that I didn't have a chance to read Kage's novella until after the Nebula nomination period had passed. It is a fine work and a fitting end to a career cut far too short.
It will be interesting to see how people react to these winners. One blogger is already calling this Nebulafail because he hates the short story and novel winners. I'm actually not surprised by this reaction and predict we will see more of it. Great stories do not appeal to all people--the surest way to tell that a story has a seed of greatness within is if half the readers love it and the other half hate it. And this has been the general reaction to many of this year's winners. While many people like myself have praised The Windup Girl, others have hated it or said it is simply a good first novel. Likewise with "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist..." which was overlooked by all of the year's best anthologies even as it made the shortlists for most of the biggest genre awards.
Still, I think the fact that these authors won this year's Nebula is indicative of what people will think about these works a decade or two from now. So congrats to all the winners and thanks to the SFWA for all the amazing work they do.