Preliminary Nebula Award Nominations

Recently, an initial version of the Nebula Preliminary Ballot was announced. Pertinent to my expertise here at Tor.com, here are the short fiction pieces on this ballot:

NOVELLAS:
Gregory Benford, “Dark Heaven,” Alien Crimes, Resnick, Mike, Ed., SFBC
Kelley Eskridge, “Dangerous Space,” Dangerous Space, Aquaduct Press

NOVELETTES:
Richard Bowes, “If Angels Fight,” F&SF
Michael F.  Flynn, “Quaestiones Super Caelo et Mundo,” Analog
John Kessel, “Pride and Prometheus,” F&SF
Ted Kosmatka, “The Prophet of Flores,” Asimov’s
Johanna Sinisalo, “Baby Doll,” The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent, James Morrow & Kathryn Morrow, Ed., Tor
K.D. Wentworth, “Kaleidoscope,” F&SF

SHORT STORIES:
Michael Cassutt, “Skull Valley,” Asimov’s
Sheila Finch, “Stranger Than Imagination Can,” The Guild of Xenolinguists, Golden Gryphon Press
Jeffrey Ford, “The Dreaming Wind,” The Coyote Road, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Ed., Viking Juvenile
Samantha Henderson, “Bottles,” Realms of Fantasy
M. K. Hobson, “The Hotel Astarte,” Realms of Fantasy
Gwyneth Jones, “The Tomb Wife,” F&SF
James Patrick Kelly, “Don’t Stop,” Asimov’s
Brian Plante, “The Astronaut,” Analog
Mary Rickert, “Holiday,” Subterranean
Ken Scholes, “Summer in Paris, Light From the Sky,” Clarkesworld Magazine

Earlier this year, Dave Truesdale had a post about the original fiction anthologies from 2007 wherein he recommended stories. I talked about Truesdale’s post myself, mostly to note which stories from Logorrhea that he recommended. I lamented that with so many great original fiction anthologies I wished I had less competition so that perhaps a story from the anthology would make the ballot. In the end, nothing from Logorrhea made the preliminary nor final ballot.

Over on The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) message boards, my post was referenced and discussed. Sam Hamm wrote:

Klima seems to be under the impression that “now none of the stories from the overlooked anthologies can make the final ballot.” Given the SFFWA’s bizarre rolling-eligibility rules, I would assume that many, if not most, of the stories Dave plugged are still eligible and could conceivably turn up on NEXT year’s ballot, no?

To which Truesdale replies:

Yes, they would still be eligible, depending on the exact publishing date. They have 12 months from time of publication to garner the necessary number of nominations to make the prelim ballot.

The thing is (as I stated in my column) that many will most likely be forgotten in the flush of all the new stuff coming out in 2008, and the fifteen minutes for some of these collections and stories might therefore be over by next year. Of the 7 *preliminary* nominations on this year’s ballot (out of 25 stories) from *2006* there were exactly Zero from original anthologies. If that holds true for next year, then Zero will again be the number of original anthologies from 2007 on the prelim ballot for 2008.

And Truesdale was essentially correct. Of the 18 pieces of short fiction currently on the ballot, only three of them are from original short-fiction anthologies and one from a single-author collection. And none of them are from my anthology: Logorrhea. From what I can interpret of the rules, work is eligible for 12 months from the date of publication, and since the anthology came out in May of 2007, we are past the point where anything could make the ballot, correct? However, if I’ve got that wrong, and the fact that zero stories from Logorrhea appeared in any version of the ballot this year, they would all still be eligible. Right?

So, while I know this looks like me shilling for my anthology, I’m actually trying to show how Truesdale’s point and my lament are both correct. While the stories may be ellgible, they will not be remembered to make the ballot. Work from original anthologies rarely makes the award nominations. I’m very proud of the fact of the recognition the anthology has already gotten. So I’m not trying for some sympathy to get the stories on the Nebula ballot. There are a lot of worthy stories from this year, many yet to come, that deserve to make the ballot.

And honestly? I don’t think that material published in 2007 should make a ballot for an award given out in 2009. I can understand, and expect the awards juries to decide to place something older on the ballot, particularly if it was in a small publication or late in the year. But Logorrhea was published in the middle of the year by a major publisher. While I would love to see a story from Logorrhea on the Nebula ballot, I think those stories missed their chances.

Nonetheless, there were a bunch of great short-fiction anthologies last year, and Truesdale’s post provides an execllent round-up. It’s worth reading through the post to see what stories you may have missed and what anthologies are worth getting.

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