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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nebula Awards Weekend

This weekend SFWA will present the winner of the 2008 Nebula Award in the annual Nebula Weekend event held this year in Los Angeles from April 24-26.

While the arcane rules of the award eligibility have been recently simplified (via SF Scope) this year's Nominees have been chosen based on the old rules, so they are from both 2007 and 2008.

For the full list click through the Nominees link, while here we will present the novels and their Fantasy Book Critic reviews when available.

The 2008 Nebula Award novel nominees are:

Little Brother - Cory Doctorow (Tor, Apr 08)
Powers -
Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt, Sep 07)
Cauldron -
Jack McDevitt (Ace, Nov 07)
Brasyl -
Ian McDonald (Pyr, May 07)
Making Money -
Terry Pratchett (Harper, Sep 07)
Superpowers -
David J. Schwartz (Three Rivers Press, Jun 08)

Liviu's take: I read only two novels from the list Cauldron and Brasyl since those are the only ones of interest to me.

I love Jack McDevitt's fiction, own and have read all his
novels and loved most of them, some quite a lot, and *of course* this means you will see reviews of any new McDevitt novel here as long as I will contribute to FBC - starting with last year's The Devil's Eye reviewed in October 08.

I loved
Cauldron the last Academy novel featuring Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchinson and found it a fitting ending to the series. Not the best of the series which is still Engines of God, but not the so-so Omega which was the weakest one by far.

Excellent storytelling and great characters with solid sfnal content is what makes
Jack McDevitt a big time favorite author of mine and both the Academy series and the Alex Benedict one show that.

Regarding Ian McDonald, I was not that interested in his novels before the career defining River of Gods which was just superb; since then I started enjoying his new work including his superb short fiction set both in the
River of Gods universe collected in Cyberabad Days and in his Tear universe.

This last novella is just mind-blowing and was the highlight of the strong Galactic Empire anthology, ed. G. Dozois that I found the best original anthology of 2008.
I found Brasyl very well written and extraordinarily atmospheric, but I thought the sfnal elements do not coalesce well and River of Gods is still the superior novel.

So overall, I do not have an informed opinion on this year's award - which personally I consider the weakest by far of all major, pedigreed sff awards - since both novels nominated that I have read were very good, but not the respective author's best or in my top 10 of 2007.

Fabio Fernandes is continuing his superb major sff award coverage after the PKD with reviews of the Nebula novels and news of the event.


bascule said...

Glad to see someone else appreciate Mr McDevitt. Have to agree on Omega, didn't feel like the same author to me.

Chindi I adored, couldn't put it down, and Deepsix was the greatest collection of cliffhangers I've ever read in one story. Quite breathless at times.

Fabio Fernandes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fabio Fernandes said...

Thank you, Liviu! For now, alas, I won´t be able to cover all the books before the winner is annouced. I will, however, cover them all, regardless. Right after the Nebula, I´ll take the ACC and then I´ll return to the PKD.

I think the only one I will be able to cover safely is the Hugo - and I will also cover the event from inside, in Montreal. With a litle luck, I´ll reach a better timing along the year. :-)

Liviu said...

I discovered Jack Mc.Devitt many years ago - maybe the early 90's - when A Talent for War just blew me away - yes the 10000 years ahead setting which got carried in the later Alex Benedict novels is not that appropriate, but outside that, the book was such that made me a lifelong McDevitt fan.

I kept buying and reading all his books basically on publication, and while there were one or two that were so-so, most were just great and Engines of God is another amazing book, one that evokes that "sense of wonder" without splashy galactic empires, high body count wars and galactic menaces 1 billion years ahead...

Of the rest of the Academy, I agree that Deepsix is just the best "disaster" novel I ever read, Chindi is also great and indeed not to be put down and Oddyssey is pretty good too - I have a fondness for "cynical" journalists that explore the truth at any cost

Omega is the only one that is just ok to good, maybe because of the high expectations that preceded it.

The new Alex Benedict novels, while having this "10000" year setting that is just not believable - just carried from a novel that I think the author himself was amazed it got to be so popular - are excellent as adventures and mysteries and I like the "Mutes" and their increasing role in the setting.


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