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2003 Nebula Awards

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the the-winners-awarded dept.

Sci-Fi 106

seattlenerd writes "The 2003 Nebula Awards were awarded late Saturday night in Seattle (for the first time ever) by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Winners: The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, "The Empire of Ice Cream" by Jeffrey Ford, "What I Didn't See" by Karen Joy Fowler (the previous two both published on the SCI FICTION site), and the script for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Noteworthy were comments made by GrandMaster honoree Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison, who introduced Silverberg, along with guest speaker Rick Rashid of Microsoft Research. To say nothing of Cory Doctorow's acceptance speech he didn't get to make, but has made available for "alternate historians."" I was at Penguicon this weekend, along with Neil Gaiman - congrats to him on the win, and to all the others.

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mmm....Ice Cream (3, Funny)

kronak (723456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903537)

The Empire of Ice Cream....I want to live there

Re:mmm....Ice Cream (5, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903813)

FYI, the name is a play on The Emperor of Ice Cream [crocker.com] , by Wallace Stevens.

Hmmm, I was unimpressed by it in high school, but with the advantage of maturity -- I still don't like it.

Anyone else read that as 'Nebulon'? (2, Funny)

qedigital (545151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903542)

Anyone else read that as the "Nebulon" Awards? As in "get out of here Nebulon, no one likes your style." -- S.B.

Re:Anyone else read that as 'Nebulon'? (3, Informative)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903608)

"Nebulon" is mentioned in this cartoon on the Homestar Runner web page [homestarrunner.com] . Please note that you'll need to have Macromedia Flash installed in order to view it.

Coraline? Pfft (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903552)

I picked up this book, expecting an original and exciting story. Instead I got a patronising modern-day Alice in Wonderland with a simplistic and unchallenging story, two dimensional charicatures for characters and a boringly predictable plot. It had no point. Try Darren Shan, Anthony Horowitz or Frank Cotteral Boyce instead.

Re:Coraline? Pfft (5, Informative)

rtos (179649) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903726)

Um... you do know that Coraline [amazon.com] is meant for ages 8 and up, right? It's a kids book... and a damn good one at that. Creepy as hell, but told in classic children's story-book style.

Taken in that context, it's highly enjoyable, quick read for adults too. I thought it was a fun little book.

If you want Gaiman fantasy made more for adults, check out Neverwhere [amazon.com] (1997). It was one of the best books I read last year.

Neverwhere (1)

E-Tigger (601072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903815)

Neverwhere is good, but it has a strong British bent to it that won't necessarily carry over everywhere. American Gods might do better.

Re:Neverwhere (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904146)

Lord of the Rings is good, but it has a strong Elvish bent to it that won't necessarily carry over everywhere... ;)

alternative Gaiman...Pullman? (2, Insightful)

hcduvall (549304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904670)

Hmm...I think American Gods is better Gaiman book. Neverwhere was adapted from a BBC miniseries he wrote, and while enjoyable, it ended up a bit too loose, it even ends with sequel bait. The plot is straightforward, but it feels like the setting is the star of the show. American Gods, while it has a couple of long digressions, has a stronger showing I think.

That said, I've read a lot of Gaiman, so whats vaguely uninteresting to me, may be new to other readers.

If we're going for younger fare, I've enjoyed what I've read so far of The Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. Its not got the straight fun aspect of the Potter books, but the world from the start is a more adult and complex one.

Speed of Dark was solid (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903554)

OMFG First Post!!! (Maybe)

But seriously, I thought The Speed of Dark was an excellent read. Good to see it get recognized as such.

Re:Speed of Dark was solid---- WAY OT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903616)

I just meta-modded this, a comment made no less than 5-minutes ago. Funny stuff, usually The things i meta-mod are at least something like a week old.

gay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903555)

roll your pasty, tubby bodies out of bed, get some natural light, and read real books losers.

K thx!

(and stop whacking off)

Please help me.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903562)

I just can't get that god-forsaken image of that TRON guy in tights outta my head!!
It burns, man, it burns!!
Why, Slashdot, did you have to subject us to that? I mean, we made it through the goatse thingy, now this? The horror....

hmmm (4, Insightful)

spangineer (764167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903576)

I could be mistaken, but wasn't the script for The Two Towers written long before 2003? And even the film itself opened in 2002, right? How then does it win the 2003 award?

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903682)

Sad that The Two Towers screenplay won. It was the worst adaption of the three.

Re:hmmm (0, Flamebait)

joeyGibson (30462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904499)

It was the worst adaption of the three.

I actually thought RotK was the absolute worst of the three. FotR was not too bad, TTT was awful, and RotK was bloody rotten. Tolkien must have done several laps around his grave at that one.

Re:hmmm (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903916)

Nebulas are given for works released during the previous year (i.e., the 2003 awards go to 2002 works, etc.) When the work was written doesn't matter -- remember these are primarily literary awards, and it's not uncommon for a book to take several years to be written, and then several more to be published. (I would assume the same is true of scripts, in general, though of course LOTR is kind of a special case.) For those interested in the process, it works like this:

  1. At any time, a SFWA member may nominate a work published a year ago or less at the time of nomination.
  2. At the end of the year, works with sufficient numbers of nominations are placed on the preliminary Nebula ballot.
  3. Early in the following year, SFWA membership votes on the works on the preliminary ballot; in each category, up to a certain maximum number of works -- 5, IIRC, but don't quote me -- are qualified for the final ballot.
  4. The membership then votes on the works on the final ballot, and the awards are determined.
  5. This being science fiction writing, you'll notice there is no "Profit!!!" step in the list. Er, unless you're Peter Jackson. <1/2 g>

So this is why it takes so long, and why the 2003 awards are given for 2002 works in 2004.

Re:hmmm (0, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904016)

I have an alternate angle on that. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but didn't the screenplay for The Two Towers totally fucking mangle the story? It might get a Nebula, but as far as I'm concerned you can flush it down the nearest Black Hole.

Book scripts (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904595)

And while the actual visual/acting aspects of the scenes are well-scripted, the storyline is obviously not original.

Does "script" cound as just the acting cues etc, or is storyline included. I'd imagine that the latter has a seperate award - but if that isn't the case then it doesn't make much sense for a book-based-movie to win a script award?

Re:Book scripts (1)

nobody69 (116149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906189)

There are so few good sf movies realeased in a given year that splitting the award into 'Original' and 'Adapted' like the Oscars, would result in frequent years where some piece of crap won, or no award was given.

Also, some people have noticed some differences between the books and the movies...

Re:hmmm (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904659)

There's got to be a reason, because if time of authoring wasn't factored in then the Hitchhiker's Guide would have taken EVERY award, even the award for "best musical set to the beat of a tribal drum!"

Re:hmmm (1, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904763)

It's just one of a long line of inappropriate awards dished out to LotR.

Remember, this trilogy includes an Oscar under its belt for best editing. Read that again: the (complete) film is twelve and a half hours long. And it apparently was the best edited film in 2003. Does this make any sense? What was it before they edited it, twelve and a half days long?

I understand it's taken a certain amount of the popular imagination, and introduced children who would have just got the book and never ventured into a cinema to the magic of not reading, but this is absurd.

Still, I have no problems awarding it the Squiggy (2000) for "Best Open Source Application". An award, I'm sure you'll agree, is well deserved, it is, after all, a great trilogy, and a lot of people watched it.

Re:hmmm (1)

nobody69 (116149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906381)

Editing isn't just taking x hours of film and reducing it by 90%, any more than sculpture is just taking a big rock and reducing it by 90%. When to use a slower pace of cuts or a faster one, when to wchoose a better 'emotional' result over a better 'technical' one, tying the rhythmn of shots to the score, which montage of shots, etc.

"If I wanted to be frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely a way of producing film to edit." - Stanley Kubrick (Some of his movies sure could have used some more of it though...)

Re:hmmm (2, Insightful)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906485)

Remember, this trilogy includes an Oscar under its belt for best editing. Read that again: the (complete) film is twelve and a half hours long. And it apparently was the best edited film in 2003. Does this make any sense? What was it before they edited it, twelve and a half days long?

I believe they were working from at least a week of raw footage, yes. On any film you're going to have a LOT more stuff shot than will find its way into the final product.

What did you think was involved with editing, though? As someone who's actually done film editing, the hard part is not just cutting down a lot of material. It's selecting just the right pieces and fitting them together seamlessly (or as seamlessly as possible ... sometimes you have to make compromises).

As you may know, each scene in a film is typically filmed multiple times, from many different angles. Most of the time the scene you see on screen has been pieced together from many different such takes. Since actors aren't machines, each one is subtly different and you have to pick your cuts carefully so the separate performances blend together (this is called continuity).

Usually you have to live with some mismatches (e.g. Morpheus' hands shifting behind hs back in long shots in the first Matrix, or Gandalf's staff strap shifting about in FotR) because those are the best takes you had to work with (bonus editor points for cutting in places that distract the eye from necessary discontinuities).

Another factor in chosing cuts is pacing -- when to linger, when to move on, to heighten the intended dramatic effect. This can even have a radical effect on the actors' apparent performances. Sometimes entire scenes are reshuffled relative to the shooting script during editing.

There are a lot of other issues too -- matching this mixture of different cuts to consistent-sounding music and sound tracks in effective ways.

But the point is that editing in film isn't just about how much was or wasn't cut away. Oftentimes the unsung editor deserves just as much credit for the finished product as the director.

Re:hmmm (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904903)

Given how much the movie differed from the novel, I'm disappointed this was recognised.

When I was in the theater the first time seeing the movie, I thought.."This feels like The Two Towers, but I don't quite remember it this way...". So i re-read the novel. I was frustrated by the end of it -- so many departures, supposedly for 'dramatic pacing' and 'constraints of the medium'...what a bunch of horsepucky!

The divergences from the text are legion...

Where is Microsoft news? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903603)

I want some Microsoft news. Anything is fine, positive or negative, I can find something negative anyway.

Microsoft is taking over the world!!! (0, Troll)

kronak (723456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903615)

I find it interesting the the keynote address was about Microsoft's "Vision of the future." I'd say more, but its just not necessary.

Re:Microsoft is taking over the world!!! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904274)

They're just angling to get a Nebula award for best fantasy writing. They would have tried for a Hugo, but Scientology is already trying for one with their fantasy retro-history about how Elron Hubbard invented science-fiction. And since Hugos are awarded by fans, they figured they didn't stand a chance against all the Battlefield Earth fans block-voting.

Coraline is really freakin' creepy (5, Interesting)

fingerbear (602605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903625)

I read Coraline for the first time this weekend. The book says it's for ages 8 and up, but this would have freaked the hell out of me when I was that young. It is definitely worth picking up if you like Gaiman's other stuff.

Re:Coraline is really freakin' creepy (1)

kronak (723456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903707)

Well said...I feel like I'm 8 years old and reading Coraline was definetly an experience, to say the least.

Re:Coraline is really freakin' creepy (2, Interesting)

joeyGibson (30462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904628)

I loved Coraline, but I can't imagine reading that when I was eight. "Creepy as hell" doesn't really describe the case of the screaming meemies I got from reading it when I was 32...

Re:Coraline is really freakin' creepy (4, Interesting)

rudbek (28000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904894)

I read it one chapter a night to my 7 yr old daughter. We both really enjoyed it. For what it is worth, she wasn't freaked out by it and it has been several weeks since we finished. (knock on wood).

Re:Coraline is really freakin' creepy (1)

Andre Galan (772600) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906037)

Agreed. I think Neil Gaiman is necessary reading for anyone who claims to enjoy science fiction. American Gods was one of the best novels I've read in a long time. This was one of the few instances when the New York Times Bestsellers lived up to the expectations.

Audio CD Of Coraline is Great! Unabridged Too. (2, Interesting)

Tech Observer (699347) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906598)

The audio cd is phenomenal. Look for it used. If you don't want to pay full price. The author reads it really, really well. There is some spooky haunting music that accompanies it. Very nice and worth the effort to track it down. It is unabridged as well. See Coraline CD [UNABRIDGED] [amazon.com]

Re:Coraline is really freakin' creepy (1)

Dante (3418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906780)

I read coraline to my at the time 7 year old; she loved it. Why do people think that kids can't deal with stuff like this?

did they? (4, Funny)

eclectus (209883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903626)

Did the writer of 'Gigli' get anything?

Re:did they? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903743)

Indeed, I believe they won a special invite for a trip of a lifetime to the next Nebula.

Re:did they? (4, Funny)

Ride-My-Rocket (96935) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904181)

Did the writer of 'Gigli' get anything?

A swift kick to the nuts, in the hopes that inspiration of the type that spawned Gigli will not be passed on through the bloodline.

Re:did they? (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904286)

Concrete boots and swim lessons.

Re:did they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904523)

check out his other hits [imdb.com]
Fucking literary genious!

SPEED OF DARK (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903686)

He gets the operation in the end then realises he doesn't love the woman now he's stopped being autistic

Speed of Dark is about an autistic social failure (5, Funny)

Slashdot Hivemind (763065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903702)

With amazing computer skills. I expect it will go down well with Slashdot readers

Re:Speed of Dark is about an autistic social failu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904065)

With amazing computer skills. I expect it will go down well with Slashdot readers

Well, at least I earn, ummm, like, a couple of hundred dollars a month. That's probably way more than you make! /Rain Man

Re:Speed of Dark is about an autistic social failu (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8905579)

It is also a very, very good read.

Hmmmm... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903703)

Who's 0wnz0red now, Cory?

You know. (4, Insightful)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903706)

There's something sort of arrogant about publishing your acceptance speech when you didn't even win.

Re:You know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903768)

Yeah, Doctorow is quite the hype machine, isn't he? Who needs to win awards when you have a website and claque of obsequious fanboys to link to it?

Sort of the same thing Lil' Kim does, but it seems more appealing when it involves breasts instead of starry-eyed nerds.

Re:You know. (5, Funny)

outrage98 (99696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903776)

There's something sort of arrogant about publishing your acceptance speech when you didn't even win.

I haven't written my book yet, but I've just about finished my acceptance speech.

Amazon sales ranks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904703)

What's the big deal about Cory Doctorow? People knock him for being a PR whore but if that were the case, wouldn't it be reflected in his amazon sales ranks?

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom amazon sales rank: 22,284 paper, 38,774 hardcover

A Place So Foreign and Eight More sales rank: 28,749

Eastern Standard Tribe sales rank: 9,345

Obligatory mastercard joke... Making an ass of yourself on slashdot: Priceless.

Re:Amazon sales ranks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904943)

I have but one response to that:

"The South Beach Diet": Sales Rank 4

He's a PR whore. This reflects neither well nor badly on his writing.

But that doesn't change the fact that you have to be a bit of a prick to publicly post an acceptance speech for an award you didn't win.

Re:You know. (0, Troll)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903808)

Yeah. I thought that as well. I mean, just who is this Cory guy, anyway, and why is he so special that he gets away with such narcissism?

Re:You know. (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903811)

Cory Doctorow is like that. Trust me. He's a very clever guy, but not as clever as he thinks he is.

Re:You know. (3, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904649)

And in person, it's a very friendly arrogance. Quite a lot of successful F&SF writers have gone a long way on friendly arrogance. :)

Re:You know. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906024)

Oh, I have no doubt that he's a lot easier to deal with in person. I've known him online for several years but never met him; OTOH, people I do know in person and whose opinions I respect say he's really a very nice guy. But his online persona strikes me as clever but, well, bratty, and not in a cute way.

Both ways... (2, Insightful)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903852)

I took it the other way. It is that the artist called himself out. In a way, after winning a Hugo (already recognized once) it's not out of the ordinary to imagine himself having won another award.

It's embarrassing enough that he thought that he could have won, but couldn't make it anyway. But to go as far as finding someone to read the acceptance speach by proxy...and then NOT win. My goodness. Well may as well tell the whole world himself.

The other way to take it? He thought his short speach to witty to deny the world it's creation.

Re:You know. (2, Insightful)

patternjuggler (738978) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903857)

There's something sort of arrogant about publishing your acceptance speech when you didn't even win.

I think he just really wish he could have said "holy fuck, I've won a Nebula" after winning a Nebula. And thank the people who have helped him, which deserve thanking either way. It is weird on the face of it, but I'm not seeing the arrogance.

Re:You know. (2, Funny)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903954)

I'd love to win a Grammy for my music, but I'm not expecting to, so I sure as hell wouldn't write and publish an acceptance speech.

Maybe arrogant wasn't quite the right word, but the man, after NOT winning an award, went right ahead and published the "This is what I would have said if I'd won that award".

No, I'd say arrogant is the right word.

Re:You know. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904078)

I'd love to win a Grammy for my music, but I'm not expecting to, so I sure as hell wouldn't write and publish an acceptance speech.
But if you were nominated for a Grammy, like he was nominated for a Nebula, you'd sure as hell write an acceptance speech, and arrange for someone to give it for you if you couldn't make the ceremony. So "arrogant" is the wrong word. I'd suggest "normal" as a better word.

Re:You know. (0)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904318)

I sure as hell wouldn't publish it after the fact, when I'd *lost*.

I call that arrogant, not the writing it. Writing it is sensible. Publishing it after he lost is arrogant.

Re:You know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903918)

Maybe someone can digitize it using those Higgs boson thingies and then we can all appreciate it at 40 zillion DPI.

Re:You know. (5, Insightful)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904085)

There's something sort of arrogant about publishing your acceptance speech when you didn't even win.

Dude, it was on his 'blog.

Blogs are a place where people often post their casual musings, like what they'd say if XXX happened. It's not really any more arrogant than posting what you'd do if you won the lottery on slashdot.

Re:You know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904281)

if you won the lottery on slashdot.

Wow, and here I was completely unaware of slashdot even having a lottery!

Is this a subscriber-only thing? :o) If so, someone should publicize it more, I'd certainly reconsider getting a subscription!

Re:You know. (1)

Cyclopedian (163375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904773)

If XXX happened, the author would have a lot more on his mind anyway. Like trying to survive vs Vin Diesel.

-Cyc

Arrogance - was Re:You know. (2, Insightful)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904802)

Dude, the day you are nominated for a major award, by your peers, and don't win, and then don't tell anyone what you would have said, is the day you get to call Cory Doctorow arrogant.

Re:Arrogance - was Re:You know. (0, Troll)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904858)

No, the day I got to call Cory Doctorow arrogant was today. Did you miss it? [slashdot.org]

How about ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE who got nominated and didn't win? Any of them publishing their acceptance speeches?

Arrogant, arrogant, arrogant. Damn. Did I do it again?

Re:Arrogance - was Re:You know. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8905065)

Ooh! I once got nominated for an award that I didn't win. [locusmag.com] (Other Fan Achievement, woo!) I never told anyone what I would have said, so can I call Cory arrogant, please? :^) (Just kidding Cory. A Nebula nomination is no small deal.)

Tee hee. (4, Funny)

gregduffy (766013) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903723)

Fanfiction conglomeration heaven - What I Didn't See was the Empire of Ice Cream because The Speed of Dark was too great.

Elizabeth Moon-what's she all about? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903763)

Is she good or is she whack? How can an author who turns out brilliant books like "Speed of Dark" and "Remnant Population" also write shit like the Paksennarion and Familias Regnant series?

Elizabeth Moon wrote a good book? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903779)

Tomorrow, Microsoft announces support for Open Source.

I think Ive heard of this one! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903794)

Isn't The Empire of Ice Cream that book where Dr Phil gets killed in?

Neil Gaiman (5, Interesting)

lurwas (518856) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903877)

Congratulations to not only a great author, but also a great person.
If you don't beleive me, read his journal at:
http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp
Keep up the good work with your journal Mr Gaiman, in these dire times of terror attacks and economic instability, your journal gives us poor lost souls an interesting and inspiring reading and above all, hope.

For those who hasn't done so already, please consider reading American Gods and the Sandman stories they are great :)

a plea (2, Insightful)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903895)

(Hope this isn't way off-topic...)

Reading the awards-list makes me wish I read more sci-fi.

I recently finished a piece of horror-fiction, Michael Gruber's Tropic of Night, whose literary quality was high enough not to require the reader to make allowances for the genre. In my experience, such a requirement is a pervasive shortcoming of both the horror and sci-fi fields.

If there are astute slashDot readers out there who understand my lament, and who know an elusive sci-fi title (or two) that does manage the rare crossover, please identify.

Re:a plea (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903999)

Well, you could do worse than to look up Nebula winners of years past. The list is on the SFWA Web site:

Past Winners of SFWA Nebula Awards [sfwa.org]

I have to say, though, that if your opinion of SF is so low that you think only " an elusive sci-fi title (or two)" will make your cut, I'm not terribly optimistic. As someone who reads (and writes) mostly SF but does read a fair amount of other fiction, I'm of the opinion that the crap-to-good-stuff ratio is pretty much equal no matter what section of the bookstore you're browsing. A lot of readers, OTOH, tend to mark down a book simply because it is SF, rather than judging it fairly on its merits. If you're one of them, nothing I or anyone else says is going to help you.

Re:a plea (2)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904719)

I have to say, though, that if your opinion of SF is so low that you think only " an elusive sci-fi title (or two)" will make your cut, I'm not terribly optimistic.

My point's not all that elitist. "Great" sci-fi (e.g., Arthur C. Clarke) is usually so deemed for its scientific perspicacity/creativity ...but is (understandably) lacking in the enteratining and/or engaging qualities we tend to demand from "genre-less" fiction. But, very occasionally, a book holds its own in both arenas. Any dearth of such books merely reflects the small intersection of multiple high percentiles.

Re:a plea (1)

nobody69 (116149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906819)

Well moviepig, I'd hope you're not being elitist since you have a spelling error in your post. ;)

Anyway, when you read 'genre-less' (whatever that means) stuff, what do you look for? Are you a characterization guy, er, pig? Can great prose cover all the sins in your world? Do you like Deep Thoughts on Big Ideas? You can always hit rec.arts.sf.written on Usenet or Google groups and say "I like AB&C for their XY&Z qualities, who else writes like that?" They'll be able to give specific and probably endless authors and books to try.

I don't know what you like, but here's my free (and no doubt worth every penny) ideas: Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman.

Ellison writes almost exclusively shorter stuff, but find "Deathbird", "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" and "Just Adrift Off the Isles of Langerhans" in one of his many collections and see if you like them. Be warned though - he has some opinions that will piss you off either by themselves or by his presentation of them, especially in his non-fiction. How can I say this when I know basically nothing about you? Read some of his stuff and you'll know...

Gaiman on the other hand, writes some creepy, creepy stuff, but seems like he'd be a great neighbor - only too hapy to loan you his tools or cook out with you. _American Gods_ always gets trotted out as his masterpiece, but I liked _Neverwhere_, _Stardust_ and especially _Good Omens_ (with Terry Pratchett) more. He's also written childrens books (_The Day I Traded My Dad For Two Goldfish_ and _The Wolves in the Walls_) and, of course, The Sandman comics. And he got namechecked by Tori Amos in "Tear in Your Hand".

And of course Vernor Vinge's _Fire Upon The Deep_ and _A Deepness in the Sky_ are always worthy of pointing out to someone. ;)

time traveler? (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 10 years ago | (#8909108)

"My point's not all that elitist."

Not if this is still the 1950s. What are you, a time traveller? The "big three" of the '50s and '60s were Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein, yes. But we've come a long way since then (baby). The sixties introduced the first major "literary" movement in the F&SF genre(s), the "New Wave", and gave us Bradbury, Vonnegut and others, whose literary credentials are, I think, unchallenged. While the older, "pulp" style is still around and going strong, the descendents of the New Wave and other, later movements are widespread -- so much so that Gabriel Garcia Marquez doesn't look out of place when cited as a genre writer.

Basically, literary SF is an almost separate genre from pulp SF, with a separate (though somewhat overlapping) set of fans. If your friends are still citing Clarke (my Ghod!) as one of the "greats", perhaps you need to look for some more literate friends, instead of blaming the genre you obviously know so little of. I haven't cited Clarke as a "great" in decades. He's been surpassed by those who came later to such a degree that I'm not even sure he'd make the cut as "average" today.

Even the "pulp" side of the genre has higher literary standards than it once did. I'll match Orson Scott Card against most of the authors on the NYT bestseller list any day of the week.

"But, very occasionally, a book holds its own in both arenas."

If we limit ourselves to works published before 1970, I might agree with you. As it is, I have to say that you simply have no idea what you're talking about.

good stuff if old stuff (3, Informative)

mactov (131709) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904069)

moviepig.com writes: If there are astute slashDot readers out there who understand my lament, and who know an elusive sci-fi title (or two) that does manage the rare crossover, please identify.

Take a look at some of the books Robert Silverberg wrote in the 1970's; some of them are "Dying Inside," "Son of Man," and "Thorns" -- they are little gems. You have to ignore the dates in SF of that age (the "future" is now, at least chronologically speaking) but there were some interesting people writing interesting stuff back then.

Re:a plea (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 10 years ago | (#8905757)

Well there is one author you could try. He might even be horror as well as sci-fi, depending on your definition.


Check out Altered Carbon [amazon.com] and Broken Angels [amazon.com] by Richard Morgan.


The first is more sci-fi / noir, although there are some Very bloody torture and violence scenes. Broken Angels is more a sci-fi war story, with elements of vodun thrown in with slow death from radiation.


Both very good, both horrific in their own way. I've never made any allowances for either book based on it's genere.

Re:a plea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8905916)

You can see the nominees and winners for "Best Books" [Novels, collection, anthology, nonfiction] "Best Short Fiction", Best Movies, and other that put the Hugos and Nebulas (and British SF Awards, Arthur C. Clarke Awards, World Fantasy, Horror...), many of which are "cross-overs", for every year 2000-2010 at:

http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateSF/timeline20 10 .html

and for every other year when such awards were issued via:

http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateSF/timeline.h tm l

And then , through the latter link, best literary/media events of every year in human history ....

The magicdragon.com site gets over 40,000 hits/day and is rated in the top 10 by Google, Yahoo, MSN, Teoma, etc. for "science fiction."

Prose quality (1)

junkgoof (607894) | more than 10 years ago | (#8907610)

Try William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Mikhail Bulgakov (I think "The Master and Margarita" qualifies as sci-fi, and it's amazing, ask literally any Russian, if they've read at all they will have read it, and I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked it), Douglas Adams, Stephen Donaldson (OK, he tends to try real hard to make his stuff really unpleasant but his prose is great, "Daughter of Regals is a little more positive), Michael Crichton (hit or miss on the plots, but his better stuff is well written), Clifford Simak (a lot of his books repeat similar stuff, but it's good considering how long ago it was written), Edgar Allen Poe, HG Wells... Avoid Asimov, Heinlein, Forward, and most other authors of the same generation if prose quality is a concern. Not that their books are that bad overall, but their level of written english is pretty low. I'm bad about this, I would read junk mail from some of the suggested authors for the prose. I have not read quite a number of great books, sci-fi and classics, because I can't deal with the prose (especially that "dear reader" stuff from way back). Pisses me off with some authors, too. James Joyce wrote beautiful prose when he cared to, but spent so much time being clever that not much of what he published is beautifully written. Brilliantly written, yes, but not beautiful, and not intended to be.

For the first time ever? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903936)

The 2003 Nebula Awards were awarded late Saturday night in Seattle (for the first time ever) by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.


When and by whom are the 2003 Nebula Awards likely to be awarded next?

Re:For the first time ever? (1)

Xenothaulus (587382) | more than 10 years ago | (#8905148)

I believe the "first time ever" bit referred to Seattle and not the SFFWA.

Re:For the first time ever? (1)

seattlenerd (688404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8905479)

Precisely. And that's why the parenthetical remark came after the city name. The next Nebulas will be in Chicago in late April 2005, BTW.

What was Ellison doing there? (2, Funny)

jet_silver (27654) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904056)

He's supposed to be working on "Again: Dangerous Visions"; he hasn't got time for this stuff.

Re:What was Ellison doing there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904259)

Why don't you ask him? Just send him a Christmas card, and write some questions about Last Dangerous Visions on the inside. Make sure to include your address and phone number, so he can get back to you. And don't forget to tell him that you're such a big fan that you've posted all of his stories on your web site. You know how authors always like to get more exposure.

Re:What was Ellison doing there? (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904506)

For those that don't know Last Dangerous Visions is the Duke Nukem Forever [3drealms.com] of the science-fiction world. Only it's been going on a hell of a lot longer, and generated more all around bad feelings [islets.net] . (And on the Interweb almost nothing is gone forever, so here's the flame [lysator.liu.se] talked about.)

Re:What was Ellison doing there? (1)

Monsieur Canard (766354) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904732)

And in the Christmas card, don't forget to tell him how much you loved the Roddenbery version of City on the Edge of Forever.

Has Harlan waxed demonic yet on Will Smith in I, Robot yet?

Re:What was Ellison doing there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8906600)

I am so^H^Halmost tempted to post Harlan's home phone number here.

But then again, I like living.

Re:What was Ellison doing there? (1)

nobody69 (116149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906904)

I think you meant to say "Make sure to include your address and phone number, so he can get back at you. And stop playing tricks on the newbies...

Anyone read these? (0)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904202)

And which were worth reading? Been away from Sci-fi for too long.

2004 Hugo Award nominations also announced (4, Informative)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904262)

If you follow the nebulas, you might be interested to see the recently announced shortlist for the other big SciFi awards, the Hugos:

http://www.noreascon.org/hugos/nominees.html

The Hugos are voted for by the attendees/supporters of the World Science Fiction Convention, whereas the Nebulas are voted on by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, in case you were wondering what the difference is.

My Nebula report and more on Cory Doctorow (5, Informative)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904379)

My Nebula report is here [trufen.net] , on the new Slashcode site TruFen.net [trufen.net] .

what? nebulus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8905213)

damn that game (Nebulus) ruled; so did Eliminator! whatever happened to Hewson (the company) and where's the source!?

GrimRC

Futurama Vs. LOTR? (2, Insightful)

aslate (675607) | more than 10 years ago | (#8905383)

When it was announced on PEELified that Futurama was to be nominated for another award (2 years after cancellation now) we were surprised to see that it was in the same category as LOTR and 3 other films, "Best Script".

Does this not show the high-quality of the show, being able to be nominated in the same category as 4 other films? Of course, we weren't surprised when it was beaten by LOTR, but it was reassuring that, try as they might, FOX can't ruin the show's brilliance and reputation.

Sex wi7h a doll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8905459)

noises outR of tHe and its long term about 700 users distended. All I

typography... (2, Interesting)

Bambi Dee (611786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8905650)

Can somebody tell me why some titles are in boldface whereas the others are double-quoted?

Re:typography... (2, Informative)

seattlenerd (688404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8907125)

Book and film titles are normally italicized, but since the whole post is italicized, they're in bold italics. Short-story titles are in quotation marks. AP style, or something like it.

Jeffrey Ford (2, Interesting)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906103)

It's good to see Jeffrey Ford get some more recognition. I really enjoyed his novels; The Well Built City Trilogy (consisting of The Physiognomy, Memoranda, and The Beyond) and The Portrait of Mrs. Charburque. All of which are bizarre surreal fantasies. Don't expect anything like Tolkien. I think a link to Empire of Ice Cream may have been posted on slashdot before, but here [scifi.com] it is again. He also has an excellent short story collection, The Fantasy Writers Assistant and Other Stories [amazon.com] . And a few of the stories are actually SF. :-)

Oh, and naturally Gaiman is terrific a writer as well.

What I didn't see... Why is this scifi/fantasy? (1)

dogen (574612) | more than 10 years ago | (#8906128)

"What I Didn't See" is a good story. But why is it included in a SciFi/Fantasy award?

Cory Doctorow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8907165)

Cory Doctorow is a left-whing drama queen and an apologist for terrorists and spammers.
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