Saturday, May 2, 1987

1987 Nebula Award Reviews

Location: Halloran House Hotel, New York City, New York.

Comments: In 1987 Orson Scott Card won the Best Novel Nebula for Speaker for the Dead. This win was historic, in that because Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead both won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, Card became the first author to pull of that feat for a novel and its sequel in successive years. However, this is something of a disappointment because when one evaluates the Speaker for the Dead, it is good, but not great, and probably not as good a couple of the other nominees such as Count Zero and The Handmaid's Tale. Oddly, given Card's espoused political and social positions, it seems to me like he probably doesn't regard Atwood's cautionary tale as a dystopia, but rather a political future to be coveted and desired.

However, after the embarrassing ballots of the early 1980s, the Nebula Awards seem to have gotten themselves turned around a little bit in 1987, with seven of the twenty-four nominations going to works penned by female authors. There was still a ways to go to get to something resembling real gender equity, but at least the ratio wasn't horribly unbalanced this year.

Best Novel

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Other Nominees:
Count Zero by William Gibson
Free Live Free by Gene Wolfe
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Journal of Nicholas the American by Leigh Kennedy
This Is the Way the World Ends by James Morrow

Best Novella

R&R by Lucius Shepard

Other Nominees:
Dydeetown Girl by F. Paul Wilson
Escape from Kathmandu by Kim Stanley Robinson
Gilgamesh in the Outback by Robert Silverberg
Newton Sleep by Gregory Benford

Best Novelette

The Girl Who Fell into the Sky by Kate Wilhelm

Other Nominees:
Aymara by Lucius Shepard
Hatrack River by Orson Scott Card
Listening to Brahms by Suzy McKee Charnas
Permafrost by Roger Zelazny
Surviving by Judith Moffett
The Winter Market by William Gibson

Best Short Story

Tangents by Greg Bear

Other Nominees:
The Boy Who Plaited Manes by Nancy Springer
The Lions Are Asleep This Night by Howard Waldrop
Pretty Boy Crossover by Pat Cadigan
Rat by James Patrick Kelly
Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov (reviewed in Robot Dreams)

Go to previous year's nominees: 1986
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 1988

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