The Nebula Award is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the previous year. There is no cash prize associated with the award, instead the award itself being a transparent block with an embedded glitter spiral nebula with gemstones cut to resemble planets.
The fiction Nebulas are awarded in four different categories: novel, novella, novelette, and short story. From 1973 to 1977 and again from 1999 through 2008, a script award was also presented, but in 2009, that was replaced with the Bradbury Award. The categories are defined by length in words, as follows:
Novel: a work of 40,000 words or more
Novella: a work of at least 17,500 words but under 40,000 words
Novelette: a work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words
Short story: a work of under 7,500 words
Starting with the 2009 awards, the Nebula Awards will move to a standard calendar year eligibility system. Works first published in the US during the calendar year are eligible, even if they have previously been published elsewhere.
SFWA members can recommend works as suggested reading during the year. From November 15 until February 15 of the following year, SFWA members may nominate up to five works per category. The top six nominations in each category appear on the final ballot, with accommodations for ties. Voting takes place between February 20 and March 30. Number of nominations is used as a tie-breaker if necessary: if still tied, the tie stands and both works receive the award.
The first Nebulas were given for 1965. Frank Herbert's Dune won as Best Novel.
Notable authors of winning works include: Isaac Asimov (thrice), William Gibson, Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon, Connie Willis (six times), Joe Haldeman (five times), Gene Wolfe (twice), Greg Bear, Lois McMaster Bujold (twice), Harlan Ellison (four times), Ursula K. Le Guin (six times), Roger Zelazny (thrice), Orson Scott Card (twice), Catherine Asaro (twice), Arthur C. Clarke (thrice), Samuel R. Delany (twice), Neil Gaiman, Vonda McIntyre (twice), Frederik Pohl, and Kim Stanley Robinson (twice)
Prior to 2009, the Nebula Awards employed a rolling eligibility system. Each work was eligible to qualify for the ballot for one year following its date of publication. As a consequence of rolling eligibility, a work published one year could end up on the subsequent year's Nebula ballot, which is voted on in the year following that. For example, William Shunn's novelette "Dance of the Yellow-Breasted Luddites" was published in July 2000. It was eligible to be recommended for the preliminary ballot from its date of publication until the end of June 2001. As it happened, the work did not receive the needed tenth recommendation until 2001, so despite its 2000 publication date, it ended up on the 2001 preliminary ballot (and, subsequently, the final ballot). The 2001 final ballot was then voted upon by SFWA members in 2002. Special Nebula juries were permitted, but not required, to add one deserving but overlooked work to the final ballot in each category. SFWA members then voted on the final ballot.
The 2007 Nebula Awards were announced on April 26, 2008, in Austin, Texas. The 2008 Nebula Awards were the last to use rolling eligibility.
Lists of Nebula Award winners
Other awards presented at the Nebula ceremony
Though not officially Nebula Awards, a number of other honors and awards are presented at the Nebula ceremony, though not necessarily every year. They are the Author Emeritus for contributions to the field, the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement, the Bradbury Award for excellence in a dramatic presentation, the Service to SFWA Award, and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. Beginning in 2009, the SFWA has also presented the Solstice Award to honor individuals with a significant impact on the speculative fiction field, unlike the Grand Master award, the Solstice can be presented posthumously.
References and footnotes
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