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I’ve put on a good act that I don’t care much about external validation for my work. That’s really more of an aspirational sentiment than anything else. Like Groucho Marx, I can say pretty breezily that I wouldn’t belong to any club that will have me as a member–however, if you invite me into your club, I’ll turn pretty moony-eyed.

Last year I was accepted into the Science Fiction Writers of America, which cost me $100 and came with this snazzy membership card:WIN_20170326_15_16_34_Pro

Since I joined, I haven’t given the membership much thought or availed myself of the SFWA’s surely awesome services. But this month, SFWA sent me the ballot for the Nebula Awards:


  • All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Ninefox Gambit,Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)


  • Runtime, S.B. Divya (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “The Liar”, John P. Murphy (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)


  • “The Long Fall Up”, William Ledbetter (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • “Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea”, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
  • “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories”, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • “The Orangery”, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny)

Short Story

  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny)
  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Sabbath Wine”, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
  • “Things With Beards”, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld)
  • “This Is Not a Wardrobe Door”, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com)
  • “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed)

Looking at the roster of writers, I realized that I’m the last person who should vote on these awards: while I’m familiar with some of the writers, I haven’t read any of the works on this ballot. One could argue that I’m not much of a science fiction writer if I don’t actually read works of contemporary science fiction. (I do read sci fi and fantasy–at least some–but practically all fiction that I read in any genre is older stuff. In 2016 I didn’t read a single book that was published that year.)

I do know the work of some of these writers–in particular I’m a big fan of Kij Johnson. Without reading all of these folks, though, I probably won’t be voting. I may have time to get through the whole short story category, but I doubt I’ll get far beyond that by March 31.

However, I do want to proclaim these names to you. Have you read any of these pieces? What’s not on the list that should be? Who of these writers would you recommend?