2009 Nebula Awards Final Ballot The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of  SFWA. The awards will be announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet the evening of May 15 at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, just 20 minutes from the Kennedy Space Center in Fla. Other awards to be presented are the Andre Norton Award for Excellence in Science Fiction or Fantasy for Young Adults, the Bradbury Award for excellence in screenwriting and the Solstice Award for outstanding contribution to the field.

Short Story

    • “Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela,” Saladin Ahmed (Clockwork Phoenix 2, Norilana Books, Jul09)
    • I Remember the Future,” Michael A. Burstein (I Remember the Future, Apex Publications, Nov08)
    • “Non-Zero Probabilities,” N. K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld, Nov09)
    • Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct09)
    • “Going Deep,” James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jun09)
    • Bridesicle,” Will McIntosh (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan09)

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Where are the positive futures? When I was writing about The Door Into Summer, I kept finding myself thinking what a cheerful positive future it’s set in. I especially noticed because the future is 1970 and 2000. I also noticed because it isn’t a cliche SF future—no flying cars, no space colonies, no aliens, just people on Earth and progress progressing. Why is nobody writing books like this now? The science fiction in The Door Into Summer is cold sleep hibernation, time travel, and robotics. There’s no reason why someone couldn’t write a book set fifteen years in the future dealing with those subjects today, and I might even be able to find out—but if I can, I’d bet it would be a dark and grimy future, one far worse than today.

Why is this?

I don’t think it’s because we live in terrible depressing times. 1957, when Heinlein wrote The Door Into Summer, wasn’t a particularly cheerful year—Civil Rights was in its infancy, the Cold War was going strong, the Russian tanks had rolled into Prague just the year before, Britain (where wartime rationing was finally ended) and France had just attempted a coup in Egypt and been stomped by the US, women were expected to accept less pay than men and smile about it, homosexuality was illegal in the UK, Canada, and most US states. Anyway, people were writing cheerful optimistic stories about the future in the 1930s, when things could not have been blacker. People always want escapism, after all.

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Steampunk Romance Poised To Hit The UK Market Earlier this week, journalist Kate Youde contacted me to discuss the growing steampunk romance trend in the United States as part of a steampunk feature she was developing for The Independent on Sunday.

In A New Age of Steam, Ms. Youde reports that:

Romance writers are capitalising on the growing popularity of the fictional genre, which mixes steam power with science fiction in alternate realities. But it is not just in bookshops that 2010 is set to see a new age of steam: a burgeoning subculture is making its mark from the cinema to high street fashion.

You’ll also notice while reading the article that it includes a few notable authors and titles. They are: Katie MacAlister (STEAMED), Meljean Brook and her Iron Seas series, and Nathalie Gray (FULL STEAM AHEAD).

The article also includes this tidbit about the future of steampunk romance in the UK:

Barbara Jones, romance buyer at Waterstone’s, said it was “early days” for steampunk romance in the UK but she expected it to become very popular over the next few years. “Steampunk in general is fun and adventurous, as well as being rooted in all things Victorian, which is very popular here but also, crucially, in the US, where most of the strong romance fiction trends start.”

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Graphic Book Best Sellers: By Odin’s Beard! There are two new books on our lists this week and both involve visitors from the realm of fantasy. On our hardcover list, the third volume of the new Thor series lands at No. 8. It features the latest twist in the saga that finds the fabled city of Asgard hanging over Oklahoma. Other less godly legends are present in volume 13 of Fables, which attains No. 1 on our softcover list. Storybook characters including the likes of Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf  are under siege by a group called the Literals, one of whom can erase their tales forever.

In other comic news, E! Online reported that Joss Whedon and Morgan Spurlock will be working on a documentary about San Diego’s Comic-Con International. The plan is to follow a group of conventiongoers a few months leading up to and at the show.

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What do you think of the nominations for the Nebula Awards? Do you have any favorites? I do! I’m crossing my fingers for Up 🙂

Why do you think that all books referring about the future are dark and grimy? Can’t there be writing about a different future? I know I would like one giving us some hope for the future, I don’t know how I would be doing if I lived on the moon. Poor moon.

Are you a fan of the Steampunk Romance? Do you think its taking over the book market?

Are you a fan of Thor? What do you think of its new graphic series?