December 13, 2017

Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2017

On pre-order sale now

(release date: May 16th, 2017)

Note: the 2017 Nebula Awards ceremony is held this year on May 20th in Pittsburgh, PA.

What’s up in sci-fi? Every year, all of science fiction-dom holds their collective breath for that most prestigious of Awards: the Nebulas. Along with the Hugo Awards, the Nebulas (Nebulae?) feature the very best of the best for the genre. First awarded in 1965, a historical list of the Nebula Awards reads like a Who’s Who of science fiction, and includes such now iconic classics as Larry Niven’s Ringworld (1970) and Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965) as past winners.

And the 2017 batch is no different. This week’s review of the 2017 Nebula Awards Showcase edited by Julie E. Czerneda features fantastic tales covering the gamut from science fantasy to hard science fiction. Out next month from Prometheus BooksPyr imprint, the 2017 Nebula Awards Showcase is a great compendium for the highlights of the year.

Some of our faves from the 2017 Nebula crop were:

1st Highlight – Our Lady of the Open Road, by Sarah Pinsker (Novella category) This one about an alt-band in a future where hipsters eschew self-driving cars (lots of self driving cars in modern sci-fi, it seems) grabbed our attention. Not a typical rockets and rayguns story, Our Lady of the Open Road is a worthy depiction of a near future world that is at once familiar and startlingly different. Kind of a futuristic Easy Rider journey across a post-tech Americana.

2nd Highlight – Cat Pictures Please, by Naomi El-Mohtar (Short story) also a winner for the 2016 Hugo for Best Story. Something straight out of Black Mirror. Perhaps, a truly malevolent AI will first succeed in winning us over with cute fuzzy little feline .jpgs. It’s amazing how much of the horror sci-fi (re: think Black Mirror again) can now actually terrify us with something as mundane as sharing cat photos. Is it because we’re close enough now that we can see such a terrifying vision wrapped up in such a neat package from here, whereas a few decades ago, we could at least find solace in the fact that such a dystopian future was still a ways off?

3rd Highlight – Updraft by Fran Wilde (Novel category) Updraft was also nominated for and won the Andre Norton Award. A winged knife fight in a wind tunnel was never deadlier. But avoiding the skymouths and achieving apprenticeship are only some of the challenges laid out in the future fantasy world.

Dwarf stars and science fiction poetry also make a good showing in the 2017 Nebula collection. These little bite sized nuggets of sci-fi are great starters to the rich world of speculative fiction poetry. Watch for F.J. Bergmann’s Rhysling Poetry Award Winner for best long poem, 100 Reasons to have Sex With an Alien to see what I mean.

Don’t miss the Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 for the year’s best in science fiction and fantasy!

Other notable science fiction awards are rolled in to the collection as well, including the Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, Damon Knight Grand master and Kate Wilhelm Solstice Awards.

-Also, check out our reviews of the 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Nebula Award winners.

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