Trivia: A Look At The Nebula Awards


Here is everything you ever wanted to know about America’s most prestigious science fiction and fantasy award, but didn’t think to ask.


GraphicIf you look back a few days you’ll notice I wrote a short post about The Origins Of The Hugo Awards, arguably the most prestigious award for science fiction and fantasy literature. Today it’s time for a brief look at The Nebula Awards, which is widely viewed to be America’s most highly regarded and sought after accolade for science fiction and fantasy literature.

The Nebula Awards takes place annually to honour the best science fiction or fantasy works published in the United States during the previous calender year. The award ceremony is organised by the Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers Of America.

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ImageThe Nebula Awards began life in 1966, and was the brain child of SFWA’s then secretary-treasurer, Lloyd Biggle Jr. who first proposed the idea in 1965. The proposal was inspired by both The Edgar Awards, presented by the Mystery Writers Of America and by The Hugo Awards. The trophy presented to the winners at the inaugural ceremony was designed by J.A. Lawrence, based on a sketch by author Kate Wilhelm.

The design of the trophy, a transparent block with an embedded glitter spiral nebula and gemstones cut to resemble planets, remains unchanged to this day.


Each year, starting from 15th November until 15th February, nominations are made by authors who are members of the SFWA, with the six works that receive the most nominations making up the final short-list. Members then vote for the winners throughout March, with the final results being announced during the award ceremony held in May.


The inaugural ceremony comprised of four award categories for Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette and Best Short Story. These categories have remained in place since then to this very day, though there was briefly a fifth category for Best Script between 1974 to 1978, and then again between 2000 to 2009.

There are two other separate annual awards presented during the ceremony, that are likewise voted for by SFWA members. The first is the Andrew Norton Award For Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction Or Fantasy Book; first awarded in 2006. The second is the Ray Bradbury Award For Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, which replaced the defunct Best Script award in 2010.

In addition to these awards, there are four discretionary honours that aren’t necessarily presented every year: The Damon Knight Grand Master Award, presented for lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy; the Author Emeritous, presented for contributions to the field; the Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Award, presented for service to SFWA; and the Solstice Award, presented for significant impact on speculative fiction.


Did You Know?

A repository of interesting facts about the authors, books, characters, publishers, illustrators and history of fantasy and science fiction literature.


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