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Entry updated 10 June 2024. Tagged: Award.

Sf Award given since 1966 by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (prior to 1992, Science Fiction Writers of America). The idea of funding such an award from the royalties of an annual Nebula Anthology of award-winning short fiction was proposed in 1965 by SFWA's then secretary-treasurer, Lloyd Biggle Jr. The awards are made in the spring and, unlike the Hugos, were originally dated by the year of publication of the award-winning stories; thus the 1965 awards, the first, were made in 1966. The award takes the form of a metallic-glitter spiral nebula suspended over a rock crystal, both embedded in clear lucite; the original design by J A Lawrence was based on a drawing by Kate Wilhelm and has been followed ever since.

The original four classes of award, all for professional writing, have remained unchanged; a fifth class, for Best Dramatic Presentation, was added in 1974, changed to Best Dramatic Writing in 1976, and then immediately dropped – only to be restored in 2000 as Best Script, and then renamed the "Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation" in 2009 (see below). Several special awards, taking the form of plaques or citations, have also been made.

The four writing categories are Novel (over 40,000 words), Novella (17,500 to 40,000 words), Novelette (7500 to 17,500 words) and Short Story (under 7500 words). Voting is by SFWA members, using a final ballot paper made up from members' nominations. From 1970 a preliminary ballot of all nominated works was circulated early in the year, the entries receiving the most votes being entered on the final ballot. In 1980 procedures were changed (not for the first or last time): the year of a work's eligibility became the previous calendar year (not December 1 to November 30 as had earlier been the case); more importantly, perhaps, a Nebula jury system was set up, with each year's panel of judges allowed to add one item to the final ballot in each category. For some time authors were allowed the option of choosing a one-year-later, usually mass-market, edition of their books to be eligible, rather than the original edition: many authors preferred to be judged on the basis of a widely read paperback rather than on the original hardcover. One odd result of this eligibility system was that the "2006" Nebulas presented in 2007 went without exception to work published in 2005. Amended rules (including the elimination of the preliminary ballot and Nebula juries) took effect for the 2009 Nebulas presented in 2010, all of which went to 2009 work. In recent years, the balloting process has become mostly electronic, with only a small number of paper ballots returned.

Some related awards are also presented at the annual SFWA Nebula ceremony. The oldest of these, dating from 1975, is the SFWA Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in sf writing, also known since 2002 as the Damon Knight Grand Master award. The Grand Master entry also covers further SFWA life achievement awards: Author Emeritus (from 1995), Solstice Award (from 2009, renamed the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award in 2016) and Ray Bradbury Award (also from 2009). At the 2014 ceremony, Frank M Robinson was named Special Honoree, the designation chosen because of perceived negative connotations of "Author Emeritus".

The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult sf/fantasy novels was inaugurated in 2006, and so far has been presented only to works of Fantasy. These are listed below. In 2010, the drama category became (in full) The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, replacing what had for some years been nominally an award for best script, although in practice voting was based on viewing the movies rather than seeing the script. The Ray Bradbury award was also given in 2009 for career achievement, to Joss Whedon; this one-off presentation is listed with other SFWA lifetime honours under SFWA Grand Master Award. The Bradbury and Norton awards are technically not Nebulas, but are voted and presented with them, as the John W Campbell Award is with the Hugos.

The procedures for Nebula awards have been more consistent than those for Hugos, but lobbying among the SFWA membership has received much criticism over the years, with some critics maintaining that the awards sometimes reflect political as much as literary ability. It may be partly as a result of this that the proportion of SFWA members voting is often not very high.

Although the Nebulas have occasionally gone to rather more experimental writing than ever wins a Hugo, there has not been a great deal of difference between the choices. It might have been expected that the Nebula, inasmuch as it is given by a consensus of professional writers, would place a stronger emphasis on literary skills, but there is no evidence that this has been so. While the Nebula has certainly been awarded to some fine works, many critics have argued that the whole Awards system, in sf at least, is more a publicity exercise than a consistently well-judged measure of value. [DRL/PN]

see also: Women SF Writers.




  • 1965: Roger Zelazny, "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth" (March 1965 F&SF)
  • 1966: Gordon R Dickson, "Call Him Lord" (May 1966 Analog)
  • 1967: Fritz Leiber, "Gonna Roll the Bones" (in Dangerous Visions, anth 1967, ed Harlan Ellison)
  • 1968: Richard Wilson, "Mother to the World" (in Orbit 3, anth 1968, ed Damon Knight)
  • 1969: Samuel R Delany, "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones" (December 1968 New Worlds)
  • 1970: Theodore Sturgeon, "Slow Sculpture" (February 1970 Galaxy Science Fiction)
  • 1971: Poul Anderson, "The Queen of Air and Darkness" (April 1971 F&SF)
  • 1972: Poul Anderson, "Goat Song" (February 1972 F&SF)
  • 1973: Vonda McIntyre, "Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand" (October 1973 Analog)
  • 1974: Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund, "If the Stars are Gods" (in Universe 4, anth 1974, ed Terry Carr)
  • 1975: Tom Reamy, "San Diego Lightfoot Sue" (August 1975 F&SF)
  • 1976: Isaac Asimov, "The Bicentennial Man" (in Stellar #2, anth 1976, ed Judy-Lynn del Rey)
  • 1977: Raccoona Sheldon (James Tiptree Jr), "The Screwfly Solution" (June 1977 Analog)
  • 1978: Charles L Grant, "A Glow of Candles, A Unicorn's Eye" (in Graven Images, anth 1977, ed Edward L Ferman and Barry N Malzberg)
  • 1979: George R R Martin, "Sandkings" (August 1979 Omni)
  • 1980: Howard Waldrop, "The Ugly Chickens" (in Universe 10, anth 1977, ed Terry Carr)
  • 1981: Michael Bishop, "The Quickening" (in Universe 11, anth 1981, ed Terry Carr)
  • 1982: Connie Willis, "Fire Watch" (February 1982 Asimov's)
  • 1983: Greg Bear, "Blood Music" (June 1983 Analog)
  • 1984: Octavia E Butler, "Bloodchild" (June 1984 Asimov's)
  • 1985: George R R Martin, "Portraits of his Children" (November 1985 Asimov's)
  • 1986: Kate Wilhelm, "The Girl Who Fell into the Sky" (October 1986 Asimov's)
  • 1987: Pat Murphy, "Rachel in Love" (April 1987 Asimov's)
  • 1988: George Alec Effinger, "Schrödinger's Kitten" (September 1988 Omni)
  • 1989: Connie Willis, "At the Rialto" (October 1989 Omni)
  • 1990: Ted Chiang, "Tower of Babylon" (November 1990 Omni)
  • 1991: Mike Conner, "Guide Dog" (May 1991 F&SF)
  • 1992: Pamela Sargent, "Danny Goes To Mars" (October 1992 Asimov's)
  • 1993: Charles Sheffield, "Georgia on my Mind" (January 1993 Analog)
  • 1994: David Gerrold, "The Martian Child" (September 1994 F&SF)
  • 1995: Ursula K Le Guin, "Solitude" (December 1994 F&SF)
  • 1996: Bruce Holland Rogers, "Lifeboat on a Burning Sea" (October/November 1995 F&SF)
  • 1997: Nancy Kress, "The Flowers of Aulit Prison" (October/November 1996 Asimov's)
  • 1998: Jane Yolen, "Lost Girls" (in Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast, coll 1997)
  • 1999: Mary A Turzillo, "Mars is No Place for Children" (May 1999 Science Fiction Age)
  • 2000: Walter Jon Williams, "Daddy's World" (in Not of Woman Born, anth 1999, ed Constance Ash)
  • 2001: Kelly Link, "Louise's Ghost" (in Stranger Things Happen, coll 2001)
  • 2002: Ted Chiang, "Hell is the Absence of God" (in Starlight 3, anth 2001, ed Patrick Nielsen Hayden)
  • 2003: Jeffrey Ford, "The Empire of Ice Cream" (2003 Sci Fiction)
  • 2004: Ellen Klages, "Basement Magic" (May 2003 F&SF)
  • 2005: Kelly Link, "The Faery Handbag" (in The Faery Reel, anth 2004, ed Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
  • 2006: Peter S Beagle, "Two Hearts" (October/November 2005 F&SF)
  • 2007: Ted Chiang, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate (2007 chap)
  • 2008: John Kessel, "Pride and Prometheus" (January 2008 F&SF)
  • 2009: Eugie Foster, "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" (February 2009 Interzone)
  • 2010: Eric James Stone, "That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made" (September 2010 Analog)
  • 2011: Geoff Ryman, "What We Found" (September-October 2011 F&SF)
  • 2012: Andy Duncan, "Close Encounters" (in The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories, coll 2012)
  • 2013: Aliette de Bodard, "The Waiting Stars" (in The Other Half of the Sky, anth 2013, ed Athena Andreadis)
  • 2014: Alaya Dawn Johnson, "A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i" (July/August 2014 F&SF)
  • 2015: Sarah Pinsker, "Our Lady of the Open Road" (June 2015 Asimov's)
  • 2016: William Ledbetter, "The Long Fall Up" (May/June 2016 F&SF)
  • 2017: Kelly Robson, "A Human Stain" (4 January 2017
  • 2018: Brooke Bolander, The Only Harmless Great Thing (2018 chap)
  • 2019: Cat Rambo, Carpe Glitter (2019)
  • 2020: Sarah Pinsker, "Two Truths and a Lie" (17 June 2020
  • 2021: Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, "O2 Arena" (November 2021 Galaxy's Edge)
  • 2022: John Chu, "If You Find Yourself Speaking to God, Address God with the Informal You" (July/August 2022 Uncanny Magazine)
  • 2023: Naomi Kritzer, "The Year Without Sunshine" (November/December 2023 Uncanny Magazine)

Short story

  • 1965: Harlan Ellison, "'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman" (December 1965 Galaxy)
  • 1966: Richard McKenna "The Secret Place" (in Orbit 1, anth 1966, ed Damon Knight)
  • 1967: Samuel R Delany, "Aye, and Gomorrah ..." (in Dangerous Visions, anth 1967, ed Harlan Ellison)
  • 1968: Kate Wilhelm, "The Planners" (in Orbit 3, anth 1968, ed Damon Knight)
  • 1969: Robert Silverberg, "Passengers" (in Orbit 4, anth 1968, ed Damon Knight)
  • 1970: no award
  • 1971: Robert Silverberg, "Good News from the Vatican" (in Universe 1, anth 1971, ed Terry Carr)
  • 1972: Joanna Russ, "When It Changed" (in Again, Dangerous Visions, anth 1972, ed Harlan Ellison)
  • 1973: James Tiptree Jr, "Love is the Plan the Plan is Death" (in The Alien Condition, anth 1973, ed Stephen Goldin)
  • 1974: Ursula K Le Guin, "The Day Before the Revolution" (August 1974 Galaxy)
  • 1975: Fritz Leiber, "Catch that Zeppelin!" (March 1975 F&SF)
  • 1976: Charles L Grant, "A Crowd of Shadows" (June 1976 F&SF)
  • 1977: Harlan Ellison, "Jeffty is Five" (July 1977 F&SF)
  • 1978: Edward Bryant, "Stone" (February 1978 F&SF)
  • 1979: Edward Bryant, "giANTS" (August 1979 Analog)
  • 1980: Clifford D Simak, "Grotto of the Dancing Deer" (April 1980 Analog)
  • 1981: Lisa Tuttle, "The Bone Flute" (May 1981 F&SF) – refused by Tuttle but accepted on her behalf
  • 1982: Connie Willis, "A Letter from the Clearys" (July 1982 Asimov's)
  • 1983: Gardner Dozois, "The Peacemaker" (August 1983 Asimov's)
  • 1984: Gardner Dozois, "Morning Child" (January 1984 Omni)
  • 1985: Nancy Kress, "Out of All Them Bright Stars" (March 1985 F&SF)
  • 1986: Greg Bear, "Tangents" (January 1986 Omni)
  • 1987: Kate Wilhelm, "Forever Yours, Anna" (July 1987 Omni)
  • 1988: James Morrow, "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge" (in Full Spectrum, anth 1988, ed Lou Aronica and Shawna McCarthy)
  • 1989: Geoffrey A Landis, "Ripples in the Dirac Sea" (October 1988 Asimov's)
  • 1990: Terry Bisson, "Bears Discover Fire" (August 1990 Asimov's)
  • 1991: Alan Brennert, "Ma Qui" (February 1991 F&SF)
  • 1992: Connie Willis, "Even the Queen" (April 1992 Asimov's)
  • 1993: Joe Haldeman, "Graves" (October/November 1992 F&SF)
  • 1994: Martha Soukup, "A Defense of the Social Contracts" (September 1993 Science Fiction Age)
  • 1995: Esther M Friesner, "Death and the Librarian" (December 1994 Asimov's)
  • 1996: Esther M Friesner, "A Birthday" (August 1995 F&SF)
  • 1997: Jane Yolen, "Sister Emily's Lightship" (in Starlight 1, anth 1996, ed Patrick Nielsen Hayden)
  • 1998: Bruce Holland Rogers, "Thirteen Ways to Water" (in Black Cats and Broken Mirrors, anth 1998, ed Martin H Greenberg and John Helfers)
  • 1999: Leslie What, "The Cost of Doing Business" (Winter 1999 Amazing)
  • 2000: Terry Bisson, "macs" (October/November 1999 F&SF)
  • 2001: Severna Park, "The Cure for Everything" (2000 Sci Fiction)
  • 2002: Carol Emshwiller, "Creature" (October/November 2001 F&SF)
  • 2003: Karen Joy Fowler, "What I Didn't See" (2002 Sci Fiction)
  • 2004: Eileen Gunn, "Coming to Terms" (in Stable Strategies and Others, coll 2004)
  • 2005: Carol Emshwiller, "I Live with You" (March 2005 F&SF)
  • 2006: Elizabeth Hand, "Echo" (October/November 2005 F&SF)
  • 2007: Karen Joy Fowler, "Always" (April/May 2007 Asimov's)
  • 2008: Nina Kiriki Hoffman, "Trophy Wives" (in Fellowship Fantastic, anth 2008, edited by Martin H Greenberg and Kerrie L Hughes)
  • 2009: Kij Johnson, "Spar" (October 2009 Clarkesworld)
  • 2010: (tie) Kij Johnson, "Ponies" (17 January 2010 and Harlan Ellison, "How Interesting: A Tiny Man" (February 2010 Realms of Fantasy)
  • 2011: Ken Liu, "The Paper Menagerie" (March-April 2011 F&SF)
  • 2012: Aliette de Bodard, "Immersion" (June 2012 Clarkesworld)
  • 2013: Rachel Swirsky, "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" (March 2013 Apex Magazine)
  • 2014: Ursula Vernon, "Jackalope Wives" (1 July 2014 Apex)
  • 2015: Alyssa Wong, "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" (October 2015 Nightmare)
  • 2016: Amal El-Mohtar, "Seasons of Glass and Iron" (in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, anth 2016, ed Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe)
  • 2017: Rebecca Roanhorse, "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™" (August 2017 Apex)
  • 2018: Phenderson Djèlí Clark, "The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington" (February 2018 Fireside)
  • 2019: A T Greenblatt, "Give the Family My Love" (February 2019 Clarkesworld)
  • 2020: John Wiswell, "Open House on Haunted Hill" (June 2020 Diabolical Plots)
  • 2021: Sarah Pinsker, "Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather", (March/April 2021 Uncanny Magazine)
  • 2022: Samantha Mills, "Rabbit Test" (November/December 2022 Uncanny Magazine)
  • 2023: R S A Garcia, "Tantie Merle and the Farmhand 4200" (July/August 2023 Uncanny Magazine)

Dramatic presentation/writing/script

Ray Bradbury Award

This dramatic presentation award replaced the above.

Game Writing

First presented in 2019 for 2018 work.

  • 2018: Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)
  • 2019: Leonard Boyarsky, Megan Starks, Kate Dollarhyde and Chris L'Etoile, The Outer Worlds (2019)
  • 2020: Greg Kasavin, Hades (2020)
  • 2021: April Kit Walsh, Whitney Delagio, Dominique Dickey, Jonaya Kemper, Alexis Sara and Rae Nedjadi, Thirsty Sword Lesbians (2021)
  • 2022: Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R R Martin, Elden Ring (2021)
  • 2023: Adam Smith, Adrienne Law, Baudelaire Welch, Chrystal Ding, Ella McConnell, Ine Van Hamme, Jan Van Dosselaer, John Corcoran, Kevin VanOrd, Lawrence Schick, Martin Docherty, Rachel Quirke, Ruairí Moore, Sarah Baylus, Stephen Rooney and Swen Vincke, Baldur's Gate 3 (2023)

Andre Norton Award (Young Adult novel)


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