This year I volunteered to serve on the Novels Jury for the Nebula Awards through SFWA.
It is basically the coolest thing I have ever volunteered for. My job has been to try to read every single science fiction and fantasy novel that I can get my hands on that came out in 2008. Which is physically impossible, but really, really fun to try.
Many of them stank. And, I didn’t have to finish the ones that stank. Too many other things to read without grammar errors, plot holes, and hilariously terrible prose. (I won’t name names, so don’t ask. I don’t like to smack down other working writers. The job is hard enough without haters.)
Many of them were good. T A Pratt is doing exciting things with his urban fantasy series. Nancy Kress could very likely take over the niche Michael Crichton left behind. Ladies and gentlemen, Ben Bova has still got it. Elizabeth Moon is better than Battlestar Galactica when it comes to military SF. Elizabeth Bear could probably write anything, and do it at a very high level.
Some – a small number, indeed – of the books were so good that I couldn’t believe it. And, I wouldn’t have discovered them if they hadn’t been foisted upon me in the mail, with a note that said… “Please consider X by Y Z for the Nebula Novels Jury Nomination”.
Basically, this has been so much fun. So much fun.
And, we’re getting close to the not fun part. We’re actually going to have to pick just one. Only one.
That’s going to stink.
Horatio the Mute is shaking his head at me right now. We have to prepare our traps for another long morning hunting bad poetry bats, and I’m on here scribbling away about the novels jury.