Website of Science Fiction Writer Ron Collins

Nebula Awards a Harbringer?

Congratulations to the newest Nebula Award winners. It’s certainly an extremely interesting collection, specifically because none of the winners of the three short fiction categories came from the big three digests. I think is the first time this happened since 2003. However, in 2003 two of the stories came out of Ellen Datlow’s big-budgeted SCIFICTION.

This year saw winners come from Subterranean, Interzone, and Clarkesworld. Does this represent a major shift? Dunno.

But I note that two of the three 2008 awards went to digests, and the entire 2007 set went to digests. Two of the three in 2006 went to F&SF, and the third was Burn–which seems to me to have been a vote for podcasting as well as for Tachyon. I wasn’t really paying enough attention at that point, so I would be interested in the cliff note version of the fallout of that year’s award process.

Anyway, you get the idea. It’s not like the digests have fallen by the wayside or anything. But this result has to make a few folks sit up and take notice.

In this vein, I was talking to a good friend of mine from work earlier today. He’s a guy who is a hard core fan of more gold-age SF. He’s a major league reviewer on Amazon, but has been away from the short fiction area for some time. We talked about magazines from the old days, and I suggested he take a look around several online publications. We discussed how we thought ebook readers might change things–I said I thought the days of the Big Honkin’ Novels might actually be coming to an end. (Please, Powers that Be, can we go back to the nice little 60-70K novel again?)

Who knows, for sure if that will happen? Or who can say the digests won’t be back in control next year?

All I can really say is that from my point of view it seems to me that the tide has strongly turned in the past five years. But, I also figure I really should stop spending time worrying about it too much and get back to writing.

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