The April / May Issue

May 14, 22:16 by IROSF
Thoughts on Nebulas, Subscriptions, and IROSF in general are welcome here.

Bluejack's editorial can be found here.
May 15, 09:45 by Ellen Datlow
Perhaps the novel nominations for the Nebula can be seen as "conservative" but what about in other categories?

You've got M. Rickert's interestingly structured "Journey into the Kingdom," and offhand in the past some nominees and winners:
Magic For Beginners
Flat Diane
Singing my Sister Down
What I didn't See
Cloud Atlas (novel)
The Voluntary State
Perdido Street Station (novel)
Hell is the Absence of God

-that's just a quick look (and only mentioning stories/novels I've read)

So what do YOU mean by conservative? I disagree that the Nebulas have been conservative over the years.
May 15, 11:10 by Bluejack
For my part, I was thinking of novel *winners* over the past 20 years. Although there are exceptions, the winners seem to be fairly unsurprising works by very well-established authors.

I recognize that many of the *nominees* are more intriguing, but I don't know how much of that is a consequence of the Jury's extra pick. (Are the Jury picks announced publically? That would be interesting to see.)

In the short form, I think it is a lot more possible for potential voters to actually read all the candidates, especially as many of the stories are made available for free on the web by authors and publishers hoping to garner the win, so I would not be surprised to learn that there is more diversity in the actual winners in those categories.

My personal *hypothesis* is that when it comes to novel winners, name-recognition and authorial reputation are as or more important than the merits of the nominated works. I don't have any proof, and I don't want to try to force my hypothesis on the data. Unfortunately, I don't really have any way to *measure* the data in a way that would support or refute my hypothesis, but in eyeballing the last 20 years of Nebula novel winners, I only see two titles that strike me as being unexpected; by which I mean in the year in question I did not already think of the author as a Big Name Science Fiction Author. In the 70s and early 80s I see more titles that break that pattern -- but that could be my own ignorance rather than a change in the pattern. In the 70s I was reading golden age classics and epic fantasy; in the 80s I was barely reading in the genre at all, outside of Gene Wolfe and William Gibson (both of whom were novel winners in the early 80s, I observe).

Apparently Greg Beatty believed or heard something similar when he wrote his analysis of the Nebulas, linked in the editorial.

In short: I can't prove my position, and am more than willing to back off it if there is good reason to believe otherwise, but my current operating hypothesis is that Nebula Novel Winners are similar in "popularity contest" dynamics to the Hugo, except with a different sample of voters.
May 15, 19:16 by Ellen Datlow
The jury selection is never announced publically but it can usually be easily figured out because it's generally the one that hasn't gotten enough previous recommendations to make the preliminary ballot.

As I rarely read novels any more (and even fewer sf/f novels) I can't judge any of them as being conservative choices or not. But since you bring up Gibson, that was certainly not a conservative choice. It was his first novel.
May 16, 07:56 by Bluejack
Right; I wouldn't call either the Gibson or the Wolfe books conservative choices at all; but they were both prior to the current 20 year run.

May 25, 19:17 by Alasdair Mackintosh
One thing that might make paid subscriptions more appealing is the option to download the current issue in PDF (or other format) and print it out.

What, dead trees in the internet age?

Well, possibly. I currently subscribe to the New York Review of SF, and for my money I get a neatly presented slice of dead tree once a month (or thereabouts, Post Office permitting). This tends to get read from cover to cover as it's always lying around the house, and when you're looking for something to read over breakfast, or something to grab when you're going on a bus trip, then there it is, ready to go, without being switched on or booted up.

The current web presentation makes for easy browsing (and I like the subdued and tasteful design) but I don't normally read it in the same way as I do a paper magazine. Having the option to easily turn it into one would make a paid subscription slightly more appealing.

May 25, 23:13 by Joe Prisco
Have to agree with mackinto there; real paper is what gets read most in my house (particularly the smallest room in the house, but never mind that).

As for Nebula novels, I'm way behind; I looked up the winners of the last 20 years, and there isn't one I've actually read, though several adorn my shelves. I hereby pronounce myself in arrears until I've at least tried to read them.

Searching online, I see the 2007 Nebula Awards are for works published in 2005, so it appears the SFWA is working towards being almost as far behind as I am. In fact, since many of the winners are works from F&SF, I'm actually ahead there ;-)
May 27, 21:25 by Bluejack
Thanks for the insight, gents. I don't want to get into the business of actually printing and distributing a version, as that rather defeats the business model of a digital publication; however, preparing digital versions that are printer ready is certainly in scope.
Jun 9, 20:51 by Stephen Fritter
Finally I will be able to read IROSF on my Palm T/X. I use it for a good half of my reading. The IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) is getting totally unusable because of the unstoppable pop-ups. I'd rather pay them $24 a year. Have you thought about selling subscriptons through Fictionwise?

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