Presented by the members of the Science Fiction,and Fantasy Writers of America, the Nebula Awards,honour the extraordinary work of those authors,whose stories offer fresh perspectives on the,genre. Featuring the year's best, the Nebula,Awards Showcase is an annual tradition, bringing,readers the finest science fiction from today's,most respected authors.,An essential index of one year in SF and fantasy,- Booklist,The pulse of modern science fiction - New York,Times Book Review.
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March 02, 2004
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Excerpt from Nebula Awards Showcase 2004 by Vonda N. McIntyre
INTRODUCTION: THE HEART OF THE NEBULA
In 1965, Damon Knight had the brainstorm of starting Science Fiction Writers of America (now Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), SFWA. Persuading a group of writers to agree on anything is often compared to herding cats. Even contentious people can see the benefit of banding together to share information and work for better conditions for writers, so Damon succeeded. He founded the organization, served as SFWA's first president, and chaired the contracts committee for many years. Today, almost forty years later, the publishing climate is increasingly difficult for writers and SFWA's work even more important.
I recently tracked down SFWA's charter membership list (you might find it in the SFWA history section -- now in the planning stage -- of the SFWA Web site, http://www.sfwa.org/. The charter members included many of the best-known names in the field, as well as a number of newer just-hitting-their-stride writers. The established writers included Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Leigh Brackett, Rosel George Brown, Robert A. Heinlein, Fritz Leiber, Edgar Pangborn, Frederik Pohl, Edward E. Smith (E. E. "Doc" Smith), Theodore Sturgeon, A. E. Van Vogt, and Jack Williamson: the authors whose work enthralled those of us in the baby boom generation and influenced the people who created the American space program. They are writers whose stories are still in print, still vital.
The newer writers on the charter membership list included Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Robert Silverberg, and Kate Wilhelm, writers who blazed new trails for science fiction and fantasy, and who opened doors for those of us who started publishing in the next few years.
Many of the writers on that original list are still writing -- Grand Master Jack Williamson won a Nebula in 2001 for his novella, "The Ultimate Earth." A number of years ago when Jack got his first computer and enthused about it in Old High Martian like any teenage computer geek, I treasured putting that incident together in my mind with the story that he emigrated to New Mexico, in a covered wagon, in 1912. (If the story is apocryphal or even only exaggerated, I don't want to know. As a wise friend once told me, "A story isn't worth telling if it isn't worth exaggerating." However, I've found over the years that amazing stories about sf writers tend to be. . . true.)
Several of SFWA's charter members have stories or articles in this book. One of the new writers on that first membership list, Ursula K. Le Guin, received the Grand Master award this year, as well as publishing a new collection of short stories. Though she writes in many fields and many forms, she always describes herself first and foremost as a science fiction writer.