The Nebulas & 20booksto50, not-a-nudge-nudge-slate

The SWFA’s Nebula award finalists have been announced http://file770.com/2018-nebula-awards-nominees and Cora Buhlert has an interesting analysis here: http://corabuhlert.com/2019/02/21/some-thoughts-on-the-2018-nebula-award-finalists/

Cora notes the presence of several nominees associated with the 20booksto50 group. I discussed this group last year after they received several finalist positions in the Dragon Awards. The group is centered on helping indie writers write and promote their books and notable figures in the group are Craig Martelle, Michael Anderle and Jonathan Brazee.

So was there a 20bboksto50 slate? Well, they have a closed Facebook group but it’s not a particularly mysterious group or highly exclusive and I don’t thing it is a secret (but perhaps not well known) that they’ve had a recommended reading list for the Nebulas for a few years.

Here’s a screenshot of the start of the relevant post this year (I’ll post the text further on).

https://www.facebook.com/groups/781495321956934/permalink/1759086464197810/

Where the “this is not a slate” looks more than a tad disingenuous is the asterisks next to some works based on number of recommendations which effectively singles out some works as a particular focus. Brazee also notes about the YA entry on their list “Last year, there weren’t six books that achieved the minimum required ten noms, so there were only four books on the ballot. If ten people have read her book, liked it, and nominate it before COB Friday, then it will probably make the final ballot.”

  • NOVEL
    • Integration** Jonathan Brazee
    • The Human Experiment* Kevin McLaughlin and Craig Martelle
    • Fringe War Rachel Aukes
    • A Light in the Dark AK Duboff
    • A Fiery Sunset Chris Kennedy
    • The Other Marilyn Peake
    • The Terra Gambit Terry Mixon
    • Jurassaic Jail Bill Webb
    • Dodging Fate Zen DiPietro
  • NOVELLA
    • Fire Ant ** Jonathan Brazee (Nebula Finalist)
    • The Continuum Wendy Nikel
    • Star Brigade: Inheritance C.C. Ekeke
  • NOVELETTE
    • Messenger** R.R. Virdi and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne (Nebula Finalist)
    • The Rule of Three** Lawrence Schoen (Nebula Finalist)
    • Here Be Dragons* Lindsay Buroker
    • The Squad: Orion’s Belt * Stephen Arsenault
    • Unexpected Bounty Terry Mixon
    • CASPer’s Widow J. R. Handley
  • SHORT STORY
    • Interview for the End of the World Rhett Bruno (Nebula Finalist)
    • Queens Iris . . . Jason Anspach
    • A Galactic Affair Craig Martelle
    • Scrapyard Ship Felix Savage
    • Driverless Robert Jeshonek
    • Going Dark Richard Fox (Nebula Finalist)
    • The Spike Nathan Mutch
  • ANDRE NORTON AWARD
    • A Light in the Dark, AK DuBoff (Amy DuBoff) (Nebula Finalist)

Slate? Not a slate? Is it an issue if it is? Some of those questions depend on the culture of the award. The Dragon Award is 100% fine with this approach and the Hugo voters would see it as an anathema. I’m not a SWFA member, so it’s not my call to make regarding the Nebulas.

[ETA: Also see Nicholas Whyte’s analysis here https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3165861.html ]

After the fold is the full text of the not-a-slate:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/781495321956934/permalink/1759086464197810/
Jonathan Brazee shared a link to the group: 20BooksTo50K®.
5 February at 06:23 · 
(This post has been approved by Craig)
ATTENTION SFWA MEMBERS!
There are ten more days to nominate titles for the Nebula Awards. Last year, we had one nomination within 20Booksto50k (and the only indie nomination). This year, we could easily have five or more within the group . . . but only if we actually click on the link and nominate. So, please, get your nominations in. A couple of things first:
• First, this is not a slate! No one is telling anyone to nominate any specific work, much less an indie work. You should nominate the works you think are worthy. 

• Having written that, we hope you will at least consider self-published works when you make your nominations. It is difficult to compete with the Tors and Random Houses in publishing in terms of visibility, but at least if an indie work makes the final ballot, other members will be aware of it and will hopefully give it a read before voting once the final ballot is released. 

• Indie books are as good as any trad-published books, and it would sure be nice if there is indie representation in each of the categories. It is currently very feasible that we can have an indie title in four of the five categories below, and the fifth is not out of the question. 

• But please, if you are a member of SFWA, take a few minutes to nominate. You can nominate five titles in each category. The top six titles in terms of numbers of nominations will make the final ballot.

• You can nominate for the awards at https://www.sfwa.org/forum/ballots/
The list below is in order of the number of recommendations on the SFWA Nebula Reading List:
• The number of recommendations does not mean that work will make the final ballot. Every year, works in the top six do not make the ballot, and so works not in the top six on the reading list do. But we wanted to put this is some sort of order. 

• A title with two asterisks after means it is currently in the top six (four titles at the moment). A title with one asterisk means it is in the top ten with regards to recommendations (five more titles). Other titles are very close to the top ten. 

• If there were two titles by the same author in a category, I listed the one with the most recommendations.

• All of these titles were written by 20Booksto50k members.

• If I’ve missed a title, please add it!
So, please, take the time to nominate and hopefully consider the below titles when making your choices.
NOVEL https://www.sfwa.org/forum/reading/1-novel/
Integration** Jonathan Brazee

The Human Experiment* Kevin McLaughlin and Craig Martelle

Fringe War Rachel Aukes

A Light in the Dark AK Duboff

A Fiery Sunset Chris Kennedy

The Other Marilyn Peake

The Terra Gambit Terry Mixon

Jurassaic Jail Bill Webb

Dodging Fate Zen DiPietro
NOVELLA https://www.sfwa.org/forum/reading/2-novella/
Fire Ant ** Jonathan Brazee

The Continuum Wendy Nikel

Star Brigade: Inheritance C.C. Ekeke
NOVELETTE https://www.sfwa.org/forum/reading/3-novelette/
Messenger** R.R. Virdi and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

The Rule of Three** Lawrence Schoen

Here Be Dragons* Lindsay Buroker

The Squad: Orion’s Belt * Stephen Arsenault

Unexpected Bounty Terry Mixon

CASPer’s Widow J. R. Handley
SHORT STORY https://www.sfwa.org/forum/reading/4-shortstory/
Interview for the End of the World Rhett Bruno

Queens Iris . . . Jason Anspach

A Galactic Affair Craig Martelle

Scrapyard Ship Felix Savage

Driverless Robert Jeshonek

Going Dark Richard Fox

The Spike Nathan Mutch
ANDRE NORTON AWARD
A Light in the Dark, AK DuBoff (Amy DuBoff)
I’m not sure if you all saw Amy DuBoff’s post in another FB group listing indie works, but her novel, A LIGHT IN THE DARK, is also YA, so it is eligible for the Andre Norton Award (one of the Nebula Awards). Last year, there weren’t six books that achieved the minimum required ten noms, so there were only four books on the ballot. If ten people have read her book, liked it, and nominate it before COB Friday, then it will probably make the final ballot. — with James Hunter and 24 others.

20booksto50K Facebook group
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24 thoughts on “The Nebulas & 20booksto50, not-a-nudge-nudge-slate

  1. Schoen is part of 20BooksTo50K? That surprises me. 😐

    Considering the pedestrian banality of the 20Booksto50K work which was a finalist for last year’s Nebulas, apart from Schoen’s works which I’ve usually enjoyed, I’m not optimistic for these.

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  2. I’m not an SFWA member or ever likely to be, but even I know the Nebula Award is as susceptible as anything else to campaigning and log-rolling efforts (a previous example of self-promotion is discussed by James MacDonald here, for instance.) I don’t think it’s quite as worrying as the Puppies, if only because it’s harder to get a bunch of lockstep-voting dittoheads into the SFWA than it is to get them all to buy WorldCon memberships. I mean, I can buy a WorldCon membership, which just shows you how bad things can get.

    I am inclined to look on these things and harrumph a bit, though, on the generic grounds that there are only so many hours in a day, and we all have only so many spoons, and time and effort spent on publicity and self-promotion is time and effort you can’t spend on writing. I’m old-fashioned and idealistic enough, I suppose, to think that the best way to get on an awards ballot is to write a really good book, not write an adequate one and spend lots of effort plugging it. But whatever.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thanks for this, Cam. I just updated my post with a link back to yours as well as a link to JJ’s “where to find the Nebula finalists” round-up at File 770.

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  4. Oops, I used the wrong e-mail address and got thrown into moderation, so here we go again:

    Thanks for this, Cam. I just updated my post with a link back to yours as well as a link to JJ’s “where to find the Nebula finalists” round-up at File 770.

    Like

      1. I like to think it’s like the Solid Zone in Alan Moore’s planned Bizarro World story, which is basically like putting all the crooks in a big block of concrete in the ground. From time to time, according to Moore, Bizarro #1 will go check on them and holler down “You criminals all right in there?” “We doing okay, Superman.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, Phantom was certainly in there. He had a very long beard, as if he’d been locked up for a long time, and he was yelling something about liberals and social justice warriors ruining science fiction.

        Liked by 5 people

  5. I’ve now read the 2 short stories, the 2 novelettes, and the excerpts of the novella and the novel.

    I think that the 20BooksTo50K authors are going to find themselves hoist by the same petard as the Puppies. They’re claiming that self-published authors produce work just as good as the trad-published authors who’ve been making the awards ballots.

    The problem is, if they’re going to claim that, and slate works onto awards ballots, then they need to prove it by bringing absolutely the best works. But apart from the Schoen piece which is definitely a cut above (though I would quibble that his food poisoning comes on and finishes far too quickly to be consistent with real life), the rest of the 20BooksTo50K Nebula finalists range from serviceable and pedestrian to kind of a mess.

    I would say that they’re very fortunate that the Nebula Awards don’t have a No Award option.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The manifesto of 20booksto50K tells authors to create a “minimum viable product” and get it out there. The quality is often accordingly. Some of them also think that the fact that they’d got umpteen thousand KU page reads means they’re bestselling authors and can therefore compete for awards.

      Liked by 1 person

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