Nebula Awards 30:: SFWA's Choices for the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year

Pamela Sargent, Author, Pamela Sargent, Editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-15-100113-2
The 30th Nebula Award collection, while a respectable ""year's best"" and report on the genre, somehow fails to strike sparks. Editor Sargent includes a lot: all the short-fiction winners and nominated short stories; a section of the winning novel, Greg Bear's Moving Mars; a story by the Grand Master winner, Damon Knight (founder of the Science Fiction Writers of America, which awards the Nebulas); the Rhysling Award winners for best SF poetry, articles on the state of the genre and SF movies; and a tribute to Robert Bloch. The best pieces are Ursula K. Le Guin's runner-up novelette, ""The Matter of Seggri,"" an insightful sketch of sex roles in an alien culture; Martha Soukup's winning short story, the bitterly memorable ""A Defense of the Social Contracts""; and David Gerrold's winning novelette, ""The Martian Child,"" a charming tale of adoption that goes on a bit too long. Mike Resnick's winning novella, ""Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge,"" also a Hugo winner, suffers from fakey aliens and hoodoo science. The other short stories, by Maureen McHugh, Knight, Ben Bova, Barry Malzberg and Kate Wilhelm, are accomplished but flawed. Joe Haldeman's Hugo-winning ""None So Blind"" is the best of the lot. Perhaps the recent, previous publication of most of these pieces has robbed the collection's thunder; while worthwhile, even impressive at times, it's more commendable than exciting. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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