Although I’d argue that interstitiality is much, much more than “literary fantasy”, the official 2009 Nebula award ballot is full of such interstitial friends and fellow travelers as China Mieville (The City and The City), Jeff VanderMeer (Finch), Interfictions 2 co-editor Christopher Barzak (The Love We Share Without Knowing), James Morrow (Shambling Towards Hiroshima), Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan) and Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making). John DeNardo at SFSignal brilliantly went one step further, however, and asked the nominees: “If your work couldn’t have been on the ballot this year, what work would you have liked in its place?”
The answers are a fantastic roundup of some of the best reading to come out of 2009. Here’s Christopher Barzak’s answer:
There are so many good books and stories out there. Awards showcase only a select few. Some of those novels that were not included in this year’s Nebula Award Nominees are: Ekaterina Sedia’s The Alchemy of Stone, Catherynne Valente’s Palimpsest, Jedediah Berry’s Manual of Detection, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, and Alan DeNiro’s Total Oblivion, More or Less (this last one was released late in 2009, though, so perhaps we may see it on awards lists in the future). Some stories I loved in the past year that I would have loved to see on the ballot are Theodora Goss’ “The Puma”, M. Rickert’s “The President’s Book Tour”, Ben Francisco’s “Tio Gilbert and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts”, Will Ludwigen’s “Remembrance is Something Like a House”, and Carlos Hernandez’s “The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria” [from Interfictions 2].
I could actually go on, but then, like awards lists, this is just a selection of the books and stories I read in the past year that I found remarkable, or that surprised me in some way. The more a person reads, the harder it is to be surprised. So when I come across narratives that make me sit up like a fresh reader again, for me that’s a sign of something special.
Here, though, is one more piece of fruit: a kind of book that the Nebula doesn’t recognize with an award each year is the short story collection, one of my absolute favorite kinds of books. I would be able to make a very long list of books to recommend for that list, if it existed. I would love to see that as an additional category to the Nebula Awards at some point in the future. Especially since short fiction has been such an important form for writers and readers of Science Fiction and Fantasy from the genre’s beginnings.
Agreed on all fronts, Christopher. Congratulations on your nomination – and to all the nominees, official or otherwise!