NEBULA AWARDS TWO
Edited by Brian W. Aldiss & Harry Harrison
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
As I write this, science fiction and fantasy writers are gathering in Los Angeles to learn who will win this year's Nebula Awards. Rather than look at the recent winners and nominees, Stealth Press has re-released the 1966 short fiction winners, and nominees, as edited by Brian W. Aldiss and Harry Harrison in Nebula Awards Two. This anthology allows the readers to look back on the stories which were considered the best of the year. In addition to the three short fiction winners, the editors have included several of the nominated stories which didn't quite garner the votes to win.
One of the interesting things about the selections, including one of the winners, is that many of the authors represented in this anthology have fallen out of the consciousness of the general SF reading public. In theory, these authors were the stars of their field, the guides to the future. Sonya Dorman is better known for her poetry while Richard McKenna received his Nebula posthumously after a relatively short career. George Henry Smith did continue to publish for several years, using a wide variety of pseudonyms.
In fact, the inclusion of flashes-in-the-pan helps present a more balanced image of what the field was like in 1966. Normally, only the authors who have really left their mark manage to get their stories reprinted. In addition to providing a snapshot through the selection of stories, Aldiss and Harrison have written a short afterword to present their view of the state of science fiction in 1966, very much like the introductions provided by Gardner Dozois in his annual year's best anthologies, although on a much shorter scale. In some ways, looking back from the vantage point of 2001, their afterword seems naive. With 319 books published, they declared 1966 to be the year of the book. According to Locus, 2000 saw 1,927 sf and fantasy books published.
The book collects several stories which have indeed gone on to become classics in the field. Two, Jack Vance's "The Last Castle" and Gordon R. Dickson's "Call Him Lord," were presented with the Nebula, while Frederik Pohl's "Day Million," Bob Shaw's "The Light of Other Days," and Philip K. Dick's "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" managed to achieve their reputations without the benefit of the Nebula.
Stealth Press has provided a wonderful service in reprinting this anthology of Nebula winners, bringing back into print several stories which were award winners or nearly award winners which have been eclipsed for too long. While not all the stories will be to every reader's taste, all of them are well written, even if some appear dated.
|Richard McKenna||The Secret Place|
|Bob Shaw||Light of Other Days|
|Robin S. Scott||Who Needs Insurance?|
|R.A. Lafferty||Among the Hairy Earthmen|
|Jack Vance||The Last Castle|
|Frederik Pohl||Day Million|
|Sonya Dorman||When I Was Miss Dow|
|Gordon R. Dickson||Call Him Lord|
|George Henry Smith||In the Imagicon|
|Philip K. Dick||We Can Remember It For You Wholesale|
|Brian W. Aldiss||Man in His Time|