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These Are the Finalists for the 56th Annual Nebula Awards

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

Hold on to your galactic blasters and gather up your space dragons — the finalists for the 56th annual Nebula Awards have been announced and they are out of this world! The awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States. They have been voted on and presented by full members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. since 1966. An anthology including the winning pieces of short fiction and several runners-up is also published every year.

The announcements were streamed live with host SFWA President and SAG-AFTRA performer Mary Robinette Kowal, and featured live excerpt readings of many of the nominated works by several talented voice actors.

This year’s winners will be announced at the 56th Annual Nebula Awards ceremony during the 2021 Nebula Conference Online, which is June 4–6, 2021. It is open to Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America members and nonmembers and will be taking place entirely online for the second year in a row. (Because, you know, pandemic.) Past winners of the awards include N.K. Jemisin, Charlie Jane Anders, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Jeff VanderMeer.

And now here are all the amazing finalists for the 2020 Nebula Awards — congratulations to all the nominees!

Raybearer cover

Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko 

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher 

Star Daughter by by Shveta Thakrar 

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger and Rovina Cai

A Game of Fox & Squirrels by Jenn Reese

Best Short Story

Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse” by Rae Carson

Advanced Word Problems in Portal Math” by Aimee Picchi

A Guide for Working Breeds” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad

The Eight-Thousanders” by Jason Sandford

My Country is a Ghost” by Eugenia Triantafyllou

Open House on Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell

Best Game Writing

Blaseball by Stephen Bell, Joel Clark, and Sam Rosenthal

Hades by Greg Kasavin

The Luminous Underground by Phoebe Barton

Kentucky Route Zero by Jake Elliott

Scents & Semiosis by Sam Kabo Ashwell, Cat Manning, Yoon Ha Lee, and Caleb Wilson

Spiritfarer by Nicolas Guérin, Maxime Monast, and Alex Tommi-Morin

Best Novella

Tower of Mud and Straw by Yaroslav Barsukov 

Finna by Nino Cipri

Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark 

Ife-Iyoku, Tale of Imadeyunuagbon by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg 

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi 

Best Novelette

Stepsister” by Leah Cypress

The Pill” by Meg Elison

Burn or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super” by A. T. Greenblatt

Two Truths and a Lie” by Sarah Pinsker

Where You Linger” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

Shadow Prisons” by Caroline Yoachim

Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn by Christina Hodson, Warner Bros. Pictures 

The Expanse: “Gaugamela” by Dan Nowak, Amazon Prime  

The Good Place: “Whenever You’re Ready” by Michael Schur, NBC

Lovecraft Country, Season 1 by Misha Green, Shannon Houston, Kevin Lau, Wes Taylor, Ihuoma Ofordire, Jonathan I. Kidd, Sonya Winton-Odamtten, HBO Max  

The Mandalorian: “The Tragedy” by Jon Favreau, Disney 

The Old Guard by Greg Rucka, Netflix

Best Novel

Piranesi by Susannah Clarke

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin 

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk 

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel by Martha Wells