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Science Fiction Book Awards
Hugo Award
Nebula Award

When I was growing up, I became extremely interested in science fiction. Maybe it was escapist and maybe it was just because it combined some of the facts of science with my imagination. In any case, I read a ton of science fiction; about a book a week over ten years. Over the last thirty years, two book awards have been given out annually: the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. Although I've slowed down in recent years, I have nonetheless read most of the award-winning books listed in the following table. When the book was particularly memorable, I have included a few of my reflections on why I think it was really worthwhile to read.

Books marked with ** are those few books that have won both the Hugo Award and the Nebular Award. Fourteen books since 1965 have won both awards. All books listed below are available through

 Year  Hugo Awards
Best Novel
Nebula Awards
Best Novel
2004 Paladin of Souls: A Novel by Lois McMaster Bujold Paladin of Souls: A Novel by Lois McMaster Bujold
2003 Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
2002 American Gods by Neil Gaiman** American Gods by Neil Gaiman**
2001 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
I know that our kids would vote for this book time and again. Certainly, it has more inventiveness and cleverness than most other books will ever have.
The Quantum Rose  by Catherine Asaro
2000 Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
1999 To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
1998 Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman** Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman**
1997 Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre
1996 Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson Slow River by Nicola Griffith
1995 Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold Hobson's Choice (also known as Terminal Experiment) by Robert J Sawyer
1994 Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson Moving Mars by Greg Bear
1993 tie
Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis**
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
1992 Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold Doomsday Book by Connie Willis**
1991 Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick
1990 Hyperion by Simmons, Dan Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
1989 Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
1988 Uplift War by David Brin Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
1987 Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card** Falling Woman by Pat Murphy
1986 Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card** Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card**
1985 Neuromancer by William Gibson**
This book foretold the future coming of the hacker community. While still futuristic in terms of the human/machine interface, this novel continues to channel the near-term future. The grittiness of this book, in combination with other books by Gibson, has created a unique alternative universe completely controlled by corporate fiefdoms
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card**
I remember reading a short version (novella?) of this book before I got the full novel and thinking how powerfully it presented a case for the inhumanity of war as it relates to the training of the young. It may be even scarier now as high-tech remote weapon systems have converted warfare into something more like a big video game.
1984 Startide Rising by David Brin** Neuromancer by William Gibson**
1983 Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov Startide Rising by David Brin**
This wonderful book portrays mankind's entry into a universe of sentient races where man occupies the low rung on the ladder, with allies but without a sponsor race. This is the  first of several novels (continued in Uplift War) that outline an alternative universe.
1982 Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh
Most science fiction books present the human characters as almost fearless explorers of the universe. Not in Cherryh's books. In this book (as in Cherryh's other books), the lead characters are fearful even as they explore. While disconcerting at first, I came to realize that in many ways this is more realistic because, while man is curious, there is no telling when you will unknowingly come across something more powerful that could crush you.
No Enemy But Time by Michael Bishop
1981 Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe
1980 Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke Timescape by Gregory Benford
1979 Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre** Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
1978 Gateway by Frederik Pohl** Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre**
1977 Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm Gateway by Frederik Pohl**
1976 Forever War by Joe Haldeman** Man Plus by Frederik Pohl
1975 Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin** Forever War by Joe Haldeman**
1974 Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke** Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin**
1973 The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov** Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke**
1972 To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov**
1971 Ringworld by Larry Niven** Time of Changes by Robert Silverberg
1970 Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin** Ringworld by Larry Niven**
This book was one of the first books that really nailed the definition of 'hard' science fiction for me. Every fact is theoretically possible, albeit highly imaginative, and it all hangs together in a compelling story. As a plus, this book fits into the alternative future envisioned by Niven in a number of his other books.
1969 Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
This is an enormously powerful book that reflects the chaos and coming of age of the 60s generation as I think back on the time period in which it was written. I didn't appreciate this book when I first read it nearly as much as I do now.
Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin**
1968 Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin
1967 The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
This libertarian tale of the lunar colony struggling to reach for independence continues to catch my imagination thirty years after I read it for the first time. Maybe it was the self-deprecating commentary from the lead character or maybe it was because the struggle for freedom in a harsh environment wasn't so unlikely. Still one of my favorites even though it is a bit simplistic.
Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany
1966 tie
And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny
Dune by Frank Herbert**
Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
1965 Wanderer by Fritz Leiber Dune by Frank Herbert**
This book was an eye-opener for me; it's one of the real classics of the genre. I first read (and re-read) this book one summer when I was working on a farm in what must have been sometime around 1974. The range and scope of this novel made it wonderful.
1964 Way Station by Clifford D. Simak  
1963 Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick  
1962 Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein  
1961 Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.  
1960 Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein  
1959 Case of Conscience by James Blish  
1958 Big Time by Fritz Leiber  
1957 (No award for best novel)  
1956 Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein  
1955 They'd Rather Be Right by Frank Riley and Mark Clifton  
1954 Demolished Man by Alfred Bester  

Additional Notes

The Hugo Award was named in honor of Hugo Gernsback, "The Father of Magazine Science Fiction," as he was described in a special award given to him in 1960. The Hugo Award, also known as the Science Fiction Achievement Award, is given annually by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). The Hugo Award is determined by nominations from and a popular vote of the membership of WSFS. In general, a Hugo Award given in a particular year is for work that appeared in the previous calendar year. Since 1954, Hugo awards have been given for four categories of literature: novel, novella, novelette, and short story. In addition, there are a number of other categories that are currently honored.

The Nebula Award is nominated and voted on by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The SFWA was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight and, subsequently, it has brought together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world. It is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers' organizations in existence. Over 1200 science fiction and fantasy writers, artists, editors, and allied professionals are members. Each year, SFWA presents the prestigious Nebula Awards for the best short story, novelette, novella, and novel of the year across both SF and fantasy categories.



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