FICTION : NEBULA AWARDS 20, edited by George Zebrowski (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: $8.95).
The Nebula Awards are given annually by the Science Fiction Writers of America for the best in science fiction and fantasy in the novel, novella, novelette and short story forms. In this collection of 14 pieces are also several of the runners-up, which succinctly points out what a tight, quality pack these finalists are.
Aah, and this is like settling down with a box of the best chocolates: everyone a tasty surprise. Some, of course, more appealing than others. John Varley’s “Press Enter” (novella winner) is a brilliant tale of computer skulduggery and mystery; Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Lucky Strike” (a finalist), which is an alternate ending to a major historical event, was really gripping, as was Octavia Butler’s creepy “Bloodchild” (novelette winner). A few in this collection didn’t do much for me, especially “New Rose Hotel” by the winner for best novel, William Gibson, which was written a little too coyly: all style and not enough story for my taste. Michael Bishop’s “Dogs’ Lives” were bits and puppy dogs’ tails of stories that never coalesced for me. However, in spite of the preceding, let it just be said that if you seek the best in quality and diversity: Look no further.