Unfortunately, I think Lela is right. The Hugos and Nebulas have become politicized to the point that message fiction is the only way to win, and the “progressives” still have the numbers. Those in the middle seem so afraid of the far left, or of being accused to being alt-right, that they think they have to vote for soft message fiction.
Adding to this trend is the “right flight” toward the Dragons and other, pardon the pun, alternatives to the Hugos and Nebulas, often leaving the field to the left and their kumbaya circle. I suspect awards will become increasingly balkanized, with little true, respected, fairminded middle ground for non-message fiction.
It takes 10 nominations to make a story a Nebula finalist, so these five stories I’ve just reviewed look to be the ones with the best likelihood to make it.
Since I’m reading down the list, there are a few trends sticking out. As far as I know, only SFWA members can make recommendations. Because the listing has been recommended by professionals in the genre, I’d expect to get good quality on the list. These stories I’ve just reviewed have recommendations in the double digits, but I’m just not finding a lot of what I’d call substance in the content. I’m thinking all those people are clicking the “recommend” button because they want to affirm the message. If I’m looking for quality stories to nominate, does that mean I can put any confidence in the number of recommendations the stories have gotten at all? Hm. Maybe not. Does this mean…
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