It’s Nebula short list time again, and for the third straight year there is a Steampunk novel in the running. This year the contender is Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine, which tells the story of a mechanical traveling circus in danger of being torn apart from the outside and from within.

I can’t make any useful predictions about her chances as this year I have yet to read any of the nominees, but she does face some solid players. Jack McDevitt has been nominated in the novel category nine(!) times, winning once. China Miéville has been nominated for best novel twice, losing to powerful works by Neil Gaiman and Paolo Bacigalupi. Jo Walton has also been nominated before and hers was one of the novels McDevitt beat out in 2006. N.K. Jemison was nominated for the novel Nebula just last year (against Miéville and McDevitt). Kameron Hurley has never been to the Nebula ballot before but her novel has already won the 2011 Golden Tentacle Kitschie Award. Stiff competition, but we stand by our Steampunk colleague and wish Valentine the best of luck.

I didn’t see anything particularly Steampunk in the other categories (please correct me if I am wrong), although there is Hugo up for the Bradbury Award. Hugo was a beautiful movie and certainly had some Steampunk touches, so I suppose it should get my support. That said, The Doctor’s Wife was quite good and I very much enjoyed Captain America. I’ll admit I’ve yet to see the remaining works in this category what with kids and babysitters, etc. so it is not clear how relevant my opinions might be.

Congratulations to all of the nominees (listed below). Thank you for giving us the best gift possible, that of your dreams.

2011 Nebula Nominees

Novel

Novella

Novelette

Short Story

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Attack the Block, Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
  • Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)
  • Hugo, John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount)
  • Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony)
  • Source Code, Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit)
  • The Adjustment Bureau, George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book