Edited by Damon Knight

Stealth Press


310pp/$29.95/February 2001

Nebula Awards One
Cover by Frank R. Paul

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) established the Nebulas in 1965.  In the years since, the awards have become one of the most prestigious awards in science fiction, given by the authors who write science fiction to recognize quality works by their peers.  SFWA has also created an annual anthology which collects not only the winners of the Nebula, but also a sampling of stories which were nominated for the Nebula but did not win the award.  Damon Knight, who founded the SFWA, edited the first anthology of Nebula winners, initially published in 1966 and reprinted in 2001 by Stealth Press.

The first year's Nebula Awards were given to authors whose names have continued to grace the pages of magazines and the covers of books since the sixties.  Brian Aldiss, Roger Zelazny, Harlan Ellison and Frank Herbert.  The nominees Knight chose to include, James H. Schmitz, Gordon R. Dickson, Larry Niven, and J.G. Ballard have also demonstrated the ability to continue to be popular more than three decades after these stories were selected. 

Before presenting the stories, Knight provides a brief introduction to the SFWA and the reasoning behind the creation of the Nebula Awards.  He quickly leaps into into the stories, each with its own very short introduction.  Knight has elected to mix the award winners and nominees, although he clearly designates which is which.  All of the stories included in this first volume have since been reprinted in several other locations.  However, taken together, as this book does, they present a cohesive picture of the state of science fiction for the year 1965.  If there is one weakness about the contents of the anthology, is the lack of listing of all the nominees for the year.

Looking back from the year 2001, the stories demonstrate how much science fiction has changed over the last thirty-five years.  All of these stories stand up very well, but the also seem dated.  Their concerns and the tropes they use are not the concerns and tropes of science fiction in the third millennium.  The story-telling, however, remains top notch and covers a wide range of topics.

Stealth Press has done a great service by deciding to bring this anthology back into print.  It is a reminder that science fiction has a long history with quality works.  Fans who were not able to read these when they first were published have been given the opportunity to discover them and learn what the antecedents for their favorite modern authors are.  Nebula Awards One will give older reader the chance to rediscover works that they first read years ago in magazines which are no longer accessible.

Roger Zelazny The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth
James H. Schmitz Balanced Ecology
Harlan Ellison "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman
Roger Zelazny He Who Shapes
Gordon R. Dickson Computers Don't Argue
Larry Niven Becalmed in Hell
Brian W. Aldiss The Saliva Tree
J.G. Ballard The Drowned Giant

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