My 2011 Nebula Awards Weekend
I flew to D.C. from L.A., where I attended the 27th Writers of the Future Awards. (More on that in a subsequent post.) I spent a couple of days with some family in the area, then went to the Washington Hilton, where the Nebula Awards Weekend was being held.
It was great to catch up with old friends, some of whom I had never met in person before, and make some new ones. It was also a huge thrill to see sneak preview copies of my collection, Rejiggering the Thingamajig and Other Stories, and sign them for various people.
Both at the Writers of the Future event and at the Nebula weekend, people kept asking me if I was nervous, and I could honestly reply that I wasn’t, because I really didn’t think there was much of a chance. However, I prepared a speech just in case. Also, I’d heard from someone that even if you don’t expect to win an award, when they announce someone else as the winner, you suddenly realize how much you wanted to win, deep down. So I was preparing myself for that.
My parents and my sister Carolyn came out for the awards ceremony. Here’s a photo Stan Schmidt took of us:
As Gordon van Gelder read the nominees in the short story category, I realized my palms were sweating. I was now officially nervous. After that category was done, John Kessell came up to present the novelette category. I tried to focus on enjoying the moment while simultaneously preparing myself for disappointment, because it truly is an honor just to be nominated.
Because while reading the nominees, John Kessell gave the story title followed by the author name, when he said, “The winner for best novelette… he said optimistically… is…” I expected a title to follow, so I was really caught off guard when he said my name.
You can watch the awards ceremony in this unofficial video uploaded by Scott Edelman. The presentation of the novelette category starts at about the 48-minute mark.
Here’s the text of my acceptance speech (with the ums, ahs, and verbal stumbles edited out):
Wow. With all the great writers that were nominated along with me, I really didn’t think this was going to happen.
I want to thank Stan Schmidt for having the excellent taste to keep buying stories from me. And I hope that’s a trend that continues for a long time. By the way, Stan, no pressure about the submission I sent you recently.
I want to thank Kristine Katherine Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, and Sheila Williams, who taught the workshop at which I started writing this story. And the assignment was to write a story with the main character based on myself, set in the middle of the sun, in which the problem was “can’t get a date.” Writing that story turned out to be surprisingly difficult, because even though I had long-time personal experience with two out of those three… Now for those of you who are thinking, “Wow, Eric has personal experience with the middle of the sun? Because it’s hard to believe that he would have trouble getting a date,” I thank you for your charity.
I need to thank Alethea Kontis, Mary Robinette Kowal, Sean Markey, and Beth Wodzinski, who insisted I needed to finish the story after the workshop. And a big thank you to all those who critiqued it, including especially my writing groups, the Rats with Swords and Buy the Book. And I’d like to thank all the writing instructors I’ve had, especially Caleb Warnock, Orson Scott Card, and Jeanne Cavelos.
And I guess I’d better quit before this turns into a filibuster, but I’d like to close by thanking God for all the blessings he has given me in my life, in particular my family, who have just been tremendously supportive of my writing. Thank you.
I was pretty much in a happy daze for the rest of the weekend.