Annal: 1969 Nebula Award for Novel

Results of the Nebula Award in the year 1969.

Book:The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula K. Le Guin

When The Left Hand of Darkness first appeared in 1969, the original jacket copy read, “Once in a long while a whole new world is created for us. Such worlds are Middle Earth, Dune—and such a world is Winter.” Twenty-five years and a Hugo and Nebula Award later, these words remain true. In Winter, or Gethen, Ursula K. Le Guin has created a fully realized planet and people. But Gethen society is more than merely a fascinating creation. The concept of a society existing totally without sexual prejudices is even more relevant today than it was in 1969. This special 25th anniversary edition of The Left Hand of Darkness contains not only the complete, unaltered text of the landmark original but also a thought-provoking new afterword and four new appendixes by Ms. Le Guin.

When the human ambassador Genly Ai is sent to Gethen, the planet known as Winter by those outsiders who have experienced…[more]

Book:Bug Jack Barron

Bug Jack Barron

Norman Spinrad

Norman Spinrad made his biggest SF splash with Bug Jack Barron, whose 1967—68 New Worlds serialisation brought raging controversy which Michael Moorcock discusses in an afterword. It’s a quintessential 1960s novel, prophetically highlighting the irresponsible power of mass media and corporations.

TV megastar Jack Barron hosts the wildly popular Bug Jack Barron, a phone-in show that listens to public gripes and puts politicians and bosses on the spot—live. Naturally Barron pulls his punches for safety’s sake…until he tangles with paranoid…

Book:Isle of the Dead

Isle of the Dead

Roger Zelazny

Centuries in the future, Francis Sandow is the only man alive who was born as long ago as the 20th century. His body is kept young and in perfect health by advanced scientific methods; he has amassed such a fortune that he can own entire planets; and he has become a god. No, not a god of Earth, but one of the panetheon of the alien Pei’ans: he is Shimbo of Darktree, Shrugger of Thunders. Yet he doesn’t believe that his personality has merged with the ancient consciousness of Shimbo, that he really can call down the skies upon his enemies. The time comes, however, when Francis Sandow must use these powers against the most dangerous antagonist in the universe: another Pei’an god—Shimbo’s own enemy, Belion. And Belion has no doubt whatever of his own powers….

Book:The Jagged Orbit

The Jagged Orbit

John Brunner

Matthew Flamen, the last of the networks’ spoolpigeons, is desperate for a big story. He needs it to keep his audience—and his job. And there is no shortage of possibilities: the Gottschalk cartel is fomenting trouble among the knees in order to sell their latest armaments to the blanks; which ties in nicely with the fact that something big is brewing with the X Patriots; and it looks as if the inconceivable is about to happen and that one of Britain’s most dangerous revolutionaries is going to be given a visa to enter America. And then there’s the story that just falls into his lap. The one that suggests that the respected Director of the New York State Mental Hospital is a charlatan…

John Brunner’s brilliant and scathing vision of a society disintegrating under the impact of violence, drugs, high-level corruption and the casual institutionalization of the ‘insane’ was a powerful and important statement in 1969. It remains a compelling and chilling tour de force three decades on.

Book:Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes ‘unstuck in time’ after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut’s most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author’s experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut’s other works, but the book’s basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it unique poignancy—and humor.

Book:Up the Line

Up the Line

Robert Silverberg

Being a Time Courier was one of the best jobs Judson Daniel Elliott III ever had. It was tricky, though, taking group after group of tourists back to the same historic event without meeting yourself coming or going. Trickier still was avoiding the temptation to become intimately involved with the past and interfere with events to come. The deterrents for any such actions were frighteningly effective. So Judson Daniel Elliott played by the book. Then he met a lusty Greek in Byzantium who showed him how rules were made to be broken…and set him on a family-history-go-round that would change his past and his future forever!

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