Annal: 2003 Nebula Award for Novel

Results of the Nebula Award in the year 2003.

Book:The Speed of Dark

The Speed of Dark

Elizabeth Moon

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use “please” and “thank you” and other conventions of conversation because…[more]

Book:Chindi

Chindi

Jack McDevitt

On a routine survey mission studying a neutron star, an Academy starship receives a transmission in an unknown language. Before leaving the area, the starship launches a series of satellites to find the signal—and perhaps discover its origins.

Five years later, a satellite finally encounters the signal—which is believed to be of extraterrestrial origin by the Contact Society, a wealthy group of enthusiasts who fund research into the existence of alien life. Providing a starship for the Academy to be piloted by Captain Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins, the Contact Society embarks on a mission to find the source of the transmission.

Across a myriad of stars, from world to world, Hutch and her crew follow the signal, but find only puzzles and lethal surprises. …[more]

Book:Diplomatic Immunity

Diplomatic Immunity

Lois McMaster Bujold

A rich Komarran merchant fleet has been impounded at Graf Station, in distant Quaddiespace, after a bloody incident on the station docks involving a security officer from the convoy’s Barrayaran military escort. Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar and his wife, Lady Ekaterin, have other things on their minds, such as getting home in time to attend the long-awaited births of their first children. But when duty calls in the voice of Barrayar’s Emperor Gregor, Miles, Gregor’s youngest Imperial Auditor (a special high-level troubleshooter) has no choice but to answer.

Waiting on Graf Station are diplomatic snarls, tangled loyalties, old friends, new enemies, racial tensions, lies and deceptions, mysterious disappearances, and a lethal secret with wider consequences than even Miles anticipates: a race with time for life against death in horrifying new forms.

The downside of being a troubleshooter comes when trouble starts shooting back…

Book:Light Music

Light Music

Kathleen Ann Goonan

Once the world worked differently—before the Silence from space quieted the airwaves and rendered electronics useless.

Once there was a haven called Crescent City, built through the wonders of nanotechnology to transport its enlightened inhabitants into the cosmos, far away from the chaos and terrors of a world gone mad. But humanity has failed the city. And carelessness has left it vulnerable to attack from those who covet the health and prosperity it offers.

One of the original pioneers—a recipient of the DNA-altering virus affecting a remarkable few who were born at the Silence’s onset—Jason Peabody must now flee in the wake of an unanticipated assault on Crescent City by pirates. In the city-imposed persona of musical six-gun-toting Radio Cowboy, entrusted with the recovery of lost technology needed to heal the sentient…[more]

Book:The Mount

The Mount

Carol Emshwiller

Charley is an athlete. He wants to grow up to be the fastest runner in the world, like his father. He wants to be painted crossing the finishing line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck.

Charley lives in a stable. He isn’t a runner, he’s a mount. He belongs to a Hoot: The Hoots are alien invaders. Charley hasn’t seen his mother for years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains somewhere, with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the humans want it back. Charley knows how to be a good mount, but now he’s going to have to learn how to be a human being.

Book:The Salt Roads

The Salt Roads

Nalo Hopkinson

Jeanne Duval, the ginger-colored entertainer, is descended from African slaves and white sailors. It is twilight, and she argues with her lover Charles Baudelaire in his Paris apartment. Ginger is hot in its roots with a beautiful, lush red flower above. And ginger has a bite as she does…

Mer, plantation slave and doctor, has healing hands though her spirit is sickened. She both hungers for and dreads liberation, and longs for the gods to take her home. My wishes can’t fly freely. They’re rooted to the ground like me, who eats salt.

Thais, a beauty from Alexandria, was sold into slavery and prostitution as a girl. Impelled to seek a glorious revelation, she will travel the long hot roads to Jerusalem. She is dark-skinned, this beauty, and ruddy like copper. No salt-pucker of bitterness in her. …[more]

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