Annal: 2004 Nebula Award for Novel

Results of the Nebula Award in the year 2004.

Book:Paladin of Souls

Paladin of Souls: A Novel

Lois McMaster Bujold

One of the most honored authors in the field of fantasy and science fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold transports us once more to a dark and troubled land and embroils us in a desperate struggle to preserve the endangered souls of a realm.

Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family’s castle of Valenda. Her newfound freedom is costly, bittersweet with memories, regrets, and guilty secrets—for she knows the truth of what brought her land to the brink of destruction. And now the road—escape—beckons.…A simple pilgrimage, perhaps. Quite fitting for the Dowager Royina of all Chalion.

Yet something else is free, too—something beyond deadly. To the north lies the vital border fortress of Porifors. Memories linger there as well, of wars and invasions and the mighty Golden General of Jokona. And someone, something, watches from across…[more]

Book:Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas: A Novel

David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, inveigles his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. And onward, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.” But the story doesn’t even end there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

Book:Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Cory Doctorow

Jules is a young man barely a century old. He’s lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies…and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World.

Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century. Now in the care of a network of volunteer “ad-hocs” who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches.

Now, though, it seems the “ad hocs” are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of the Presidents and is replacing its venerable audioanimatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln, and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself.

Worse: it appears this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (It’s only his fourth death and revival, after…[more]

Book:The Knight

The Knight: Book 1 of The Wizard Knight

Gene Wolfe

A young man in his teens is transported from our world to a magical realm that contains seven levels of reality. Very quickly transformed by magic into a grown man of heroic proportions, he takes the name Abel and sets out on a quest to find the sword that has been promised to him, a sword he will get from a dragon, the one very special blade that will help him fulfill his life ambition to become a knight and a true hero.

Inside, however, Abel remains a boy, and he must grow in every sense to survive the dangers and delights that lie ahead in encounters with giants, elves, wizards, and dragons.

Gene Wolfe is one of the most widely praised masters of SF and fantasy. He is the winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Nebula Award, twice, the World Fantasy Award, twice, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the British Fantasy…[more]

Book:Omega

Omega

Jack McDevitt

For a quarter of a century, mankind has known about the existence of the malignant omega clouds. Huge waves of deadly energy, they seem bent on destroying any civilization they come across. Now, Earth itself is in the line of fire—though not imminently. An omega is headed toward the planet, but it will not enter the solar system for nine hundred years.

Though research continues into the origin of the omegas and various theoretical scenarios for destroying them are suggested, there is no sense of urgency—until a Space Academy ship on a routine mission sends word back to Earth that the cloud has diverted to a previously unexplored planetary system. It is now aimed at a living pre-technological alien society, only the third such ever discovered—and it will reach the planet in a matter of months. Suddenly, the need to turn theory into practice becomes vital, as a handful of brave humans, scientists and military alike, undertake the task of saving an entire world without revealing their existence.

Book:Perfect Circle

Perfect Circle

Sean Stewart

William “Dead” Kennedy has problems. He’s haunted by family, by dead people with unfinished business, and by those perfect pop songs that you can’t get out of your head. He’s a 32-year-old Texan still in love with his ex-wife. He just lost his job at Pet-Co for eating cat food. His air-conditioning is broken, there’s no good music on the radio, and he’s been dreaming about ghost roads.

When Will’s cousin (“My dad married your Aunt Dot’s half-sister”) calls in the middle of the night about a dead girl haunting his garage, it seems like an easy way to make a thousand dollars. But nothing is ever that simple, especially when family is involved. Will’s mother is planning a family reunion of epic proportions. Will’s ex-wife is married to a former Marine. His twelve-year-old daughter Megan thinks Will needs someone to look after him. And recently his dead relatives seem to want something from him.

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