NebulaGate: the 2012 winner responds

Jo Walton, winner of the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others, writes at Black Gate: “I am not a member of SFWA and never have been.  I think that disposes of your accusations of my logrolling for a Nebula.”

I responded thusly: “I never made any such accusation. Furthermore, your non-membership in SFWA says absolutely nothing about the possibility of others logrolling on your behalf, especially given that the nomination process was a closed one. The fact that your book was published by Tor Books is enough to make
its Nebula Award suspicious on its face, given that the SFWA President
and Vice-President are both closely associated with Tor.

Dating back to its first Nebula nomination in 1986, Tor Books has
accounted for 24.4% of all Nebula Best Novel nominations. No other
publisher has even half that many.

Now, it is certainly possible that Tor is simply an excellent
publisher. However, given the unusually heavy involvement of its
authors in the awards process, their representation in the
organization’s offices and the confirmed logrolling in the recent past,
logic suggests that Tor has been gaming the awards system for a
long time.  In 1990, for example, 5 of 6 Nebula-nominated novels were published
by Tor. Only 2 of 5 Hugo-nominated novels and 1 of 5 World Fantasy
Award-nominated novels were.”

I have not yet read Among Others, so I cannot say that its victory over China Mieville’s Embassytown was unjustified.  I will read it, review it, and opine on the matter in January.  I don’t have to read it to know that it merited beating out George Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, and is not Ms Walton’s fault that her affiliation with Tor Books renders her award suspicious in a way that it would not have been if it had been published by another, less-decorated publisher.  That being said, the reviews of her book indicate that readers who read the book after hearing of its award-winning status tended to find it to be less than expected, a pattern that has been observed with past Best Novel-winners whose awards are known to be questionable.