1979 Nebula Awards® Report, Locus Magazine

The 15th Annual Nebula Awards® Ceremony, sponsored by the Science Fiction Writers of America, was held April 25-26, 1980, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Though somewhat underattended (about 120 people were present), the smallness of the crowd made the weekend feel more like a large party than a small convention.

The welcoming party Friday night in the SFWA suite was crowded and smoky. West coast authors hustled and east coast editors combined as much business as possible with the social atmosphere. The bar ran out of mixers fairly early and the party ended soon after.

Saturday’s program began at l p.m. with the business meeting. The new SFWA officers are: Norman Spinrad – President; David Bischoff – Vice President; Jack Chalker – Treasurer; and Somtow Sucharitkul – Secretary. 125 votes were cast. The new officers will take over on July 1. Charles L. Grant has taken over the Nebula nomination reports. Barry Malzberg will handle the book grievance committee and Orson Scott Card short story grievances. Frank Herbert will edit the next Nebula Award anthology. The afternoon program continued with a 3-D film of the Viking Lander (funny glasses and all), a slide presentation of the art of Rick Sternbach, and an editor’s panel with six major sf editors: Stanley Schmidt, Victoria Schochet, David Hartwell, Robert Sheckley, George Scithers, and Susan Allison. Everything ran late.

The banquet food proved much better than expected. David Gerrold did an admirable job as toastmaster, most of his jokes were funny, and he never let the pacing drag. Outgoing SFWA President Jack Williamson gave a short thank-you speech. Incoming SFWA President Norman Spinrad, in a dark green velvet tuxedo, gave a longer one. Diane Duane was given a round of applause for organizing the entire operation. Dr. Edward Krupp, Director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, gave a talk called “Shaking the Dragon’s Tail: An Exploration into Science and the Media.” Dr. Robert L. Forward, Senior Scientist, Hughes Laboratories, and sf author, talked on “Concepts for Interstellar Flight Systems.” The awards were then presented. Edward Bryant and George R.R. Martin accepted for themselves in the short story and novelette categories, respectively. Martin observed that maybe to win a Nebula one needed to have long hair and write about giant insects. George Scithers, editor of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, accepted for Barry Longyear. Gerrold had a taped telephone acceptance speech from Arthur Clarke, and Ray Bradbury accepted the actual award trophy for Clarke.

Once again everyone adjourned to the SFWA suite for the closing party, well-stocked with mixers this time, so the party went on quite late. It was still going, albeit on a much smaller scale, at 5 a.m. If the economic contraction continues, next year’s ceremony may be even smaller and more writers may have other primary occupations. But this year’s was well run, good fun and certainly useful for strengthening the rapport between east and west coasts and editors and authors