Me at the Nebula Awards Red Carpet—in reality a kind of nasty beige—just before the banquet and ceremony. Photo by Richard Man Photo

Spear didn’t win the Nebula Award for Best Novel—but I hadn’t expected it to, so I wasn’t crushed. Disappointed? Oh, yep. Winning is always fabulous! But it’s really not a problem for me when the award goes to a good book written by a fine person, which is what happened this year (Babel, by R.F. Kuang). Actually, I would have been fine to lose to any of this year’s finalists.

Best of all, Kelley and I had a fabulous weekend, reconnecting with people we hadn’t seen for years, finally meeting in person those I’ve been talking to online for a while, and meeting brand new people. It was a really diverse crew this year in terms of age, experience, background, identity, and art form. The hotel had a lovely courtyard with plenty of tables so you could choose sun or shade for conversations, and if you just wanted to chill lots of pretty flowers to look at and singing birds to listen to. All just a 20-minute drive from the airport.

One unfortunate thing: lots of people gave me business cards so that I could text or email when I got home but, er, my little stack of cardboard seems to have vanished somewhere between here and there. So if we chatted and you gave me a card and I promised to get in touch, please email or DM me. Yeah, I’m a dimmock—it’s been so long since someone’s given me a business card that I sort of forgot how to deal with them.1

Anyway, here’s a photo of the finalists who were there in person (many more attended virtually). I talked to most of the people in the picture at some point or other (and if I didn’t: Next time!). And today, just as I was about to post this I realised that, for the first time, I was easily the oldest person in the group. I don’t generally think about age much but, wow, that realisation was an interesting moment…

Finalists for the 2023 Nebula Awards, taken in Anaheim, CA by Richard Man.

1 Pro tip: take a photo of them immediately! I mean, I *know* to do this. But for some reason I just…didn’t. Oh, well.