The Cosmic Codex
The Cosmic Codex
The empire, the invasion, and the master

The empire, the invasion, and the master

Recipients at the 58th Nebula Awards ceremony
“Journey to the mystic city” by Brian S. Pauls, 2023; Digital illustration created using Midjourney

Recipients at the 58th Nebula Awards

This past Sunday, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) celebrated the 58th Nebula Awards in Anaheim, California. The honors given included the Award for Novel and the Andre Norton Award—one to a tale of an empire bent on colonization, the other to an alien invasion story.

SFWA also gave us a bonus—a new Grand Master!

Award for Novel

Babel by R.F. Kuang

Crawford Award, Crompton Crook Award, and Astounding Award for Best New Writer recipient Rebecca F. Kuang “…immigrated to the United States from Guangzhou, China, with her family when she was four years old” and was raised in Texas. Kuang holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Georgetown University, as well as a Master of Philosophy in Chinese Studies from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Science in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford University. A graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, Kuang is the author of The Poppy War, Yellowface, and this year’s winner Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution.

Here’s the summary of Babel from the HarperCollins website:

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel.

Thanks for reading The Cosmic Codex! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

Babel is the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide…

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?

Kuang is currently working on her PhD in East Asian Languages and Literature at Yale University.

Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction

Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion by K. Tempest Bradford

Locus Award and Lemonade Award recipient K. Tempest Bradford was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from New York University. Also a graduate of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop, Bradford worked as an editor and published multiple short stories before releasing Ruby Finley vs. The Interstellar Invasion in 2002.

The Macmillan site describes Bradford’s story:

“Eleven-year-old Ruby is a Black girl who loves studying insects and would do just about anything to be an entomologist, much to the grossed-out dismay of her Gramma. Ruby knows everything there is to know about insects so when she finds the weirdest bug she’s ever seen in her front yard, she makes sure no one is looking and captures it for further study.

Thank you for reading The Cosmic Codex. This post is public so feel free to share it.


But then Ruby realizes that the creature isn't just a regular bug. And it has promptly burned a hole through her window and disappeared. Soon, random things around the neighborhood go missing, and no one's heard from the old lady down the street for a week. Ruby and her friends will have to recover the strange bug before the feds do.

Ruby is the science hero we’ve all been waiting for!”

At this time, Bradford “…serves on the board of the Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction”. Geographically, she is "...hunkered down in the Pacific Northwest doing [her] best to change the culture for the better from [her] corner of the world.”

Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award

Robin McKinley

Newbery Medal, World Fantasy Award, and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award recipient Robin McKinley was born in Warren, Ohio and graduated from Bowdoin College.

McKinley then “…remained in Maine for several years working as a research assistant and later in a bookstore.” She has published a dozen novels, including award winners The Hero and the Crown and Sunshine.

In 1991, McKinley married fellow author Peter Dickinson. They lived together at their home (and garden!) in the United Kingdom until his death in 2015. She currently resides in Scotland, with her German wire-haired pointer, Genghis.

You can watch the full Nebula Awards ceremony below:

Share The Cosmic Codex