So, a couple of weeks ago the official SFWA Twitter account posted this:
SFWA Active and Associate members, your Nebula ballot is due before 11:59 PM Pacific time, on Sunday, March 31. Did you know that all awards SFWA administers are Nebulas — even if they have a different official name? Let's review our wonderful Nebula finalists in a thread!
— Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (@sfwa) March 29, 2019
My immediate reaction was a snarky grin and I prepared to tweet a gentle correction. Everyone knows that the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy is not a Nebula. It said so in the Nebula Rules at the time I won the award (“14.a. The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, established in 2006, is awarded in tandem with the Nebula Awards. This award is not a Nebula, but shall follow all Nebula rules and procedures except as follows.”) Except that I am a pedant, and I wanted to check my sources before tweeting.
So I checked the current Nebula Rules. And that phrase is no longer there. (“15.1. The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, established in 2006, is awarded in tandem with the Nebula Awards. This award shall follow all Nebula rules and procedures except as follows.”) However, other phrases in the rules, such as “The winners of the Nebula Awards, Bradbury Award, and Andre Norton Award shall be announced at an annual Nebula Awards ceremony” implied that the distinction still exists.
Suddenly I was Schroedinger’s Award Winner. Was I a Nebula winner or not? That depended on whether the change was deliberate and whether it applied retroactively. Not that it really mattered, of course. The award trophy is the same, and it means exactly as much or as little as it did before. But, for me, it would be huge if I could call myself a Hugo- and Nebula-winning writer. I always wanted to, and I had been disappointed to discover after winning the Norton that I couldn’t. But now I could. Or could I?
So I wrote to the Nebula Award Commissioner for an official ruling. It took a week, but here it is:
From: Nebula Award Commissioner <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, Apr 7, 2019 at 1:50 PM
To: David D. Levine <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just got confirmation back from the higher ups at SFWA.
Congratulations, you ARE a Nebula Award winning author.
Nebula Award Commissioner
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America
There it is, in black and white. (On my screen, anyway.) I am now a Nebula Award Winning Author! And so are Sam J. Miller, Fran Wilde, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Nalo Hopkinson, E.C. Myers, Delia Sherman, Terry Pratchett, Cat Valente, Ysabeau S. Wilce, J. K. Rowling, Justine Larbalestier, and Holly Black. Congratulations to them!