SFWA Mansion Archive

Who is Space Princess?

Posted April 14, 2012 By John C Wright

Because there has been some debate on whether Space Ponies who are princesses officially qualify as ‘Space Princesses’ I here re-print an article from 2010 which defines the Movement’s official stance on the matter.


I am happy to announce that the New Space Princess literary movement now consists of two members: me and Edward Willet, a Canadian writer who would be profoundly embarrassed to be associated with me if he knew what a disreputable person I am. But no matter! Recently the SWFA Mansion in New Jersey was rocked and shattered with tumult as Mr. Willet and I disagreed over the definition of who is a “Space Princess” — for example, is Princess Padme of Naboo a Space Princess, or only a Space Senator? Do elected Princesses count? What about a girl whose father is the Tyrant of Pluto — if Pluto is no longer a planet, does that mean she is no longer a Space Princess?

I wonder if the guys over at the New Weird Movement or the Mundane SF Movement or the People’s Front of Judea have to make such nuanced and elaborate definitional arguments just to see what is inside or outside their literary cannon?

We lack as yet a ready definition to cover all forms of Space Princessship. Several possible criteria suggest themselves: (1) Does she wear a crown?  (2) Does she have a bare midriff? (3) Does she have a raygun? (4) Is she from Outer Space? (5) Is she a non-reigning member of the Royal Family? (Non-reigning, because, of course, we are not the Space QUEEN movement — they are our rivals!)

In the interests, therefore, of obfuscating the matter, and making it look as if our literary movement is larger than it really is (three people instead of one and a half) I suggest a survey of all the great classics and popular blockbusters of science fiction, to see which of them can be shoehorned into membership in our mighty literary juggernaut of a movement, perhaps by some sleight of hand or by switching the definitions while you are not looking. Ready? Let’s begin!

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I should mention that, as a science fiction writer, I can comment authoritatively and finally on the true meaning of life.

Fifteen billion years ago an unexplained and inexplicable event created all the matter and energy, time and space in the universe apparently out of nothing and for no reason. However, the precise nature of this event allowed primordial plasma to expand, cool, and form the nebulae which one day would give rise to the galaxy, especially one rather small G-type star in the outer arm of an otherwise insignificant galaxy: by yet another coincidence — if coincidence it was — the third planet from that star had the exact chemical conditions to give rise, first to life, then to intelligent life, then to civilization, then to technical civilization.

Unbeknown to the dwellers on that small insignificant sphere, all galaxies, including this one, are teaming not merely with life, but with ultra-intelligent life, but this world is strictly quarantined for reasons that will soon become apparent.

You see, the first experiments in time travel have already taken place.

H.G. Wells is the first man to have crossed the time barrier, and beheld the grim and final destiny to which the race of homo sapiens is doomed, to devolve into subhuman Eloi and grisly cannibal Moorlocks.

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Nebula Awards!

Posted May 17, 2010 By John C Wright

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The selection process is relatively simple: the survivors of a Deathball tournament are examined by the Colossus-Skynet system for irregulationary defects, and if found acceptable, are sent to the haunted planet Arisia for mind-to-mind examination by the alien superbeing known as Mentor, and those who return sane are conducted to Wallach IV where the Bene Gesserit Witches test the candidate with a “gom jabbar” and the Box of Pain to distinguish the true humans from the mere human animals. Survivors are taught the Martian Language in order to achieve fourth level consciousness and exposed to the mind-altering rays of the Evolutionary Granolith, and expected to make at least one “drop” in full kit onto a planet controlled by the Klendathu. Then any remaining candidates are sent to Trantor, or maybe some other world covered entirely with buildings, and examined by the Jedi Council and the Psychohistorians to see whether passing the candidate will cause a disturbance in the force or throw off the predictive plan of history. The remaining candidates then cover themselves with walrus grease and wrestle nude with Harlan Ellison, or his evil twin Zebulon Ellison, in the Arena of Death, on a tightrope above a field of radio-active radium-knives. The winner is granted by the Padishah Emperor any space-kingdom on any of the garden-planets accidentally created by the Genesis Machine in the Multiple Green Sun system at the core of the galaxy, and any space princess for his bride, with the one exception (obviously) of the voluptuous yet deadly Princess Venomia, the Black Widow of Outer Space. The year Leigh Brackett won, instead of a space princess, she demanded her beloved World-Wrecker Hamilton be released from his disembodied confinement within the death-asteroid of the limbo dimension. The Padishah Emperor was loathe to set free so dangerous a planet-killer, but he had no choice.

Then the votes of the regular SWFA members are counted, and the winner of that vote is given the Nebula award for that category for that year. Also are granted certain ‘Grandmaster’ honors related to lifetime accomplishments independent of year.

That whole rigmarole  about the Padishah Emperor and winning your own space kingdom really has nothing to do with the actual literary award, and if you are the kind of guy who can outsmart psychohistorians and wrestle maddened curmudgeons on a field of radium knives, you are obviously not spending enough time at the typewriter. Get back to work.

2008 Nebula Award Winners

The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books, Sept. 2009)

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s – Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, June 2009)

“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,”
Eugie Foster (Interzone, Feb. 2009)

Short Story
“Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct. 2009)

Ray Bradbury Award
District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug. 2009)

Andre Norton Award
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,
Catherynne M. Valente (Catherynne M. Valente, June 2009)

Additional Honors
During the ceremonies, Joe Haldeman was honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master, while Neal Barrett, Jr., was honored as Author Emeritus. Vonda N. McIntyre and Keith Stokes were honored with SFWA Service Awards while the SFWA Solstice Award, bestowed upon individuals who have made a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, was presented to Tom Doherty, Terri Windling and the late Donald A. Wollheim.


About SFWA
Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world.

Funny, but I was not asked about the ‘daring’ qualification before I joined up. I just got a package at my normal drop when I joined SWFA, containing a light-repeater suit, a ceramic pistol, a pair of night-vision goggles, a wirepoon grapnel, suction-disk gloves and boots, a mind amplifying lens, a laser sword, jetpack with two hours fuel, a familiar named ‘Dickon’, a packet of glass throwing-blades, a flying guillotine with launcher, and a list of the names and habitual travel routes of the enemies of the Secret Masters. At first I wondered if I had gotten in over my head, but then I realized that since the stealth suit was pink and covered with a rose floral pattern, that the package was from the Romance Writers of America (RWA), and had been sent to me by mistake. A whiff of the memory-eraser perfume, and they let me live.

Congratulations to all Nebula Winners!

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