All the Nebula Award Winners—in Haiku

My friend Katie, who’s this freakish Platonic Ideal of the geek babe (she likes science fiction! and comics! and role-playing! and video games! and she’s a CHEMIST!), recently decided she’d summarize her opinions of all the Nebula Award winners she’d finished reading in haiku format.

C’mon, the sheer geek-fu of that has to strike you speechless. I know it did me.

The results were even more awesome than I expected (the haiku for Neuromancer is especially doubleplus awesome), and with her permission, I’m sharing them with you. Yeah, I know, they’re not reviews of romance novels, but SF/F is still considered plenty trashy by many circles, and lord knows Katie’s one of the smartest bitches I know. Ennn-joy.

Nebula haiku
Plentiful as falling rain
But less poetical.

1965 – Dune
Don’t drink the water
You find on desert planets
It will make you God.

1966 – Babel-17
Words describe language;
Language is a weapon – so
Will this book kill me?

1966 – Flowers for Algernon
This book is good if
You can avoid thinking of
Pinky and the Brain.

1967 – The Einstein Intersection
Mutant rides lizards
Search for meaning or is it
Just an acid trip?

1968 – Rite of Passage
Grow up on spaceship.
Become adult on planet.
After-school special.

1969 – The Left Hand of Darkness
An empire failing
An alien all alone
But for one person.

1970 – Ringworld
Being old is dull
Get some aliens, a ship
And go exploring!

1971 – A Time of Changes
Can’t get enough love?
Don’t worry, it’s the 70’s
All you need is drugs!

1972 – The Gods Themselves
Two races may die
Unless they find out that there’s
No such thing as 2.

1973 – Rendezvous With Rama
What is this huge thing?
Alien passing by Earth?
You don’t get to know.

1974 – The Dispossessed
You cannot go home
Unless you know home is where
You have never been.

1975 – The Forever War
Spend a million years
Fighting until there’s peace, but
What is left for you?

1976 – Man Plus
Take away his skin
Eyes, mouth, hair, genitalia;
Is he still human?

1977 – Gateway
My love is dying,
Falling into a black hole
But she is not dead.

1978 – Dreamsnake
My snake can heal you
with its venom! No, really!
Unless you kill it…

1979 – The Fountains of Paradise
All we really need
For space elevator is:
Monks and lots of cash.

1980 – Timescape
NMR through time.
Save the past – future’s hopeless.
NMR is cool.

1981 – The Claw of the Conciliator
It’s a fine old job
Good career for a young man:

1982 – No Enemy But Time
Loner time travels:
Is banging Neanderthals

1983 – Startide Rising
Dolphins lost in space
Learn an important lesson:
Never trust orcas.

1984 – Neuromancer
1 X/1|| |-|@><><0|2 j00
X/17|-| |/|`/ |_||}3|2|337 $|<1||z0|2$|
This is kind of sad.

1985 – Ender’s Game
Outcast kid genius
Though unpopular, saves Earth
Guess why geeks love this.

1986 – Speaker for the Dead
Gosh Ender’s Game rocked.
And wow! Now there’s a sequel!
Hey, wait a minute…

1987 – The Falling Woman
Mother and daughter
Fuck around Mayan ruins
The Mayans fuck back.

1988 – Falling Free
Four arms but no legs
Slaves! But to rebel they need
Human leadership.

1989 – The Healer’s War
In ‘Nam, even with
Magic, the best you can do
Is get out alive.

1990 – Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea
A preistess, a maze
Dark gods, dark magic and of course
Our friend Sparrowhawk.

1991 – Stations of the Tide
The water rises
The Apocalypse is nigh
No time for audits.

1992 – Doomsday Book
Go back in time, watch
Everybody die. Go home
To hear the bells toll.

1993 – Red Mars
One hundred (and one)
Land on Mars. Watch them argue;
Watch them build a world.

1994 – Moving Mars
Politics are rough
Particularly if you’re Mars
And Earth’s scared of you.

1995 – The Terminal Experiment
Being immortal
Might make you homicidal
One way to find out…

1996 – Slow River
Deep, dirty water
Covers so many secrets
Not the ones you think.

1997 – The Moon and the Sun
Court of the Sun King
Has caught itself a mermaid
Pity the mermaid.

1998 – Forever Peace
Soldierboy for peace
Jack everyone together
And we’ll all be free.

1999 – Parable of the Talents
I escaped from drought
To rebuild and to bring you
The truth: God is Change.

2000 – Darwin’s Radio
Hidden DNA
Breeds new humans. Who can stop
This plague of babies?

2001 – The Quantum Rose
Clever with simile
And with quantum mechanics
Still cliched romance.

2002 – American Gods
We brought gods with us.
Pale imitations, they deal
Only in Shadow.

2004 – Paladin of Souls
Her life is over
But she’s not dead yet. What is
Her bastard purpose?



General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. Helen M says:

    Those were ab fab!
    Eighty-two, eighty five
    Are my favourites.

    Top forty haiku?
    I think it could be done. Not
    I, someone could try.

    With the works of JAK
    Or Nora, or some other
    prolific author.

  2. SandraD says:

    I agree with Helen M ‘85 rocked, however the fact that I managed to mostly understand ‘84 kinda worries me.

    Hmm my ‘magic’ word is position33, where can I look this up, could be fun.

  3. xatya says:

    Yay! Uhm. Yay!

    Sorry, brain is addled by Nanowrimo. I cannot be more eloquent.

    However, yay for geeky haiku!

  4. Spider says:

    I’d be curious to see how many cross genre readers romance has in SciFi.  I know I’m one.  Tell Katie to hang in there!

    -A comic book collecting, SciFi (and Romance) reading, RPG playing, con attending Latin teacher.

  5. Raina_Dayz says:

    These are great.

    1973 – Rendezvous With Rama
    What is this huge thing?
    Alien passing by Earth?
    You don’t get to know.

    Ooh I hate that.  I need to know!

  6. These are brilliant.  Thank you for sharing.

  7. Mel-O-Drama says:


    I’m afraid I’m going to think every thought in haiku today. LOL

  8. SarahP says:

    These are awesome.

  9. SandraD says:

    Spider I’m another romance/sf/fantasy crossover reader, with a healthy dose of mystery thrown in. Speaking of spiders have you ever read Spider Robinson? Excellent writer.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I would read far more book reviews if they were written in haiku. Katie, you rock!

  11. Soni says:

    Heh…glad to see I’m not the only one that Rama frustrated.

    And I, too, am somewhat disturbed (and at the same time strangely and vastly pleased) that I managed to understand the Neuromancer haiku with only minimal confusion.

    w00t! m/

  12. Karla says:

    Oh, wow.  Those were great.95 and 02 are favorites, although 84 fits too. 70 is what I’m going to use in the next birthday card for the sci-fi dude and 66 will make me snicker.

    68 was great, but that book pales in comparision to his other ones.

  13. Janie says:

    Help a fellow reader out, what the heck does 84 say?  I read the book and that’s not helping *blush*

    1984 – Neuromancer
    1 X/1|| |-|@><><0|2 j00
    X/17|-| |/|`/ |_||}3|2|337 $|<1||z0|2$|
    This is kind of sad.

  14. gigi says:

    BWAHAHA!  Okay, the “Enders Game” and its sequel are making me snort snot over here.

    I love good SF/Fantasy as much as good Romance…many SF’s just seem like Romance on other planets to me, anyway.  But I even like the hard science ones with no core relationship plotlines…guess I’m just a fiction ‘ho, I’ll go with anything as long as it’s a good, gaspy ride.

    I couldn’t do top forty romance haiku, but how about limericks?

  15. Helen says:

    Janie, I read 84 as

    I will haxxor you
    With my uber leet skillzors
    This is kind of sad.

    This might help:

  16. dl says:

    I’m sooo impressed!

  17. sara c. says:

    These made my inner fan girl go squeeee. I’m an even bigger sf/f fan than I am romance, and that’s saying an awful lot. What I love is when the two intersect ala Lois McMaster Bujold, Catherine Asaro, Robin McKinnley, Anne Bishop, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Kim Harrison.

  18. shaina says:

    wow helen, i just totally wasted twenty minutes reading that page about Leet…and almost got sucked into the one on teh…crazyyyy gamers.

  19. Chris S. says:

    Brilliant and hilarious!  The back-to-back Card haikus nearly made hot chocolate come out of my nose.

  20. nina armstrong says:

    hi guys hope you don’t mind,but I linked this post over on Making Light.

  21. Candy says:

    Nina: We don’t mind at all. In fact, if Katie sees her post make it to Making Light, I’m pretty sure she’s going to a-splode with the happiness.

  22. 2005 – Camouflage by Joe Haldeman.

    Chameleon bad,
    Changeling good. Karma will come
    for Chameleon.

    2002 – American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    Even modern men
    Shouldn’t trust a Trickster God;
    You need to be told?

    1985 – Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

    Serial killer
    Ends war with a genocide –
    Card claims “Innocent”…

  23. Ann says:

    But isn’t “genitalia” five syllables?

  24. Fred says:

    I think you may have Tehanu confused with The Tombs of Atuan, but otherwise, wonderful haiku!

  25. wordworm says:

    okay—-this may not “show up” on the site but(t)…..i just started reading IT by (gasp) Stephen King and, like it or not, he is aces when it comes to writing about kids—-preteens…boys AND girls (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a treasure!!!!)…..SCARY????you bet. but only as scary as life really is….so far IT is detailing the social/familial foibles of small-towm Maine. i expect things will get worse..much worse. Beware Of Clowns!!!!  hey   hi y’alll

  26. Blue Tyson says:

    Do 40?  Not a chance.  These are very cool, although she could spice up the Ringworld one perhaps. 🙂

    The only SF one I ever did, was a bad metajoke, anyway, but was one of those books, funnily enough.

    Haiku form SF
    Tells us of dolphins speaking
    A Startide Rising

  27. Jerel says:

    Awesome. Just awesome.
    When I grow up I want to
    be awesome like you. 🙂

  28. Geena says:

    she likes haiku, eh?
    then perhaps your friend Katie
    should visit us here:

  29. Peggy says:

    These are excellent!

    (I just spent 10 minutes trying to think up my own haiku. I’ve decided to leave it to the experts, so I’m not here all evening.)

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