The Calculating Stars won the Nebula Award!

Last night, The Calculating Stars won the Nebula Award.

We can send signals to Mars and back faster than I can process this. Let’s just pause to gaze at it for a minute, all right?The 2018 Nebula Award for Novel contains reddish stones representing planets and a swirl like a Nebula.


It’s pretty, right? Each Nebula award contains a unique selection of stones, representing planets. I love that this one is full of Mars.

I keep trying to write a pithy blog post capturing the feeling of having this gorgeous thing and my brain is stuck in a loop still trying to grasp the fact that I have a Nebula.  So, I’m going to paste in the notes that were on my phone — Also, note: If you have your speech on your phone, texts from people congratulating you DURING YOUR SPEECH can make it hard to read the speech.

Here’s what was on my phone.


There are so many people to thank, that I won’t be able to thank them all in the detail that they deserve. I know how many words that takes because the acknowledgments of my books are looooooong. But I do want to recognize Alyshondra Meacham, Liz Gorinsky, Seth Fishman, Robert Kowal, Mom and Dad, Kjell Lindgren, Cady Coleman, Chanie Beckman, Sheyna Gifford, Derek Benkoski, Stephen Grenade and all my beta readers. Writing Excuses gang.

There is a scene in this book in which Elma, my main character, finally acknowledges that she has anxiety and goes to get help.  My own journey is with depression but I did not get help until I was forty-five. That scene is a direct transcription of my conversation with my doctor. I had stopped writing. But I only went in because I had begun to recognize myself in descriptions in books and conversations with friends. So thank you to everyone who has been honest and open about their journey with mental health. This book would not exist without you. Thank you.


Oh– And this is the dress.

Rebecca Kuang  in a lilac gown and Mary Robinette Kowal in a blue ombre gown

(That’s R. F. Kuang with me. She was nominated for her AMAZINGLY GOOD debut novel, The Poppy War, which you should go read.)

My gown from Anna Prom Dress which is a family-owned and operated bridal shop in China. I found it online and it looked like the cover of Calculating Stars, so, I kinda had to have it. AND IT HAS POCKETS.

The jewelry is on loan from my friend Eve Celsi and is estate jewelry from the same era as the novels.

I asked James Overstreet to give me a Grace Kelly makeup look, and he pulled it off flawlessly.

Also, I still can’t process that I have a Nebula. The ballot this year was incredibly strong and it could have gone home with any of us. Please go read my fellow finalists. I’ve read all of them and they are so, so good.

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5 thoughts on “The Calculating Stars won the Nebula Award!”

  1. Colonel Snuggledorf

    Felicitations on this richly deserved recognition by your peers! It was indeed a strong list of finalists, but The Calculating Stars is one of those rare books that just doesn’t come along very often, and it was far and away the best of the bunch.

    And please also accept my profound gratitude for your shout-out to the struggles that so many of us encounter in our quest for mental health. Both in your treatment of Elma’s anxiety in the book and in your acceptance speech (which left me in tears), you call out and normalize the demons that so many of us are taught must be kept hidden and never, ever acknowledged. Thank you also for pushing yourself to find help when you did. You set an example that many of us strive to emulate.

    Celebrate your moment, and may there be many more such moments to come!

  2. Reece Michaelson

    Dear Mary,

    Huge congratulations! I just wanted to thank you again for the spectacularly fascinating and impactful panel “Failure To Launch”…and to say that I hope you consider turning the discussion into a book about writing, even if it’s a small-sized book, the lessons are expansive and potent.

    Also wanted to acknowledge how glad I was that you talked Katie into being a volunteer – I’m blanking on her last name, but I’ll remember our talks for a very long time to come. What a gem! Thanks!

    And finally, thank you for your candor about depression. Gives me hope.

    Wishing you all the very best, always,

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