Book Beat: 2018 Nebula Awards, A George R.R. Martin Update, and Hemingway’s Potential Plagiarism

Hello lovely readers! Welcome to another installment of Book Beat, brought to you this week by your editor Paige. Things are far less scandalous than usual this week in the publishing industry, but that might be because of a.) the weather, and b.) all the many scandals and outrages in book-adjacent industries (like the world of TV adaptations, thanks to the Game of Thrones series finale). Nevertheless, interesting news about recent industry awards and potential revelations about famous authors have been just enough to keep things busy. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out all of this week’s news below!

Announcing the 2018 Nebula Award Winners

Logo for the Nebula Awards

Sci-fi and fantasy fiction have always been highly prolific, imaginative, and exciting genres to read. However, the last few years have definitely felt like a renaissance of new content. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who thinks so. This past weekend, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America finally announced the winners of the 2018 Nebula Awards, and this year’s selection is definitely among the best works I’ve read in years.

Winners include:

  • The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal for best novel
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by Phenderson Djèlí Clark for best short story
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi for the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
  • The Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and
  • The Netflix/House of Tomorrow interactive collaboration Black Mirror: Bandersnatch for best game writing

However, the finalists in these and other categories include the fantastic new works of authors such as C.L. Polk, Naomi Novik, Rebecca Roanhorse, R.F. Kuang, and Martha Wells. You can find the complete list of winners and finalists in the link above, but I’ve got to warn you about taking a peak. I’ve already added about six of the books and short stories from that list into my handy-dandy Amazon cart, and I’m only about half-way down the list. You’ll definitely be adding some new items to your TBR pile soon too, so sorry about your wallet!

New Game of Throne Books are Not Coming (Yet)

Besides the Nebula Awards, another sci-fi/fantasy epic event occurred last weekend as well: the series finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones adaptation. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the internet in the past few months, you might not have noticed that public opinion has been rather negative about the trajectory of this latest season, so much so that, in between creating online petitions to rewrite the series, fans are eagerly returning to George R.R. Martin’s book series for hope of a better outcome.

This hope has been reignited as of late due to new rumors that the prolific author has actually finished the infamously unfinished series. Specifically, Game of Thrones actor Ian McElhinney claimed at EPIC Con 2019 that Martin had already written books six and seven, but was holding off until the end of the HBO series to publish these new installments.

Unfortunately, I have some bad news about that.

On his official website, Martin put this latest rumor to bed once and for all. In a post entitled “Idiocy on the Internet,” the author states that, “The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring are not finished. Dream is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six.”

Martin also went on to deny that anyone at HBO had asked, or even would ask, him to delay the publication of any finished work. “There is no ‘deal’ to hold back on the books. I assure you, HBO and [show co-creators] David and Dan would both have been thrilled and delighted if The Winds of Winter had been delivered and published four or five years ago … [and] it seems absurd to me that I need to state this … Why would I sit for years on completed novels? Why would my publishers—not just here in the U.S., but all around the world—ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice & Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense.”

And that is that on that, folks. Even though the wait for new Martin books will be long, at least we have fanfiction to comfort us in these trying post-GoT times.

To Have or Have Not Plagiarized

Ernest Hemingway in Cuba
Ernest Hemingway in Cuba in 1952, the year The Old Man and the Sea was published. Photograph: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

With the country of Cuba slowly reintegrating itself back into the world, a new array of cultural knowledge is trickling into the global conscience. While many are still in awe over Cuba’s Instagram worthy architecture and beaches, I would be remiss not to mention the all the wonderful writing that is about to enter Western canon again. For example, there is author Enrique Serpa. While his work may not be well-known outside of the island, you might recognize his writing in the work of a more famous writer, Ernest Hemingway. Like, word-for-word might recognize Serpa’s writing in Hemingway’s work.

That’s right: American researchers recently uncovered strong parallels between Serpa’s early stories and the later works of Hemingway, which isn’t as far-fetched a theory as skeptics might think. Hemingway wrote some of his most well-known novels in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s. While on the island he is known to have befriended Serpa, who at the time was a full time journalist with a true passion for writing fiction. Researchers are specifically comparing Serpa’s 1936 and 1938 novels, The Marlin and Contraband, to Hemingway’s 1952 novel The Old Man and the Sea and his 1937 novel To Have and Have Not, respectively. In the latter case, researchers have evidence that suggests Serpa shared his Contraband manuscript with his friend, and Hemingway just barely published the very similar To Have and Have Not before Serpa was able to complete and publish his manuscript.

However, researchers have been careful to not explicitly condemn Hemingway based on their evidence. Professor Andrew Feldman, the lead on this research, has stated that this is “not a plagiarism situation” specifically, just one where these two authors have works that are “incredibly similar, [with] a striking resemblance in terms of themes and style.”

Further, Feldman discovered an unpublished letter from Hemingway’s one-time wife Martha Gellhorn, who apparently wrote to Hemingway’s editor on his behalf to try unsuccessfully to get Serpa’s novels translated into English. Per this letter, Hemingway thought of Serpa and his work as “a wonder,” which is a very nice compliment, even though it doesn’t totally excuse what Hemingway might have done in order to share his friend’s words to a larger audience.

Out This Week

Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi
The Missing Season by Gillian French
Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
The Edge Of Every Day by Marin Sardy
Finding Our Place In The Universe by Hélène Courtois, translated by Nikki Kopelman

Cover for 'Finding Our Place In The Universe' by Hélène Courtois, translated by Nikki Kopelman

Happy Thursday!

Paige Allen

Paige Allen

Adult-in-training by day, queer geek of color by night.