Full details of all the nominees on the SFWA 1980 Nebula Awards page.
Clifford D. Simak. Grotto of the Dancing Deer.
Originally in : Analog
Prehistoric cave paintings, but is one of the local volunteers more directly connected to the paintings?
Winner of the Best Short Story ahead of ‘Secrets of the Heart’ by Charles L. Grant (F&SF Mar 1980); ‘A Sunday Visit with Great-Grandfather’ by Craig Strete (New Dimensions 11 1974 [nomination withdrawn]); ‘War Beneath the Tree’ by Gene Wolfe (Omni Dec 1979); ‘Window’ by Bob Leman (F&SF May 1980). The story also won the equivalent Hugo.
Michael Swanwick. Ginungagap.
Originally in : TriQuarterly 49
One of Swanwick’s first two stories, each of which was well-received (the other being ‘The Feast of St Janis’). First contact with a spider-like race is made through a black hole thanks to the alien tech. Communication is not easy, and understanding their alien motives even more so.
It is possible to transfer humans (being carbon based) through the black hole, and Abigail is deconstructed, piped through the black hole, and reconstructed on the other side. Both the humans and aliens have shown some undesirable traits in the negotiations, and the question as to whether Abigail can really be seen as truly herself, and trustworthy, is an issue for the humans. However, the aliens have big plans for her, and she is offered the opportunity to be reconstituted severally in order to help them span the galaxy.
Suzy McKee Charnas. Unicorn Tapestry.
Originally in : New Dimensions 11.
A female psychologist is fascinated by a client who claims to be a vampire. We follow her deep into the dynamics of her attempted therapeutic interventions and her growing emotional attachment. She finds out that he is indeed a vampire, albeit not a be-caped and be-fanged vampire, who preys on the low-life on the mean streets.
We get deep into the mind of the long-living vampire to a degree rarely seen outside of psychology manuals. Wish I’d known thought that the vampire had appeared in ‘The Ancient Mind at Work’ (Omni, 1979) the previous year, as I would have read that first!
Winner of the Best Novella Award ahead of ‘The Autopsy by Michael Shea (F&SF Dec 1980); ‘The Brave Little Toaster’ by Thomas M. Disch (F&SF Aug 1980); ‘Dangerous Games’ by Marta Randall (F&SF Apr 1980); ‘Lost Dorsai’ by Gordon R. Dickson (Destinies v2 #1 Feb/Mar 1980); ‘There Beneath the Silky-Trees and Whelmed in Deeper Gulphs Than Me’ by Avram Davidson (Other Worlds 2).
Howard Waldrop. The Ugly Chickens.
Originally in : Universe 10
A researcher finds evidence that the Dodo may have survived a little longer in the Deep South, ah say, may have survived a little longer. But not that much longer. Damn those finger lickin’ recipes.
Winner of the Best Novelette ahead of ‘Beatnik Bayou” by John Varley (New Voices III: The Campbell Award Nominees); ‘The Feast of Saint Janis’ by Michael Swanwick (New Dimensions 11); ‘Ginungagap by Michael Swanwick (TriQuarterly #49 Fall 1980); ‘Strata’ by Edward Bryant (F&SF Aug 1980); ‘The Way Station” by Stephen King (F&SF Apr 1980)
Charles L. Grant. Secrets of the Heart.
Originally in :
Short horror tale featuring a young girl in an otherwise empty house. We find out what happened to her parents through some hapless travellers who seek assistance.
Other content in the volume includes commentary from Gregory Benford (in his role as winner of the Best Novel for ‘Timescape’, Michael Glyer, Bill Warren and Algis Budrys.