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24 Novels That Won Both the Hugo and Nebula Awards

Jake Rossen
These dual sci-fi award winners will take you to some pretty fantastic places.
These dual sci-fi award winners will take you to some pretty fantastic places. / Amazon
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In narrative science fiction, there is no higher honor than earning a Hugo Award or Nebula Award—unless, of course, you win both.

The Hugo, named after sci-fi editor Hugo Gernsback and first presented in 1953, is voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Society; the Nebula has been handed out by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to honor the work of their peers since 1965.

While each is highly prestigious, only some titles have earned both in a single year. In anticipation of the 2022 Hugo Awards on Sunday, September 4, here are 24 books that earned two of the biggest acknowledgements in science fiction, and which could be great to grab if you’re looking for gift ideas for a sci-fi lover.

1. Dune (1965) // Frank Herbert

'Dune' is pictured
'Dune' by Frank Herbert / Amazon

Frank Herbert’s classic tale of warring societies who seek the valuable spice of Arrakis inspired decades of sci-fi to come, including Star Wars. Some of the novel’s earliest readers had to have some patience: It was originally published in serial format, with eight parts printed in Analog magazine between 1963 and 1965. Dune was the winner of the first Nebula Award, and shared the Hugo with Roger Zelazny’s …And Call Me Conrad.

Buy it: Amazon

2. The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) // Ursula K. Le Guin

'The Left Hand of Darkness' is pictured
'The Left Hand of Darkness' by Ursula K. Le Guin / Amazon

Le Guin’s tale of a planet named Gethen that knows no defined gender—except for one period each month in which they conform to male and female identities—now seems startlingly prescient. It took top honors at the Nebulas, beating out Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five; the 1969 Hugos were also notable for awarding their Best Dramatic Presentation award to television coverage of the Apollo 11 moon mission.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Ringworld (1970) // Larry Niven

'Ringworld' is pictured
'Ringworld' by Larry Niven / Amazon

Larry Niven’s Ringworld envisioned a future in which an alien civilization constructs a ring with a 93-million mile radius that surrounds the sun and is 3 million times the area of Earth. The book was a favorite among MIT students, who debated the scientific accuracy of the construct and led Niven to address some of their criticisms in the 1980 sequel, The Ringworld Engineers. The book hit a trifecta of sorts, winning the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards, which is named after the science-fiction magazine. Surprisingly, Ringworld has never been adapted for film or television, but Amazon announced plans for a series back in 2018.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Rendezvous With Rama (1973) // Arthur C. Clarke

'Rendezvous With Rama' is pictured
'Rendezvous With Rama' by Arthur C. Clarke / Amazon

Arthur C. Clarke penned this Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning tale about a group of humans who are tasked with greeting an alien ship heading toward Earth. When they board, they discover the vessel isn’t occupied—but that’s only the beginning. Denis Villeneuve (Dune) is slated to direct a feature adaptation.

Buy it: Amazon

5. The Dispossessed (1974) // Ursula K. Le Guin

'The Dispossessed' is pictured
'The Dispossessed' by Ursula K. Le Guin / Amazon

Le Guin scored another double with this exploration of how a society can function without laws or government. Protagonist Shevek experiences both a structured world and one in which anarchy reigns, leading to questions of which dystopia is which. Le Guin has said the work started as “a very bad short story,” which evolved into something more.

Buy it: Amazon

6. The Forever War (1975) // Joe Haldeman

'The Forever War' is pictured
'The Forever War' by Joe Haldeman / Amazon

Vietnam veteran Haldeman examined the human cost of warfare with this outer-space allegory about a soldier named William Mandella drafted into a galactic conflict with aliens known as Taurans. When he periodically returns home, he finds hundreds of years have passed, leading to a discombobulation that mirrored the experiences of real veterans. Early editions of the book were abridged; it wasn’t until 1997 that Haldeman’s full and preferred version appeared.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Gateway (1977) // Frederik Pohl

'Gateway' is pictured
'Gateway' by Frederik Pohl / Amazon

A prolific writer, Frederik Pohl was also a literary agent, and his Heechee saga—which grew to include several novels—starts here. On an asteroid, a network of tunnels and technology left over by an advanced society attracts all sorts of opportunists.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Dreamsnake (1978) // Vonda McIntyre

'Dreamsnake' is pictured
'Dreamsnake' by Vonda McIntyre / Amazon

McIntyre essentially won the Nebula twice over for Dreamsnake, which started as a short story titled “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand” that took the honor for Best Novelette in 1973. To expand it into a novel, McIntyre dove deeper into the story of a healer named Snake, who uses snake venom to care for ailing patients. After Snake loses her most valuable (and psychotropic) snake, she seeks a replacement in a post-apocalyptic future. Dreamsnake initially courted some controversy for its mentions of sex—not that common among sci-fi novels of the era—and stands as one of the few dual Nebula and Hugo winners to feature a woman protagonist.

Buy it: Amazon

9. The Fountains of Paradise (1979) // Arthur C. Clarke

'The Fountains of Paradise' is pictured
'The Fountains of Paradise' by Arthur C. Clarke / Amazon

Clarke returned to the podium for this novel about a very determined man who decides to build a space elevator originating in Sri Lanka, a premise that echoes the current entrepreneurs in privatized space travel. Not long after, Clarke hosted a television series, Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, about strange phenomena. (But no space elevators.)

Buy it: Amazon

10. Startide Rising (1983) // David Brin

'Startide Rising' is pictured
'Startide Rising' by David Brin / Amazon

Brin’s novel drops readers in on a future in which species are “uplifted,” or given sentience by patron species. Startide Rising is the second in a series that began with 1980’s Sundiver; in Startide, humans and uplifted dolphins (and one chimpanzee) are on board a space vessel when it comes across a fleet of alien ships that seem to belong to the Progenitors. But the knowledge kept by the Progenitors can’t be obtained without a fight. Brin has a Ph.D. in physics and an undergrad degree in astrophysics; the third in the trilogy, The Uplift War, was nominated for the Nebula and won the Hugo.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Neuromancer (1984) // William Gibson

'Neuromancer' is pictured
'Neuromancer' by William Gibson / Amazon

William Gibson has said he didn’t know anything about computers at the time he wrote Neuromancer, the pioneering novel that launched the “cyberpunk” genre and which seemed to anticipate the rise of an artificially-intelligent future and the hackers who exploit it. (He wrote it on a manual typewriter.) The book’s depiction of cyberspace and the blending and blurring of reality and virtual reality continues to exert its influence to this day.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Ender’s Game (1985) // Orson Scott Card

'Ender's Game' is pictured
'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card / Amazon

Card examines the moral cost of recruiting gifted kids to prepare for an interstellar battle against the Formics, an insect-like alien race. Young Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is one of many child geniuses trained for a coming war via simulations. The book was later adapted into a 2013 film starring Harrison Ford.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Speaker for the Dead (1986) // Orson Scott Card

'Speaker for the Dead' is pictured
'Speaker for the Dead' by Orson Scott Card / Amazon

Card pulled off the unlikely feat of consecutive double Hugo and Nebula wins with this sequel-of-sorts to Ender’s Game that picks up Ender’s story 25 years later. The “speaker” of the title refers to those who try to represent the deceased by relaying both the good and bad of their lives.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Doomsday Book (1992) // Connie Willis

'Doomsday Book' is pictured
'Doomsday Book' by Connie Willis / Amazon

Along with Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, Willis was a co-winner of the Hugo and a winner of the Nebula for this novel about pandemics in the 1300s and 2054 and how each society—one primitive, one advanced—responds to the threat. Willis even predicted a toilet paper shortage.

Buy it: Amazon

15. American Gods (2001) // Neil Gaiman

'American Gods' is pictured
'American Gods' by Neil Gaiman / Amazon

Neil Gaiman puts deities in conflict with one another as mythic gods clash with 21st century titans of commerce and technology, with protagonist Shadow Moon—an ambassador of old guard Mr. Wednesday—finding himself caught in the middle. A television adaptation aired on Starz for three seasons.

Buy it: Amazon

16. Paladin of Souls (2003) // Lois McMaster Bujold

'Paladin of Souls' is pictured
'Paladin of Souls' by Lois McMaster Bujold / Amazon

Bujold’s tale of a middle-aged widow who goes on a soul-searching mission in a sword-and-sorcery landscape earned the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. Bujold has said her love of science fiction was partially the result of picking up her father’s discarded sci-fi magazines.

Buy it: Amazon

17. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007) // Michael Chabon

'The Yiddish Policemen's Union' is pictured
'The Yiddish Policemen’s Union' by Michael Chabon / Amazon

In The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon created a revisionist history mystery: Post-World War II, a Jewish refugee settlement in Alaska is the site of a murder, and it’s up to detective Meyer Landsman to solve the case. Gangster rabbis abound in this fantasy tale, which features alternate-reality atomic bomb drops and a new kind of noir. Chabon has said he wrote a 600-page first draft with a different plot that he wound up discarding; the published version, according to the author, is somewhat of a sequel to that unseen draft.

Buy it: Amazon

18. The Windup Girl (2009) // Paolo Bacigalupi

'The Windup Girl' is pictured
'The Windup Girl' by Paolo Bacigalupi / Amazon

Bacigalupi explores a world in which the global warming has reduced the agricultural industry to gene-hacked seeds and crop companies are the new big tech. The title character is an artificial human that protagonist Anderson Lake falls for while scouting for Thailand’s remaining supply of real seeds. The book—Bacigalupi’s first—tied for the Hugo with The City & the City by China Miéville and won the Nebula.

Buy it: Amazon

19. Blackout/All Clear (2010) // Connie Willis

'Blackout/All Clear' is pictured
'Blackout/All Clear' by Connie Willis / Amazon

Willis made history by winning her dual awards with dual novels, or diptychs. They relate the story of time travelers who visit World War II-era London and Dunkirk and wind up getting trapped in time, risking a cataclysmic butterfly effect.

Buy it: Amazon

20. Among Others (2011) // Jo Walton

'Among Others' is pictured
'Among Others' by Jo Walton / Amazon

Author Jo Walton has called Among Others “far and away my most successful novel,” and it’s not hard to understand why. Inspired by a Livejournal post Walton wrote, the story focuses on Morwenna, a young woman who has managed to flee from her mother, a wicked witch who might also be insane. Eager to disappear into sci-fi books and schoolwork—not to mention engage in conversations with fairies—she comes to learn that her mother may not be out of her life after all. Among Others also scored a British Fantasy award in 2012, beating the likes of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons.

Buy it: Amazon

21. Ancillary Justice (2013) // Ann Leckie

'Ancillary Justice' is pictured
'Ancillary Justice' by Ann Leckie / Amazon

Leckie won raves (and awards) for her introduction to the Imperial Radch Trilogy, which details the life of Breq, a onetime spaceship A.I. that now inhabits the reanimated corpse of a human host and seeks revenge against the enemy that destroyed her crew.

Buy it: Amazon

22. The Stone Sky (2017) // N.K. Jemisin

'The Stone Sky' is pictured
'The Stone Sky' by N.K. Jemisin / Amazon

Jemisin wrapped her Broken Earth trilogy with The Stone Sky, completing the story of a ravaged planet that’s prone to quakes and host to obelisks overhead, which once belonged to a now-dead civilization. It took the Hugo and Nebula, the latter ceremony including an appearance by the Muppets.

Buy it: Amazon

23. The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel (2018) // Mary Robinette Kowal

'The Calculating Stars' is pictured
'The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel' by Mary Robinette Kowal / Amazon

In The Calculating Stars, set in the early 1950s, Mary Robinette Kowal imagines a version of the space race in which the impact of an asteroid off the coast of the United States near Washington, D.C., has cataclysmic effects on the climate, not to mention bureaucracy: The federal government doesn’t survive the event. The collision forces both men and women into exploring space on an expedited schedule. Heroine Elma York is the book’s protagonist, battling both zero gravity and the sexism of the era.

Buy it: Amazon

24. Network Effect (2020) // Martha Wells

'Network Effect' is pictured
'Network Effect' by Martha Wells / Amazon

Wells took her Murderbot Diaries series from novellas to novel form in Network Effect, relating the struggles of a sentient but socially awkward killing machine that’s hacked itself to freedom. Newly independent, it’s torn between watching television and helping out the humans it knows. Wells capped off a run of achievement for what was previously a boy’s club genre, with her win marking the sixth consecutive Hugo for a woman author.

Buy it: Amazon

A version of this story ran in May 2022; it was updated in November 2022.

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