Paonia's Paolo Bacigalupi, profiled in Westword as "the hottest writer in sci-fi" a couple of weeks ago, just got hotter. His first novel, The Windup Girl, just won the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
The Nebula is one of the most prestigious awards in science fiction -- the judgment of your peers, as it were. The steampunkish novel, which explores intrigues over food and energy resources in a future Thailand, with a robotic geisha girl at its center, is also in the running for the Hugo and the Locus awards, two other major accolades in the genre.
Bacigalupi, who responded with thanks to his supporters on his Twitter page, struggled for years with the material before The Windup Girl emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed novels of 2009. He's now at work on his second young adult novel, a sequel to Ship Breaker, which was published this month.