Jan 19 2010 4:41pm

Philip K. Dick Award nominees announced

The Philip K. Dick Award is for science fiction published as a paperback original, as most of Dick’s own work was in his lifetime. It’s an interesting award, precisely because of this. It tends to catch books that are good but haven’t had a lot of attention—so many paperbacks are reprints that paperback originals often don’t get reviewed, and don’t have much advertising budget from the publisher. The Dick list is one to watch to find new writers and books that may have slipped beneath the radar, interesting oddities, and small press releases from major writers. The purpose of awards is not to make writers feel good, although they do that, but to draw good books to the awareness of readers.

The Dick is a juried award, which means that the jury read through a whole pile of paperback originals and agreed on the best—they do this so you don’t have to. The shortlist is more interesting to me than the winner—it’s very hard to agree on what is “the best”, and then it’s just one book, but a list of half a dozen excellent books gives a good range. These cover the whole spectrum of science fiction, and just science fiction, not any shade of fantasy. I haven’t read any of them, but I commend them all to your attention.

This year’s nominees are:

Bitter Angels by C. L. Anderson (Ballantine Books/Spectra)

The Prisoner by Carlos J. Cortes (Ballantine Books/Spectra)

The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia (Harper)

The Devil’s Alphabet by Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)

Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald (Pyr)

Centuries Ago and Very Fast by Rebecca Ore (Aqueduct Press)

Prophets by S. Andrew Swann (DAW Books)

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published eight novels, most recently Half a Crown and Lifelode, and two poetry collections. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

N. Mamatas
1. N. Mamatas
I'm excited about Rebecca Ore!

Her book includes "Acid and Stoned Reindeer", which I was thrilled to publish:

larry shirk
2. lorenzo
Your post has seven titles listed with 5 of them linked to store.tor.com. Tor.com will not ship to you, in Montreal, or to me (in Ontario).
This is a policy that establishes a strongly negative pressure differential (like Grendel's straw).
You can find them elsewhere though, such as Amazon.ca .
N. Mamatas
3. lynnet1
Has anyone read The Devil's Alphabet? The reviews seem mixed on whether or not it's horror, and I'd really like to know that before I pick it up.
Jo Walton
4. bluejo
Lorenzo: You're reading this on Tor.com, you can't really expect that we'll have a policy of linking elsewhere when we have it in stock!

Shipping to Canada is a complicated thing to do with Canadian content laws and distribution arrangements. I wish Tor.com could do it too, but if that's the price for having an independent press, well.

Also, it's a zillion times easier for me when making a post to link to the Tor store than to find each book on each publisher's individual page, so even if it wasn't policy I'd do it. And it's not as if people don't know they can buy wherever they want, it's not as if they're tied in to anything by what I link to. I never buy online anyway. I expect most people will read this and, rather than rushing to instantly order seven books, will keep a vague eye out for them next time they're in the library or their local bookshop.
N. Mamatas
5. Susan Loyal

I've read The Devil's Alphabet and enjoyed it. The premise is straight-up science fiction, the plot is based on a mystery arc, and the "atmosphere" includes some weird elements. I wouldn't call it horror.
N. Mamatas
6. Lynnet1

Thanks! The plot didn't strike me as very horror-like, but most of the "official" reviews were comparing it to Stephen King or just straight out calling it a horror novel. I'm incredibly sensitive to horror, so I wanted to make sure before picking it up.
Theresa DeLucci
7. theresa_delucci
I'm reading Cyberabad Days now and loving it. I just finished River of Gods last week and wanted more stories set in India. It's cool to see some of the ideas mentioned in passing in the novel fleshed out more here. I really enjoyed "An Eligible Boy," and "The Little Goddess." I haven't been so into an author since I discovered Gibson for the first time. I'm not much of a science-minded person, so for me the biggest appeal is in his strong characters and lyricism that rarely goes overboard.

I love Ian McDonald so much, I'll actually buy The Dervish House in hardcover the day it releases. (May, I think.)
Sandi Kallas
8. Sandikal
I'm glad to see Ian McDonald on the list. He's been one of my few must-read authors ever since he published "King of Morning, Queen of Day" back in the Nineties. He dropped off the shelves of American bookstores for awhile, but I've managed to find him again thanks to online shopping. I'm so happy he's finally getting the recognition he deserves.

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