As always happens in the middle of January, or at least for the last 35 years, the nominations for the Philip K. Dick Award have been announced. The award is handed over annually to the best original paperback published in the United States of America during the year just gone. What I didn’t know, or had forgotten, was that Thomas Disch was one of the founders of the award. It saddens me that Disch is an author that no-one really reads anymore. If anyone deserved an award named after him it was Disch. It would be for grumpy, cantankerous but magnificent and boundary-pushing novels published throughout the year.
That, though, is a discussion for another day. Right now, it’s about the nominees for this year’s PKD Award:
- The Book of Etta, Meg Elison (47North)
- Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
- After the Flare, Deji Bryce Olukotun (The Unnamed Press)
- The Wrong Stars, Tim Pratt (Angry Robot)
- Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Orbit)
- Bannerless, Carrie Vaughn (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com)
Generally, the PKD Award surprises me in as much as the judges have regularly chosen books that I’ve never heard of, books that have slipped through the crack that is the social media hype machine. So I am a tad disappointed that this year I’ve heard of all the nominees and own copies of all but two (Bannerless and Six Wakes). I’ve only read one of them, The Book of Etta by Meg Elison, which is the sequel to her PKD award-winning novel The Book of the Unnamed Midwife which I absolutely loved. (Kirstyn and I even rhapsodised about it on The Writer and the Critic podcast… you may remember it). The Book of Etta, which I reviewed here, isn’t as mind-blowing but it’s still a fantastic novel.
I haven’t read the rest possibly because my tastes have drifted from what I call core Science Fiction, i.e. novels written by authors reasonably well known in the field, writing predominantly for a genre audience. Having said that, I’ve had my eye on All Systems Red, After The Flare and The Wrong Stars. While I don’t intend to read the list of nominees I may read one of those three books.
I am interested though that the Tor novellas are now open to the award. I’d always thought the award was only for novel length paperback fiction. Clearly, I was wrong.
Congratulations to all the nominees.