And As Long As We’re In An Awards Mood …

Have the nominees for the Philip K Dick Award:

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)

Interesting-looking list, though the only one I’ve read is the McDonald.

19 thoughts on “And As Long As We’re In An Awards Mood …

  1. I finished The Devil’s Alphabet last week, found it rather poor, muddled over what the story’s intent and even genre was. I’m surprised to see it on a major award shortlist. Haven’t even heard of most of the others, it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

  2. I had a look at the statistics for ownership of these books on LibraryThing. Cyberabad Days is way out in front, and Centuries Ago And Very Fast and The Prisoner seem very obscure indeed – I wonder how the shortlisting process works?

    Cyberabad Days (131)
    Bitter Angels (50)
    The Devil’s Alphabet (33)
    Prophets (23)
    Repossession Mambo (18)
    Centuries Ago And Very Fast (4)
    The Prisoner (2)

  3. Alexander: have to say, you’re the first person I’ve seen to have that opinion of The Devil’s Alphabet — indeed several other people I know who’ve read it have spoken of it as a Hugo contender. (I’m hoping to get to it before the deadline for that!)

    Nicholas: how the shortlisting process works in what sense? It’s a juried award, so having sold more or fewer copies shouldn’t come into it.

  4. Check your numbers, Jonathan: the novel that got knocked off in the first round last summer was Zoe’s Tale, by arguably the most popular blogger on the ballot, and Anathem, the sole nominee by a non-blogger, held on until the final round and came in second.

  5. Well, in 2008 Brasyl got knocked off first, which certainly fits your criteria, though The Yiddish Policemen’s Union went on to win. And in 2007, as you say, Blindsight was the first nominee out the door. Interestingly, Brasyl had gotten the most nominating ballots of any of the novels on the 2008 ballot.

  6. Brazyl and Blindsight were the tiles I had in mind when I made the original comment. I know that Yiddish Policeman’s Union gets a lot of love in this particular circle of SF fandom but I never really clicked with it. Neither that nor Gentlemen of the Road.

  7. Still, like it or not, it’s at least not the kind of parochial, inward-looking SF we tend to accuse the Hugos of favoring. To be honest, I’m still a little surprised it won.

  8. I dunno… I would say it was inward-looking given that it was an exercise in genre-bending. It’s just inward-looking from the outside :-)

  9. Leaving aside the ss collections, I’ve read or browsed through the five novels above.

    I am a fan of S. Andrew Swann sf (not fantasy or thrillers though) and Prophets is his 8th Moreau/Race book, first in a new trilogy set some 1-200 years after the ending of the last one – the trilogy Hostile Takeover
    Hardcore mil-sf with a libertarian, who has the biggest gun and shoots first attitude – Prophets is very good if you like such. The second book in the trilogy Heretics is an asap

    I read a rave review of Repossesion Mambo so I checked it out and it was ok’ish but nothing special – if you like satire sf that takes itself seriously which I don’t really, you may like it more; was worth an hour fast read in a bookstore cafe for the price of a coffee but not more than that in either time or money

    I had high hopes for Bitter Angels based on the blurb and when I received an arc and saw in the copyright page that the author is actually someone who wrote two sf novels I quite enjoyed in the mid-90’s under her real name, though then wrote fantasy that I never cared for, I had even higher hopes, but the novel quickly dashed them as an under-average sort of planet adventure/mil-sf/oppressive regime that plans to take over humanity with a dastardly plot – muddled and boring I finished it in a fast read but was quite disappointed.

    I also received an arc of Prisoner but it’s not my kind of book and after a quick browse just in case, it went into a big box of books to donate to the local library

    For some reason Darryl’s Gregory’s prose is almost unreadable for me – encountered it in here and there – and while I took a quick look at Devil’s Alphabet again just to “do my duty” since I check all (original) sff books I encounter, this one had the same “words that make sense individually but not as a whole” feeling for me, so I cannot really rate it; it may be a masterpiece for all that I know, just if I could decode it…

  10. Liviu, I think it’s okay to tell people C.L. Anderson is Sarah Zettel so long as nobody tells the Barnes & Noble computers.

    Jonathan, I congratulate you: it’s a long while since I saw a reading as breathtakingly parochial as “[YPU] was inward-looking given that it was an exercise in genre-bending” outside of an Ansible column.

  11. I’m still a little surprised it won.

    I think there’s an extent to which we tend to overstate the genre-mindedness of Hugo voters. YPU probably sold more copies than the rest of that year’s Best Novel shortlist put together; more readers means more readers who like the book enough to vote for it for an award.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s