Episode 343: Grand Masters and other Awards…

Every episode starts with a blank slate, even when perhaps it should not. This week we start with the recent announcement that William Gibson has been named as this year’s Damon Knight Grand Master by SFWA, which is well-deserved. Gibson’s most famous novel, Neuromancer, won the Philip K. Dick Award back in 1985 (along with a slew of other awards). 

This, in turn, takes us to the just-announced nominees for the 2019 Philip K. Dick Award:

  • Time Was, Ian McDonald (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Body Library, Jeff Noon (Angry Robot)
  • 84K, Claire North (Orbit)
  • Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories, Abbey Mei Otis (Small Beer Press)
  • Theory of Bastards, Audrey Schulman (Europa Editions)
  • Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories, Vandana Singh (Small Beer Press)

and this leads into a discussion of the history of the award and of the evolving role of original paperbacks in science fiction. We then venture on to the hoary old question of whether our field has too many awards, and what actually constitutes progress or excellence in a field with so many familiar themes and ideas.  

We’re not sure where we ended up but did manage to mention some exciting books that we’re reading right now.