Saturday, April 3, 2010

The 2010 Philip K. Dick Awards Ceremony

It was a dark and stormy night, complete with fierce wind and wild rain and, at one point (when I happened to be out in it), hailstones. That was outside the hotel. Inside, in the "Grand Ballroom," calm congeniality prevailed, even at the dessert table (which, since it didn't operate by queue, possessed a high potential for being a chaotic free-for-all).

At my table sat, moving clockwise from me, Nisi Shawl, Vernor Vinge, Daryl Gregory, Jack Skillingstead (or so I think, but he was on the other side of a large round table, & the ambient noise kept me from catching his name when we were introduced), Leslie Howle, and Ian MacDonald. Daryl and Ian's books were nominees, Nisi was representing "Carolyn Anderson" a.k.a. Sarah Zettel, and I was representing Rebecca Ore. We had about half an hour for small talk before the ceremony began.

Various officials of Norwescon and the Northwest SF Society and Dick Award administrators spoke in turn. And then each author or their representative read for a few minutes from each of the nominated works. Darryl's reading was the funniest; Ian's the liveliest; and Carlos J. Cortes's the creepiest and most intriguing. Any of you who've read Centuries Ago and Very Fast will likely be wondering if I read one the book's many, er, explicit passages. Well, I thought about it. But I chickened out. Instead, I read a passage from the beginning of "Quarreling, We Walked to the Baltic," in which Vel meets another immortal, Yama. Unlike Vel, Yama believes he was never born and thinks that Vel has come to help him "stop time."

After the readings, David Hartwell announced first the runner-up, which received a Special Citation--Ian MacDonald's Cyberabad Days-- and the winner: C.L. Anderson's Bitter Angels. Ian's speech was brief and graceful and ending by urging readers to seek out work by writers from India. Nisi delivered Sarah Zettel's speech, which was also brief. Nevertheless, I found it interesting and thought it would interest you-all, too. So Nisi kindly sent me a copy to post here:
Sarah Zettel and I started a critique group together in Ann Arbor, Michigan, years ago. We're friends, which is why she asked me to represent her here tonight, and sent me an email I'm going to read to you now.

Here're the remarks, just in case the world turns upside down and I actually win the thing:

"Thank you all for coming tonight, and thanks to the judging committee for their kind, and favorable consideration of Bitter Angels. This book represents a return to science fiction for me, and I'm delighted to be home, and to be welcomed back so warmly. In a time when war is frequently considered inevitable, it is not always easy to write about the possibility that humans might choose to leave it behind, but I feel it is important to at least present the possibility, because if we cannot even imagine a future without major armed conflicts between human beings, it most surely will never happen.

"I'd like to thank my editor David Pomerico who helped make this a better book, and the members of the Untitled Writers Group for their patient, helpful critiques. I'd very much like to thank my friend Nisi Shawl for kindly agreeing to stand in for me at this time, and of course, I thank my husband Tim for his constant love, support, and invaluable assistance in designing star ships and star systems.

"Thank you again---"

Carolyn Anderson, aka Sarah Zettel

1 comment:

Nisi said...

Yes, you're right, Timmi. That was Jack Skillingstead, a cool and talented Seattle writer.

I had much fun attending with you, laughing in the car and so on. Thanks to you and Tom for the ride.