Dragons, filking, and Scott Bakula (oh, and the Phillip K. Dick Award)

March 22, 2008

Norwescon 31 is taking place as I write this. Well, I think they’re probably wrapped up for the evening, and drinking themselves stupid over toasts to Scott Bakula. And me? Well, I had no idea. No real excuses, either. I just wasn’t paying attention.

Paul Constant was, however, and the literary man for The Stranger has been checking in at Slog now and again. The big news is apparently the announcement of the Phillip K. Dick Award winners.

The Special Citation, or runner-up, went to From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain, by Minister Faust. I read this one, and I’ve got to say, I’m pretty disappointed. It’s not a very good book, an unoriginal satire on superheroes and power and blah blah blah.

And the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award this year is Nova Swing, by M. John Harrison, a kind of noir-y alternate universe story. Harrison’s previous serial-killer novel, Light, was excellent. Harrison’s speech was read by a surrogate, since he couldn’t be here, but it was a good speech, mainly about how he’s all about growing beyond the idea of personality being a consistent thing, that we are a bunch of actions who are consistently retroactively explaining our actions, and that justification is what we think makes us us. It was a good speech, and people read from all seven books on the short list before the prizes was announced and there is, thankfully, no actual statuette of a prize (a Dick prize could be banned in certain states, I’m sure) because they decide to give the winners the money instead. How civilized.

In the meantime, entertain (or torture) yourselves with Mr. Constant’s reports from “SeaTac’s biggest science fiction convention”:

  • Norwescon Report One: Get the skinny on gypsy sluts, masculine insecurity, and Klingon community service.
  • Norwescon Report Two: Two words, dragons and filking.
  • Norwescon Report Three: Find out abut Vader’s Fist, raucous Scott Bakula fans, why Lovecraft is still popular despite being a horrible writer, and the importance of costumes.
  • Norwescon Report Four: The Fantasy Flower SmackDown, creepy dolls, and the death of schoolgirl fantasies.

My mother’s in town this weekend, so it’s not like I’m going to rush off and catch the Hobbit Country Dancing, the slide show on “Evolving the Star-Trek Replicator”, the evening’s filking concerts, or the workshop on Advanced Polyamory. But, hey, I’ll also miss Dan Simmons, so there is a hint of tragedy about it. Point being, I expect there will be further reports, so I’ll just have to update y’all vicariously.


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