Steve’s Reviews of P. K. Dick Award Winners - Novels

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In 2007, a friend lent me a P. K. Dick award winning novel, and I enjoyed it enough that I decided to add these winners to my list of novels to read.

The P. K. Dick Awards are sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and are almost always different than the Hugo and Nebula award winners for the same year.   The awards started in 1982.

You can read my short reviews of the Hugo winners on this page.

I am also reading and reviewing the Nebula Award winners on this page. 

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Eighties

1982 - Software by Rudy Rucker

Cyberpunk really didn't age well.  PKD wouldn't have liked this one.

 

1983 - The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Another clichéd time travel novel.  A great disappointment compared to his next novel winner in 1985 - PKD wouldn't have liked this one

 

1984 - Neuromancer by William Gibson

See my review on the Hugo page.  I think PKD would have liked this one.

 

1985 - Dinner at Deviant's Palace by Tim Powers

A sort of post-apocalyptic version of Orpheus, with a fascinating twist.  PKD would have liked this one.

 

1986 - Homunculus by James P. Blaylock

Why did people think steam punk was interesting???  PKD wouldn't have chosen this one.

 

1987 - Strange Toys by Patricia Geary

More a story about how sad the author's life is rather than about something interesting.  PKD wouldn't have like this one.

 

1988 - Winners: 400 Billion Stars by Paul J. McAuley and

Sexist, racist, militaristic and poorly plotted.  The ending is a sort of anti-shaggy-dog story.  PKD wouldn't have liked it.

Wetware by Rudy Rucker

Wetware is the sequel to Software, and about 1/2 as interesting.  PKD wouldn't have liked this one

 

1989 - Subterranean Gallery by Richard Paul Russo

60's losers acting like losers - Not science fiction at all.  PKD wouldn't have chosen this one.

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Nineties

1990 - Points of Departure by Pat Murphy

This is a collection of short stories.  Many of them aren't sci-fi or fantasy.  She won it for a prior novel that was ignored.  PKD would not have liked it.

 

1991 - King of Morning, Queen of Day by Ian McDonald

This is a really sad excuse for a romance novel spread over 3 generations of depressed women.  PKD wouldn't even read this one.

 

1992 - Through the Heart by Richard Grant

Weird post apocalypso that owes more to WS Burroughs than PKD.  PKD wouldn't have read this one.

 

1993 - Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford

Teenagers save the moon from evil corporations.  Tired and clichéd, and PKD wouldn't like it at all

 

 and Elvissey by Jack Womack

The church of Elvis strikes again. An interesting idea that doesn't pay off.  PKD would have written it better.

 

1994 - Mysterium by Robert Charles Wilson

Combining alternate history plots and misquotes from Gnosticism doesn't always make an interesting story.  PKD wouldn't have liked it.

 

1995 - Headcrash by Bruce Bethke

Great start with the best satire of corporate computer life I have read, then peters out into clichéd cyber-punk.  PKD would read the first part.

1996 - The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter

A somewhat over-blown and clichéd sequel to the classic "Time Machine".  Amusing but PKD wouldn't have liked it.

 

1997 - The Troika by Stepan Chapman

Hallucinatory ramble through what appears to be the shared delusions of three psychotics.  I think PKD would have liked it, but it is really disturbing.

 

1998 - 253: The Print Remix by Geoff Ryman

Not exactly science fiction, more of a meta-fiction using hyperlinks.  Reminds me of Vonnegut rather than PKD.  I read the online version rather than the print version, it works better.  PKD would have liked it.

 

1999 - Vacuum Diagrams by Stephen Baxter

Not a novel, this is a string of short stories kind of smooshed together.  I think it is a link book to other novels.  PKD wouldn't have liked it.

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2000 and Beyond

2000 - Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith

Truly twisted post-cyberpunk plot that only a mad genius could think up.  PKD would have loved this one, especially the implied question hanging over the last chapter.

 

2001 - Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo

It feels like two books put together, and the second story is very good, and doesn't have an easy ending.  I think PKD would have liked this on.

 

2003 - Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

A fascinating detective story in a very strange cyberpunk like world.  PKD would have liked this one.

 

2004 - LIFE by Gwyneth Jones

Old school feminism and complete misunderstanding of genetics, along with a lot of gratuitous sex sinks this book.  PKD wouldn't have touched it.

 

2005 - War Surf by M. M. Buckner

Some old soldiers try to get their rocks off and totally fail.  Not particularly interesting.  PKD probably wouldn't have liked it

 

2006 - Spin Control by Chris Moriarty

Surprisingly pedestrian plots, ripped from yesterday's headlines.  PDK wouldn't have liked this one.

 

2007 - Nova Swing by M. John Harrison

Sort of juvenile, and very much old school cyberpunk.  I found it really tedious, and I don't think PKD would have liked it.

 

2008 - Emissaries from the Dead by Adam Troy-Castro and

A very interesting murder mystery with an interesting detective, and a lot of stuff going on just below the surface.

2008 - Terminal Mind by David Walton (tie)

Old school cyberpunk just doesn't work anymore.  Dated and predictable.

 

2009 – Bitter Angels – by CL Anderson

An interesting spy novel set in a collapsed earth colony, promised more than it delivered, but a fun read.

 

2010 – Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack – by Mark Hodder

<<Not read yet>>

 

2010 – (special citation) Cyberabad Days – by Ian McDonald

Just an anthology of short stories and are only loosely related.

 

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