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norwescon 34 [Archive]

PK Dick Award Report

We had a lot of fun at Norwescon 34 this week. As representatives of the Philip K. Dick Award-nominated Harmony, we appeared on panels, were treated to a banquet along with lifetime members of the convention, and participated in the ceremony, which was very nice. There were brownies!

I have to say that for a while I was fairly confident that Harmony would not win, but I thought we had a fair shot at the Special Citation prize. After dinner, however, which Masumi and I spent at the same table with awards administrator Gordon Van Gelder (publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) we were sure that we had lost. Mr. Van Gelder has an excellent poker face—no winking, no smiling, no subtle hints…nothing!

At the ceremony, there was a display of all the covers of the nominated titles. Here’s the one for Harmony, along with the actual physical citation it won:

Then the authors or their representatives all read from the work. We split duties—Masumi read a passage in Japanese, and I in English.

Then came the announcement of the winners:

Project Itoh’s father, Shin’icihi Itoh, had sent us some remarks, which we were thrilled to share. Here’s the acceptance speech in English, as translated by our co-worker Andy Nakatani. (In the video above, you can hear Masumi reading it in Japanese.)

I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to you all for honoring my son’s work with such a prestigious award. Although his was a short life, and he was a published author for only just over a year of it, I believe it was the encouragement and support he received from so many countless number of people that allowed him to continue to write as he battled against his illness.

When I first read Harmony, it was hard for me to come face to face with the difficulties my son had in trying to find peace with himself. He was fully aware of how short his life would be, and he desperately fought off the uncertainty that is death. I skimmed through his words until I came to the end, where he wrote in the Acknowledgments, “With thanks to my parents, and uncle and aunt, who were there for me in my time of need.” After which, I put the book down. Through his struggle against death, I believe he came to sense something amiss in this uncertain modern society of ours, and he wanted to convey some kind of hope to people. If he received this award on such a basis, I think Satoshi would be very happy. Thank you so much.

We’d also like to congratulate the winner of the PK Dick Award, Mark Hodder, who won for his Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack.

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HARMONY nominated for the Philip K. Dick award!

It’s been a great couple of weeks for Harmony by Project Itoh. First it got a great review by io9.com on New Year’s Eve, and thanks to a million people having gotten Kindles and iPads for Christmas a week before became an ebook hit! Then io9.com named Harmony one of its best books of the year. And io9.com is not alone in its appreciation—Harmony was also just nominated for the Philip K. Dick award! Here is the list of nominees:

YARN by Jon Armstrong (Night Shade Books)
CHILL by Elizabeth Bear (Ballantine Books/Spectra)
THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS by Alden Bell (Henry Holt & Co.)
SONG OF SCARABAEUS by Sara Creasy (Eos)
THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK by Mark Hodder (Pyr)
HARMONY by Project Itoh, translated by Alexander O. Smith (Haikasoru)
STATE OF DECAY by James Knapp (Roc)

It’s great to see some other independent presses on the list, and we’re especially happy given the nature of the award, which is for the best paperback original science fiction title of the year. Poor Philip K. Dick wrote tons of books, nearly all of which were paperback originals or paperback only (he miiiight have had a book club title or two) back in the days when paperback originals were basically considered disposable junk.

Of course, today Dick is widely appreciated by fans, critics, and Hollywood, and by us…what is “Haikasoru” after all but a Nipponized pronunciation of the words “High Castle”? As in The Man in the High Castle. As in that PKD book about the Japanese taking over San Francisco and the western United States. As in, you know, us!

So we’re thrilled. See you science fiction fans in Seattle at Norwescon 34 and congratulations to the other nominees!

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