The Best News Comes at Midnight

by CL Anderson (no matter what is says up there)

So, here’s the official version:

It was announced on Friday, April 2, at Norwescon 33, in SeaTac, Washington, that the winner for the distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time during 2009 in the U.S.A. is:

BITTER ANGELS by C. L. Anderson (Ballantine Books Spectra)

Special citation was given to:

CYBERABAD DAYS by Ian McDonald (Pyr)

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States.  The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust and the award ceremony is sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society.  The 2009 award was given to EMISSARIES OF THE DEAD by Adam-Troy Castro (Eos) in a tie with TERMINAL MIND by David Walton (Meadowhawk Press).  The 2009 judges were Daniel Abraham (chair), Eileen Gunn, Karen Hellekson, Elaine Isaak, and Marc Laidlaw.

This year’s judges are William Barton, Andy Duncan, Bruce McAllister, Melinda M. Snodgrass, and David Walton.

This is what happened on my end:

Surprisingly for a night when my book was up for a major SF award, I went to sleep pretty easily.  I did, however wake up a bit after midnight. I’m on east coast time, so the ceremony would have been over for just an hour or so.

“I didn’t win,” I said to myself.  “I know I didn’t win…But I’ll just check online to see if they’ve posted the results yet.”

So I put on robe and glasses and fired up Google.  As I suspected, there was nothing yet.  “Oh well.  Doesn’t matter, because I didn’t win.”

Then, the phone rang.  Annoyed, and muttering about stupid wrong numbers in the stupid middle of the stupid night, I stumped into the next room and picked up.


“You won,” said the voice of Nisi Shawl.


“You won.”

After that, it got incoherent for an extended length of time.  And loud.

Nisi is not only a fabulous writer, but is a friend from way back, and she kindly agreed to stand in for me as I was not able to make the trip to Seattle this year.  She also kindly read an excerpt from BITTER ANGELS, and, as it turned out, the remarks I’d sent along, just in case:

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



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