Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Dicks

Roland writes:  I really hope you'll find the time to write a few words about the... erm... DIcks...  I've never seen the ceremony myself and I'm curious what it's like.

Well, okay.  It was a simple affair, though most attending were better-dressed than you're used to fans being, and it was held in the ballroom at Westercon on Saturday night.  The room was set up with tables and chairs, banquet-style, and when the doors opened everybody streamed past them to hit up the free dessert buffet.  I noticed more than one fan loading up a plate pretty heavily and then, red-facedly forking most of it back when a glance at the waiting line revealed that it would be a pretty close thing whether there was enough for all or not.  There was also a cash bar, not so heavily attended. 

Leslie Howle, best known for her work as Clarion West administrator, saved me a seat at a table up front, so I don't know how seating was managed.  People seemed pretty clear as to where they should be, though.

There were a few opening remarks, most notably Gordon Van Gelder, snazzily dressed and almost clean-shaven, explaining that they'd resisted coming up with a trophy, figuring that the winner would find cash far more useful.  Then designated readers came up front to read a page or so from each of the final nominees.

A special citation was given to Minister Faust for From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain, and then the Philip K. Dick Award itself was given to M. John Harrison for Nova Swing.  Both were extremely popular choices.

The ceremony was, as the old sexist saw had it, like the ideal length for a woman's skirt:  Long enough to cover everything but short enough to keep it interesting.  It was dignified without being stuffy and there were no punch-outs, hysterical scenes, or bitter, drunken rants afterwards.  

Which is something of a pity, really.



Simeon said...

Thanks a lot! Doesn't sound like much fun though, does it? One would expect more from a title such as... "The Dicks"... Then again "Hugo" has always sounded like some kind of naughty perv, so who am I to judge titles...

Michael Swanwick said...

Decades ago, when he was a hot new writer, Michael Bishop gave a hilarious speech at Philcon about how much he wanted a Hugo and how determinedly they evaded him, and the rigors of life as a writer, able to afford only "stale Moon Rocks" to feed his starving young children. He never published it, which is a pity.

It (so to speak) climaxed with a dream he'd had the other night, in which he gave up science fiction for a career as a writer of erotica. Overnight, he found himself rich and famous and at the yearly banquet for the Erotic Fiction Writers of America, he was presented with their highest award, the Flying Phallus.

"And I woke up screaming," he said. "Because it looked JUST LIKE..."