Emissaries from the Dead by Adam-Troy Castro and Terminal Mind by David Walton tied for the 2008 Philip K. Dick Award, the results presented at a ceremony during Norwescon in Seattle this past Friday. Ties are rare in the history of the award, since judges can award a "special citation" for what amounts to second place. A tie for the award most likely indicates a dead-locked jury. The award is meant to reward the best "original science fiction paperback" published in the United States during the prior calendar year. Philip K. Dick's fiction originally appeared in mass market paperback editions.
Adam Troy-Castro has had a long career in genre and is known for writing complex, edgy fiction. Locus Magazine said of his award-winning novel, "With its creepy background and complex plot, Emissaries from the Dead offers an intriguing combination of SF and detective story, spiced with moments of danger that raise the perils of cliff-hanging an exponential level."
A first novelist, David Walton is a virtual unknown despite winning the Jim Baen Memorial Award for a short story. By publishing Terminal Mind, Meadowhawk Press became just the fourth indie outfit to have a book win the Philip K. Dick Award, the previous three being my own Ministry of Whimsy Press (Stepan Chapman's The Troika in 1998), Small Beer Press (Carol Emshwiller's The Mount in 2002), and Aqueduct Press (Gwenyth Jones' Life in 2004). These inroads by indie presses may reflect two trends: less of the best science fiction now appears first in paperback from commercial publishers (hardcovers being preferred) and more midlist writers have turned to indie presses either from necessity or because of the more individualized treatment they can receive there.
Omnivoracious caught up with a still stunned Walton via email for a short email. Adam-Troy Castro will be featured later this week.