Award founded in 1983 by admirers of Philip K Dick, who died in 1982. Because much of Dick's classic sf was published with no fanfare and initially without a hardcover edition, it seemed appropriate to give the award to a distinguished work of sf or fantasy of the previous year first published in paperback. The award was initially suggested by Thomas M Disch, who was for several years its administrator; he was succeeded by an administrative team of Algis Budrys and David G Hartwell; for a time Hartwell administered the award alone and currently does so with Gordon Van Gelder. Winners are chosen by a jury (with variously three, four or five members) of writers and critics, most of whom choose their own successors for the following year; usually one judge is the previous year's winner. The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and by the Northwest Science Fiction Society's Convention Norwescon, held in the state of Washington in March or April each year, at which the winner and runner-up ("special citation") are announced. In good years, when the committee has collected enough cash, the winner receives $1000 and the second-place "special citation" winner $500. Plaques are provided by the Philip K Dick estate.
It has been argued that it conspicuously contradicts the original spirit of the Philip K Dick Award to honour US "paperback originals" of books which in fact saw prior hardback publication overseas, as with the successful, widely reviewed, BSFA Award-winning UK edition of Stephen Baxter's The Time Ships (1995). [PN/DRL]
- 1983: Rudy Rucker, Software (1982). Runner-up: Ray Faraday Nelson, The Prometheus Man (1982).
- 1984: Tim Powers, The Anubis Gates (1983; rev 1984). Runner-up: R A MacAvoy, Tea with the Black Dragon (1983).
- 1985: William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984). Runner-up: Kim Stanley Robinson, The Wild Shore (1984).
- 1986: Tim Powers, Dinner at Deviant's Palace (1985). Runner-up: Richard Grant, Saraband of Lost Time (1985).
- 1987: James P Blaylock, Homunculus (1986). Runner-up: Jack McDevitt, The Hercules Text (1986).
- 1988: Patricia Geary, Strange Toys (1987). Runner-up: Mike McQuay, Memories (1987).
- 1989: (tie) Paul J McAuley, Four Hundred Billion Stars (1988); Rudy Rucker, Wetware (1988).
- 1990: Richard Paul Russo, Subterranean Gallery (1989). Runner-up: Dave Wolverton, On My Way to Paradise (1989).
- 1991: Pat Murphy, Points of Departure (coll 1990). Runner-up: Raymond Harris, The Schizogenic Man (1990).
- 1992: Ian McDonald, King of Morning, Queen of Day (in Empire Dreams, coll 1988; exp 1991). Runner-up: Emma Bull, Bone Dance (1991).
- 1993: Richard Grant, Through the Heart (1992). Runner-up: Elisabeth Vonarburg, In the Mothers' Land (trans as The Maerlande Chronicles 1992; vt In the Mothers' Land 1992).
- 1994: (tie) John M Ford, Growing Up Weightless (1993); Jack Womack, Elvissey (1993).
- 1995: Robert Charles Wilson, Mysterium (1994). Runner-up: Jack Cady, Inagehi (1994).
- 1996: Bruce Bethke, Headcrash (1995). Runner-up: Richard Paul Russo, Carlucci's Edge (1995).
- 1997: Stephen Baxter, The Time Ships (1995). Runner-up: Michael Bishop, At the City Limits of Fate (coll 1996).
- 1998: Stepan Chapman, The Troika (1997). Runner-up: William Barton, Acts of Conscience (1997).
- 1999: Geoff Ryman, 253: The Print Remix (1998). Runner-up: Paul Di Filippo, Lost Pages (coll 1998).
- 2000: Stephen Baxter, Vacuum Diagrams (coll 1997). Runner-up: Jamil Nasir, Tower of Dreams (1999).
- 2001: Michael Marshall Smith, Only Forward (1994). Runner-up: Scott Westerfeld, Evolution's Darling (2000).
- 2002: Richard Paul Russo, Ship of Fools (2001; vt Unto Leviathan 2003). Runner-up: Ken Wharton, Divine Intervention (2001).
- 2003: Carol Emshwiller, The Mount (2002). Runner-up: China Miéville, The Scar (2002).
- 2004: Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon (2002). Runner-up: Jane Jensen, Dante's Equation (2003).
- 2005: Gwyneth Jones, Life (2004). Runner-up: Lyda Morehouse, Apocalypse Array (2004).
- 2006: M M Buckner, War Surf (2005). Runner-up: Justina Robson, Natural History (2003).
- 2007: Chris Moriarty, Spin Control (2006). Runner-up: Elizabeth Bear, Carnival (2006).
- 2008: M John Harrison, Nova Swing (2007). Runner-up: Minister Faust, From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain (2007).
- 2009: (tie) Adam-Troy Castro, Emissaries from the Dead (2008); and David Walton, Terminal Mind (2008).
- 2010: C L Anderson (see Sarah Zettel), Bitter Angels (2009). Runner-up: Ian McDonald, Cyberabad Days (coll 2009).
- 2011: Mark Hodder, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (2010). Runner-up: Keikaku Itō (Project Itoh), Harmony (2008 Japan as Hamoni; trans Alexander O Smith 2010).
- 2012: Simon Morden, Samuil Petrovitch trilogy: Equations of Life (2011); Theories of Flight (2011); Degrees of Freedom (2011). Runner-up: Robert Jackson Bennett, The Company Man (2011).
- 2013: Brian Francis Slattery, Lost Everything (2012). Runner-up: Andri Snær Magnason, Lovestar (2012).
- 2014: Ben H Winters, Countdown City (2013). Runner-up: Toh Enjoe, Self-Reference Engine (2007; trans Terry Gallagher 2013).
- 2015: Meg Elison, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (2014). Runner-up: Jennifer Marie Brissett, Elysium (2014).
- 2016: Ramez Naam, Apex (2015). Runner-up: Marguerite Reed, Archangel (2015).
- 2017: Claudia Casper, The Mercy Journals (2016). Runner-up: Susan diRende, Unpronounceable (2016).
- 2018: Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless (2017). Runner-up: Deji Bryce Olukotun, After the Flare (2017).
Previous versions of this entry