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2021 Philip K. Dick Award - Finalists


The judges of the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, have announced the six nominated works that comprise the final ballot for the award:

  • Failed State by Christopher Brown (Harper Voyager)
  • The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey (Orbit)
  • Dance on Saturday by Elwin Cotman (Small Beer Press)
  • Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds (Orbit)
  • Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine (Mira)
  • The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit)

First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, April 2, 2021 at Norwescon 43 which is being held virtually this year. 

The link to the ceremony will be posted at https://www.norwescon.org when it is available.

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 during the previous calendar year. 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 2021 judges are Thomas A. Easton, Karen Heuler, Mur Lafferty, Patricia MacEwen (chair), and James Sallis.






Failed State
Dystopian Lawyer
Harper Voyager, August 11, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
"The novel is as tense and thrilling as any of Brown's work, and as full of rage and hope. It's a novel that truly reckons with the enormity of both our climate emergency and the system that produced it - a tale of human imperfection and redemption." -- Cory Doctorow, bestselling author of Walkaway

In this second dystopian legal thriller from the author of the acclaimed Rule of Capture and Tropic of Kansas, lawyer Donny Kimoe juggles two intertwined cases whose outcomes will determine the course of America’s future—and his own.

In the aftermath of a second American revolution, peace rests on a fragile truce. The old regime has been deposed, but the ex-president has vanished, escaping justice for his crimes. Some believe he is dead. Others fear he is in hiding, gathering forces. As the factions in Washington work to restore order, Donny Kimoe is in court to settle old scores—and pay his own debts come due.

Meanwhile, the rebels Donny once defended are exacting their own kind of justice. In the ruins of New Orleans, they are building a green utopia—and kidnapping their defeated adversaries to pay for it. The newest hostage is the young heiress to a fortune made from plundering the country—and the daughter of one of Donny’s oldest friends. In a desperate gambit to save his own skin, Donny switches sides to defend her before the show trial. If he fails, so will the truce, dragging the country back into violence. But by taking the case, he risks his last chance to expose the atrocities of the dictatorship—and being tried for his own crimes against the revolution.

To save the future, Donny has to gamble his own. The only way out is to find the evidence that will get both sides back to the table, and secure a more lasting peace. To do that, Donny must betray his clients’ secrets. Including one explosive secret hidden in the ruins, the discovery of which could extinguish the last hope for a better tomorrow—or, if Donny plays it right, keep it burning.





The Book of Koli
The Rampart Trilogy 1
Orbit, April 14, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
"This is a beautiful book. Gripping, engaging, and absolutely worth the time it takes to burrow yourself into its reality. I can't recommend it highly enough." —Seanan McGuire

The first in a masterful new trilogy from acclaimed author M. R. Carey, The Book of Koli begins the story of a young boy on a journey through a strange and deadly world of our making.

Everything that lives hates us…

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don't get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don't venture too far beyond the walls.

He's wrong.

"A captivating start to what promises to be an epic post-apocalyptic fable."Kirkus

"Enthralling…Koli embarks upon a journey as perilous as it is enlightening."Guardian

"The best thing I've read in a long time. I loved it." —Joanne Harris

"Carey hefts astonishing storytelling power with plainspoken language, heartbreaking choices, and sincerity like an arrow to the heart."Locus

Look out for the next novels in the trilogy: The Trials of Koli and The Fall of Koli





Dance on Saturday
Small Beer Press, September 15, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
Planted deeply in the dark, musical fantastic heart of American storytelling, Cotman’s half dozen tales are ripe for the picking.

In the title novella, Cotman imagines a group of near-immortals living in Pittsburgh in an uneasy truce with Lord Decay. Their truce is threatened when one of them takes pity on a young woman who knows their secret. In “Among the Zoologists,” a game writer on their way to a convention falls in with a group of rogue Darwinists whose baggage contains a great mystery. A volleyball tournament devolves into nightmare and chaos in “Mine.” In Cotman’s hands, the conventions of genres from fairytales to Victorian literature to epic fantasy and horror give shape to marvelously new stories.





Bone Silence
The Revenger Trilogy 3
Orbit, April 14, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook 640 pages
The thrilling finale to the Revenger Trilogy tells a desperate tale of greed, piracy, shadow governments, and ancient secrets that could unravel all of civilization

The Ness sisters ran away from home to become the most fearsome pirates in the twenty thousand worlds of the Congregation. They’ve plundered treasures untold, taken command of their own ship, and made plenty of enemies. But now they’re being hunted for crimes they didn’t commit by a fleet whose crimes are worse than their own. To stay one step ahead of their pursuers and answer the questions that have plagued them, they’ll have to employ every dirty, piratical trick in the book….

Read more by Alastair Reynolds!

The Revenger Trilogy:
Revenger
Shadow Captain
Bone Silence





Road Out of Winter
MIRA, September 1, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
2021 Philip K. Dick Award Finalist
A 2020 The Rumpus Book Club Selection

“Blends a rural thriller and speculative realism into what could be called dystopian noir…. Profoundly moving.”—Library Journal, starred review

In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope

Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented, extreme winter.

With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wil and her small group of exiles become a target for the cult’s volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for where hope might take root.

“Richly imagined, deeply moving and unthinkably offers hope in a world that uncannily resembles ours currently in the thick of COVID-19…. Gloriously well-written.” —Ms. Magazine





The Doors of Eden
Orbit, Sebtember 22, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 640 pages
From the Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning Adrian Tchaikovsky, The Doors of Eden is an extraordinary feat of the imagination and a page-turning adventure about parallel universes and the monsters that they hide.

They thought we were safe. They were wrong.

Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.

Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.

Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.

Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.

“Tchaikovsky weaves a masterful tale… a suspenseful joyride through the multiverse.” (Booklist)

Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Announced


The judges of the 2018 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia SF Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, have announced the seven nominated works that comprise the final ballot for the award. First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, March 30, 2018 at Norwescon 41 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington.


THE BOOK OF ETTA by Meg Elison (47North)
SIX WAKES by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
AFTER THE FLARE by Deji Bryce Olukotun (The Unnamed Press)
THE WRONG STARS by Tim Pratt (Angry Robot)
REVENGER Alastair Reynolds (Orbit)
BANNERLESS by Carrie Vaughn (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
ALL SYSTEMS RED by Martha Wells (Tor.com)


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 during the previous calendar year. 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. Last year’s winner was THE MERCY JOURNALS by Claudia Casper (Arsenal Press Publications) with a special citation to UNPRONOUNCEABLE by Susan DiRende (Aqueduct Press). The 2017 judges are Deborah J. Ross (chair), Robert Onopa, James Stoddard, Amy Thomson, and Rick Wilber.



Meg Elison

The Book of Etta
The Road to Nowhere 2
47North, February 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 314 pages

In the gripping sequel to the Philip K. Dick Award-winning novel The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, one woman undertakes a desperate journey to rescue the future.

Etta comes from Nowhere, a village of survivors of the great plague that wiped away the world that was. In the world that is, women are scarce and childbearing is dangerous…yet desperately necessary for humankind’s future. Mothers and midwives are sacred, but Etta has a different calling. As a scavenger. Loyal to the village but living on her own terms, Etta roams the desolate territory beyond: salvaging useful relics of the ruined past and braving the threat of brutal slave traders, who are seeking women and girls to sell and subjugate.

When slavers seize those she loves, Etta vows to release and avenge them. But her mission will lead her to the stronghold of the Lion—a tyrant who dominates the innocent with terror and violence. There, with no allies and few weapons besides her wits and will, she will risk both body and spirit not only to save lives but also to liberate a new world’s destiny.




Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes
Orbit, January 31, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer -- before they kill again.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently...




Deji Bryce Olukotun

After the Flare
Nigerians in Space 2
The Unnamed Press, September 12, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

A catastrophic solar flare reshapes our world order as we know it – in an instant, electricity grids are crippled, followed by devastating cyberattacks that paralyze all communication.

Kwesi Bracket is an industrial engineer who works for NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab, running space-walk simulations for astronauts when the flare hits. His life quickly disintegrates – he loses his job and his wife leaves him, forcing him to take care of his daughter by himself. Meanwhile, America slowly descends into chaos as people turn inward to protect themselves.

Bracket soon discovers that Nigeria operates the only functioning space program in the world, which is recruiting scientists to launch a daring rescue mission to save a famous astronaut stranded aboard the International Space Station. With Europe, Asia, and the U.S. knocked off-line, and thousands of dead satellites about to plummet to Earth, Bracket heads to Kano in Northeastern Nigeria. But what he finds there is anything but normal. In the aftermath of the flare, the country has been flooded with advanced biohacking technologies, and the scramble for space supremacy has attracted dangerous peoples from all over Africa. What’s more: the militant Islamic group Boko Haram is slowly encroaching on the spaceport, leaving a trail of destruction, while a group of nomads has discovered an ancient technology more powerful than anything he’s ever imagined.

With the clock ticking down, Bracket – helped by a brilliant scientist from India and an eccentric lunar geologist – must confront the looming threats to the spaceport in order to launch a harrowing rescue mission into space.

In this sequel to Nigerians in Space, Deji Bryce Olukotun poses deep questions about technology, international ambition, identity, and space exploration in the 21st century.




Tim Pratt

The Wrong Stars
Axiom
Angry Robot, November 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

A ragtag crew of humans and posthumans discover alien technology that could change the fate of humanity… or awaken an ancient evil and destroy all life in the galaxy.
 

The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials… and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Adrift
| Liar Liar | Golden Spiders | Bridge the Void ]




Alastair Reynolds

Revenger
Orbit, February 28, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Winner of the 2017 Locus Award

Revenger is a rocket-fueled tale of space pirates, buried treasure, and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism... and of vengeance...

Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest crew members of the legendary Captain Rackamore's ship, using their mysterious powers as Bone Readers to find clues about their next score. But there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen, in particular.

The galaxy is filled with treasures... if you have the courage to find them.




Carrie Vaughn

Bannerless
The Bannerless Saga 1
John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books, July 11, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she’s learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society.

Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.

Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She’s young for the job and hasn't yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him?

In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for.




Martha Wells

All Systems Red
The Murderbot Diaries 1
Tor.com, May 2, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 160 pages

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

2021 Philip K. Dick Award - FinalistsPhilip K. Dick Award Nominees Announced

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