The judges of the 2018 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, have announced the final ballot of nominees for the 2019 Award. We’ve included the descriptions of each work from the publisher’s listings.
Time Was by Ian McDonald (Tor.com)
A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.
In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.
Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.
The Body Library by Jeff Noon (Angry Robot)
In a city dissolving into an infected sprawl of ideas, where words come to life and reality is contaminated by stories, John Nyquist wakes up in a room with a dead body… The dead man’s impossible whispers plunge him into a murder investigation like no other. Clues point him deeper into an unfolding story infesting its participants as reality blurs between place and genre.
Only one man can hope to put it all back together into some kind of order, enough that lives can be saved… That man is Nyquist, and he is lost.
84K by Claire North (Orbit)
The penalty for Dani Cumali’s murder: £84,000.
Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.
These days, there’s no need to go to prison – provided that you can afford to pay the penalty for the crime you’ve committed. If you’re rich enough, you can get away with murder.
But Dani’s murder is different. When Theo finds her lifeless body, and a hired killer standing over her and calmly calling the police to confess, he can’t let her death become just an entry on a balance sheet.
Someone is responsible. And Theo is going to find them and make them pay.
Alien Virus Love Disaster by Abbey Mei Otis (Small Beer Press)
Abbey Mei Otis’s short stories are contemporary fiction at its strongest: taking apart the supposed equality that is clearly just not there, putting humans under an alien microscope, putting humans under government control, putting kids from the moon into a small beach town and then the putting the rest of the town under the microscope as they react in ways we hope they would, and then, of course, in ways we’d hope they don’t.
Otis has long been fascinated in using strange situations to explore dynamics of power, oppression, and grief, and the twelve stories collected here are at once a striking indictment of the present and a powerful warning about the future.
Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman (Europa Editions)
Life is finally worth living for Francine. After the years stolen by unbearable, undiagnosed pain, a recent surgery has provided a cure. And her subversive scientific discovery, the “Theory of Bastards,” which has unseated public figures and past presidents, has rewarded her with a generous grant and a prestigious placement at The Foundation. Now she is beginning further research on a group of remarkable animals, bonobos.
She makes steady progress until storms of dry winds sweep out of the abandoned places, and the scientists retreat to safety. Only a select few stay behind, with Francine and the man she has come to love, to weather the storm and protect their simian research subjects. Through the dusty aftermath, the possibility of a new and better world becomes clear.
Not quite sci-fi, not quite dystopian, this superb literary novel defies categorization. Readers will shiver as they keep turning the pages. Audrey Schulman has once again written a spellbinding, original novel that never loses sight of its humanity.
Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh (Small Beer Press)
In her first North American collection, Vandana Singh’s deep humanism interplays with her scientific background in stories that explore and celebrate this world and others and characters who are trying to make sense of the people they meet, what they see, and the challenges they face. An eleventh century poet wakes to find he is as an artificially intelligent companion on a starship. A woman of no account has the ability to look into the past. In “Requiem,” a major new novella, a woman goes to Alaska to try and make sense of her aunt’s disappearance.Singh’s stories have been performed on BBC radio, been finalists for the British SF Association award, selected for the Tiptree award honor list, and often reprinted in Best of the Year anthologies. Her dives deep into the vast strangeness of the universe without and within and with her unblinking clear vision she explores the ways we move through space and time: together, yet always apart.
The Philip K. Dick Award is an annual award sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust. The award recognizes distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year. The first prize and any special citations will be announced Friday, April 19, at Norwescon 42 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, SeaTac, WA. The 2018 judges are Madeline Ashby, Brian Attebery, Christopher Brown, Rosemary Edghill, and Jason Hough (chair).
For more information about the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, http://www.psfs.org/:
For more information about Norwescon: http://www.norwescon.org/: