1. Countdown City by Ben Winters
Here’s what it’s about: Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank’s days of solving crimes are over… until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.
Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone “bucket list” or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off “impact zone” refugees.
Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse–and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond “whodunit.” What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?
Winter’s reaction: Big joy for me in Seattle on Friday night, where I had the great honor of winning the Philip K. Dick Award for science fiction for 2013, for my novel Countdown City.
As I said, or tried haltingly to say, in accepting the award, I am especially grateful that the Last Policeman series has won this particular laurel, because A) I so love and admire Dick’s whole idiosyncratic, impossible oeuvre, and because B) I didn’t set out to write science-fiction, it just ended up that way. (More here)
In addition, Self-Reference Engine by Toh EnJoe and translated by Terry Gallagher received a special citation.
The other nominees this year included, A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, Life on the Preservation, by Jack Skillingstead and Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Books of Science Fiction by Ian Whates (ed.).