2022 PKD Award Thoughts 📚

As I have for the past several years, I’ve read all of this year’s Philip K. Dick Award nominated works.

This year had a nice strong slate, I’ve actually had a hard time picking which I’d choose for the top spot. Top three is pretty easy, but top spot…that’s more difficult.

My picks for top three: Nino Cipri’s Defekt, Tade Thompson’s Far From the Light of Heaven, and Lavie Tidhar’s The Escapement. All of them were the kind of stories that took up residence in my brain and poked me for a few days afterwards, which is always a good sign.

If I had to pick a top choice (and I don’t have to, but then, what would be the point of this post), I think I’d go with Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson. Amusingly, it was one of two “murder mystery in space involving an investigator dealing with misbehaving AIs” stories (the other being Kali Wallace’s Dead Space); both were good, but I found Thompson’s to be my preference — admittedly, possibly somewhat influenced by my prior enjoyment of Thompson’s earlier Wormwood trilogy.

Of the books I haven’t mentioned yet, Jason Sanford’s Plague Birds was an enjoyable adventure and well worthy of being nominated; and Giacomo Satori’s Bug was the only one of this year’s picks that just didn’t work for me.

As noted, though, another strong slate, and I’m looking forward to seeing who wins this year (and my tongue-in-cheek advance apologies to Tade Thompson; as his book is my favorite, if historical trends hold true, another book will take the top spot…but hey, maybe this year is the year to change that)!

📚 Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson

12/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Philip K. Dick Award Nominee

A locked-room murder mystery in space, with mysterious AIs, interstellar politics, and somewhat mystic aliens. I really enjoyed Thompson’s earlier Wormwood trilogy, and this absolutely holds up. His characters are fascinating and very real (even when artificial), and motivations are not always as clear cut as they might seem.

Michael holding Far From the Light of Heaven

📚 Dead Space by Kali Wallace

11/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Philip K. Dick Award Nominee

A murder mystery on an asteroid mining colony, under investigation by an AI-expert-turned-indentured-security-officer after a catastrophic disaster on their scientific expedition ship. I had fairly good guesses at several of the final reveals, but enjoyed the journey even if it never really caught me off guard.