- A Soldier's Duty by Jean Johnson (Ace Books)
- After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh (Small BeerPress)
- Deadline by Mira Grant (Orbit)
- The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)
- The Other by Matthew Hughes (Underland Press)
- The Postmortal by Drew Magary (Penguin Books)
- The Samuil Petrovitch Trilogy by Simon Morden (Orbit)
My favorite is easily After the Apocalypse: Stories by Maureen F. McHugh. I had run across the title story in the Strahan I got to review earlier this year, and was excited to read the rest. McHugh is an author I am eager to read more of - she has some unique perspectives, and throws some sarcasm and humor in there, which I always appreciate.
My second tier would go to The Samuil Petrovitch Trilogy (which I read only the first book of), and The Postmortal. Both of these take place in somewhat dystopian futures, and had interesting concepts driving them forward. Both had a lot of science and math, and even just as a setting, this will rate more highly for me.
A Soldier's Duty had an interesting concept of a young female precog but it was so pro-military and full of dutyspeak that I was unwilling to overlook it to get through it. The Other is third in a trilogy, and this volume didn't make me very interested in the main character. The world seems to be an interesting blend of fantasy and science fiction - imagine characters from Rothfuss combined with interstellar travel. I'd read the first Mira Grant and liked it better than the second, and I had a hard time sticking to this one. Plus, zombies. I'm just not a big zombie fan. The Company Man is more of a detective novel, and is full of noir cliche. This is someone's thing, just not mine!
Some authors have had careers defined by the Philip K. Dick Award, and if I wanted to grant that distinction to one of these authors, I'd go with Maureen McHugh or DOCTOR Simon Morden.
The award will be announced April 6, 2012, at Norwescon 35.