Congratulations to VMI Fiction mentor Claudia Casper, who has won the Philip K. Dick Award for her novel The Mercy Journals.
This prestigious prize is awarded yearly to a distinguished science fiction work published in paperback in the US.
The Mercy Journals, published by Arsenal Pulp Press, is a gripping tale that takes place in 2047 after a Third World War, spurred by the devastating effects of climate change, has left much of the world’s population dead. The main protagonist, Allen Quincy, a.k.a “Mercy,” is a former soldier haunted by guilt and traumatic memories. With his brother Leo, he embarks on a journey through an apocalyptic landscape to find his children.
Hypertext Magazine describes The Mercy Journals as “prescient and lyrical,” and traces its lineage to Mary Shelley, Jules Verne and Margaret Atwood. Though set in the future, the novel resonates with contemporary issues: climate change, war, genocide, mass migration, PTSD and addiction, according to Hypertext.
“I believe we are at a watershed time in human history,” Claudia says in a Hypertext Interview. “Up until now, all our structures have been built on a model of growth – population, economic, resource use, wealth, lifespan, colonization – and we are coming to the end of growth. This will require a profound reorganization of all our cultural, economic, and political matrices. We are coming to a hairy but exciting patch in our evolution.”
In the interview, she also talks about how she researched the novel, and what she did to create characters that were well-rounded and devoid of clichés.
“Allen Quincy is the man on the edge of the watershed, Leo is the man on the dark side, and young Griffin is the man on the sunny side,” Claudia told Hypertext.
The Mercy Journals is Claudia’s third novel. Previously, The Continuation of Love by Other Means, was short listed for the Ethel Wilson BC Book Prize. In addition to mentoring VMI writers, Claudia also teaches at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
To find out more about Claudia or to order The Mercy Journals, have a look at her website.