We’re excited to announce that the 2013 Orion Book Award goes to Craig Childs, for Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth.
An engaging mix of adventure, science, and thoughtful storytelling, Apocalyptic Planet is deeply worthy of this year’s Award. And Craig himself is an author like few others: his expeditions into the wilds of the twenty-first century often last weeks or months, informing his writing with a hard-earned sense of landscape and culture.
Apocalyptic Planet puts an entirely new spin on our usual preoccupations with climate change and catastrophe in general. Traveling to some of the harshest and most far-flung corners of the planet—from desert to ice sheet to massive wasteland of genetically modified corn—Childs takes the long view, exploring the ongoing life and death of the earth on a scale most of us rarely think about.
Childs’s perspective is humbling, his position one of awe and respect for the powers of nature that humans have only partially come to understand. And his writing is rich in scientific thinking but also lifted to a level of literary grace, which, coupled with his sheer exuberance, ensures that the reader is never left behind. Concerning humans’ place amid the small and large catastrophes explored in Apocalyptic Planet, Childs is neither alarmist nor complacent, as he considers the human effect on the planet in a context many times greater than our day-to-day lives.