From award-winning, New York Times bestselling novelist Ben H. Winters comes a mind-bending novel set in a world governed by absolute truth, where lies are as dangerous as murder.
In a strange alternate society that values law and truth above all else, Laszlo Ratesic is a nineteen-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, a nation standing where California once did, a place where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life and governance impossible.
In the Golden State, knowingly contradicting the truth is the greatest crime—and stopping those crimes is Laz's job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths, to "speculate" on what might have happened.
But the Golden State is less a paradise than its name might suggest. To monitor, verify, and enforce the truth requires a veritable panopticon of surveillance and recording. And when those in control of the facts twist them for nefarious means, the Speculators are the only ones with the power to fight back.
"A perfectly poised ontological-thriller-comedy-dystopian-allegorical-page-turner, yet with tenderly real characters in its chewy center, this turned out to be just the thing I was looking for." —Jonathan Lethem
"Not many writers would take on Orwell, Ray Bradbury, the nature of truth, and the current administration all at a blow. Big shoes to fill—and they fit Ben H. Winters just fine. Golden State grabs notions of disinformation and literalism and brilliantly turns them on their head to see what falls from their pockets." —James Sallis, author of Drive
"A skillful and swift-moving concoction . . . For those who like their dystopias with a dash of humor. No lie." —Kirkus Reviews