The thirty second Arthur C Clarke Award – the UK’s most presitgious celebration of written science fiction – took place in a ceremony in the famous Foyles bookstore in London last night, with Anne Charnock winning for Dreams Before the Start of Time, published by 47North.
“Humanity’s attitudes to reproduction have been core to science fiction at least as far back as Frankenstein. Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time explores the theme with a delightfully rich but unshowy intergenerational novel that demands rereading,” Dr Andrew M Butler, chair of Judges.
Huge congratulations to Anne for winning the Clarke, which comes with the award itself and £2018 prize money. For my money the Clarkes have been a superb place to highlight top quality science fiction writing being published in the UK, an area where we have traditionally been very strong. It’s worth taking a minute to appreciate all the behind the scenes work that goes on by people like organiser Tom Hunter and others to keep the Clarkes going each year, their work is pushing good books and good writers, helping them to be noticed by readers and other media; in short they are helping the world of science fiction, a world we love, to thrive. That’s a terrific thing.
As always I also highly recommend anyone looking for good new SF reading suggestions should check out not only the winner but the whole shortlist for the Clarkes. My long-running science fiction book group has chosen books from the winning and shortlist entries for years now, it’s a regular touchstone for us when it is time to pick the next book, and I am sure some of this year’s list will end up being picked for our book group in the near future. That’s not a bad way to find some interesting new reading…
The other shortlist nominees were Sea of Rust C. by Robert Cargill (Gollancz), American War by Omar El Akkad (Picador), Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (Sceptre), Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed (Tinder Press), and Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (Fourth Estate). The judges were Dave Hutchinson, British Science Fiction Association, Gaie Sebold, British Science Fiction Association, Kari Maund, Science Fiction Foundation, Paul March-Russell, Science Fiction Foundation, and Charles Christian, SCI-FI-LONDON film festival.