It’s that time of year again (yes, already), as the Arthur C Clarke Awards, the UK’s most prestigious prize for literary science fiction, announces their annual shortlist. The contenders who make the shortlist for the Clarkes are always interesting, and this year is no exception, with the final six nominees selected from an entry of 108 eligible submissions and, unusually, this year none of the contenders has featured in the Clarkes shortlist before, so again it’s a pretty good list to check out if you are looking for some fresh SF reading suggestions (my long-running SF book group regularly uses the Clarke nominees list for our group reading ideas).
This year’s six nominees are:
Sea of Rust — C. Robert Cargill (Gollancz)
Dreams Before the Start of Time — Anne Charnock (47North)
American War — Omar El Akkad (Picador)
Spaceman of Bohemia — Jaroslav Kalfař (Sceptre)
Gather the Daughters — Jennie Melamed (Tinder Press)
Borne — Jeff VanderMeer (4th Estate)
“In this year’s shortlist we see themes of climate change, human hubris and gender politics writ large, alongside alien encounters, apocalyptic robot armies and genetically engineered flying bears (often in the same book).
With over 100 novels in contention again this year, and strong submissions from across the full range of UK publishing, our judging panel accepted an epic challenge in selecting these six works from the many excellent and often hotly tipped titles they received.
The result is a shortlist forged from passionate debate and compelling contrasts but with little by way of compromise and shaped always by the purposeful intent and vision of our judges. I strongly suspect in future years that this will be a shortlist long remembered as a vintage year for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and for science fiction literature,” award director Tom Hunter.
The judging panel consists of Dave Hutchinson, British Science Fiction Association, Gaie Sebold, British Science Fiction Association, Paul March-Russell, Science Fiction Foundation, Kari Maund, Science Fiction Foundation, and Charles Christian, Sci-Fi-London film festival, with Doctor Andrew M Butler as the chair of judges. The winner will be announced at the famous Foyles bookstore in London on Wednesday July 18th. Last year’s winner was Colson Whitehead for the powerful Underground Railroad. Best of luck to all contenders!