Apr 28, 2016

The Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist 2016


The votes are in and six titles have been chosen that 'represent a particular special moment in time for UK science fiction'.  These titles were selected from a list of 113 individual eligible submissions, which was the second highest recorded number in the awards history.

Chair of the Judges, Dr Andrew M. Butler praised the judges:

“Our thirtieth award seemed especially difficult to bring down to a shortlist this year, from one of the highest submissions levels we've ever recieved. It was toughly argued, in a good-humoured way, and as ever I’m blown away by the hard work of our judges.”

There were some really good books submitted (see it here) but none of shortlisted books were familiar to me. Which is a good thing and I look forward to reading a few of them.  The Australia Trilogy book  by J.P. Smythe caught my eye and so did Tchaikovsky's (and not for the name only).  I think  Award Director, Tom Hunter said it best:



"This is a quintessentially Clarke Award kind of a shortlist. Look once and I'm sure everyone will see a choice they agree with. Look twice, and you'll likely see a new book you want to read next. Look a third time though, and I hope you'll see how well all of these six books sit together, and how they represent a particular special moment in time for UK science fiction. In other words, like all great books, this is a shortlist that rewards the more you read into it."
Which ones would you like read?  You can let me know via Twitter @nqwolf


The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
 Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary isn't the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.





Europe at Midnight 
Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)

Europe is crumbling. The Xian Flu pandemic and ongoing economic crises have fractured the European Union, the borderless Continent of the Schengen Agreement is a distant memory, and new nations are springing up everywhere, some literally overnight. For an intelligence officer like Jim, it's a nightmare. Every week or so a friendly power spawns, a new and unknown national entity which may or may not be friendly to England's interests; it's hard to keep on top of it all. But things are about to get worse for Jim. A stabbing on a London bus pitches him into a world where his intelligence service is preparing for war with another universe, and a man has come who may hold the key to unlocking the mystery.


The Book of Phoenix
Nnedi Okorafor (Hodder & Stoughton)

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell…. 

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.




Arcadia
Iain Pears (Faber & Faber)

Three interlocking worlds. Four people looking for answers. But who controls the future—or the past?

In 1960s Oxford, Professor Henry Lytten is attempting to write a fantasy novel that forgoes the magic of his predecessors, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. He finds an unlikely confidante in his quick-witted, inquisitive young neighbor Rosie. One day, while chasing Lytten’s cat, Rosie encounters a doorway in his cellar.   Read more...



Way Down Dark
J.P. Smythe (Hodder & Stoughton)

Every day aboard the interstellar transport ship Australia is a kind of hell, where no one is safe, no one can hide. Indeed, the only life Chan's ever known is one of endless violence. A life of survival.  

And then one day Chan makes an extraordinary discovery--there may be a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so will only bring her to the attention of the fanatics and murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger. 


Children of Time
Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)

WHO WILL INHERIT THIS NEW EARTH? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind's worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?



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