Sunday, March 6, 2011

2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz)
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
Generosity by Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
Declare by Tim Powers (Corvus)
Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan (Orbit)

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is a British jury award for science fiction novels published in Britain in 2010, which explains the oddity of a Tim Powers novel published in the USA in 2000 appearing on the list.

I’ve only read two of the books, Declare and The Dervish House. Declare is likely Tim Powers’ best novel to date (as I once wrote and as Gary K. Wolfe holds in the most recent Coode Street Podcast). The Dervish House is probably Ian McDonald’s best novel to date. If the other nominees are up to that level, and I have no reason to suspect they are not, then this is a strong list indeed.

For a science fiction award there is a surprising amount of fantasy on the list (Declare, for instance).

The nationality of the shortlisted authors has been the subject of some discussion (Cheryl’s Mewsings). They are a South African (Beukes), two Americans (Powers and Powers), two Americans living in Britain (Ness and Sullivan), and one lifelong Brit (McDonald).

This year’s judges were Paul Billinger, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Martin Lewis, Phil Nanson, Paul Skevington, and Liz Williams. The winning novel will be announced April 27, 2011, in London.

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