30 rocks!

The short­list for the Clarke Award once again of­fers a snap­shot of the best in lit­er­ary SF

SFX - - Red Alert -

the short­list for the 30th Arthur C Clarke Award has been an­nounced. As ever, it’s an eclec­tic list that cov­ers the full gamut of spec­u­la­tive fic­tion, from a story of in­ter­ga­lac­tic travel that was ini­tially self-pub­lished, through to a lit­er­ary work about the power of sto­ries that was also re­leased as an app. “When it’s your award’s 30th an­niver­sary you se­cretly hope for some­thing that lit­tle bit ex­tra spe­cial in your short­list, and I think the judges have de­liv­ered on that prom­ise and more this year,” says Clarke Award di­rec­tor Tom Hunter. Per­haps the best back­story to any of the nov­els be­longs to Becky Cham­bers’ The Long Way To A Small An­gry Planet. Finding her free­lance work dry­ing up, Cham­bers turned to Kick­starter for funds and put the book out her­self, soon bag­ging a Kitschie nom­i­na­tion for best de­but. Hod­der & Stoughton picked up the novel in the UK. As for the novel that ex­per­i­ments with form, this is Iain Pears’ Ar­ca­dia (Faber & Faber), a world-hop­ping fan­tasy. The list is rounded out by Dave Hutchin­son’s Europe At Mid­night (So­laris), the sec­ond vol­ume in his se­quence about a balka­nised Europe; the mag­i­cal fu­tur­ism of Nnedi Oko­rafor’s The Book Of Phoenix (Hod­der); JP Smythe’s tale of life aboard an in­ter-gen­er­a­tional star­ship, Way Down Dark (Hod­der); and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s tale of ten­sion and ter­raform­ing, Chil­dren Of Time (Tor). “This is a quintessen­tially Clarke Award kind of a short­list,” says Hunter. “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 rep­re­sent a par­tic­u­lar spe­cial mo­ment in time for the best of UK sci­ence fic­tion.”

The cer­e­mony takes place on 24 Au­gust.

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