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