The 2014 Arthur C. Clarke award shortlist has been announced from a submission list of 107 titles, featuring the best science fiction books published during 2014 (the UK first edition needed to be published in that year). It was a pretty good year and loads of great books haven’t made the final 6. From submissions put forward by 36 different publishing houses and imprints the 6 shortlisted books are:
- The Girl With All The Gifts – M.R. Carey (Orbit)
- The Book Of Strange New Things – Michel Faber (Canongate)
- Europe In Autumn – Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
- Memory Of Water – Emmi Itäranta (HarperVoyager)
- The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August – Claire North (Orbit)
- Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel (Picador)
Nice to see a shortlist split even been male and female authors too. Award director Tom Hunter commenting on diversity said:
““Diversity in science fiction is the big topic right now, and rightly so, and the Clarke Award is as much a part of that conversation as any other award. Diversity for us means starting with as broad a range of voices and books as possible so we can pick a shortlist that we think really is the best of science fiction literature.”
“Awards should stimulate debate. Their choices should provoke a response, and that often means strong debate will be generated as a result, but an award actively seeking controversy is really missing the point and that goes double for any group seeking to artificially create controversy around an award for its own ends. In other words, it’s not a battle of competing ideologies – left versus right – it’s a simpler matter of constructive versus destructive attitudes.”
The Girl With All The Gifts is set in a dystopian future with much of humanity wiped out. It is a new take on the zombie. The Book Of Strange New Things follows a pastor who goes to a distance planet to teach its isolated native inhabitants Christianity. Europe In Autumn is a future espionage thriller in a post-apocalyptic Europe. Memory Of Water is a debut novel featuring another dystopia where water is rare and family is everything. The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August is an alternative take on time travel and seeks to answer humanities greatest questions. Finally, Station Eleven has a deadly virus hitting North America where travelling actors face the end of the world.
When thinking about the shortlist, Hunter said “This is a quintessentially Clarke Award kind of a shortlist of exactly the sort that we’ve become known for over the years and always love to celebrate. Congratulations to all of our shortlisted authors, their publishing teams and, of course, a big thank you to everyone on our judging panel this year.
We’ve got six authors who have never been nominated for the Clarke Award before and while the subject matter may often be dark, when we think about what this list says about the strength of science fiction literature itself, I see a future that’s full of confidence, creativity and diversity of imagination.”
The winner will receive a prize of £2015.00 and of course the prestigious award itself at a ceremony on Wednesday 6 May at Foyles Bookshop, London, which is part of the annual SCI-FI Film Festival.
The judging panel for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2015 are:
- Duncan Lawie, British Science Fiction Association
- Nicholas Whyte, British Science Fiction Association
- Sarah Brown, Science Fiction Foundation
- Lesley Hall, Science Fiction Foundation
- Leila Abu El Hawa, SCI-FI-LONDON film festival
Andrew M. Butler represents the Arthur C. Clarke Award in a non-voting role as the Chair of the Judges.
Note: The award was originally established by a generous grant from Sir Arthur C. Clarke with the aim of promoting science fiction in Britain, and is currently administered by the Serendip Foundation, a voluntary organisation created to oversee the on-going running and development of the award.