2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist

The finalists for the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award were announced May 2 in London. The 6 shortlisted titles were selected from a list of 108 individual eligible submissions:

    • Sea of Rust – C. Robert Cargill (Gollancz)
    • Dreams Before the Start of Time – Anne Charnock (47North)
    • American War – Omar El Akkad (Picador)
    • Spaceman of Bohemia – Jaroslav Kalfar (Sceptre)
    • Gather the Daughters – Jennie Melamed (Tinder Press)
    • Borne – Jeff VanderMeer (Fourth Estate)

Chair of Judges, Dr Andrew M. Butler, said:

If you are new to reading the genre, each of these tremendous novels can demonstrate what sf is capable of. It’s unusual that none of the writers have been on the Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist before, although a number of them have been contenders in previous years. We also have authors who have written in other fields or genres and it’s especially exciting to be able to draw attention to debut novelists. At the moment, any of the six could emerge as the winner.

Award Director Tom Hunter added:

In this year’s shortlist we see themes of climate change, human hubris and gender politics writ large, alongside alien encounters, apocalyptic robot armies and genetically engineered flying bears (often in the same book).

With over 100 novels in contention again this year, and strong submissions from across the full range of UK publishing, our judging panel accepted an epic challenge in selecting these six works from the many excellent and often hotly tipped titles they received.

The result is a shortlist forged from passionate debate and compelling contrasts but with little by way of compromise and shaped always by the purposeful intent and vision of our judges. I strongly suspect in future years that this will be a shortlist long remembered as a vintage year for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and for science fiction literature.

The judging panel for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2018 is composed of:

  • Dave Hutchinson, British Science Fiction Association
  • Gaie Sebold, British Science Fiction Association
  • Paul March-Russell, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Dr Kari Maund, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Charles Christian, SCI-FI-LONDON film festival

Dr Andrew M. Butler represents the Arthur C. Clarke Award in a non-voting role as the Chair of the Judges.

The winner will be announced at a public award ceremony held in partnership with Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, on July 18, and receive a cheque for £2018.00 and the award, a commemorative engraved bookend

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

10 thoughts on “2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist

  1. This list is a bit from left field…and all the more interesting for it. I predicted exactly one of the finalists!

    This article has a detailed description of all the finalists, which I’ve just found very handy as Sea of Rust and Gather the Daughters weren’t on my radar at all, but both of them sound very interesting indeed.

  2. @Mark —

    Sea of Rust is good, though not perfect. Certainly an exciting story. Same with Borne. American War is the only other one that was even on my radar.

  3. I’ve read two, of which Borne was a big thumbs up and Spaceman of Bohemia a sad wet raspberry. Interested to hear more about Gather the Daughters and Dreams Before the Start of Time as I don’t know anything at all about them!

  4. Gather the Daughters is the only one of these that wasn’t on my radar at all. It’s certainly an interesting list! I am a little surprised (and personally disappointed) that Paul McAuley’s Austral didn’t make the finalists: it’s quite possibly the finest novel he’s written, which is saying a lot.

  5. Arifel: Spaceman of Bohemia a sad wet raspberry.

    Oh, thank you for saying that. I have been mystified at the amount of praise that book has gotten. I will be interested to see if the Sharkes, who were very picky about what they defined as “science fiction” last year, have anything to say about the terrible science in that fiction.

  6. @PhilRM

    Yep I agree about Austral. Massively underrated.

    I’ve read the Charnock. Of the three I’ve read I like it the best and it was one I would have predicted would make the shortlist. I haven’t read American War, Spaceman of Bohemia, Gather the Daughters.

  7. The Charnock book sounds lovely; howsabout I go order it.
    I’m making at least a token effort to follow along with the Clarkes and Sharkes this year; I’ve recently ordered “Gnomon” and “Spaceman of Bohemia” as intriguing books that some of the Sharkes mentioned. (And, yeah, I’ve decided to go for paper this time round, because I find that helps me keep focus and pace.)

    Looking forward to trying some cool new stuff 🙂

  8. andyl on May 2, 2018 at 11:25 pm said:

    I’ve read the Charnock. Of the three I’ve read I like it the best and it was one I would have predicted would make the shortlist. I haven’t read American War, Spaceman of Bohemia, Gather the Daughters.

    I’m interested in checking out the Anne Charnock book. A Calculated Life was excellent.

  9. rob_matic: I’m interested in checking out the Anne Charnock book. A Calculated Life was excellent.

    I really loved A Calculated Life, and the same-universe novella The Enclave was good, too. But Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind was really a disappointment — the speculative element is all but nonexistent — and Dreams Before the Start of Time appears to have a very similar storyline (multiple generations of women dealing with the same issues) and lack of SF, so I didn’t put it on my TBR. I would be interested to hear what you make of it.

  10. @JJ

    I think there is (near-future) speculative content in Dreams Before The Start of Time. However it is not centre-stage, but its effect on the characters and society in general is.

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