Fifth Annual SFR Galaxy Awards

The recipients of the 5th Annual SFR Galaxy Awards for science fiction romance books were announced on January 31. It’s one of fandom’s most more creative and entertaining awards concepts.

The categories are invented and the winners picked by a panel of judges —

How does it work? A select group of science fiction romance readers and bloggers will each create unique awards for up to 5 books released in that year. Judges will create award categories based on criteria of their own choosing. The goal is to deliver a group of awards that are fun, unique, meaningful, and informative for readers

This year there were six judges, and each wrote a separate blog post with short narratives explaining their award choices.

5th Annual SFR Galaxy Awards: Round One by Riley Moreland

Best Zombie Book for People Who Don’t Read Zombie Books

Nobody’s Hero (The Burned Lands #1) by Bec McMaster

Best New Series

The Rule of Luck (Felicia Sevigny #1) by Catherine Cerveny

Best Anthology

Pets in Space by Cara Bristol, Susan Grant, Laurie A. Green, Pauline Baird Jones, Lea Kirk, Alexis Glynn Latner, Carysa Locke, Veronica Scott, and S.E. Smith

This Series Just Keeps Getting Better Award

Fools Rush In (Interstellar Rescue Series #3) by Donna S. Frelick

Best Series Finale

Prodigal (Maelstrom #3) by Jody Wallace

5th Annual SFR Galaxy Awards: Round Two by Jo Jones

Best Realistic Ending

The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Most Promising New Author

The Dark of Light (Shield of the Starhawke #1) by Audrey Sharpe

Best Misleading Title

Warrior Wench

(The Asarlaí Wars #1) by Marie Andreas

Best Slow Burn Romance

Star Cruise: Outbreak by Veronica Scott

Best Love Story With a Twist

Shades of Treason by Sandy Williams

5th Annual SFR Galaxy Awards: Round Three by Lee Koven

Best Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal

Nobody’s Hero by Bec McMaster

Best Promise

Crash and Burn (Cyborg Sizzle #3) by Cynthia Sax

Best Lady Cyborg

Jumper’s Hope by Carol Van Natta

Best Swordplay

The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant

Best Mother-Daughter Dynamic

Vellmar the Blade by Fletcher DeLancey

5th Annual SFR Galaxy Awards: Round Four by Anna McLain

Best “Invisible Heroine”

Hostage to the Stars by Veronica Scott

Grittiest Hot and Fast Story

Quick Shot by Pippa Jay

Heroine Who’s Most Like Someone I Might Know

Pirate (Space Gypsy Chronicles #1) by Eve Langlais

5th Annual SFR Galaxy Awards: Round Five by Heather Massey

Most Satisfying Conclusion to a Great Trilogy

Vortex of Crimson (On Deception’s Edge #3) by Lise MacTague

Best Sci-Fi Romance Webcomic

Flesh Machine by Michael Avolio

Most Dapper Heroes

The Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper

Most Uplifting Sci-Fi Romances

Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time by Cherie Dimaline, Gwen Benaway, David Robertson, Richard Van Camp, Mari Kurisato, Nathan Adler, Daniel Heath Justice, Darcie Little Badger, Cleo Keahna; introduction by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair “Manitowapow,” foreword by Grace Dillon “Walking the Clouds”; edited by Hope Nicholson

SFR with the Most Relevant Social Commentary Regarding a Current Affair

Gambit (Felig Chronicles #5) by P.J. Dean

5th Annual SFR Galaxy Awards: Round Six by Marlene Harris

Best Bread and Circuses (Intergalactic Edition)

Galactic Gladiators (Gladiator/Warrior/Hero) by Anna Hackett

Best Interstellar Menagerie

Pets in Space by S.E. Smith, Susan Grant, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Alexis Glynn Latner, Lea Kirk, Carysa Locke

Best Spoiler Alert Title

Star Cruise: Outbreak by Veronica Scott

Most Unusual Job for a Heroine

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Most Awesomely Prolific and Prolifically Awesome

Anna Hackett

2017 David Gemmell Awards Longlists

Longlists for The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy — the Legend, Morningstar, and Ravenheart Awards — have been posted. The awards recognize the best in fantasy fiction and artwork. Open voting to determine the finalists has begun and will continue until midnight on March 31.

Next, voting on the shortlist will open midday on April 21 and close at midnight on June 2. The awards will be presented July 15 at Edge-Lit 6 in Derby, UK.


The Legend Award is presented to the fantasy title judged the year’s best by open vote.

  • The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham
  • The Pagan Night by Tim Akers
  • Blood Mage by Stephen Aryan
  • The Great Ordeal by R. Scott Bakker
  • The Guns of Ivrea by Clifford Beal
  • City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Sorcerer’s Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • A Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron
  • The Sky Slayer by Joel Cornah
  • The Watcher of Dead TIme by Edward Cox
  • Fireborn by David Dalglish
  • Saint’s Blood by Sebastien De Castell
  • The Path of the Hawk by Ian Graham
  • Wrath by John Gwynne
  • The Summer Goddess by Joanne Hall
  • The Dragon Lords: Fool’s Gold by Jon Hollins
  • The Stealers’ War by Stephen Hunt
  • The Summon Stone by Ian Irvine
  • Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  • The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin
  • Gods of Nabban by KV Johansen
  • Assassin Queen by Anna Kashina
  • The Fall of the Dagger by Glenda Larke
  • The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence
  • Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd
  • The Seer by Sonia Orin Lyris
  • Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe
  • A Blade of Black Steel by Alex Marshall
  • Shadow and Flame by Gail Z. Martin
  • An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
  • The Silent Army by James A. Moore
  • Forgotten Hero by Brian G. Murray
  • The Malice by Peter Newman
  • Break the Chains by Megan E. O’Keefe
  • The Obsidian Throne by J. D. Oswald
  • The Girl on the Liar’s Throne by Den Patrick
  • Leviathan’s Blood by Ben Peek
  • Those Below by Daniel Polansky
  • The High King’s Vengeance by Steven Poore
  • Twilight of the Dragons by Andy Remic
  • The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
  • Chains of the Heretic by Jeff Salyards
  • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Tower of the Swallow by Andrezj Sapkowski
  • Dead Man’s Steel by Luke Scull
  • The World Raven by AJ Smith
  • Phoenix Ascendant by Ryk E. Spoor
  • The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley
  • Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Fair Rebel by Steph Swainston
  • The Mortal Tally by Sam Sykes
  • The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Warbeast by Gav Thorpe
  • Dragon Hunter by Marc Turner
  • Red Tide by Marc Turner
  • The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks
  • The Silver Tide by Jen Williams


The Morningstar Award honors the author judged to have made the year’s best debut in fantasy fiction.

  • Infernal by Mark De Jager
  • Silent Hall by NS Dolkart
  • Duskfall by Christopher Husberg
  • Steal the Sky by Megan E. O’Keefe
  • Snakewood by Adrian Selby
  • Hope and Red by Jon Skovron
  • The Cracked Amulet by RB Watkinson


The Ravenheart Award is given to the creator of the year’s best fantasy book cover art.

  • KG Images and Joseph Martin for Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Arcangel, Margie Hurwich, and Mohammad Itani for The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley
  • Arcangel and Lauren Panepinto for The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin
  • Tommy Arnold for Fireborn by David Dalglish
  • L. Bachman for Forgotten Hero by Brian G. Murray
  • Ihar Balakain and Dusan Kostic for Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner
  • Alessandro Baldasseroni for Black Rift by Josh Reynolds
  • Kirk Benshoff for The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham
  • Kerem Beyit for A Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron
  • Black Sheep UK for The Stealer’s War by Stephen Hunt
  • Buerosued for Saint’s Blood by Sebastien De Castell
  • Jason Chan for The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence
  • CollaborationJS for Shadow and Flame by Gail Z. Martin
  • Alejandro Colucci for The Pagan Night by Tim Akers
  • Alejandro Colucci for The Tower of the Swallow by Andrezj Sapkowski
  • Alejandro Colucci for The Girl on the Liar’s Throne by Den Patrick
  • Alejandro Colucci for The Silent Army by James A. Moore
  • Jason Deem for The Summer Goddess by Joanne Hall
  • Bastion Lecouffe Deharme for Hope and Red by Jon Skovron
  • Bastion Lecouffe Deharme for The Sorcerer’s Daughter by Terry Brooks
  • Evelinn Enoksen for The Sky Slayer by Joel Cornah
  • Sam Green for Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • Sam Green for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
  • Head Design for Infernal by Mark De Jager
  • Jaime Jones for The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
  • Jaime Jones for The Malice by Peter Newman
  • Jet Design Ltd. for The Watcher of Dead Time by Edward Cox
  • Nik Keevil for The World Raven by AJ Smith
  • Sam Kennedy for The Seer by Sonia Orin Lyris
  • Patrick Knowles Design for The Mortal Tally by Sam Sykes
  • Michael Komarck for The Shadowed Path by Gail Z. Martin
  • Neil Lang and Shutterstock for The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Julia Lloyd for Duskfall by Christopher Husberg
  • Todd Lockwood for Phoenix Ascendant by Ryk E. Spoor
  • Silas Manhood for Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe
  • Silas Manhood for The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks
  • Jon McCoy for Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd
  • Stephen Mulcahey, Neil Lang, and Shutterstock for Leviathan’s Blood by Ben Peek
  • KS Agency for City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • David Palumbo for Snakewood by Adrian Selby
  • Ryan Pancoast for Chains of the Heretic by Jeff Salyards
  • Lauren Panepinto for A Blade of Black Steel by Alex Marshall
  • Rhett Podersoo for Those Below by Daniel Polansky
  • Andreas Rocha for Silent Hall by NS Dolkart
  • Kerby Rosanes for Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  • Larry Rostant for The Great Ordeal by R. Scott Bakker
  • Larry Rostant for Dead Man’s Steel by Luke Scull
  • Shutterstock for The Silver Tide by Jen Williams
  • Karl Simon for The Dragon Lords: Fool’s Gold by Jon Hollins
  • Marc Simonetti for Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Jake Smyth and Shutterstock for The Summon Stone by Ian Irvine
  • Steve Stone for The Fall of the Dagger by Glenda Larke
  • Steve Stone for Blood Mage by Stephen Aryan
  • Steve Stone for Chaos Mage by Stephen Aryan
  • Raymond Swanland for Gods of Nabban by KV Johansen
  • Jorge Luis Torres for The High King’s Vengeance by Steven Poore
  • Unknown for Fair Rebel by Steph Swainston
  • Paul Young for Wrath by John Gwynne

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]

2017 Dwayne McDuffie Award Shortlist

The finalists for the third annual Dwayne McDuffie Award have been announced by The Hollywood Reporter.

The award celebrates diversity in comics and comic creative teams, and honors the memory of Dwayne McDuffie. McDuffie was a comics writer and co-creator of Milestone Media, which featured superheroes of varying genders, sexualities, race, and ethnicity. He died in 2011, aged 49. The award is given to comics that continue his legacy of featuring diversity as well as telling a compelling story.

This year’s nominees are:

The award jury includes Black Panther writer Don McGregor, Batgirl and Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone, Green Lantern and Iron Man artist Mark D. Bright, and Milestone Media’s Matt Wayne, among many others.

The winner of the award will be revealed on Saturday at the Long Beach Comic Expo.


South Pasadena Proclaims March 2 Bradbury Day

John King Tarpinian and Robert Kerr receive proclamation.

By John King Tarpinian: Today, February 15, I was honored to accept a Proclamation from the City of South Pasadena on behalf of the Bradbury family. March 2 will be Ray Bradbury Day. There will be a ceremony held at, of all places, the fire station. As things are more solidified there is expected to be a reading from the Fahrenheit 451 play, a screening of the movie, panel discussions of Ray’s body of work, and the dedication of a mural in the previously dedicated Ray Bradbury conference room of the library. The library is one of the few remaining Carnegie libraries left in the state.

To read the proclamation, click on — Proclamation Ray Bradbury Day 2017.

2016 Cybils Winners

The 2016 winners of the Cybils (Children’s and Young Adults Blogger’s Literary Awards) were announced on February 15.

The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

Here are the results in the categories that started out with a large number of genre finalists.

Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction

  • Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan (Disney-Hyperion)

Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels

  • Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Book 2) (Lowriders in Space) by Cathy Camper and Raul the Third (Chronicle Books)

Young Adult Graphic Novels

  • March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf Productions)

Young Adult Speculative Fiction

  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)


  • The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz (Listening Library)

Robert J. Sawyer Wins 2017 Heinlein Award

Robert J. Sawyer. Photo by Christina Frost.

Canadian hard sf writer Robert J. Sawyer has won the 2017 Robert A. Heinlein Award, given annually to an author of outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space.

Sawyer’s most-recent book is Quantum Night, from Ace, his 23rd novel. Sawyer was an initial inductee into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

The Robert A. Heinlein Award is managed and sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. The award selection committee is chaired by Michael F. Flynn and is composed of science fiction writers..

The Robert A. Heinlein Award is a sterling silver medallion bearing Heinlein’s image as depicted by artist Arlin Robbins. A grant from the Heinlein Society funds half the costs associated with the award.

The list of past winners of the Robert A. Heinlein Award can be found here.

2017 Grammy Awards

At last night’s Grammy Awards presentation, composer John Williams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens won in the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category. It’s his 23rd Grammy, and the fifth for a Star Wars film (after three for A New Hope and another for The Empire Strikes Back).

David Bowie’s Blackstar, which Chris Barkley is touting as a Hugo nominee, enjoyed a huge night. Bowie won Best Rock Performance for singing the title song and, in turn, “Blackstar” won Best Rock Song. The album was named Best Alternative Music Album, and took Grammys for Best Recording Package, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

Other winners of genre interest:

Best Children’s Album

Infinity Plus One by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Includes songs about a moth flying to the moon, a girl building an infinite luck machine, a boy accessing the multiverse, and one that references Carl Sagan.

Best Comedy Album

Talking For Clapping by Patton Oswalt

One of Patton Oswalt books has a foreword by Harlan Ellison

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

Flintstones by Jacob Collier

The title song is, indeed, a cover of the TV theme.

2017 Audie Awards Nominees

SF and fantasy are heavily represented across the entire spectrum of 2017 Audie Awards categories. The shortlist of the best audiobooks of the year was announced February 8.

The audiobooks in the Science Fiction and Fantasy categories are shown below. In addition —

  • Neil Gaiman is a finalist in the Narration by Author category for his work on The View from the Cheap Seats.
  • Original Work is dominated by familiar sf/f names and series — The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent by Larry Correia, narrated by Adam Baldwin, Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs, with seven voice talents, and The Dispatcher by John Scalzi, narrated by Zachary Quinto.
  • The Alien and Doctor Who franchises claimed three of the five Audio Drama finalist spots
  • One finalist in Short Stories/Collections is The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke by Arthur C. Clarke, narrated by Ray Porter, Jonathan Davis and Ralph Lister.
  • And there is some kind of yin/yang dynamic at work in having a Best Female Narrator nominee for The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (narrated by Bahni Turpin) and a Best Male Narrator nominee for Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters (narrated by William DeMeritt).  Also recognized as Best Narrators are the men who voiced End of Watch by Stephen King and Jerusalem by Alan Moore. And The Underground Railroad received a second nomination, in the Literary & Classic Fiction category.
  • There is even a genre entry for the best Business Book — Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek by Manu Saadia, narrated by Oliver Wyman

Winners will be revealed at the Audie Awards® Gala on June 1, 2017. A roll-call of all the nominees, many with samples you can listen to, appears here.

The Audie Awards generated extra attention this year by having guest presenters tweet each set of finalists — genre participants included Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, Marissa Mayer, Neil Gaiman, Colson Whitehead, and Locus Magazine.




























Leading Critics Form Clarke Award “Shadow” Jury

Nina Allan has announced a “shadow” jury will critique the Clarke Award this year, composed of Megan AM (“The AM stands for Anti-Matter”), Vajra Chandrasekera, David Hebblethwaite, Victoria Hoyle, Nick Hubble, Paul Kincaid, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and Jonathan McCalmont.

Allan explains in her introduction:

The idea is not to ‘challenge’ the official jury in any way, but to bring more to the party: more readers, more critics, more books, more discussion. And the beauty of a shadow jury is that everything can be out in the open. Over the following weeks and months, you’ll be able to read along with us, find out which books we love and which we’re not so wild about – and more to the point, why. I’d bet there isn’t a single Clarke-watcher out there who hasn’t at some point found themselves completely at a loss over some jury decision or other.

THROWING SHADE. Will fans feel a thrill of controversy because the group is taking the form of a jury, and reminding people about occasions when they were “completely at a loss” at a Clarke jury decision? (No one will soon forget Christopher Priest’s rant about the 2012 shortlist.) Will the prestigious critics on the shadow jury – some of them among the best-known working today – end up overshadowing the official jury? Is there any reason to mind if they do?

STATEMENTS AND MANIFESTOS. The Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy, hosting the jury online, has launched its activities with lengthy justifications. And as an added resource, they have posted Paul Kincaid’s introduction to a 2006 essay collection about the award-winners.

ANNOUNCING THE SHADOW CLARKE 2017: a note from the Centre by Helen Marshall

The Arthur C. Clarke awards are different from the Hugos in that shortlist and eventual winner are determined solely by a juror, thus, in many respects, bypassing the contentious process of lobbying and promotion that has accompanied voted awards. And yet the award has been no less controversial. Paul Kincaid, in his introduction to The Arthur C. Clarke Award: A Critical Anthology, writes that the original organisers at no point set out firm criteria for what was meant by “best”, by “science fiction”, or even by “novel” (12). In consequence, the earnest debates—of individual juries as well was the broader community of reviewers and critics—have both through their agreement and their opposition sketched out a fascinating survey of what science fiction might have meant in any given year.

After the Clarke award celebration in 2016, when Nina Allan first approached me about arranging a shadow jury of the Clarke Awards, I could see the value of the suggestion. Similar experiments have been illuminating in respect to mainstreams awards such as the prestigious Man Booker Prize, but no such experiment, to my knowledge, has been undertaken for a science fiction award. 2017 seems a particularly auspicious year to begin particularly because it is a time in which many in the community feel the need for an outlet for reasoned debate and discussion. Of course it isn’t our intention that the shadow jury will challenge the decision of the conventional jury; rather the value of the experiment comes, I think, in expanding the commentary. Questions about the state of the field and the underlying definitions of “best” and “science fiction” continue to be meaningful, particularly in an industry that is increasingly dominated by marketing categories and sales figures rather than criticism. What science fiction is and what it ought to be doing should continue to be debated if the field is going to evolve beyond the commercial pressures that inevitably influence the decision to publish.

ANNOUNCING THE SHADOW CLARKE 2017: an introduction and a manifesto by Nina Allan

It goes without saying that the overall health of a literary award is determined by the quality of the debate surrounding it. No matter how lucrative the prize or how glossy the promotion, no award can remain relevant or even survive unless people – readers, critics and fans alike – are actively talking about the books in contention. For readers, fans and critics to remain engaged, an award must aspire to foster an intellectual climate in which rigorous and impassioned debate is seen as an important and significant aspect of the award itself. Such a climate will by definition ensure that an award can not only survive, but flourish.

Inspired by the shadow juries that have worked wonders in enlivening the climate of debate around mainstream literary awards over the past few years, we thought it would be a fantastic idea to harness some of the considerable critical talent that exists within the SFF community in similarly enlivening the climate of debate and critical engagement around the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The normal process by which shadow juries operate involves a panel of shadow jurors – usually drawn from those readers, critics and book bloggers who habitually follow the award – reading the official longlist of their chosen award when it is released, reviewing the books individually and then coming together as a jury to decide on a shadow shortlist: that is, the shortlist they would have chosen had they been the official jury. When the official shortlist for the prize is announced, the shadow jury would then critique that shortlist, before once again convening to vote on their shadow winner. In the case of the shadow juries for awards such as the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (now the Man Booker International) and the Baileys Prize, the shadow winner has normally been unveiled on the evening before the announcement of the official prize. One need only cast a casual glance around the literary blogosphere to see how the presence of shadow juries within the literary landscape has increased the feeling of excitement and personal involvement on the part of readers, armchair critics and students of literature.

Because the Arthur C. Clarke Award does not at present implement a longlist stage, the formula we have agreed upon is a little different, but will hopefully prove at least as effective in fostering debate, if not more so.

Our panel of shadow jurors will convene when the submissions list for the Arthur C. Clarke Award is made public. From the list of these submissions, each shadow juror will then select their own personal, preferred shortlist of six books – these could be books they have already read, books they are keen to read, or a mixture of the two. Having chosen their shortlist, each juror will commit to reading and reviewing their six books before eventually declaring the ‘winner’ they would have chosen, had their shortlist been the official one. We believe that by giving each shadow juror the opportunity to select and discuss what they believe was ‘best’ in ‘science fiction’ in 2016, the Shadow Clarke will be able to showcase a wider variety of books, writers and styles of science fiction, thus generating a sense of involvement and inclusion across the entire length and breadth of science fiction fandom. It goes without saying that we would encourage fans and readers beyond the shadow jury to read along with us, to posit their own guesses and above all to disagree with our choices! That is what critical engagement is all about.

INTRODUCTION from The Arthur C. Clarke Award: a critical anthology by Paul Kincaid

[[Paul Kincaid has been on over a dozen Clarke Award juries, many times serving as the chair. He co-edited The Arthur C. Clarke Award: A Critical Anthology (2006) with Andrew Butler, another frequent juror and chair. This is an excerpt from his introduction.]]

…Since Clarke wanted to use the award to encourage British science fiction, our second topic for debate was whether the award should be limited to British writers. In the end we all felt that there were just too few British writers to make that sustainable, so we decided that the award would be for the best science fiction novel receiving its first British publication in the year.

…It is what was left to the jury that has made the Arthur C Clarke Award both idiosyncratic and controversial, often at the same time. At no point did we decide what was meant by ‘best’, by ‘science fiction’, or even by ‘novel’. Consequently, the jury meetings I’ve taken part in have featured some very lively debates on each of these topics – and no two juries have ever arrived at precisely the same definitions.

It is, however, the very nature of those debates, the fact that what is considered ‘best’ or ‘science fiction’ is going to be different every year, that has made the Arthur C Clarke Award such a lively and essential survey of the year in science fiction. As The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by Peter Nicholls and founding judge John Clute is at pains to point out, the award was controversial from its very first year. When Margaret Atwood received the first Arthur C Clarke Award for The Handmaid’s Tale, it seemed that the Award was deliberately turning its back on the core of the genre (particularly given that the runner-up that year was Bob Shaw’s The Ragged Astronauts – not, as Edward James has suggested, Samuel R. Delany’s Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand). In fact what I think that first jury was doing, after what I recall as very close debate, is something that has been a surprisingly recurrent practice of juries since then: they were not looking in towards the heart of the genre, but outwards from the genre. As Nicholas Ruddick points out, The Handmaid’s Tale has had such resonance, both within and outwith the genre, that it is hard to think why it might ever have been considered a controversial choice.

Of course, that was far from the only time that the Award has skirted controversy. If stimulating debate, not to say heated argument, is one way of raising awareness of science fiction, then we have to admit that the Award has been a rousing success since the start. Tempers have tended to fray most when the Award is imagined to be flirting with the mainstream. There was even jeering at the presentation of the Award to Marge Piercy for Body of Glass (again, I suspect, this was at least in part because the runner up was another popular genre favourite, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson). But, as Maureen Kincaid Speller shows, you don’t need a rocket ship on the cover to raise exactly the problematic issues of who we are and what we might become which are supposedly central to everything we understand about science fiction.

… Of course the job of the Award is to raise awareness of science fiction, not just inside the genre but more generally, but that is not achieved by saying science fiction and the mainstream are the same. Rather, the Award points out how many interesting, exciting, challenging and innovative things there are to be done with genre materials, some of those things speak to the core of the genre and some bring a freshness and vitality to mainstream, and some do both….

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]

BAFTA Award Nominees

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced the Nominations List for the EE British Academy Film Awards in 2017 on January 10.

Categories including works of genre interest are —


  • ARRIVAL Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
  • I, DANIEL BLAKE Rebecca O’Brien
  • LA LA LAND Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
  • MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward,Kevin J. Walsh
  • MOONLIGHT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski


  • AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
  • DENIAL Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM David Yates, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling, Lionel Wigram
  • I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
  • NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
  • UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh


  • FINDING DORY Andrew Stanton
  • MOANA Ron Clements, John Musker
  • ZOOTROPOLIS Byron Howard, Rich Moore


  • ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
  • I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach
  • LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
  • MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan


  • ARRIVAL Eric Heisserer
  • HACKSAW RIDGE Andrew Knight, Robert Schenkkan
  • HIDDEN FIGURES Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
  • LION Luke Davies


  • AMY ADAMS Arrival
  • EMILY BLUNT The Girl on the Train
  • EMMA STONE La La Land
  • MERYL STREEP Florence Foster Jenkins


  • ARRIVAL Jóhann Jóhannsson
  • JACKIE Mica Levi
  • LA LA LAND Justin Hurwitz
  • LION Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Abel Korzeniowski


  • ARRIVAL Bradford Young
  • HELL OR HIGH WATER Giles Nuttgens
  • LA LA LAND Linus Sandgren
  • LION Greig Fraser


  • ARRIVAL Joe Walker
  • HACKSAW RIDGE John Gilbert
  • LA LA LAND Tom Cross


  • DOCTOR STRANGE Charles Wood, John Bush
  • HAIL, CAESAR! Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
  • LA LA LAND David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Shane Valentino, Meg Everist


  • ALLIED Joanna Johnston
  • JACKIE Madeline Fontaine
  • LA LA LAND Mary Zophres


  • DOCTOR STRANGE Jeremy Woodhead
  • FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips
  • HACKSAW RIDGE Shane Thomas
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
  • ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Amanda Knight, Neal Scanlan, Lisa Tomblin


  • ARRIVAL Sylvain Bellemare, Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl
  • DEEPWATER HORIZON Dror Mohar, Mike Prestwood Smith, Wylie Stateman, Renee Tondelli, David Wyman
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
  • HACKSAW RIDGE Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
  • LA LA LAND Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson


  • ARRIVAL Louis Morin
  • DOCTOR STRANGE Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
  • THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez
  • ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner