Arthur C. Clarke Award 2017 Shortlist

The Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature has announced its 2017 shortlist.

  • A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • After Atlas, Emma Newman (Roc)
  • Occupy Me, Tricia Sullivan (Gollancz)
  • Central Station, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead  (Fleet)

The judges selected these works from a list of 86 individual eligible submissions.

Award Director Tom Hunter commented:

The novels on our shortlist this year are fascinatingly diverse, deeply imaginative and a great tribute to the memory of Sir Arthur as we celebrate the centenary year of his birth in 2017.

The judges for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2017 are:

  • Una McCormack, British Science Fiction Association
  • Shana Worthen, British Science Fiction Association
  • Paul March-Russell, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Andrew McKie, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Charles Christian, 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.

The winner will be announced at a public award ceremony held in partnership with Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, on Thursday 27th July 2017. The winner will receive a prize of £2017.00 and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend.

27 thoughts on “Arthur C. Clarke Award 2017 Shortlist

  1. I’m delighted to say that the ScienceFictionBookClub.org in London England will be discussing two of the shortlisted works in August and September. Plus the winner in October, which will be open to a vote by members if the actual winner is read in August or September. Double win!!!

    THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD – COLSON WHITEHEAD
    Monday August 14th 2017
    https://www.ScienceFictionBookClub.Org/events/238436959/

    Tuesday August 29th 2017
    https://www.ScienceFictionBookClub.Org/events/238439232/

    NINEFOX GAMBIT – YOON HA LEE
    Monday September 11th 2017
    https://www.ScienceFictionBookClub.Org/events/239125846/

    Monday September 25th 2017
    https://www.ScienceFictionBookClub.Org/events/239125884/

    Congratulations to all the nominees and we look forward to reading and discussing your work.

  2. So we have the Nebula novel list:
    — All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
    — Borderline, Mishell Baker
    — The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin
    — Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee
    — Everfair, Nisi Shawl

    And the Hugo novel list:
    — All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders
    — A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers
    — Death’s End, by Cixin Liu
    — Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee
    — The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin
    — Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer

    And now the Arthur C. Clarke list.

    Can anyone see a pattern here?

    Yet somehow the Pups keep telling us that it’s only because of some nefarious shadowy cabal manipulating votes that the Hugos in particular have no white male authors on the novel short list?

  3. @Contrarius: Can anyone see a pattern here?
    Wait! Don’t tell me – it has to do with the sentences you can form out of the words in the titles, right?

  4. Congratulations to all involved!

    @Contrarius

    Huh, I hadn’t even looked at the demographics.

    I notice that the crossover between all three lists is Ninefox Gambit, which is rather nice for Yoon Ha Lee, and hopefully an omen.

  5. @Mark —

    You have to go to the BSFA nominees to see any white males —

    — Daughter of Eden, Chris Beckett
    — A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers
    — Europe in Winter, Dave Hutchinson
    — Occupy Me, Tricia Sullivan
    — Azanian Bridges, Nick Wood

    And even in this case, Nick Wood doesn’t exactly count so far as Pups are concerned; although he is white, he was raised in Zambia and South Africa, is politically active (and states that “One of my main clinical interests is the interface between politics, culture and mental health”), and his nominated novel is an alt-history of South Africa in which apartheid is still in effect.

    Oh, and Chris Beckett is (drum roll please) a social worker! LOL.

    So that’s a grand total of one to three (depending on how you count Wood and Beckett) “standard” white male authors across four major awards.

    Things that make ya go hmmmm.

  6. Torgersen at least has said that TOR manipulates other awards as well (by pushing things through recommendations, etc.: they’ve long since given up any suggestion that the Hugos are actually fraudulent). None of these is a real award voted on by real fans, you see.

  7. @Andrew —

    It’s a global conspiracy! World Domination! The New World Order of SF! LOL.

    (eta — funny how Tor somehow manipulated the British awards into not nominating any Tor books; yet still somehow only three white male authors made it onto the British lists!)

  8. @Contrarius, I thought you meant Yoon Ha Lee’s presence on all three. I’m not sure what it means when I don’t think it’s unusual for people who aren’t white men to dominate awards.

    I don’t remember the last time I’d read more than one of the Clarke short list novels. This time it’s three, although I have only a dim recollection of the Tricia Sullivan book and it wasn’t anywhere on my Hugo ballot.

  9. I’m really shocked (albeit pleased) to see Orbit on that list. It seems a very un-Clarkeian novel to me.

    I read Occupy Me and found it really interesting, but didn’t think that it quite succeeded at what it was trying to do, in terms of feeding clues along the way, at providing a full enough backstory to make the plot comprehensible.

    But if there’s a sequel, I will probably read it just to see where it goes.

  10. Cheryl S.: I don’t remember the last time I’d read more than one of the Clarke short list novels.

    Usually for me it’s also only one or two, and those are often overlap with the Hugo shortlist, and I’m often “meh” on them. I’ve still not read any of the 2008 Clarkes — but interestingly, I read all 6 of the 2014 Clarke finalists and thought 4 of them were great (the other 2 were meh).

    This year I’ve read 5 of 6; DNFed 2 of them, but am going to give the one that’s a Hugo finalist another try. (And it’s very telling that of the 58 novels and 32 novellas I’ve read from 2016, I only DNFed 6 of them.)

  11. Can anyone see a pattern here?

    it’s either

    a) a nefarious plot
    2) white men aren’t good writers
    or
    iii) the pendulum has swung far to one side and will soon be swinging back

    which do YOU think?

  12. for the record I’m rooting for Orbit for all the awards … working my way through Ninefox Gambit and Central Station atm .. neither has (so far) captured me like Becky Chambers.

  13. @clif —

    which do YOU think?

    I’ll take Door #4, Clif.

    Personally, I think that sff and its awards have always tended to reflect the concerns of the day — whether Communism or Nazis or nuclear war or whatever. Right now our biggest social concerns center around issues of diversity and civil rights. It seems to me entirely natural for our sff awards to reflect that concern.

  14. I also am amazed and pleased to see “Orbit” on the list. The Clarke list tends towards the lit’rary and not so much the fun with clear prose. This is the first Clarke list in maybe ever which I’ve actually read/plan to read a lot of them.

    Yoon Ha Lee has cleaned up this year, hasn’t he? Good, I say.

    And that shadowy TOR cabal! Influencing even other countries! Proves it has nothing to do with the U.S. imprint Tor (a tiny subsidiary of McMillan), which doesn’t even distribute in the UK and thus didn’t make the Clarke or BSFA.

    Could the “shadowy cabal” be “everyone who isn’t a SWM, and the SWM who aren’t afraid of non-SWM”? Plus “people who are tired of the same ol’ Nutty Nuggets.” All that would add up to a majority of people.

    (As promised, though, I raise my eyebrow at “Underground Railroad” Guess they had to have something lit’rary and slightly ridiculous.)

    Bets on Christopher Priest having another hissy fit this year?

    Come to think of it, Sir Arthur himself was WM, but not S — and lived much of his life in Sri Lanka.

  15. clif: it’s either
    a) a nefarious plot
    2) white men aren’t good writers
    or
    iii) the pendulum has swung far to one side and will soon be swinging back

    you left off
    •  readers and juries are looking for innovative and new speculative fiction ideas and ways of presenting them, and having not read much written by minorities, they are finding that such works fill that need.

  16. @clif —

    door #4 is merely a version of my number iii) …

    No, actually, it isn’t. But it’s kind of telling that you think so.

  17. @clif: Nope, Contrarius’ Door #4 and JJ’s Door #5 are both quite different from any of your doors. Please see my previous comment for the actual definition of the Cabal.

    I gotta commend the Real Clarke Jury for picking a wider variety of stuff than the Shadow Clarke Jury did.

    I see 2 women and 3 men on the final judge list, though I don’t know their races or sexual orientations. 2 of the men look Really Damn White to me, as one would expect from Britain’s demographics.

  18. No, actually, it isn’t. But it’s kind of telling that you think so.

    the diversity police have arrived! No wrong-thinking here officer! You guys are so predictable.

    so …. women and minority authors have ALWAYS been better more innovative writers? And now the pendulum is where it should always have been? Huh …

    I’m not going to play this game with you guys. Go beat up someone else.

  19. @clif —

    the diversity police have arrived!

    The alternative fact squad has arrived!

    You guys are so predictable.

    LOL.

    Predictably, none of the three of us actually said anything like your claim.

    And if you think you’re being “beat up” on, please feel free to go find a nice safe space for yourself.

  20. so …. women and minority authors have ALWAYS been better more innovative writers?

    That’s not what anyone said at all, but reading comprehension doesn’t appear to be your strong suit.

    I’m not going to play this game with you guys. Go beat up someone else.

    The only one playing games here is you. Perhaps you should go and think on that for a bit.

  21. You’ve all seen War Games, right? And what is the only way to win?

    All of you, be winners now.

  22. @OGH: “Is this about my grade?”

    (Sorry (not very), but that was the favorite line of late friend of mine, and it captures the self-absorption of too many parties.)

  23. I can’t see how anyone can draw conclusions from one year. There will always be outliers. So this year people thought the best works were written by women authors, another year people might think that the best works were written by male authors.

    The only conclusion we can draw is that people read books by women authors and aren’t afraid to nominate them. Which is good enough for me. If we see the same pattern repeated a few years, then we might be able to talk about a pendulum.

  24. @Contrarius You have to go to the BSFA nominees to see any white males

    Lavie Tidhar is on the Clarke shortlist this year and he looks like a white and male to me.

    Basically I am with Hampus – you cannot judge from one year alone which was why I didn’t make too much fuss in 2013 when it was all white men on the Clarke shortlist.

  25. @andyl —

    Lavie Tidhar is on the Clarke shortlist this year and he looks like a white and male to me.

    I didn’t even realize that “Lavie” was male, so that’s a good catch. OTOH, it looks like he fits the “standard” (US conservative standard) white male mold in about the same way that Nick Wood does. Tidhar is an Israeli (raised on a kibbutz) who has lived in South Africa, the UK, Laos, and Vanuatu. So I’m still gonna check the “diversity” box with him.

    I didn’t make too much fuss in 2013 when it was all white men on the Clarke shortlist.

    Ahh, but that was ONE shortlist. I’m talking about the total of FOUR. I’m not gonna go look them all up for that year, but there were three non-WM nominees that year on the Hugo list alone.

  26. JJ on May 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm said:
    I’m really shocked (albeit pleased) to see Orbit on that list. It seems a very un-Clarkeian novel to me.

    A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet was also shortlisted for the Clarke, so there’s some prior recognition in place too.

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