2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist

30th anniversary logoThe Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature revealed its 30th annual shortlist at the opening ceremony of the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival.

The annual award is presented for the best science fiction novel of the year, and selected by judges from a list of novels whose UK first edition was published in the previous calendar year.

Clarke Award Logo Full

  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Europe at Midnight – Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
  • The Book of Phoenix – Nnedi Okorafor (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Arcadia – Iain Pears (Faber & Faber)
  • Way Down Dark – J.P. Smythe (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Children of Time – Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)

The 6 shortlisted titles were selected from a list of 113 individual eligible submissions, the second highest recorded number in the awards history.

The winner will be announced August 24, and be presented with a cheque for £2016.00 and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend.

The judges for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2016 are:

  • David Gullen, British Science Fiction Association
  • Ian Whates, British Science Fiction Association
  • Liz Bourke, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Andrew McKie, 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.

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.

Members of the judging panel are nominated by supporting organizations, currently the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation and the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival.

 

Pixel Scroll 3/5/16 Confessions of a Wrap Artist

(1) NOW YOU KNOW. People will get a lot of use from Camestros Felapton’s video “Why You Are Wrong”.

All purpose explanation of why you (or whoever) is very wrong.

 

(2) PLAY ALONG AT HOME. Here’s what the judges will be starting with — “The Arthur C. Clarke Award complete submissions list 2016”.

Every year before I announce the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature, I first reveal the complete list of submitted books put forward for consideration.

This year we received 113 books from 41 publishers and publishing imprints, the second highest count for submissions after the record-breaking high of 121 submissions received for our 2014 prize.

To be clear, this is not a long list, but rather a complete list of eligible titles received from publishers who must actively submit titles to our judging panel for consideration. In other words, this is where our judges start from every year.

(3) TRINITY REJECTED. The Clarke longlist inspired Damien G. Walter to comment –

(4) JUMP TO HYPERSPACE STREET. Hollywood’s idea of making something new is to combine two old franchises. ScienceFiction.com explains — “What The–?! Sony Moves Forward With Merging ‘Men In Black’ With ’23 Jump Street’”

In what has to be the craziest news to come along in some time, Sony is looking to merge two of its franchises– ‘Men In Black’ and ’21 Jump Street’.  Director James Bobin (‘The Muppets’, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’) is being courted to direct the film, which will star Channing Tatum (Jenko) and Jonah Hill (Schmidt) who will both also produce.  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed ’21 Jump Street’ and ’22 Jump Street’ but are occupied directing the Han Solo movie for Disney.  The pair will serve as producers, however.

Sony has confirmed that neither Will Smith nor Tommy Lee Jones are being sought for the new film, as the studio hopes to use this installment as a springboard for a new franchise with younger stars.

(5) WHY SQUEEZING TOO HARD DOESN’T WORK. Steve Davidson draws on his intellectual property experience in “Mine! Mine! Mine! ALL Mine!” at Amazing Stories.

Delicately, you want your fans to let you know when you are getting it right and when you are getting it wrong. And if you’re smart, you figure out a way to successfully gauge that response and you use it. If you manage that most of the time, everything is almost always bigger and better and more successful than the last time.

I hear some say “the fans own it!”. Well yes and well no. The fans only own their collective response, but they can make no claim to the property itself. Suppose this P vs A thing totally blows up into open warfare and every Trekker and Trekkie on the entire planet refuses to have anything to do with Star Trek anymore. (Images of mass DVD burnings and the defenestration of action figures.) Paramount* could still create, produce and distribute anything Star Trek they wanted to (and shut down any and every other expression of Trek that isn’t approved), for as long as they wanted to spend the money. Maybe they’ll mine the Chinese audience for several years (decades). Maybe they’ll change the presentation and pick up a whole new audience of fans (Star Trek: Romance).

A few years back, Disney gutted their expanded universe for Star Wars. Part of the reason, I am sure, was to re-exert control over their property. In many respects it was a good way to create a dividing line between things that fans might be allowed to play with and things they weren’t to touch. Individual fans were upset over various decisions made, but it is pretty obvious that the collective response was of acceptance.

(6) DON ANDERSON OBIT. Don Anderson passed away on October 16, 2015. Robert Lichtman says, “In the early 1960s Don was a member of the N3F’s apa.  A search of the Eaton’s fanzine listings shows that he published titles such as Plack, Porp and Cry of the Wild Moose. He joined SAPS with its 199th mailing, April 1997, and remained a member until his death, producing 68 issues of Moose Reducks.”

Wally Weber and Robert Lichtman found the family announcement linked here which includes the information, “Donald was a United States Air Force Veteran who proudly served his country during the Korean War and was a retiree of Eastman Kodak Co.”

(7) GARY HUTZEL OBIT. TrekMovie.com reports

Gary Hutzel, Emmy Award Winning VFX artist known for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has died at age 60.

Hailing originally from Ann Arbor Michigan, Gary Hutzel left his mechanical engineering studies behind to move to Santa Barbara, CA to pursue a career in the film industry. There he studied photography at the Brooks Institute and subsequently began his motion picture career working as a video camera operator, which sparked his interest in visual effects. His early VFX work was as a freelancer on CBS’s The Twilight Zone, a gig that got him noticed by the team putting together the then Star Trek reboot, The Next Generation.

Hired to work on Trek in 1987, Hutzel lead visual effects for The Next Generation for the first five seasons of its run. After the end of TNG’s fifth season, Hutzel and VFX colleague Robert Legato transferred to the new Star Trek show on the block, Deep Space Nine, which Hutzel worked on for its entire run. One of his most notable contributions to DS9 is his work on the episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” in which Hutzel oversaw the integration of footage from the Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” into the freshly shot DS9 footage.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 5, 1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon has its world premiere.

Creature from the black lagoon poster

  • March 5, 1963 — The Hoola Hoop is patented.

(9) KEN LIU’S CALENDAR. Here’s where you’ll find Ken Liu in April:

  • Waterford Public Library, 4/2/2016, Waterford, CT. Reading at 2:00 PM.
  • The Library of Congress, 4/8/2016, Washington, DC.
  • The University of Maryland, 4/8/2016.
  • Thomas Kang Lecture. I’ll be speaking with Professor Christopher Bolton of Williams College as the headliners: “Silkpunk, Technologized Bodies, and Translation: Cases in Chinese, Japanese and American Popular Culture.”
  • Arkansas Literary Festival, 4/15-4/17, Little Rock, Arkansas.

(10) BENFORD ON THE ROAD. Gregory Benford sat for a photo while in Nashville for a signing on March 3.

(11) FREE AIN’T CHEAP. Mark Lawrence crunches the numbers in “The cost of promotion!”

The bottom line is that it’s very hard to know what to do with the ‘free’ books a publisher sends you. Sending them out into the world is the natural thing to do – but it’s going to cost you 100s of $$$ and may very well not generate anything like enough sales to justify the cost.

(12) MEH POWER.

(13) WHO YA GONNA CALL LATER? At Entertainment Weekly, “The painful what-if that haunts ‘Ghostbuster’ Ernie Hudson”.

The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking.

The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.

I’m panicked. I don’t sleep that night. It was like my worst nightmare is happening. The next morning, I rush to the set and plead my case. And Ivan basically says, “The studio felt that they had Bill Murray, so they wanted to give him more stuff to do.” I go, “Okay, I understand that, but can I even be there when they’re established?” And of course, he said no, there’s nothing to do about it. It was kind of awkward, and it became sort of the elephant in the room.

I see this differently now—and I don’t mean any kind of animosity or anything towards anyone, certainly not towards Ivan or the guys. I was a single dad, and we were struggling to kind of hold on and pay the rent. I still needed to do this job. 30 years later, I look back at the movie and it works very well the way it is. I think the character works with what he has to work with. But I’ve always felt like, “Man, if I could’ve played that original character…”

(14) STARTING TO COUNT. Brandon Kempner at Chaos Horizon dips his toe in “The 2016 SFF Awards Meta-List”.

In 2016, 4 different awards have already announced their nominees: the Philip K. Dick, the British Science Fiction Association Awards (BSFA), the Kitschies, and the Nebulas. Not a lot so far, but has anyone emerged as an early leader? Here’s the list of everyone who has gotten more than one nomination:

Europe at Midnight, Dave Hutchinson (2 nominations, Kitschies, BSFA)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (2 nominations, Nebulas, Kistschies)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Will R., JJ, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day, the stunning and versatile Will R.]

2015 Arthur C. Clarke Awards

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation will present its annual awards at a ceremony on October 28 at the Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center in Alexandria, CA.

The 2015 award winners are:

Arthur C. Clarke Innovator Award
wyler_inviteGreg Wyler
Founder of both OneWeb and O3b

Arthur C. Clarke Imagination in Service to Society Award

atwood_inviteMargaret Atwood
Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist

Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award
skunkworks_invite-blueLockheed Martin’s Skunk Works
A widely recognized leader in technology innovation and development

2015 Clarke Award Winner

The winner of the 2015 Clarke Award is Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel (Picador).

The judging panel for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2015 was:

  • 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 festivalThe winner receives a £2015.00 prize and a commemorative engraved bookend.
  • Andrew M. Butler represents the Arthur C. Clarke Award in a non-voting role as the Chair of the Judges.

2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award Finalists

The six shortlisted books for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best sf novel published in 2014 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)

The finalists were selected from a list of 107 individual eligible submissions.

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.

The winner will be presented with a £2015.00 prize and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend, at a ceremony in London on May 6.

2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner

Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice has won the 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award. The news was announced at the SCI-FI LONDON Film Festival on May 1. Leckie received £2014 of prize money and a commemorative bookend.

The selection was made by a panel of judges composed of chair Andrew M. Butler, Duncan Lawie and Ian Whates for the British Science Fiction Association, Sarah Brown and Lesley Hall for the Science Fiction Foundation, and Georgie Knight for SCI-FI-LONDON. The awards director is Tom Hunter.

[Via Locus Online.]

2014 Clarke Award Shortlist

The six finalists for the 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award are:

  • God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Del Rey UK)
  • Ancillary Justice, Anne Leckie (Orbit)
  • The Disestablishment of Paradise, Phillip Mann (Gollancz)
  • Nexus, Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
  • The Adjacent, Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
  • The Machine, James Smythe (Blue Door)

The panel of judges is chaired by Andrew M. Butler and consists of Duncan Lawie and Ian Whates for the British Science Fiction Association, Sarah Brown and Lesley Hall for the Science Fiction Foundation, and Georgie Knight for SCI-FI-LONDON. Awards director is Tom Hunter.

The winner will receive £2014 of prize money and a commemorative bookend. The winner will be announced May 1 in London.

The Clarke Award has been beset by controversy for the past two years. In 2012, Christopher Priest called the shortlist “dreadful”. In 2013, the absence of women among the finalists attracted a great deal of criticism. This year with Priest and two women among the nominees, the shortlist may enjoy smoother sailing.

Last year’s kerfuffle has led the Clarke Award administrators to publicly list of works submitted for consideration and the inevitable statistical analysis was included in The Guardian’s coverage:

The books were selected from 121 submissions, which were made public by the award following controversy around last year’s all-male shortlist. This year, said director Tom Hunter, 34 books were submitted by female writers, a ratio of “approximately one in four, [of which] one in three made it through to the discussion list of 30 titles from which the judges made their final selection today”. This ratio “carried through into the final six shortlisted titles, two of which are by new female authors,” said Hunter.

Beckett Wins Clarke Award

Chris Beckett’s novel Dark Eden has won the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The winner was announced May 1 at a Royal Society event innew-logo-2013 London, and introduced by a panel on near-future science chaired by editor-in-chief of SFX Magazine, Dave Bradley, Professor Ian Stewart FRS, Professor Shelia Rowan, Rachel Armstrong, and Adrian Hon. A full video of the evening can be watched on the Royal Society’s website here.

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is given for the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year. The award was established with a grant given by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and the first prize was awarded in 1987 to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

The book is chosen by a panel of judges invited from the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation and the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival. This year’s judging panel was composed of Juliet E McKenna, British Science Fiction Association, Ruth O’Reilly, British Science Fiction Association, Nickianne Moody, Science Fiction Foundation, Liz Williams, Science Fiction Foundation, and Robert Grant, SCI-FI-LONDON film festival.

The winner receives a prize consisting of a number of pounds sterling equal to the current year (£2013 for year 2013).

Presenting the award, Ian Stewart FRS, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, commented:

It’s no surprise that science fiction has been influenced by science, but there is a good case to be made that sometimes science is influenced by science fiction. Fiction can sometimes stimulate the imagination in a way that dry facts cannot. Ideas that first appeared as fiction can become fact, and scientists who read SF when they were young can be motivated, perhaps subconsciously, to work in areas or on problems related to the SF stories.

2013 Clarke Award Shortlist

The six finalists for the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year 2013 are:

Nod by Adrian Barnes (Bluemoose)
Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (Corvus)
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (William Heinemann)
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Headline)
Intrusion by Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)

They were selected from among 82 individual eligible submissions, first published in the UK in 2012, by the judging panel for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award:

  • Juliet E McKenna, British Science Fiction Association
  • Ruth O’Reilly, British Science Fiction Association
  • Nickianne Moody, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Liz Williams, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Robert Grant, SCI-FI-LONDON film festival

The winner will be announced May 1 during the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival. The winning author will receive a cheque for £2013.00 and a commemorative engraved bookend.

The mostly-female judging panel coincidentally selected six books by male authors, a decision The Guardian’s Alison Flood critcized and judge Liz Williams defended in an essay — also for The Guardian titled “Why this feminist chose an all-male Clarke prize shortlist.”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Priest’s KTF Review of Clarke Shortlist

Christopher Priest does not like the Arthur C. Clarke Award nominees. Despite teeing off in a style reminiscent of Spinrad, his arguments are as easily understood as Seuss: Priest thinks these picks are mostly wrong. He thinks the books are not too strong. He says throw this shortlist in the trash. He would not give these books the cash.

The Arthur C. Clarke Award goes to the best sf novel first published in the UK during the previous year, as chosen by a panel of judges from the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation and (this time around) the SCI-FI LONDON film festival.

Priest complains:

We have a dreadful shortlist put together by a set of judges who were not fit for purpose. They were incompetent. Their incompetence was made more problematical because the overall quality of the fiction in the year in question was poor. They did not know how to resolve this. They played what they saw as safe.

They failed themselves, they failed the Clarke Award, and they failed anyone who takes a serious interest in speculative fiction.

Priest says he’s dismayed that several quality books didn’t make the list, and sketches the defects of the actual choices. It makes entertaining reading so long as you’re not the author of one of the books involved. (And even then, judging from Charles Stross’ reaction, which was to issue a commemorative t-shirt.)

Priest’s 5-point plan for averting a travesty is:

1. The present panel of judges should be fired, or forced to resign, immediately. Their names are Juliet E. McKenna, Martin Lewis, Phil Nanson, Nikkianne Moody and Rob Grant. Chairman Andrew M. Butler should also resign. These people have proved themselves incompetent as judges, and should not be allowed to have any more say about or influence on the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
2. The 2012 Arthur C. Clarke Award should be suspended forthwith, and the planned awards ceremony on 2nd May should be cancelled.
3. The award fund (£2,012.00, as I understand it) should be held over until next year. Next year’s fund should be added to it, so that the prize for 2013 becomes £4,013.00.
4. The 2013 Clarke Award should be made to the best novel published in the two years ended 31st December 2012. All novels currently eligible for the 2012 award, whether or not they have been shortlisted by this year’s panel, are eligible again.
5. All the other usual rules of the Award should be applied.

Bloggers are weighing in, beginning with the dean, John Scalzi, who says he was able to read many of these novels without holding his nose:

[I] believe that if Embassytown is China Mieville underachieving, we should all slack as well as he. But of course that’s my point, and in any event it’s a rare nomination slate for any literary award that does not have someone railing against it as a parade of mediocrities, or worse.

In contrast to Scalzi’s light touch, Damien G. Walter of the Guardian decided Priest’s personal tone needed to be reciprocated in spades. Unfortunately, Walter merely indulged in pseudo-psychological slurs like the following, code for Priest is old:

First the New Wave, then wave after wave of SF writers have swept past Christopher Priest. Many of them far less intelligent. Most of them far less educated in the field of SF. And now, just when Priest might have expected to be acclaimed as an elder statesman of the genre, another wave of writers have taken the limelight instead.

Maybe it’s being a fanzine fan has made me touchy about that kind of thing, but darned if Walter didn’t leave me almost feeling sorry for Priest, and having read a lot of Priest’s rants over the years (here let me borrow Ben Bradlee’s line) I didn’t think that was possible.

[Thanks to James Bacon for Priest’s post and Ansible Links for the responses.]

Update 03/30/2012: Corrected the affiliation of one Clarke judge per Mark Plummer’s comment.