Arthur C. Clarke Award 2010: The shortlist

The shortlist of the 2010 Clarke Award (for the best science fiction novel published in the UK in 2009) has been announced. The six nominees are:

Gwyneth Jones, Spirit

China Miéville, The City & the City

Adam Roberts, Yellow Blue Tibia

Kim Stanley Robinson, Galileo’s Dream

Marcel Theroux, Far North

Chris Wooding, Retribution Falls

This is an interesting mix of books. I plan to read and review the entire shortlist (I’ve read three already; reviews are linked above, as will the others be), so I’ll have more to say as time goes on, but here’s an initial reaction:

The book I’m most pleased to see on there is Yellow Blue Tibia.  It has met with mixed reactions, but I found it a stunning read. The City & the City is a novel which has generated much debate, and is very much open to interpretation (perhaps more so than any of Miéville’s previous works); I like it, but I don’t think it quite works. I didn’t like Galileo’s Dream as much, but I know there’s more to it than I was able to see.

As for the three books I’ve not read: I had a feeling that Spirit might make the shortlist, as I’ve heard some very good things about it. I don’t know much about the other two titles: I’ve read one of Chris Wooding’s previous books , and thought it good (albeit not great), but I’ve not read Marcel Theroux at all.

Overall, from what I know of these six books, I would say this a nicely varied list — varied in terms of settings, types of sf, and approaches, and in the mixture of well-known and lesser-known names. I look forward to reading the complete shortlist, and finding out who will win.

UPDATE, 26th Apr: Round-up post

Second UPDATE, 29th Apr: The winner

5 Comments

  1. It strikes me as a shortlist that values voice: three first-person novels, one that plays games with its narrator, and one of the third-person books has a very distinctive style.

    (Tangentially, I liked The Fade a lot.)

  2. David Hebblethwaite

    31st March 2010 at 11:51 am

    Yes, I can see what you mean by that from the books I’ve read (all the first-person ones). Now I’m intrigued to find out which third-person novel has the “very distinctive style”, and what’s distinctive about it…

  3. Sorry, I was counting Galileo’s Dream as the game-playing one (since revealing that there’s a narrator at all is a minor spoiler) — Theroux is the third first-person one I was thinking of.

  4. David Hebblethwaite

    31st March 2010 at 11:57 am

    Ah. I was misremembering Galileo’s Dream there. I know you’ve read at least four of these; have you read all six, then?

  5. All except Spirit, but based on having dipped into it, and having read other Jones, that’s the one I was thinking of for voice.

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