The shortlist for the 2009 Arthur C.Clarke Award (given to a science fiction novel published in the UK during the previous year) has been announced:

Ian R. MacLeod, Song of Time

Paul McAuley, The Quiet War

Alastair Reynolds, House of Suns

Neal Stephenson, Anathem

Sheri S. Tepper, The Margarets

Mark Wernham, Martin Martin’s on the Other Side

I had it in mind to blog about this year’s shortlist, though I’m a little put off by the great length of some of these tomes. I’ll see how far I get, and the titles above will turn into links as I post about the books.

I am not widely read enough to be able to jusge whether these six novels represent the best science fiction of 2008 (though I have read two books from last year — one of which I have yet to post about — that I felt would be good nominees, and both are absent), and have read precisely none of the shortlisted books. But this strikes me as a shortlist which is very much weighted towards the ‘traditional’ end of the SF spectrum, in the sense that five of the books are by ‘name’ SF authors, with only the Werhnam a ‘non-genre’ choice. (The novels themselves may be far from ‘traditional’ SF; I haven’t read them yet, so I don’t know.)

The winner of the Clarke Award will be announced on 29 April. I may not get all six read by then, but I’ll have a good go at it. Stay tuned!