The Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist 2008 – a Round-up Review

Adam Roberts @ 28-04-2008

Wednesday 30th April sees the presentation ceremony for this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award for the best science fiction novel published in 2007. Never short on controversy, this year’s shortlist has generated plenty of discussion and debate – no less for the novels that are missing from it than for those that are present.

It’s Futurismic‘s great privilege to feature this round-up review of the Clarke Award shortlist by noted science fiction novelist, critic and academic Adam Roberts. So settle down with a good big cup of coffee, let Professor Roberts walk you through the shortlist … and then place your bets on the winner in the comments!

The Shortlist:

  • Stephen Baxter, The H-Bomb Girl (Faber 2007)
  • Matthew De Abaitua, The Red Men (Octopus 2007)
  • Sarah Hall, The Carhullan Army (Faber 2007)
  • Stephen Hall, The Raw Shark Texts (Canongate 2007)
  • Ken MacLeod, The Execution Channel (2007)
  • Richard Morgan, Black Man (Gollancz, 2007)

There’s been a deal of pother about this year’s Clarke shortlist, more even than this often-controversial event usually generates. Surprise at the omission of a number of highly regarded titles – we might mention, say, McDonald’s Brasyl and Chabon’s Yiddish Policemen’s Union – fuelled bloggish mutterings about hidden agendas, panderings to Evil Mainstream Lit and a desire to generate Turner Award-style notoriety rather than simply to choose last year’s best SF novel.

The muttering boiled down to a sense that the Clarke judges were liable to corrupt the nation’s youth and ought all to drink hemlock without ado. The question, though. is a simple one: do these six titles constitute a list of the best sf novels published in the UK last year? Continue reading “The Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist 2008 – a Round-up Review”