The 2010 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist

So. This year’s judges — for the British Science Fiction Association, Chris Hill and Jon Courtenay Grimwood; for the Science Fiction Foundation, Rhiannon Lassiter and Francis Spufford; and for SF Crowsnest.com Paul Skevington — have deliberated and decided. Forty-one titles have become six. Among the six nominees for this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award there are two previous winners, and two first-timers; five Brits and five men. Two of the novels also appear on this year’s BSFA Best Novel Award shortlist. Settings range from seventeenth-century Italy to twentieth-century Russia to worlds distant in time and space: which is the sort of variety you want from a science fiction award, isn’t it?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 28th April, at a ceremony held on the opening night of the Sci-Fi London film festival. Get reading!

Spirit by Gwyneth Jones (Gollancz)

Reviewed by Paul Kincaid, for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Dan Hartland, for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Karen Joy Fowler, for The Guardian
Reviewed by Nic Clarke, for SFX
Reviewed by Lisa Tuttle, for The Times
Reviewed by Duncan Lawie, for The Zone
Reviewed by Cheryl Morgan
Reviewed by Ian Sales
Reviewed by Amanda at Floor-to-Ceiling books

The City & The City by China Mieville (Macmillan)

Reviewed by Michael Moorcock for The Guardian
Reviewed by Dan Hartland, for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Robert Hanks for The Telegraph
Reviewed by Andrew McKie for The Spectator
Reviewed by Martin Lewis for The SF Site
Reviewed by Thomas M Wagner for SF Reviews.net
Reviewed by Helen Zaltzman for The Observer
Revieed by Eric Gregory for IROSF
Reviewed by Abigail Nussbaum
Reviewed by Adam Roberts
Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Reviewed by Amanda at Floor-to-Ceiling books
Discussion between Dan Hartland and Niall Harrison

Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)

Reviewed by John Clute for Sci-Fi Wire
Reviewed by Abigail Nussbaum and Michael Froggatt for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Dan Hartland, for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Nic Clarke at Eve’s Alexandria
Reviewed by Adrienne Martini for Locus
Reviewed by Eric Brown for The Guardian
Reviewed by Lisa Tuttle for The Times
Reviewed by Adam Whitehead
Reviewed by Catherynne M Valente
Reviewed by Rich Puchalsky
Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Reviewed by Cheryl Morgan
Reviewed by Shigekuni
Reviewed by Amanda at Floor-to-Ceiling books
Reviewed by Niall Harrison

Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperVoyager)

Reviewed by John Clute for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Dan Hartland for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Adam Roberts for The Guardian
Reviewed by Roz Kaveney for The Independent
Reviewed by Robin Durie for ReadySteadyBook
Reviewed by Paul di Filippo for Barnes & Noble review
Reviewed by Greg L Johnson for the SF Site
Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Reviewed by Amanda at Floor-to-Ceiling Books

Far North by Marcel Theroux (Faber & Faber)

Reviewed by M John Harrison for The Guardian
Reviewed by Dan Hartland for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Lydia Millet for the Washington Post
Reviewed by Brandon Robshaw for The Independent
Reviewed by Jonathan McCalmont for The Zone
Reviewed by Tim Martin for The Telegraph
Reviewed by Jeff VanderMeer for The New York Times
Reviewed by Nic Clarke at Eve’s Alexandria
Reviewed by Niall Harrison for IROSF
Reviewed by Shigekuni
Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Reviewed by Amanda at Floor-to-Ceiling books

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (Gollancz)

Reviewed by Michael Levy for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Dan Hartland for Strange Horizons
Reviewed by Eric Brown for The Guardian
Reviewed by Nic Clarke at Eve’s Alexandria
Reviewed by Alice at Sandstorm Reviews
Reviewed by Adam Whitehead at The Wertzone
Reviewed by Simon Appleby at the Bookgeeks
Reviewed by Joe Abercrombie
Reviewed by Tamaranth
Reviewed by Amanda at Floor-to-Ceiling books
Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Reviewed by Niall Harrison

Miscellany
Initial reactions
The trouble with shortlists by Tom Hunter
What do we mean by “best”?
Shortlist overview by David Hebblethwaite
Shortlist overview by Amanda at Floor-to-Ceiling Books
Shortlist overview by Niall Harrison
A poll

Previous shortlist roundups
2009
2008
2007

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31 Responses to “The 2010 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist”

  1. Jonathan McCalmont Says:

    Ooooooh… I haven’t read four of those!

    Nice to see Roberts get a nod and a cowboy novel!!

  2. iansales Says:

    That’s a good shortlist.

  3. iansales Says:

    Um, just had a quick look of my review of Spirit. I predicted it would appear on the BSFA shortlist, but not the Clarke. I got that wrong…

  4. Niall Says:

    Yeah, I could’ve told you you got that the wrong way round! She appears on the Clarke list with much greater frequency.

    It does strike me as a good list, to the point where (from the outside) I think five of six look like really credible winners — which hasn’t happened since, what, 2003? (Apologies go to Retribution Falls, which is a perfectly fine and fun book, but looks like the outsider in this company.)

  5. Tony Cullen Says:

    I can’t – of course – agree with all the choices, but I gotta love the variety and the readability. Well done to the judges.

  6. Shigekuni Says:

    I’ve also reviewed “far North” http://shigekuni.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/and-voila-marcel-theroux-far-north/

    Just sayin’. Nice Shortlist.

  7. Niall Says:

    Thanks! I’ve added it to the roundup.

  8. David H Says:

    Yep, I’d agree: this seems a nicely varied shortlist. Although I don’t like the three I’ve read equally, neither would I quibble with any of their being on the shortlist, and I could see any of the three winning.

    Of the others, Retribution Falls is the only one that it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to read (though, of course, I’ll be doing so now). So, a strong selection, I’d say.

    One thing, though, Niall: surely there are five Brits on the list, not four?

  9. Niall Says:

    Yes. I can’t count early in the morning, apparently.

  10. Roll Them Bones « Everything Is Nice Says:

    [...] a comment » So the Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist is out and my quick and dirty guess was pretty good, predicting four of the six. As with last year, [...]

  11. Patrick H Says:

    I was really expecting Moxyland to make the cut – it had the same kind of size and shape as The Red Men or Martin Martin’s On the Other Side. Plus, I was all set to read it in preparation but I’m gonna have to stick it on The Pile now and grab one of the others.

    The three I’ve read – Spirit, YBT, The City & The City – are all deserving entries, but out of them I’d pick… er, wait, is it considered gauche to make these predictions? Well, I’ll just breezily say that they all deserve to win, which isn’t far from the truth.

  12. Science Fiction Awards Watch » Blog Archive » Clarke Award Short List Says:

    [...] selection of reviews of the short-listed novels is available at Torque [...]

  13. Niall Says:

    is it considered gauche to make these predictions

    Quite the opposite, strongly encouraged. :-) See, for example, Martin’s odds, in the trackback above … I think he underestimates Far North‘s chances, personally. Speaking hyperbolically, I hope for KSR, fear Mieville, and calculate that Theroux might snag it.

  14. Martin Says:

    My feeling is that both KSR and Theroux fall into the workhorse category of highly respectable shortlist novels that lack that certain je ne sais qua that bumps them up into contention. He says, having read neither.

  15. Niall Says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion they will both re-read well (partly because in a perfect world I would like to re-read them both at some point; I don’t feel I got the full measure of either book first time around). And I don’t know how well Mieville will re-read.

  16. Niall Says:

    SFFMeta scores:

    The City & The City: 84
    Retribution Falls: 79
    Galileo’s Dream: 72
    Spirit: 70
    Yellow Blue Tibia: 70
    Far North: 60

  17. Patrick H Says:

    Ah, well then, since I won’t be passing the port the wrong way round the table or anything, I’d say Martin’s odds look right to me. (Without having read half the list, mind.)

  18. kev mcveigh Says:

    I had thought I was behind on Clarke reading this year, but in fact I’ve read four of six, which pleases me. I’ve not read enough to say what might have made the list, but I can say that I hope Mieville doesn’t win. The City & The City is bold and ambitious but seriously flawed. I’m tempted to say that ultimately its not ambitious enough and that there’s a hesitancy in the prose that defeats true suspension of disbelief. The first person narrative is a mistake in this case.
    YBT is also ambitious and imaginative but uneven, sagging in the middle too much for me. I kept thinking, perhaps unfairly, that it was supposed to be funnier than I found it.
    Like Niall, I need to reread Galileo’s Dream, but Ksr matches anyone for ambition and I think maintains style as well as substance better than most.
    And hopefully I’ll finish Spirit tomorrow. .. but so far its second to Robinson on my list.

  19. Paul Kincaid Says:

    Of the four I’ve read so far:
    Spirit falls apart at the end, where she most diverges from The Count of Monte Christo;
    The City and the City is ambitious in its ideas (and, Niall, of all of them it’s the one I would most enjoy and value re-reading),but the plotting is rather predictable;
    Yellow Blue Tibia is full of unconvincing characters who talk without ever listening, so I ended upnot believing a word of it; and
    Galileo’s Dream is a superb historical novel but (despite the obvious references to Kepler’s Somnium) very thin science fiction.

    So, as is always the case with the Clarke, the final choice s probably going to come down to which failings are least irritating.

  20. Clarke Comment « Torque Control Says:

    [...] The 2010 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist [...]

  21. Tom Hunter Says:

    Ah, finally some controversy for my genre teacup?

    Award administrators past and present to square off?

    Mr Kincaid, sir, I agree with your above statement that the final choice probably coming to come down to which book’s failings are the least irritating not one single little bit.

    Have at you :-)

  22. Liviu Says:

    I am very happy Spirit and Yellow Blue Tibia made the shortlist, while I loved Retribution Falls too; I read 5/6 and browsed enough the 6 to comment so:

    1: Spirit – just superb and while the Monte Cristo theme is there, I would not push it that much since a lot of the novel is a coming of age story in a great imagined universe, then an alien planet adventure that goes bad and then the Monte Cristo-like stuff

    2: Yellow Blue Tibia – while the sfnal part is light overall, the sense of the USSR 1986 is pitch perfect (and I was living next door then so I know first hand how it was, lots of jokes and gags there are straight from my recollections of the time) and I just enjoyed it enormously

    3: Retribution Falls – more fantasy than sf and an end to end adventure that makes you laugh out loud and do not want to put down; if you want such you hardly can do better, but on the other hand do not expect more either

    4: Far North – liked it but was not impressed; I read better post-apocalyptic novels and the last part with the Strugatsky Brothers overtones was unconvincing; ticks all the right ideological points like The Rapture, but that does not make a great novel

    5: City/City – half of a great novel, run of the mill crime fiction (which I dislike profoundly) in the other half

    6: Galileo’s Dream – another example of why the literary critics dismiss a lot of what is presented as “serious” sf since it has pedestrian and boring prose without the qualities that make sf great, like sense of wonder or panache

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