Guess-the-Arthur-C-Clarke-Award-Shortlist Contest Winner

At long, long last, SCI-FI London begins today, the winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award will be announced on Wednesday, and we have a winner for the Guess-the-Clarke Shortlist contest!

Thanks to the generosity of the Clarke Award, the winner will receive a copy of every book on the shortlist.

Three entries, submitted by Nicholas Whyte, Duncan Lawie, and Kenny Lucius, tied for first place, with four correct guesses each. For comparative purposes, I note that all three correctly guessed Embassytown and Rule 34.

Contest judge Tom Hunter has drawn the winning name from the hat… and the winner is Duncan Lawie!

2012 Clarke Award Contest Update

If entrants into the 2012 Guess-the-Clarke Award shortlist contest were voters, only half of the actual shortlist would have made the cut: Embassytown, The Testament of Jessie Lamb, and Rule 34.

Here are the six books which received the most guesses among all the books on the submissions list which were not on the shortlist:
By Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS)
Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic)
Savage City by Sophia McDougall (Gollancz)
Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod (PS)

Six people guessed that The End Specialist would be on the shortlist; four guessed Hull Zero Three would be on it; and Amanda and John clearly have special insight or instincts, as they were the only two people who guessed that Sheri Tepper’s The Waters Rising would make it.

Forty-four people submitted valid entries to the contest, of which only two failed to guess any of the books which the jury chose for the shortlist. Thirteen people correctly guessed one book, sixteen guessed two books, and a very respectable ten people guessed half of the shortlist correctly.

Three people tied for guessing most the shortlist, with four correct guesses each. Which one will formally win the contest and its prizes? That will depend on Tom Hunter, the Clarke Award director. We’ll let you know shortly.

Meanwhile, the discussion about the award which began with the release of the submissions list and the contest continues with various posts and articles. (Here’s Abigail Nussbaum’s roundup of critical reviews of the books.)

If you’re going to be at Eastercon, you can participate in the conversation in person (in addition to online before and after that!) at the SFF’s Not the Clarke Award panel at 17:30 on Saturday, of which Maureen Kincaid Speller has written, “Clearly, *the* panel to go to at Eastercon will be the Not the Clarke Award panel. Hope it’s in a decent-sized room.” Come join the crowd and the conversation.

Updates: Guess the Clarke shortlist, BSFA Awards, Spirit

It’s been an exciting week, with the guesses coming in as to what will be on this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist.

In posting her guesses to her blog as to what books might be on that shortlist, Nina Allan wrote,

What matters most about the Clarke is not who wins, but that it acts as a showcase for what is happening in SF now. As such, I believe it should take a pride in presenting writers who are prepared to risk themselves intellectually, stretch themselves imaginatively and hone their skills as writers to produce works of artistic originality and lasting literary power.

It is certainly not clear exactly which six books will be on the shortlist for this year’s, but every guess in the contest (ongoing until Sunday) is a contribution toward the wider discussion of “what is happening in SF now”.

What impresses me in particular about this year’s guesses so far is how wide-ranging they are. About two-thirds of the submitted books have appeared on one or more possible lists so far. It’s entirely possible that one or more of the currently unguessed books will be on that shortlist. Last year, only one person correctly guessed that Declare would be on it, after all.

For those of you who haven’t already entered the contest (and those of you thinking about the state of SF today), here are the currently unguessed-at books for your consideration:

Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers (Solaris)
Novahead by Steve Aylett (Scar Garden)
Sequence by Adrian Dawson (Last Passage)
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (Canongate)
Gods of Manhattan by Al Ewing (Abaddon Books)
Final Days by Gary Gibson (Tor UK)
Heaven’s Shadow by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt (Tor UK)
The Ironclad Prophecy by Pat Kelleher (Abaddon Books)
Shift by Tim Kring and Dale Peck (Bantam)
Echo City by Tim Lebbon (Orbit)
Nemonymous Nights by D.F. Lewis (Chomu Books)
The Age of Odin by James Lovegrove (Solaris)
The Shadow of the Soul by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz)
The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky (Hodder and Stoughton)
Here Comes The Nice by Jeremy Reed (Chomu Books)
The Demi Monde: Winter by Rod Rees (Jo Fletcher Books)
War in Heaven by Gavin Smith (Gollancz)
The Noise Revealed by Ian Whates (Solaris)
Son of Heaven by David Wingrove (Corvus)

The contest is open for entries until this coming Sunday night, 11th March, at 23:59 GMT.

The Clarke Award isn’t the only thing going on right now. Hopefully, many of you are busy reading and examining the shortlists for the BSFA Awards, which will be announced on the Sunday of Eastercon this year. Forbidden Planet is offering discounts on all the novels on the shortlist. Also, the BSFA Awards short story booklet is on track to go out with the next mailing.

Finally, we never quite finished discussing all of the books we had planned to last year, here on Torque Control. We’ll be filling in those gaps this year, starting with Gwyneth Jones’ Spirit, toward the end of March.

2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Submissions

At long last, the submissions list for the 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award is out!

Torque Control and the BSFA are again delighted to be hosting a competition in conjunction with the release of the submissions list, to guess the short list. The winner will received copies of all the shortlisted books, due to be announced at the end of March. For full details – and to enter the contest – see the separate contest details post.

This year, the five members of the jury read 60 books from 25 imprints in order to narrow it down to whatever their shortlist is going to be. That’s slightly greater participation – and slightly more work for the jury – than last year, when 54 novels were submitted by 22 imprints.

Submissions include four past winners (Ian R. MacLeod, China Miéville, Christopher Priest and Neal Stephenson) as well as ten authors who have previously been shortlisted (Stephen Baxter, Greg Bear, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, James Lovegrove, Adam Roberts, Justina Robson, Sherri S. Tepper, Charles Stross, Connie Willis and Chris Wooding).

Note that this is a submissions list, of the books submitted by their imprints, for consideration by the judges. It is a not a longlist.

Embedded by Dan Abnett (Angry Robot)
Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers (Solaris)
The Departure by Neal Asher (Tor UK)
Novahead by Steve Aylett (Scar Garden)
Bronze Summer by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear (Gollancz)
The Kings of Eternity by Eric Brown (Solaris)
The Great Lover by Michael Cisco (Chomu Books)
Random Walk by Alexandra Claire (Gomer)
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (Orbit)
Sequence by Adrian Dawson (Last Passage)
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (Canongate)
The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan (Gollancz)
Gods of Manhattan by Al Ewing (Abaddon Books)
Bringer of Light by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz)
Final Days by Gary Gibson (Tor UK)
Heaven’s Shadow by David S. Goyer&Michael Cassutt (Tor UK)
The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Orbit)
The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman (Michael Joseph)
Dead Water by Simon Ings (Corvus)
The Ironclad Prophecy by Pat Kelleher (Abaddon Books)
11.22.63 by StephenKing (Hodder and Stoughton)
Shift by Tim Kring and Dale Peck (Bantam)
Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin-Smith (NewconPress)
Echo City by Tim Lebbon (Orbit)
Nemonymous Nights by D.F. Lewis (Chomu Books)
The Age of Odin by JamesLovegrove (Solaris)
Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod (PS)
The End Specialist by Drew Magary (HarperVoyager)
Germline by T.C. McCarthy (Orbit)
Savage City by Sophia McDougall (Gollancz)
Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
Equations of Life by Simon Morden (Orbit)
Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (Picador)
Hell Ship by Philip Palmer (Orbit)
The Shadow of the Soul by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz)
The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky (Hodder and Stoughton)
The Recollection by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris)
The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
Here Comes The Nice by Jeremy Reed (Chomu Books)
The Demi Monde: Winter by Rod Rees (Jo Fletcher Books)
by Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
Down to the Bone by Justina Robson (Gollancz)
The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone)
Regicide by Nicholas Royle (Solaris)
Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer (Gollancz)
War in Heaven by Gavin Smith (Gollancz)
Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic)
Rule 34 by Charles Stross (Orbit)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Hodder and Stoughton)
The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper (Gollancz)
Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS)
Dust by Joan Frances Turner (Berkley UK)
The Noise Revealed by Ian Whates (Solaris)
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (Harvill Secker)
All Clear by Connie Willis (Gollancz)
Blackout by Connie Willis (Gollancz)
Son of Heaven by David Wingrove (Corvus)
The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood (Picador)
The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding (Gollancz)

The shortlist will be announced in late March, and the 2012 Clarke Award winner on Wednesday, May 2nd, at the SCI-FI London Film Festival. The winner will receive a cash prize of £2012 and a commemorative trophy bookend.

What do you think of the submissions list? Any titles you wish were under consideration for this year’s Clarke Award but aren’t?

If you’d like to guess and potentially win the award’s shortlist this year, see the contest details post. Guesses posted in the comments to this post may be good for conversation, but won’t be eligible entries for the contest.

Maul – What is reality?

(Sorry for the delay.)

Cheryl Morgan and Justina Robson both seem to think that readers in the UK need to have the pun in the title of what Tricia Sullivan, probably rightly, regards as her best novel, explained to them, on the grounds that the pronunciation of “mall” that is the same as “maul” might be unfamiliar this side of the Atlantic. I don’t know about that. By 2003 most Britons, I would have thought, would be well-exposed to many items of American culture that took place at least partly in malls (the movie Clueless comes to mind). I would expect most people were perfectly familiar with that pronunciation, perhaps even more so than with the short-a version that is most commonly encountered in the road that leads to Buckingham Palace. The title certainly never threw me.

That absorption of American culture is perhaps key to the novel’s success in the UK, where it was nominated for both the BSFA and Clarke Awards. The present-day strand is set in a world that is only slightly distant from that experienced by the British reader, who could experience a similar environment (if perhaps less dangerous) not far from where they lived (Lakeside opened in 1988, Gateshead MetroCentre in 1986; Bristol’s Cribb’s Causeway even calls itself “The Mall”). And anyone who remembered the James Bulger killing would know that bad things could happen in places like this.

But the mall/maul strand is only one of the strands of this novel. It is paralleled by a far future strand, where men have been mostly wiped out by genetically-engineered plagues that attack the Y chromosomes, and leave men dead or desexualised. The science, as Sullivan herself says, is “pure fudge”, but it does its job, and creates a society almost entirely dominated by women. I want to discuss the gender issues in the second post – for now, I want to stick with the strands, and their relationship to one another. When I first read this novel, I was immediately reminded of M. John Harrison’s Light, which similarly blends present and future strands. But what is the nature of the relationship between the two strands in Maul?

It is rapidly apparent that there is one. In the future, Meniscus, a clone, is a living experiment, treated as not much better than a lab rat. He is, however, given a game, Mall, into which he can retreat to save what remains of his sanity (this was when virtual reality was still quite new – Second Life was launched in 2003, and only later became so passé that it could feature in both CSI and Law & Order).  In the mall strand, the culture Meniscus has most recently been infected with, 10E, turns up as online video artist 10Esha (this latter characterisation is later echoed by FallN in Sullivan’s most recent novel, Lightborn).  But does this mean that the mall has no reality?  Robson certainly thinks so:

“this world, the book’s ‘reality’, is a virtual simulation being run inside a human being from some alternative reality.”

The novel itself might also suggest that.  The first person narrator of the mall section, Sun Katz, tells us at one point “I have this weird conviction there will be no tomorrow”.  Morgan and Adam Roberts are more circumspect. The both talk of the mall strand being a metaphorical representation of the Meniscus strand.

But the novel begins and ends with Sun, not with Meniscus.  Early on, Sun christens a security guard Descartes, “for reasons that are nothing to do with anybody but me.”  One can’t help feeling that Sullivan wants the reader to think of René Descartes’ most famous maxim: “I think, therefore I am.”  Sun thinks, and we are privy to her thoughts. So she is real, at least to herself.  As to whether the mall has any more objective reality, well, what does?  In this, Sullivan’s novel resembles another crtically-acclaimed work of the previous year, Christopher Priest’s The Separation. Like Priest, Sullivan lays all the pieces out in front of us. But it’s up to the reader to work out what they mean.

Guessing the winner of the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award

We have a winner, not “just” of the Clarke Award itself, but of a certain contest too.

In the weeks leading up to the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award ceremony, we ran a contest here on Torque Control to guess the winner of this year’s award, in conjunction with the Clarke Award itself and NewCon Press.

The winner will be receiving two prizes, both generously donated by NewCon Press.

The first is Fables from the Fountain, the recently-published anthology edited by Ian Whates from NewCon press. Fables is a collection of all-original stories written as homage to Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart and published in honour of the Clarke Award’s twenty-fifth anniversary. The volume includes new stories by Stephen Baxter, Ian Watson, Paul Graham Raven, James Lovegrove, Neil Gaiman, Colin Bruce, Liz Williams, Charles Stross, Eric Brown, Steve Longworth, Henry Gee, Andy West, David Langford, Andrew J Wilson, Peter Crowther, Tom Hunter, Adam Roberts, and Ian Whates. You can order a copy of Fables here (if you haven’t already done so!), with a share of profits going directly to support the Clarke Award’s current fund raising efforts. (A good cause!)

The second part of the prize is Celebration, an anthology of all-original stories published in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the BSFA (which publishes Vector, of course), also edited by Ian Whates. It includes stories, original to this volume, by Ken MacLeod, Kim Lakin-Smith, Ian Watson, Tricia Sullivan, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, M. John Harrison, Molly Brown, Brian Stableford, Dave Hutchison, Liz Williams, Brian Aldiss, Martin Sketchley, Alastair Reynolds, Ian R. MacLeod, Christopher Priest, Adam Roberts, and Stephen Baxter.

The book which won the Clarke Award was, of course, Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City, which means that the eleven people who chose that book off the shortlist as their entry, complete with reason why it should win, were all eligible to win this contest.

In order to choose the contest winner, our judge, Tom Hunter, put all eleven eligible names into the “ceremonial Clarke Award hat”*, from which the winning name was drawn by independent witness Kat Havelock.

And the winner is… Adam Christopher!

Congratulations to Adam! Tom Hunter will contact you shortly about getting the prizes to you, if he has not already done so.

* Intriguing! Is the hat photogenic?

Why Zoo City won the Clarke Award in 2011

Why did Zoo City win this year’s Clarke Award?

The jury isn’t allowed to tell us, but the entrants into the contest to guess the winner of this year’s Clark Award can.

David Rowe:

Zoo City because if it doesn’t win then the judges are wrong.

Weirdmage:

I haven’t read any of the books, but that is the one I keep hearing the most positive things about. Also, she’s the most active on Twitter.

Adam Christopher:

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. One of the most extraordinary books I’ve read in the last ten years or so. Hopefully the Clarke Award is just a stop-off point on the way to the Hugos.

Chris:

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes – any book recommended by William Gibson as a favourite stands a very good chance!

Laurian Gridinoc:

Because [it] made me realise how much I missed devouring a book.

theforgottengeek:

Zoo City by Lauren Beakes – like nothing you’ve read before. A true original.

Yagiz [Between Two Books]:

I haven’t read it yet but many people speak very highly of it and it’s been on my TBR pile. So I think it’s going to win the award and this will make me read it soon after.

adamjkeeper:

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, because its a shoe-in.

Yidya:

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes because it’s as good a guess as any, seeing as I haven’t read any of these.

Emil:

For it’s originality and true grit, countermanding old-school cyberpunk without puerile braggadocio

Not Cas:

Zoo City. I like the cover and the title.

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