Contest: Guess the 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist

This contest is now CLOSED. Please check back in late March to find out what the actual shortlist is and which entry has won the contest.

The 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Submissions list is out, and with it, as last year, a competition: guess the shortlist!

The winner, thanks to the generosity of the Arthur C Clarke Award, will receive copies of all six of this year’s shortlisted novels.

To enter, post a comment in reply to this post with a list of six books (no more, no fewer), selected from the list of sixty eligible submissions, along with a rationale as to why you think that shortlist will be the ones which the judges have chosen. Pingbacks won’t be accepted as entries.

Your rationale can be anything you like, whether brief or detailed, whether your guess is based on extensive reading or randomly guessing; but you must provide one in order to have a valid entry for this contest.

You may not enter this contest if you are a current Clarke award judge, a family member of a current judge, someone who has access to the currently-embargoed press release containing the shortlist, or if you are on the board of Serendip or the BSFA. You may not enter the contest multiple times: only your first entry will be entered into the contest. You are welcome to enter from wherever you are: the prize can be shipped internationially.

The winner will be the person who has correctly guessed the most shortlisted books. In the event of a tie, the winner will be randomly chosen by Tom Hunter, Clarke Award Director, from those who correctly guessed the most shortlisted books, and his decision in all aspects of the contest is final.

Tom Hunter has noted that he’s never correctly guessed the full shortlist. Last year, when we ran this contest for the 2011 Clarke Award shortlist, the most anyone guessed was four of the six shortlisted novels. Can you do better than that this year?

The deadline for your six guesses, posted as a reply to this post along with your rationale for your guess, will be 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 11th March.

71 Responses to “Contest: Guess the 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist”

  1. James Smythe Says:

    Okay. Six. In no particular order:

    Hull Zero Three, Zone One, The Islanders, Embassytown, Reamde, by Light Alone.

    Seems like a varied enough list to be chosen: with a bit of space shippery, a bit of literary masquerade, a bit of new-weird, a bit of (very good) China Miéville, a bit of über-commercial-yet-firmly-genre insanity and a bit of super-high-concept madness.

  2. Andrew McKie Says:

    Embassytown; China Miéville
    The Islanders; Christopher Priest
    By Light Alone; Adam Roberts
    Rule 34; Charles Stross
    The Clockwork Rocket; Greg Egan
    Dead Water; Simon Ings

    No women, I’m afraid. I’ve only read about a third of the submitted works, so I’m going solely on the ones I have read. I enjoyed Reamde and The Fallen Blade very much, but I’m not sure they’re really sf books. Though I suppose that might apply to The Islanders (which I’d plump for if I’d to guess the winner)

  3. Clarke Awards – Guess the Shortlist Competition | BSFA Says:

    […] 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 […]

  4. Gareth L. Powell Says:

    The Fallen Blade – Jon Courtenay Grimwood
    Cyber Circus – Kim Lakin-Smith
    Embassytown – China Mieville
    Osama – Lavie Tidhar
    Reamde – Neal Stephenson
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb – Jane Rogers

  5. iansales Says:

    Random Walk by Alexandra Claire (Gomer)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone)
    Osama by Lavia Tidhar (PS)
    The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood (Picador)

    I don’t think heartland sf makes a particularly good showing this year, and I suspect the literary side will dominate.

  6. Michelle Goldsmith Says:

    Germline by T.C. McCarthy (Orbit)
    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
    Savage City by Sophia McDougall (Gollancz)
    Osama by Lavia Tidhar (PS)

    The few I’ve read plus the ones at the top of the to-read pile.
    Basing my choices off the assumption they secretly choose the shortlist from my bookcase. :P

  7. Shana Says:

    Gareth – You’ll need to include at least a token explanation of why you chose this list in order to have a valid contest entry.

  8. 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Submissions « Torque Control Says:

    […] Contest: Guess the 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist […]

  9. Gareth L. Powell Says:

    I forgot to add a justification. I chose these books:

    The Fallen Blade – Jon Courtenay Grimwood
    Cyber Circus – Kim Lakin-Smith
    Embassytown – China Mieville
    Osama – Lavie Tidhar
    Reamde – Neal Stephenson
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb – Jane Rogers

    Because they are the ones I have read, the ones I have most enjoyed, and in the cases of Embassytown and The Testament of Jessie Lamb, the ones I think the judges are most likely to pick.

  10. iansales Says:

    I forgot to include my reasoning for my choices, but I’ve written it up here: http://iansales.com/2012/02/27/guessing-the-clarke/

  11. Niall Says:

    My guess:

    Bringer of Light by Jaine Fenn
    Embassytown by China Mieville
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead

    Rationale, plus the sort of shortlist I’d rather see, here.

  12. Lal Says:

    Who needs reasoning when I have the power of (un)educated guessing? Which is to say I haven’t read any of the books this year as per usual so I’m shooting in the dark with an unloaded gun. Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve read Embedded and I wouldn’t have chosen it so I’m going with this lot:

    The Islanders – Christopher Priest
    Embassytown – China Miéville
    Osama – Lavie Tidhar
    By Light Alone – Adam Roberts
    Rule 34 – Charles Stross
    The Testament of Jesse Lamb – Jane Rogers

  13. Andy Sawyer Says:

    The End Specialist by Drew Magary (HarperVoyager)
    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS)
    The Testament of Jesse Lamb – Jane Rogers
    Dead Water by Simon Ings (Corvus)

    I have either read these and liked them enough for them to be on my personal shortlist. or noted great praise for them in the press (not necessarily the sf press). But then again my ability to forecast a shortlist has never been good and I confidently expect at least three other titles to show.

  14. Amanda Says:

    My choices:

    – The Kings of Eternity – Eric Brown (superior slice of space-shippy SF)
    – The End Specialist – Drew Magary (heard sterling reviews; think that it is this year’s Retribution Falls)
    – Savage City – Sophia McDougall (as with the Oscars and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, this year’s ACCA judges pay tribute to Sophia’s awesome achievement. Female writer)
    – The Testament of Jessie Lamb – Jane Rogers (quality literary SF, in the same vein as Far North. Female writer)
    – The Waters Rising – Sherri S Tepper (strong traditional SF writer. Female)
    – Mr Fox – Helen Oyeyemi (this year’s YA and ‘is it fantasy really?’ all wrapped up in one book *winks*)

    Okay, so I’m nowhere near, but this shortlist would be FUN to see :-)

  15. Niall Says:

    I think I’d be even more impressed to see someone claim Mr Fox for YA than I would be to see them claim it for science fiction.

  16. Amanda Says:

    Heh – I possibly confused Mr Fox with another book! This is what happens when you guess a shortlist and have only read two books from the submissions ;-)

  17. Your Chance To Second Guess Me « Everything Is Nice Says:

    […] C Clarke Award have just been published at Torque Control. As with last year, there is a prize for guessing the shortlist of six novels (due to be announced at the end of March). No one managed to guess all six last year […]

  18. Liviu Says:

    Of the books listed, I opened 34 and read end to end 16, while of the rest 18 there are 3 or 4 I plan to read as time goes by. I think the following six books will make the shortlist:

    1.The Islanders – Christopher Priest
    2. Embassytown – China Miéville
    3. Osama – Lavie Tidhar
    4. Bringer of Light – Jaine Fenn
    5. Mr. Fox – Helen Oyeyemi
    6. The Testament of Jessie Lamb – Jane Rogers

    1,2. excellent books, but the authors almost guarantee the shortlist anyway

    3. this one is among the ones I have and plan to read as I like Mr. Tidhar’s Bookman series, but irrespective of its merits, title, subject and international author almost guarantees it too

    4. this one I rate a high chance as it’s essentially the only core-sf written by a woman in the list outside of the boring to dreadful Willis duology and the very mediocre Tepper; I have not yet read it as I was quite disappointed by book 3 after I really enjoyed books 1 and 2 and I am essentially waiting for book 5 to see if I continue or not with the series.

    5 and 6 are more speculative guesses, but I think that gender parity/minority representation/mainstream works will bring those two in the list.

    Loved the Jane Rogers novel and I would add it to my choice of a six book list though I disagreed with the heroine’s choices, while Mr. Fox is another one I have and plan to read but its “book in a book” subject is one that puts me off badly, so despite really loving White is for Witching and enjoying the few pages I browsed in this one, I have been putting it off for a while now.

    Personally I would choose 1,2,6, Greg Egan, Adam Roberts and James “Corey”

  19. Liz Says:

    So I took the list and removed all the things that looked like they were fantasy, everything that was a sequel, and everything that looked techno-thriller-y, and then I whittled the remaining novels down to these:

    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
    Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod (PS)
    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS)
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead (Harvill Secker)
    The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood (Picador)

    On the very vague grounds that they seem like Clarke books – on the literary end of the genre with at least one book that no one would have predicted. The Mieville,Tidhar and Roberts I’ve read and liked, and they are all ambitious novels doing something interesting with their subjects. MacLeod has past form, the Whitehead has good buzz and is outside the genre publishers, and the Wood is my left-field choice. I suspect the MacLeod and the Wood are the ones I’m most likely to be wrong about.

  20. Ken Says:

    I’ve only read some of these with quite a few still in my to reads. Based on my reading list, the choices are:

    Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
    The End Specialist by Drew Magary
    Germline by T.C. McCarthy
    Embassytown by China Mieville
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross

  21. Rainer Skupsch Says:

    I have only read 1.4 of the books on the list, so obviously I can only make wild guesses:

    11.22.63 by Stephen King
    (Last night, a famous German critic called the book King’s best novel in decades and a masterpiece on television.)
    Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod
    (Mr MacLeod looks friendly on photographs, and he is a past winner of the award.)
    Embassytown by China Miéville
    (Surely a safe pick. Miéville could copy a telephone manual and would still be nominated. :-))
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    (Surely a safe pick. Reading the book is not half as nice an experience as just daydreaming about the dream archipelago, but it is Priest’s first book in a decade, and the author looks like a very friendly person indeed on photographs.)
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar
    (Well, I have to make 6 guesses, and “Osama” is already on the BSFA shortlist.)
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson
    (Well, I have to make 6 guesses, and Stephenson is famous enough.)

    Best wishes, Rainer Skupsch

  22. Lizzie B Says:

    On the basis of other awards and that alone:

    Embassytown
    Osama
    Cyber Circus
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb
    By Light Alone
    The Islanders

    I’d be happy with those. Hell, I’d be happy with my next six guesses too!

  23. Andy Sawyer Says:

    Liviu said: “Mr. Fox is another one I have and plan to read but its “book in a book” subject is one that puts me off badly,”

    Oh read it — it’s a fine book! I’m just not sure that even my very flexible set of definitions would call its particular branch of the fantastic science fiction :-)

  24. CLARKE AWARD SUBMISSIONS ANNOUNCED | Welcome To My World Says:

    […] for this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award have been revealed over on Torque Control. There’s also a competition to pick the likely shortlist, which I’m not eligible to enter as I’m on the BSFA Committee – although I should make clear […]

  25. Aishwarya Says:

    Savage City, Sophia McDougall
    Embassytown, China Mieville
    Osama, Lavie Tidhar
    The Islanders, Christopher Priest
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb, Jane Rogers
    Cyber Circus, Kim Lakin-Smith

    Embassytown and The Testament of Jessie Lamb because I found them both impressive and ambitious. For the others I’m guessing based on other people’s reactions. I’ve heard great things about McDougall’s Romanitas books – Savage City is the third book in the series, but then Monsters of Men made it to the shortlist last year. Priest and Tidhar seem very likely inclusions, based on the reviews I’ve read. And I’m including Cyber Circus because, while I hear very good things about it, I don’t think it sounds Clarke-y and I’m always wrong about these things.

  26. stevemosby Says:

    Embassytown, China Mieville
    The Islanders, Christopher Priest
    By Light Alone, Adam Roberts
    Savage City, Sophia McDougall
    Osama, Lavie Tidhar

    I think the first two are dead certs, and wonderful books. The others, simply people I like with books I’ve heard are very good.

  27. The Clarke Award (@ClarkeAward) Says:

    Hi Steve, all fine choices but you need to add a sixth book to enter properly. Clarke Award shortlist is six books, with no cheating ‘special mentions’ etc from the judges, so we need to see one more…

    Go on, you know you want to ;-)

  28. Ruth O'eilly Says:

    Embassytown, China Mieville
    The Islanders, Christopher Priest
    By Light Alone, Adam Roberts
    The End Specialist, Drew Magary
    Random Walk, Alexandra Claire
    Germline, T.C. McCarthy

    Like Liz, I ruled out sequels and fantasy that didn’t seem borderline sf in any way. I also looked at whether the books seem to be doing anything particularly interesting with their sf – this was why I ruled out the Naomi Wood. The top three stood out from the remainder as books that are likely to have strong writing and strong concepts, based on what I know of the authors and on what I have heard about these particular books. I think the Greg Egan is (sadly) probably too sciency to appeal to enough of the judges. The bottom three were chosen based on reviews on Amazon – looking for books that might stand out to the judges in one way or another, with comments about good characters, engaging plot and good writing style. I haven’t read any of the books I chose, but if I were a judge I wouldn’t choose most of the books I’ve read…

  29. kev mcveigh Says:

    Dead Water – Simon Ings (on my TBR list, his last was brilliant and it sounds like a contender.)
    Embassytown – China Miéville (because so many people disagree with me about the failings of The City & The City)
    Mr. Fox -Helen Oyeyemi (not to be confused with Roald Dahl. The borderline contentious undeniably brilliant choice.)
    The Islanders – Christopher Priest (the litcrit darling and a fascinating book.)
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb -Jane Rogers (leftfield yet ticks so many boxes.)
    Regicide – Nicholas Royle (oh I so hope this makes it.)

    Will I be right, probably not. Brown, Tidhar & Stross are more conventional choices in a way. As long as Connie Willis isn’t there.

  30. Murf61 Says:

    My six are:
    1. The Islanders – Christopher Priest
    2. Embassytown – China Mieville
    3. Bringer of Light – Jaine Fenn
    4. Osama – Lavie Tidhar
    5. Savage City – Sophia McDougall
    6. By Light Alone – Adam Roberts

    I think Christopher Priest, China Mieville and Adam Roberts are at the top of the literary SF tree and their books are almost certain to be on the shortlist because of the high quality of writing and the imaginative ideas within the books. Lavie Tidhar’s Osama is radical and innovative and tackles an almost taboo subject in an engaging ans sometimes humorous way. Jaine Fenn continues to improve with each book in the series and deserves recognition for her hard work,perseverance and damn good writing.
    Finally Savage City is the conclusion of Sophia McDougall’s brilliant alternative history trilogy and the whole concept of a Roman Empire that never declined is so well realised that it is worthy of a Clarke Award for that stroke of genius alone. (Yes, I do want Savage City to win!)

  31. Richard Says:

    The Great Lover by Michael Cisco (Chomu Books)
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS)
    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
    Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (Picador)
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

    I haven’t yet read the Michael Cisco book. However, what I have read by him has been seriously excellent stuff. I will be shocked if he makes the list, but I thought I’d put it in for a laugh. Be nice if it did.

    Osama, I put in for a couple of reasons. Lavie Tidhar is, I think it’s fair to say, one of the more prolific writers in genre at the moment. I’ve been enjoying his fiction and I think one can see clear progression in his work. This novel, though, is his best, most personal and, I think, thought-provoking novel.

    Speaking of prolific, we alight on By Light Alone: I’ve enjoyed the last few things that Adam Roberts has written. Some might say that he doesn’t always quite succeed with what he intends (see, for example, Cat Valente’s(?) dig at some of the characterisation in Yellow Blue Tibia). But he aims high, I think. That is to be applauded. I’d like to see him get the nod while he is producing consistently interesting work (and good work!).

    Just realised I’ve still to read this. The Icarus Girl was brilliant. I’m going a little on the reactions of folk whose opinions I trust that this will be as good…

    I recently blogged about the Jane Rogers. Excellent and literary.

    Finally, poor old Chris Priest is on the TBR still. But it was a toss up between him and China Miéville. Priest won.

  32. Ray Garraty Says:

    I haven’t read much UK SF this year, so I’m just guessing:

    Embassytown by China Mieville
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross
    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts
    Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod
    Dead Water by Simon Ings

    It’s not a shortlist I’d like to see, but probably strong works here.

  33. David H Says:

    My guess goes like this:

    Embassytown by China Miéville
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead
    The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood

    Miéville, Priest and Tidhar because they’ve gained such attention within the genre; Wood because I really like the book; Whitehead because it sounds like a book the Clarke judges would go for; and Rogers because of the positive attention it gained after the Booker.

  34. Michael Mooney Says:

    Bronze Summer by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
    Savage City by Sophia McDougall (Gollancz)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
    Regicide by Nicholas Royle (Solaris)
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic)
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross (Orbit)

    In the best traditions of horse race betting, I’ve gone for five well fancied picks and an interesting outsider. But can you spot the outsider? Very hard to get down to six – can’t believe I left Eric Brown out. Don’t tell him.

  35. Kate Keen Says:

    Embassytown
    The Islanders
    Osama
    Reamde
    Bronze Summer
    The Fallen Blade

    This is a mixture of what I would have included, and pure guesswork.

  36. Nick Hubble Says:

    The Islanders – Christopher Priest
    Embassytown – China Miéville
    Osama – Lavie Tidhar
    Savage City by Sophia McDougall
    Rule 34 – Charles Stross
    The Testament of Jesse Lamb – Jane Rogers

    Bsfa tweeked, taking into account other lists above (but hopefully different)

    Priest because I’m a fan
    Mieville because he is a phenomenon
    Tidhar because people say good things and its on bsfa
    Macdougall because I liked what she had to say at eastercon
    Stross because it is a step up and there was a great review in Vector
    Rogers because other people seem to fancy it for this

  37. adam j. keeper (@adamkeeper) Says:

    My picks are:
    Embedded by Dan Abnett (Angry Robot)

    The Departure by Neal Asher (Tor UK)

    Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear (Gollancz)

    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)

    The Recollection by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris)

    Rule 34 by Charles Stross (Orbit)

    Mieville is a pretty safe bet (even though I still haven’t finished the book yet) it is pretty good.

    Stross & Bear I believe have been nominated before and both have had some good write-ups.

    Powell & Abnett & Asher because I think they are outsiders

    Powell in particular ‘cos 1) Recollection is one the most exciting books I have read in while – bit mundane, bit fantastical and forward thinking and deeply nostalgic for older SF.

    Abnett is a workhorse whom I admire greatly and the pace of Embedded is breathtaking. Plus it’s the only Angry Robot book and they’ve had a good year. Oh and he’s from Kent.

    I haven’t read the Asher book, but I am a fan, also he’s a bit of an outsider.

    I am ashamed to see I also haven’t read any of the female penned submissions, which is a bit crap.

    Cheers. I’ll stop now.

  38. stevemosby Says:

    Oops. Obviously just … testing with my list of five. Ahem. Full list:

    Embassytown, China Mieville
    The Islanders, Christopher Priest
    Osama, Lavie Tidhar
    Savage City, Sophia McDougall
    By Light Alone, Adam Roberts
    11.22.63, Stephen King

    Again, a mix of books I loved and books I’ve heard are good.

  39. Ric Says:

    The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan (Gollancz)
    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
    Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer (Gollancz)
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic)
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross (Orbit)
    All Clear by Connie Willis (Gollancz)
    Blackout by Connie Willis (Gollancz)

    The two Willis books can count as one; otherwise exclude Wonder. These are good books that I’ve read or started and have found entertaining. (Though I cannot claim to have read all nominees). I know some of these have already won awards like the Hugo or are nominated for others. But mostly I liked them for being able to develop interesting and engrossing other worlds.

  40. Carol Bond Says:

    11/22/63 – Stephen King – Chosen because it was in fa t a fabulous book, perhaps one of the best he has ever written, with a very SciFi topic (time travel).
    Germline – TC McCarthy – chosen for the fantastic story line and writing, and also because it is DEFINITELY scifi.
    The Last Four Things – Paul Hoffman – chosen because of name recognition, as I haven’t read this one yet. Sounds very good though.
    Dust – Joan Frances Turner – chosen because of reviews and people I know that said it was very good.
    Reamde – Neal Stephenson – Chosen solely based on name recognition an good reviews.
    Fallen Blade – Jon Courtney Grimwood – chosen just because it sounds awesome and I really want to read it.

    Six books with author names and reasons. I hope they all win and that I win. :-)

  41. Paul Cornell Says:

    Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar
    Regicide by Nicholas Royle
    Equations of Life by Simon Morden
    Bringer of Light by Jaine Fenn
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    In order to come to this decision, I constructed a simple oracle out of the pulped first pages of all the previous winners, bound together with my own bile. I instructed it to ‘seek value’, and it told me, in a tone that spoke of endless wanders down the empty beaches of mysterious worlds, that this would be a year which future Clarke judges would refer to as ‘the great schism’, the moment of breaking with the past, where few previous winners would be included in the shortlist. ‘You’re just looking for an angle,’ I told it, ‘by not picking the favourites.’ It looked at me with… hmm, it didn’t have eyes, did it? It does now. It looked at me with an irked squint. ‘There has to be one year,’ it said, ‘when it’s not full of stars.’

  42. James Says:

    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    Embassy Town by China Miéville
    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts
    The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar

    Completely guessing. Here’s my reasoning http://www.bigdumbobject.co.uk/2012/02/2012-arthur-c-clarke-submission-list.html
    Feel more out of touch with the list than ever this year, however, early prediction, The Islanders to win?

  43. Lauren Beukes Says:

    I’m naming some of my favourites from The Kitschies award nominees I read, although I’m sad to see the ACCA list doesn’t include Kitschies winner Patrick Ness’ amazing A Monster Calls which is essentially about what story is and what it does to us. Maybe it wasn’t entered? (I realise Jesse Bullington’s brilliant, ribald, dark and dirty Enterprise of Death is probably too fantasy for the Clarke, but it’s awesome and everyone should read it.)

    So, my predictions:
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar – as Jared at Pornokitsch.com says, it’s like A Man in High Castle for our terrorism times, strange and dreamy and disturbing. My money’s on this to win, actually.

    The Islanders by Christopher Priest – After the first chapter, I thought I was on to it, yeah, yeah, yeah,nifty idea, it’s a neat invented world Lonely Planet travelogue, but it’s so much more, richer and deeper and fiercely imaginative (Thrymes! Mimes! Tunnelling!), and when the strands of these different island cultures start to tie together, it’s a beautiful thing.

    Savage City by Sophia McDougall – just wonderful alt history, beautiful, heart-breaking, sweeping, surprising.

    Embassytown by China Mieville – took me 50 pages to get into it, but mad, inventive, intriguing mediation on language with aliens and god drugs!

    Rule 34 by Charles Stross – Charlie’s best, canniest work by far and terrifyingly on the money about where we are right now from weird sex online to 3D printing.

    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers – devastatingly smart/insightful with an appropriately bleak streak considering the subject matter. We need more YA this brave.

  44. Jared Says:

    11.22.63 by Stephen King
    Embassytown by China Miéville
    Hell Ship by Philip Palmer
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    The Testament of Jesse Lamb by Jane Rogers
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross

    I wrote 1200 words of rationalisation and succeeded in boring myself. So presented without comment. (Except, of course, this is my guess for what will wind up on the list and not meant to be a reflection of my own personal preferences. Terms and conditions apply.)

  45. Martin Says:

    James: your list is one book short, I’m afraid.

    Jared: I’d love to see those 1,200 words.

  46. Anne C. Perry (@thefingersofgod) Says:

    Embassytown by China Miéville
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross
    Zone One by Colston Whitehead
    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts

    I’m betting that the list this year suggests a stronger working definition of “science fiction” than last year, which is why I include the Miéville, Rogers, Stross and Roberts, all of which are superb examples of 2011’s non-series SF. The Whitehead is a bit of a reach, and I wonder if the author’s/publisher’s self-conscious “this is intelligent genre” attitude about the novel might hurt his Clarke chances. Priest at first seems like a gimme, but I think there are arguments to be made about the novel’s SF-ness, so its inclusion will depend on the generosity of the judges.

  47. Jared Says:

    I love that three of the Kitschies judges are here and we overlap on four of our picks (Embassytown, Islanders, Rule 34, Jesse Lamb).

    Lauren, broke my heart to leave off Osama and Savage City. However, trying to play Clarke judge and thinking of reasons to *exclude* things from the shortlist, Osama may be too “fantasy” and SC is the final volume in a trilogy. Without knowing what the judges have read (or where they draw the SF vs F line), I left ’em off. However, if either of them make it past that first hurdle, I’d favor them to win. Right now, my money’s on Jesse Lamb.

    Anne, I think King doing time travel is moar clarkee than Whitehead doing zombies. Palmer vs Roberts is a totally random thing. Roberts’ near future SF is probably clarkier than Palmer’s space fantasy, but, I dunno. Whatever. Also, Romans are better than Victorians and the cats like me more.

  48. Michelle Goldsmith Says:

    Here’s some more rationalisation about some of the books.

    Personally, I think Hell Ship looks good but wasn’t sure if it was quite literary enough for the Clarke Award.
    For some reason (possibly unfounded) I thought that this might finally be Robert’s year.
    I almost included Zone One but for some reason it didn’t quite fit to me. Perhaps I was thinking zombies were not SF enough.

  49. Bob Blough Says:

    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    Embassytown by China Meivelle
    Wake Up and Dream by Ken MacLeod
    The Kings of Eternity by Eric Brown
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
    Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyema

    The first three I have read and think they deservedly should be on any ballot this year.
    I added The Kings of Eternity because there is usually on solid genre SF novel nominated
    The other two are admitted guesses because there would never be a SCCA ballot without women on it and the books by female authors on this list that I have read are all sequels. And as much as I loved some of them I don’t think they stand alone as novels.

    I would have included Osama by Lavie Tidhar without a thought, but it’s not in the books sent for nomination.

  50. Bob Blough Says:

    Sorry didn’t see Osama on the list so please take out The Kings of Eternity and put in Osama by Lavie Tidhar on my above list.

    Final should be The Islanders, Embassytown, Wake Up and Dream, Osama, The Testimony of Jessie Lamb and Mr. Fox. Sorry about that!

  51. Eric Says:

    Right. This is pure conjecture here, but given lately the Clarke shortlist has had two or three books that don’t appear on any other nomination list, it’s always the hardest to handicap. That said, I’m guessing it’ll be these:

    Embassytown, China Mieville
    The Islanders, Christopher Priest
    The Iron Jackal, Chris Wooding
    Wake Up and Dream, Ian R. MacLeod
    Osama, Lavie Tidhar
    Down to the Bone, Justina Robson

    The last is a complete guess, but I’d be stunned if woman wasn’t listed, and she’s been on the short list before.

  52. Nick H. Says:

    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross (Orbit)
    Equations of Life by Simon Morden (Orbit)
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone)
    Hell Ship by Philip Palmer (Orbit)

    Started with the two books I thought would be on the shortlist. Then just deleted books I thought wouldn’t pass muster until I was left with four, and that gave me my six.

  53. Johan Says:

    Embassytown, China Miéville
    The Islanders, Christopher Priest
    The Waters Rising, Sherri S. Tepper
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb, Jane Rogers
    Osama, Lavie Tidhar
    By Light Alone, Adam Roberts

    I prefer to read books a couple of years after they’ve been published (I enjoy reading more if I read because I really believe I’ll like the book and not to see what everyone’s talking about, and less risk of the latter if they’ve stopped talking about the books on question), so with a few exceptions I haven’t actually read the books on the list, but, hey … Embassytown and The Islanders looks like good books from good writers. The Testament of Jessie Lamb has garnered positive press. The rest is a combination of guesswork based on previous titles, what the blogs have been saying and at least one “well, there’s always at least one title I don’t expect, so I’ll throw in something I don’t expect to see on the shortlist then”.

    Wouldn’t exactly be surprised to see Reamde among the nominees.

    //JJ

  54. James Says:

    Yes, missed one! How about Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod? No idea really but that can make up my list.

  55. Nicholas Whyte Says:

    My guess is Reamde, Embassytown, Rule 34, The End Specialist, Equations of Life and The Testament of Jessie Lamb and I explain my reasoning (weak as it is) here.

  56. Duncan Lawie Says:

    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone)
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS)
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross (Orbit)
    Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear (Gollancz)

    To my mind, the first four are ACCA-catnip (and three of them on the BSFA list too, which makes it quite the literary year). The last two have reputations as good exemplars of their authors’ work.

  57. Luke Brown Says:

    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    Embassytown by China Miéville
    Osama by Lavi Tidhar
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
    Zone One by Colston Whitehead
    Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. Macleod

    Reasons: There’s usually some overlap with the BSFA. Unlike Mr Cornell I think previous winners will do well. There’s a good chance there will be a high profile short listee from the US. And there will be at least one women (though I hope there will be more than one).

  58. Kenny Lucius Says:

    Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear
    The End Specialist (Postmortal) by Drew Magary
    Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross
    All Clear by Connie Willis
    Embassytown by China Miéville

    I began this list with books I read and thoroughly enjoyed. I ended it with books I expect to receive even more recognition than they already have.

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  60. Stephen Shenk Says:

    The Clockwork Robot by Greg Egan
    Wake Up and Dream by Ian MacLeod
    Embassytown by China Mieville
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    by Light Alone by Adam Roberts
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead

    Mieville and Whitehead i have read, and they’re worthy. The other four are high on my list of books to read.

  61. Irwin Gaines Says:

    my picks are:
    Embassytown by China Miéville
    Osama by Lavie Tidhar
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest
    By Light Alone by Adam Roberts
    The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
    The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood

    as a combination of excellent Clarke-friendly books i have read and well regarded ones i haven’t read yet to provide gender and mainstream balance.

  62. Billy Stirling Says:

    My choice would be:
    The Fallen Blade, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
    Embassytown, by China Miéville
    The Islanders, by Christopher Priest
    by Light Alone, by Adam Roberts
    Reamde, by Neal Stephenson
    Rule 34, by Charles Stross
    My reason being that any of them would have no difficulty of getting on there and what I have read makes it doubly so, but I have one particular favorite on this selection.

  63. Odo Says:

    By Light Alone, Adam Roberts
    The Islanders, Christopher Priest
    Embassytown, China Miéville
    Osama, Lavie Tidhar
    Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis
    The Kings of Eternity, Eric Brown

    A combination of personal favorites and novels that have been criticalli acclaimed.

  64. Sean Says:

    This is my best guess at what the shortlist will be:

    The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan (Gollancz)
    The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Orbit)
    Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
    by Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
    Down to the Bone by Justina Robson (Gollancz)
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

    Given that I’ve barely ever finished a book by a winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award (excluding Atwood and Stephenson), I’ve gone for an inverted technique for picking my shortlist – books by those authors whose work either leaves me cold (despite admiring the technical ability as in Chris Priest and Adam Roberts’s cases) or whose work I’ve rarely been able to finish. This seems to match the winning criteria reasonably well.

    Going by authors on the submission list whose work I’ve enjoyed at some time or another (and I haven’t read all the authors, so apologies to them), my wish list is:

    The Departure by Neal Asher (Tor UK)
    Bronze Summer by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
    Bringer of Light by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz)
    Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer (Gollancz)
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic)
    Son of Heaven by David Wingrove (Corvus)

    This is a purely theoretical list as I’ve only read one on the whole submission list anyway: Son of Heaven by David Wingrove, which in my mind deserves to win if only because he’s the sole author there whose novels I’ve felt inspired to buy recently.

    If I was allowed a reserve placing, I’d probably put Stephen King on BOTH lists. I really enjoyed his earlier books, then at some point I discovered that his work had become turgid and I couldn’t finish anything by him.

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