On guessing the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist

Thank you for all your enthusiasm in trying to guess what the jury would choose for the Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist!

Out of the six most-voted for novels, only two of them were on the shortlist the jury actually chose which just goes to show, yet again, that it is a challenging award to second-guess. Of the actual list, The Dervish House received 40 guesses, Zoo City 30, Lightborn 14, Monsters of Men 4, Generosity 3, and only one person thought that perhaps Declare, originally published a decade earlier in the US,  might make it onto the shortlist. I suspect that most people didn’t necessarily vote for what they would personally have nominated for the award (based on what they have read in the last year) but the books which, thanks to buzz and pre-existing awards and nominations, seemed most likely to be respected by other people. Not that there isn’t overlap between the two categories!

Of all the entries in last week’s contest, no one guessed the whole shortlist. No one even guessed five out of the six books. Three different people, however, submitted guesses which correctly identified four of the books which were on the actual shortlist: Niall, Lal, and Kev McVeigh. Good instincts, all of you, and congratulations on getting more right than everyone else who entered the contest!

With a three-way tie and only one set of prizes, our contest judge, Clarke Award Director Tom Hunter, put all three names into a hat and had an independent assistant blindly pull one of the slips of paper out of it.

And that is how we now have a winner of copies of all six of the short-listed books, plus a copy of the forthcoming anthology, Fables from the Fountain, edited by Ian Whates and being sold in honour of the Clarke Award’s twenty-fifth anniversary. The prizes were generously donated by the Clarke Award and NewCon Press.

And so – congratulations to Lal, our contest prize winner! Tom Hunter will be in touch with you soon if he has not already done so to arrange for prize delivery.

6 thoughts on “On guessing the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist

  1. Congratulations Lal

    A monumental effort against some highly skilled competition

    It seems the equations in everyone’s prediction engines were a little off this year, but four out of six is a great effort when guessing all six from a submissions list of 54 had something like 25 million possible combinations (apparently, please don’t check my sums too closely)

    I’d be fascinated to know what particular combination of guesswork and ninja-style SF knowledge you used to arrive at this particular selection, and looking forward to reading the reviews!

    Best Wishes

    Tom Hunter
    Award Director

  2. Tom – if I’ve done my maths right, there are 25,827,165 combinations.

    Or to put it another way, those of us entering might’ve had more chance of winning the National Lottery than getting the shortlist spot on.

    How many people got three out of six, do we know?

  3. Congratulations Lal.

    I actually already own 5 out of 6 (Ness doesnt appeal) which makes me far more up to date than usual.

  4. Thank you everyone!

    I should also mention that I do own 4 out of the 6 (I don’t have Generosity and I was waiting for the proper paperback of The Dervish House), but it was still a great feeling to have won the competition and I look forward to receiving the books as I’ll probably be weird and replace the existing copies with the prize copies.

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