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 Clarke 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.

Arthur C Clarke Award Winner, 2011

Congratulations to Lauren Beukes, whose Zoo City yesterday won the juried Arthur C Clarke Award for the best work of science fiction published in the UK in 2010!

<strike>Twelve</strike> Eleven people correctly guessed the winner from the shortlist of six books. Next week, we will find out which of those twelve is the lucky winner of two short story collections, Fables from the Fountain, NewCon Press’ homage to Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart; and Celebration, an anthology published in honour of the BSFA’s fiftieth anniversary.

P.S. Abigail rounded up reviews of the shortlist, pre-award announcement.
After the award announcement: Alison Flood at the Guardian; Paul Graham Raven at CultureLab; Niall at Strange Horizons

Clarke Award Contest – closes tonight

Tomorrow, the Clarke Award jury will spend their day coming to a consensus on which book on the shortlist should win this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award.

If you would like to place your own guess as to which of the six books on the shortlist will be winning the competition this year, you have until 23:59 BST tonight to make your guess – and, if you’re lucky, win two short story collections from NewCon Press, including the just-published Fables from the Fountain, a fundraiser for the Award itself.

Details are here.

Contest: Guess the Winner of the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award

This contest is now closed! The winning book will be announced on the evening of 27 April and a winning entry chosen at random from those who guessed correctly at some point after that.

In just over four weeks, we’ll find out which book has won the Arthur C Clarke award for the best work of science fiction published in the UK in 2010. The jury will meet for a second time, to whittle the six shortlisted novels down to a single winner.

The jury doesn’t yet know who will win. I don’t know who will win; but perhaps you do? Or at least have a hunch about it?

***

The Clake Award has a second contest for you this year! A month ago, we asked you to guess which six books would be on the shortlist. Three of you correctly guessed four of the six books. This time around, you need to guess only one book.

There’s a real prize for this contest too. It consists of two books, both generously donated by NewCon Press.

The first is Fables from the Fountain, the forthcoming 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. If you can’t wait on the off-chance you’ll win it, you can order a pre-copy of Fables here, 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.

To enter, comment on this post. Your comment must contain two things: the name of a single one of the six shortlisted books; and an explanation of why you think that book will win. No entry is valid without both parts.

Your explanation can be anything you like: your personal favourite, the one you think the judges will pick, a random guess, or a simple ‘because’. We want some kind of justification for the choice, whether minimal or essay-length.

You may not enter this contest if you are a current Clarke award judge, a family member of a current judge, 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 of the prize randomly drawn from among all the correct, valid entries. This contest will be judged by Tom Hunter, director of the Clarke Award, and his decision in all aspects of the contest is final.

Tom writes that

“The recent guess the shortlist competition with Torque Control was so much fun we thought we’d do it again. The secret aim with the last comp was to show that guessing the right shortlist combination is much harder than it looks, and with something like 25 million combinations of books possible, guessing 6 books from a selection of 54 you can see why.”

“Now the odds are shorter, but I don’t think that makes the choices involved any easier…”

The deadline for your guess and explanation, posted as a reply to this post, is Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 23:59 BST.

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.

The 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist

The shortlist for the Arthur C Clarke Award is, gratifyingly, never quite what anyone thinks it will be in advance. I doubt even any given juror could have correctly guessed what their consensus would determine when they met to collectively choose the shortlist for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the award.


Here is what they chose:

  • Zoo City – Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot)
  • The Dervish House – Ian McDonald (Gollancz)
  • Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • Generosity – Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
  • Declare – Tim Powers (Corvus)
  • Lightborn – Tricia Sullivan (Orbit)

The Arthur C Clarke Award is a juried award for the best work of science fiction published in Britain in the previous year. It’s judged from the works submitted by publishers so it’s theoretically possible for the award to miss out on options they would have liked to consider had they only been submitted. The “published in Britain in the previous year” is why an award-winning novel published in 2000 made it onto the shortlist this year: Tim Powers’s Declare only had its first UK publication in 2010.

These are six books from six different publishers (out of the twenty-two which submitted books this year), by four men and two women, one culmination of a trilogy, and five standalones. As more than one has already commented, the list features four authors of American origin (although some of them have lived in the UK for years) and one South African, Lauren Beukes. Only one of them, Ian McDonald, has been British and lived in Britain for the majority of his life. This is a point worth mentioning because the Clarke Award is specifically a British award, albeit for what’s published in the country rather than where those authors come from. In more trivial statistics: one-word titles make up 50% of the shortlist, but that’s not too disproportionate – they made up 27% of the list of eligible submissions. It was also a good year to have the last name “Powers”.

The shortlist was chosen by this year’s judging panel: Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Martin Lewis for the BSFA, Phil Nanson and Liz Williams for the Science Fiction Foundation, and Paul Skevington for SF Crowsnest.com. Paul Billinger chaired the judges on behalf of the award. They will all be busy re-reading the shortlist in the coming weeks, in preparation for the jury’s final meeting to choose the winner.

I’m looking forward to reading this list too; from the reviews I’ve read and initial reactions to the shortlist, it looks like quite a good one. I’ve only read Lightborn so far, although conveniently, I started Zoo City yesterday and have The Dervish House handy since I’m reading the BSFA novel shortlist, and those three books (but no others) overlap with the Clarke shortlist.

In the weeks between now and the 27th of April, when the jurors, having reread the shortlist, will meet again to decide on the winner, and the award will be given at the SCI-FI London Film Festival, I look forward to reading all the discussion, speculation, and guesswork about just which of these books will take the prize and why it’s worthy of doing so.

See also comments on the shortlist from:

David Hebblethwaite at Follow the Thread
Cheryl Morgan at Cheryl’s Mewsings
Graham Sleight at Locus Roundtable
Nic Clarke at Eve’s Alexandria
Amanda Rutter at Floor to Ceiling Books
Niall Harrison at Strange Horizons

Contest: Guess the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist

This contest is now closed and no more entries will be accepted. The results will be posted on Friday, March 4th.

It’s that time of year. The list of eligible submissions for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award is out! And this year, in honour of the award’s twenty-fifth anniversary, we’re pleased to be able to run a contest with real prizes (not just glory) in conjunction with the list’s release.

The goal is straightforward: guess the shortlist for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The prize is quite a good one, thanks to the generousity of the Clarke Award and NewCon Press! If you win, you will receive copies of all six of the shortlisted works, plus a copy of Fables from the Fountain, the forthcoming, limited-edition 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.

To enter, comment on this post. Your comment must contain a list of six (no more, no fewer) novels from the full list of eligible submissions. Pingbacks won’t be accepted.

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.

If no one guesses all six entries correctly, then the prize will go to whoever guessed the most correct winners. If there is a tie for the most correct winners guessed, then the winner will be picked from a hat from among the tied entries. This contest will be judged by Tom Hunter, director of the Clarke Award, and his decision in all aspects of the contest is final.

As Tom observes,

The idea behind releasing the full submissions lists is pretty simple. Every year we reveal our shortlist of the six best science fiction books of the previous year, as decided by our panel of independent judges, and every year we enjoy, well, passionate conversation around those choices.

For me this is exactly how things should be, but at the same time I’m keen for people to understand just how complex the judging process is, and how many different variants there can be when you have 54 great books in play and you have to narrow those down to just six of the best as it were.

Personally, I’ve never managed to correctly guess all six in advance, and I’m the Award Director, so just to warn you this game is harder than it looks, and good luck everyone.

The deadline for your six guesses, posted as a reply to this post, is this Wednesday, 2 March at 23:59 GMT.

2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Submissions

I am the bearer of exciting news today.

Firstly, I bring you tidings of fifty-four novels, the eligible submissions for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Secondly, as has been the case for the last two years, the submissions list comes with a contest. For the last few years, here at Torque Control, the contest has been informal, a lively round of guessing the longlist from their miniaturised covers.

This year, the competition is rather more, well, competitive: guess the shortlist, before it is released this coming Friday. The lucky winner will receive copies of *all* the shortlisted novels, plus NewCon press’s forthcoming short story collection, Fables from the Fountain, published in honor of the 25th anniverary of the Clarke Awards! For full details – and to enter the contest – see the separate contest details post.

The Clarke award doesn’t have a longlist as such; what follows is a list of the 54 eligible novels, submitted by 22 different publishers and imprints, one of the highest submissions rates the Clarke award has had. From these the jurors pick the shortlist and, once they have all read them again, they will choose the winner in time for the prize to be announced on Wednesday, 27 April at SciFi London.

Submissions include two past winners (Tricia Sullivan and China Miéville), 11 previously-shortlisted authors (Stephen Baxter, Ian McDonald, Alastair Reynolds, Adam Roberts, Chris Wooding, Iain M. Banks, Ken MacLeod, Charles Stross, Peter F. Hamilton, William Gibson and James Lovegrove), and one past judge (Francis Spufford). To add to the statistics collection, the list below is sorted by publisher.

And here is this year’s eligible submissions list:

Black Hand Gang by Pat Kelleher (Abaddon Books)
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot)
Generosity by Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
Declare by Tim Powers (Corvus)
Finch by Jeff VanderMeer (Corvus)
Holy Machine by Chris Beckett (Corvus)
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (Corvus)
On the Third Day by Rhys Thomas (Doubleday)
Salvage by Robert Edric (Doubleday)
Bring Home the Stars by Jennifer Kirk (DS Press)
Sylvow by Douglas Thompson (Eibonvale Press)
Red Plenty by Francis Spufford (Faber & Faber)
The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (Faber & Faber)
Paradise by Glenn Myers (Fizz Books)
A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz)
Above the Snowline by Steph Swainston (Gollancz)
Absorption by John Meaney (Gollancz)
Eve: The Burning Life by Hjalti Danielsson (Gollancz)
Guardians of Paradise by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz)
New Model Army by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
Stone Spring by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz)
The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding (Gollancz)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz)
The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (Gollancz)
The Silent Land by Graham Joyce (Gollancz)
Veteran by Gavin G Smith (Gollancz)
Watch by Robert J Sawyer (Gollancz)
Zendegi by Greg Egan (Gollancz)
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart (Granta)
For the Win by Cory Doctorow (Harper Voyager)
Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steve Amsterdam (Harvill Secker)
C by Tom McCarthy (Jonathan Cape)
Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit)
Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan (Orbit)
Surface Detail by Iain M Banks (Orbit)
The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross (Orbit)
The Restoration Game by Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
The Unit by Terry DeHart (Orbit)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Orbit)
Version 43 by Philip Palmer (Orbit)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (Orion Books)
Blood and Iron by Tony Ballantyne (Pan Macmillan)
Empire of Light by Gary Gibson (Pan Macmillan)
Kraken by China Miéville (Pan Macmillan)
The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton (Pan Macmillan)
The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell (Pan Macmillan)
The Technician by Neal Asher (Pan Macmillan)
Zero History by William Gibson (Penguin)
Pornogram by Osric Allen (Robert Temple)
The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis (Seren)
The Age of Zeus by James Lovegrove (Solaris)
The Noise Within by Ian Whates (Solaris)
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)

So, what do you think of this year’s submissions?

If you’d like to guess and potentially win the award’s shortlist this year, see the contest details post. (Entries must be received by the end of this Wednesday, so submit your guess sooner than later!) Guesses posted in the comments to this post may make good conversation fodder, but won’t be eligible entries for the contest.