Vector #279

3 • Torque Control (Vector 279) • [Torque Control] • essay by Anna McFarlane and Glyn Morgan
4 • The BSFA Review: Best of 2014 • essay by Graham Andrews and Stuart Carter and Gary S. Dalkin and David Hebblethwaite and L. J. Hurst and Tony Jones and Paul Kincaid and Anthony Nanson and Ian Sales and Andy Sawyer and Aishwarya Subramanian and Sandra Unerman [as by Graham Andrews and Stuart Carter and Gary Dalkin and David Hebblethwaite and L. J. Hurst and Toby Jones and Paul Kincaid and Anthony Nanson and Ian Sales and Andy Sawyer and Aishwarya Subramanian and Sandra Unerman]
14 • Best of 2014 in SF Television • essay by Molly Cobb
18 • Best of 2014 in SF Audio • essay by Tony Jones
22 • Best of 2014 in Young Adult SF • essay by Ashley Armstrong
24 • Made of Win: Ann Leckie • interview of Ann Leckie • interview by Tom Hunter
28 • 2014 in Science Fiction Comics • [Sequentials] • essay by Laura Sneddon
31 • Helen O'Loy by Lester del Rey • [Kincaid in Short] • essay by Paul Kincaid
34 • A Message from Mars by Lester Lurgan and Richard Ganthony • [Foundation Favourites] • essay by Andy Sawyer
36 • Extraterrestrial Liberty • [Resonances] • essay by Stephen Baxter
38 • The BSFA Review Poll 2014 • essay by Martin Lewis [as by Martin Petto]
40 •   Review: The Race by Nina Allan • review by Kerry Dodd
41 •   Review: Cataveiro by E. J. Swift • review by Maureen Kincaid Speller
42 •   Review: Sibilant Fricative: Essays and Reviews by Adam Roberts • review by Jonathan McCalmont
44 •   Review: Bête by Adam Roberts • review by Paul Kincaid
45 •   Review: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie • review by Anne F. Wilson
45 •   Review: Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson • review by Ian Sales
46 •   Review: Irregularity by Jared Shurin • review by Aishwarya Subramanian
47 •   Review: Paradox by Ian Whates • review by Duncan Lawie
48 •   Review: Descent by Ken MacLeod • review by Lynne Bispham
48 •   Review: War Dogs by Greg Bear • review by Andy Sawyer
49 •   Review: Defenders by Will McIntosh • review by Shaun Green
49 •   Review: Parasite by Mira Grant • review by Patrick Mahon
50 •   Review: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes • review by Shaun Green
51 •   Review: Cold Turkey by Carole Johnstone • review by Graham Andrews

A word about bêtes: in so relentlessly English a novel, in which an outside world is scarcely even mentioned, it is never explained why a French word should be chosen to identify the talking animals. It makes them foreign, alien, but in a work that has more wordplay, puns and malapropisms even than is usual in an Adam Roberts novel, we have to take note of things like this. I suspect, therefore, that we are intended to hear an echo of ‘bet’ in the word, the novel details a huge gamble about the nature of consciousness and the future of humanity.

Paul Kincaid

The same with editors–my editors at Orbit didn’t ask me to change the pronouns at all. It was, rather, one of the things they’d really liked about the novel. […] My takeaway from the whole experience is that laundry lists of what’s “commercial” or not aren’t actually terribly helpful, not in and of themselves. I am not a fan of aspiring writers worrying too much about whether their work is commercial or not, not because I have any sort of disdain for the commercial (I like to sell books as much as the next person!) but because what sells or doesn’t isn’t really that easily predictable.

Ann Leckie

London Meeting: BSFA Award Discussion

With only about a month left until voting closes for the BSFA Awards, it’s time for the annual BSFA Award Discussion at the London Meeting. Our panelists this year year will be Tom Hunter, Clarke Award Director; Martin McGrath, BSFA Focus Editor; and Donna Scott, the BSFA Awards Administrator.

As a reminder, here are the shortlists. I hope many of you will be able to come and join in the discussion there!

Date: Wednesday 23rd March 2011

Venue: The Upstairs room at the Antelope Tavern. 22, Eaton Terrace, Belgravia, London, SW1W 8EZ. The nearest tube station is Sloane Square (District/Circle) A map of the location is here.

All are welcome! (No entry fee or tickets. Non-members welcome.) The Interview will commence at 7.00 pm, but the room is open from 6.00 (and fans in the downstairs bar from 5). There will be a raffle (£1 for five tickets), with a selection of sf novels as prizes.

Future London Meetings

Wednesday 20th April 2011 ** – DAVID WEBER: Interviewer TBC
Wednesday 25th May 2011 – SARAH PINBOROUGH: Interviewer TBC
Saturday 4th June 2011 – BSFA/SFF AGM
Thursday 30th June 2011 ** – GILLIAN POLACK: Interviewer TBC

An Open Letter From The Arthur C Clarke Award

Per the subject line, something a bit different for a Monday morning. Please do give Tom feedback on the questions he asks below, whether in a comment here, or by email or another route. And spread the link to this post far and wide! Thanks — Niall

The Arthur C Clarke Award

An open letter to all fans of Science Fiction from Tom Hunter, Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award

In 2011 we’ll be presenting the prize for the 25th winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

A lot has changed in 25 years, and the Award has not been immune to that change.

In many ways the Award is now at one of its strongest points ever. Its profile has never been wider, its organisational and community ties are strong, endorsement and support is high both within the SF community and the broader cultural sphere, and increased sophistication in electronic point of sale tracking is now showing direct correlations between Award announcements and increased book sales.

However the Award has also proven notably vulnerable to change at various points in its history, especially in terms of its reliance on volunteer governance and its historic lack of core financial stability in terms of assets, revenue generation or its ability to capitalise on far reaching fundraising or partnership opportunities.

Following the death of Sir Arthur and the subsequent winding up of Rocket Publishing (Sir Arthur’s UK company which funded the Award’s prize) the Award is now faced with an immediate and pressing need to change, adapt and re-evaluate its role and function as it moves into 2012 and its next quarter century.

This is a process that is happening now, and this letter to you all is a big part of taking my plans and those of Serendip, the Award’s governing body, to the next level.

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is built around three core values:

  • To recognise the best science fiction novels of the year published in the UK.
  • To promote science fiction and science fiction literature both within the UK and internationally.
  • To honour the memory and legacy of Sir Arthur.

I don’t believe that our current resources should define the pursuit of this vision, and rather I see our previous funding model slipping away as a necessary transition and the first step on the road to transforming the Award into a more deeply engaged social enterprise.

The good news is everyone involved with the Award has already been doing a lot of work in this area, looking at consultation, starting new conversations and setting up new partnerships, and the next stage of that process is to open up that dialogue more widely and start sharing our thoughts in places like this blog.

For me, the success of the Clarke Award and Serendip beyond 2011 means more connections with new and existing fans and organisations, and working with them to further raise the profile of the Award. We are also creating ways to quantify the value of the Award and assess its impact. The idea being that from this we can then meaningfully judge its success and demonstrate its continued significance as a key voice within the SF community, the publishing industry and beyond.

The questions we’ve been asking ourselves mostly look like this:

What value does the Award bring to the SF community and what role should it play in its future?

How important is a UK focused prize in an increasingly international and digital marketplace?

What more could the Award do as part of its broader advocacy remit to promote science fiction?

How much does the success and the credibility of the Award depend on it having a cash prize?

What new partnerships and opportunities could we create to generate seed funding for the future?

What do you think? What does the Arthur C. Clarke Award mean to you, how important a part of the SF landscape is it, and where would you like it to go from here?

I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and ideas here, and I’ll aim to answer every question as best I can.

I’d also invite anyone who wants to contact me to discuss these issues or to get involved to find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or drop me an email at ClarkeAward@gmail.com.

People are already asking how they can get involved, and all offers of help, advice or useful connections are greatly appreciated.

Three things people can do to get involved right now are help us show the size of our audience by Liking us on Facebook or following @ClarkeAward on Twitter, re-posting the link to this page and, of course, by letting us know your thoughts in the comments here.

Thank you for reading and for your continued support of the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Tom Hunter
Award Director, December 2010