Today I’m delighted to announce the 2022 shortlist for the Arthur Clarke Award science fiction book of the year.
From its inaugural winner, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in 1987, through to last year’s win for The Animals in that Country by debut novelist Laura Jean McKay, the award has sought to celebrate, explore and reimagine the best of science fiction literature in the UK.
This year our judges selected their final shortlist from over 100 eligible titles submitted by 39 publishing imprints and independent authors.
This year’s shortlisted books are:
DEEP WHEEL ORCADIA by Harry Josephine Giles (Picador)
KLARA AND THE SUN by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber)
A DESOLATION CALLED PEACE by Arkady Martine (Tor UK)
A RIVER CALLED TIME by Courttia Newland (Canongate)
WERGEN: THE ALIEN LOVE WAR by Mercurio D. Rivera (NewCon Press)
SKYWARD INN by Aliya Whiteley (Solaris)
Monolith-sized congratulations go to all our nominated authors and their publishing teams! Dr Andrew M. Butler, our chair of judges, said this after the final vote was cast:
‘I always view the shortlist as a snapshot of the richness and variety of the genre – space operas and dystopias, debutants and veterans, page turners that you can swallow whole and books that make you want to linger on every sentence. We’re slowly seeing a wider range of authors getting published in the British science fiction market, so we get to see a wider range of ways of reimagining the world. If science fiction is a toolbox, then we need to keep our tools sharp by approaching the material from different angles.
The judges also come to science fiction from different angles. We have reviewers, academics, archivists and more, but above all they are enthusiastic readers and fans who have the mammoth task of whittling over hundred submissions down to exactly six titles. There was passion and intelligence and emotion in abundance. I’m proud of how they were able to challenge and still respect each other and produce the shortlist we’re celebrating today. And they get to have the debates all over again, as they choose the single best science fiction novel of the year.’
I want to echo Andrew’s words and thank our judging panel and our supporting organisations for this year. They are:
- Phoenix Alexander and Dr Nicole Devarenne for the Science Fiction Foundation.
- Crispin Black and Stark Holborn for the British Science Fiction Association.
- Nick Hubble for the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival.
I also want to say a special thank you to the Science Museum, London, for inviting us to announce this year’s winner as a part of their forthcoming exhibition Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination at a special ceremony presentation at the museum to be held on Wednesday 26 October.
Welcoming the award to the Science Museum, Dr Glyn Morgan, Lead curator for the exhibition, said:
’It’s really exciting to bring the Clarke Award back to the Science Museum as our landmark new science fiction exhibition prepares to launch. It feels like the genre is more relevant now than ever. Not only are the issues it grapples with routinely the topic of headlines and popular discussion, but the modern genre is also more energetic and vibrant with a diverse and more representative range of writers. Today could be science fiction’s most important era as it equips our global culture not only with blockbusters and bestsellers, but also with the tools to imagine the future and choose a path for ourselves, our societies and our world.’
Sir Arthur himself once said, ‘The only way to know the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.’
So I hope you will accept his invitation to step into the beyond, pick up one (or all six!) of these incredible shortlisted novels, and take your own voyage of imagination with us today.
Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination opens at the Science Museum on 6 October 2022. Book your tickets now.