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Whither the Arthur C. Clarke Award

By / May 27, 2016 / no comments

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Now, the Arthur C. Clarke Award has been no stranger to controversy. The very first award, to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, aroused a lot of dissent; dissent which was even louder a few years later when Body of Glass by Marge Piercy won. And just a few years ago the so-called Priestgate affair, kicked off by this excoriating post by Christopher Priest, prompted a major debate about the award.

Since then, things seem to have died down a little. But this year’s shortlist, coupled with the anniversary which has in any case prompted serious thought about the future of the award, has again resulted in impassioned debate.

The discussion began with this post by Nina Allan.

The argument was continued by Jonathan McCalmont (you’ll need to scroll quite a long way down to find the discussion), and there have been three posts by Martin Petto: “Two Proposals for the Structure and Administration of the Arthur C. Clarke Award“, “The Shortlists of the Arthur C. Clarke Award“, and “The Clarke Award: Shortlists vs Longlists“.

Paul McAuley has also joined in the debate (and it’s well worth reading the exchanges between him and Nina Allan in the comments).

And there’s a good piece by Gareth Beniston musing on the Kitschies and the Clarkes.

Meanwhile, the current award administrator, Tom Hunter, thought publicly about the award’s future in this article for the Guardian, which he followed up with this much longer piece.

It has to say something about the Clarke Award that, even after 30 years, it still generates this level of engagement.

For the record, the complete list of Arthur C. Clarke Award winners is:

1987: The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
1988: The Sea and Summer, George Turner
1989: Unquenchable Fire, Rachel Pollack
1990:  The Child Garden, Geoff Ryman
1991: Take Back Plenty, Colin Greenland
1992: Synners, Pat Cadigan
1993: Body of Glass, Marge Piercy
1994:  Vurt, Jeff Noon
1995: Fools, Pat Cadigan
1996: Fairyland, Paul McAuley
1997: The Calcutta Chromosome, Amitav Ghosh
1998: The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
1999: Dreaming in Smoke, Tricia Sullivan
2000: Distraction, Bruce Sterling
2001: Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
2002: Bold As Love, Gwyneth Jones
2003: The Separation, Christopher Priest
2004: Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson
2005:  Iron Council, China Mieville
2006: Air, Geoff Ryman
2007:  Nova Swing, M. John Harrison
2008: Black Man, Richard Morgan
2009: Song of Time, Ian R. MacLeod
2010: The City and the City, China Mieville
2011:  Zoo City, Lauren Beukes
2012: The Testament of Jessie Lamb, Jane Rogers
2013: Dark Eden, Chris Beckett
2014:  Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
2015: Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel

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