If you’re looking to wash the sour taste of the Hugo Awards out of your mouth, you might want to consider these six novels that were just announced as the nominees for the Arthur C Clarke Awards:
- The Girl With All The Gifts – M.R. Carey (Orbit)
- The Book Of Strange New Things – Michel Faber (Canongate)
- Europe In Autumn – Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
- Memory Of Water – Emmi Itäranta (Harper Voyager)
- The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August – Claire North (Orbit)
- Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel (Picador)
As you can see from the links I’ve already read three of the six novels. I wasn’t at all keen on the Carey and am surprised to see it nominated. I just don’t see what the attraction is to a book that once the surprise is revealed is utterly predictable. I would have rather seen it replaced by Nina Allan’s The Race (review forthcoming) or even The Peripheral by William Gibson, which is a novel that has major flaws (in my humble) but is far more inventive than The Girl With All The Gifts.
The good news is that both Station Eleven and the Memory of Water have been nominated. I’ve gone on at length about my love for Station Eleven both on this blog and the Writer and the Critic podcast. I know it’s not loved by all and its inclusion will probably elicit the odd groan, but those people are all wrong. Yes, even Kirstyn.
And then there’s Memory of Water which is now appearing on its third 2015 award ballot (by my reckoning). It’s a wonderful novel and I really hope that the increased exposure will mean more people will read it.
I haven’t read the other three novels but both Hutchinson and the North were both nominated for the BSFA. As a result I’ve had those two books lined up to read for more than a month. I’m excited to see the Faber also shortlisted. While the reviews I’ve skimmed have been mixed, it’s a novel I’ve wanted to read.
The other surprise for me is the non-appearance of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. It’s not a book I’ve read and like the Faber the novel has collected its fair share of mixed and negative reviews, but there’s been enough praise that I thought it might get a guernsey. I’m now wondering whether the Mitchell will be nominated at all for a genre award this year.
Overall, I think this is a solid shortlist. My instincts tell me that when compared to last year’s wildly inconsistent group of nominees, this year’s bunch will be stronger. But time will tell.