Mieville and the bleak Arthur C Clarke finalists, and other writerly news

embassytown by china mieville

The finalists of the Arthur C Clarke award for best science fiction novel published in the UK last year include China Mieville for Embassytown, the fifth time he’s been nominated and what could be he his fourth win.

The interesting comment from the chair of the judging panel, Andrew M Butler, quoted in the Guardian, for those worried about over-genrification:

“It’s got something for everyone: alien contact, post-apocalyptic disaster, near future cyberpunkish police procedural,” he said, adding that the variety demonstrates the health of the SF scene. “It’s exciting because you can’t fit it in a box.”

Others in the running are Charlie Stross, Booker longlisted Jane Rogers, Drew Magary, Sherri S Tepper and Greg Bear.

Says Butler about the dystopian line-up,

“We’re in a dark place at the moment and SF writers are responding to that. These are not books to turn to for escape – they’re not afraid to confront the dark side of life.”

The award is announced in May.

  • Canberra’s Nicole Murphy, author of the Secret Ones, has launched an interesting project in which she mentors a writer to develop a 2,000-word spec fic story each month, publishes the finished story on the project’s website and, eventually, makes 12 available as an anthology. The chosen submission each month scores $100 and a cut of the anthology royalties.
  • Also taking submissions in April is UK publisher Angry Robot, who have an open door for classic fantasy and YA SF&F.
  • Stephanie Smith has stepped down from her role at HarperCollins Voyager, where as editor and publisher she has overseen the growth of Australia’s fantasy industry, Bookseller+Publisher reports. She’s quite the icon on the local scene and will be missed. Her replacement is respected editor Deonie Fiford, starting on April 2. OMG that’s Monday! Where has the year gone? Voyager’s farewell message is here.
  • The Gold Coast Literati event in May has announced its line-up, including spec fic authors Stephen M Irwin, Marianne de Pierres, Trent Jamieson, Louise Cusack, Kylie Chan and Rowena Cory Daniells, as well as talented comics creator Queenie Chan, crime writer Katherine Howell and many more. It looks like most of the bases have been covered, from YA to poetry to non-fiction. It’s held the same weekend as Melbourne’s Emerging Writers Festival kicks off. See the calendar for more literary events.
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    2 thoughts on “Mieville and the bleak Arthur C Clarke finalists, and other writerly news

    1. Personally, I think the proliferation of dystopias is a writerly response to the pleasant inanity that is TV and cinema at the moment. I mean, we’ve got to stand out somehow. If we just wrote the literary equivalent of The Block or MasterChef, there’d hardly be any reason to read… everyone could just watch TV.

    2. I know a recent dose of commercial television was close to living in the end of days…

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