Clarke award: Our revels now are ended

After two years my duties as a Science Fiction Foundation judge for the Arthur C. Clarke award have come to an end. Last Wednesday we gave China Miéville the award for The City and The City: an unprecedent third win for the author who has already receieved the award twice before for Perdido Street Station in 2001 and Iron Council in 2005.

The City and The City is the kind of book I would like to write myself. It has depth and intricacy but is also accessible and action-packed, well paced and thoughtfully plotted. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to put it on your reading list. The same goes for the rest of this year’s Clarke shortlist: Spirit by Gwyneth Jones, Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts, Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson, Far North by Marcel Theroux and Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding.

This award doesn’t have an official ‘meet and greet’ so I haven’t actually met China – there was a scrum of reporters 3 foot deep and I am too short to tangle with excited journalists – instead I shall wing him these virtual congratulations via the internet. I did however meet Gwyneth Jones who I attempted to praise without terrifying her with the extent of my fannishness. I’m not sure I entirely succeeded. But she freaked me out by saying she knew who I was and reads my blog. Gwyneth is a wonderful writer and well on her way to supplanting Ursula Le Guin from the very top of my top ten.

Judges go for ice cream

Thank you to everyone else who has made the Clarke award so much fun. I’ve made friends among both judging teams and met all sorts of cool people at the award ceremonies. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

You can see how much fun we’ve had in this picture of the judging team going out for ice cream after a tough meeting to decide the winner. From left to right we are: Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Chris Hill, Francis Spufford, Rhiannon Lassiter and Paul Skevington

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