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February 2013
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Ninebelow [userpic]
Martin Hill

Claude Lalumière posts about the Clarke shortlist. Despite liking to think of myself as a SF reviewer I have read precisely zero of the nominated books. That said I think that if I had read them my views would match his, with the exception of Cloud Atlas. Where he does slip up is here:

Should win: Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but since it's not nominated I'm rooting for Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife -- in my opinion, the best book on the list -- but I doubt it'll win. I think the odds are fairly even between any of the other five.
I am not convinced by Lalumière's inner bookie. This is what I would offer:

Ian McDonald's River of Gods 1/2
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas 2/1
Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife 6/1
China Miéville's Iron Council 6/1
Richard Morgan's Market Forces 12/1
Neal Stephenson's The System of the World 25/1

In a half-hearted attempt to actually be able to give an informed opion on any of the books I am aided by Bastardstone's, who are selling The Time Traveler's Wife for half price. Economics trumping ethics, terrible to see I know, but since it is obviously a lose leader and I'm not going to buy anything else I'm actually hurting them. Right?


For obvious reasons, I'm not going to comment on the shortlist - or your betting odds - but I will say that the Arthur C Clarke Award is for science fiction. Though books with strong fantasy elements have won, it has always been because the judges consider there are science fictional elements which form an important part of the make-up of the book. In the case of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell the judges did not feel there was any science fictional content that could justify its place on the shortlist.

I'd save your money on The Time Traveler's Wife. It's an ok book, but it's appearance on this short list has me baffled.

Well, I did just buy it at lunch. They had me with their advertising: the posters on the tube prominently displayed a quote (I think from the Times) saying "Wonky, sexy, brilliant." That is exactly how to snare me.