The shortlist of books being considered for the Arthur C. Clarke Award was just announced. The annual award, given for the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year, was established with a generous grant given by author Arthur C. Clarke and the first prize was awarded in 1987 to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
The ultimate winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 17th.
Semiosis by Sue Burke
In Semiosis, debut author Sue Burke’s character driven story of first contact, human survival hinges on an bizarre alliance. Forced to land on a planet they aren’t prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape-trees offer edible, addictive fruit one day and poison the next, while the ruins of an alien race are found entwined in the roots of a strange plant. Conflicts between generations arise as they struggle to understand one another and grapple with an unknowable alien intellect. Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet’s sentient species and prove that mammals are more than tools.
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Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
The shattering conclusion to the Hugo Award nominated Machineries of Empire series!
When Shuos Jedao wakes up for the first time, several things go wrong. His few memories tell him that he’s a seventeen-year-old cadet–but his body belongs to a man decades older. Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his behalf even though Jedao has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general. Surely a knack for video games doesn’t qualify you to take charge of an army?
Soon Jedao learns the situation is even worse. The Kel soldiers under his command may be compelled to obey him, but they hate him thanks to a massacre he can’t remember committing. Kujen’s friendliness can’t hide the fact that he’s a tyrant. And what’s worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself.
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi—a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café—collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive—first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path. A prizewinning novel by “Baghdad’s new literary star” (The New York Times), Frankenstein in Baghdad captures with white-knuckle horror and black humor the surreal reality of contemporary Iraq.
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag
A teen girl and her robot embark on a cross-country mission in this illustrated science fiction story, perfect for fans of Ready Player One and Black Mirror.
In late 1997, a runaway teenager and her small yellow toy robot travel west through a strange American landscape where the ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, along with the discarded trash of a high-tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual-reality system. As they approach the edge of the continent, the world outside the car window seems to unravel at an ever faster pace, as if somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in.
Rosewater by Tade Thompson
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry, and the helpless–people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers. Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. A sensitive, he can navigate the massive psychic space created by the dome. But when something within the dome begins killing other sensitives, Kaaro must defy his masters to avert a horrifying future.
The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley
In a world where people shed their skin every seven years, it’s just a fact of life that we will cast of all the attachments of our old life. With every molt we become a new person, and though we can discard the past, the skin remembers, brings it all back if we touch it. And when our loves are part of us, those memories of love can be bought, if you know the right people.
Introducing the new drug, Suscutin, that will prevent the molt. Now you can keep your skin forever. Now you never need to change who you are.
But it’s not so simple for celebrity bodyguard Rose Allington, who suffers from a rare disease. Her molts come quickly, changing everything about her life, who she is, who she loves.