Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock has been announced as the 32nd winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction literature.
The winner was announced on the evening of Wednesday 18th July at a special ceremony held at the Foyles flagship bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London, and presented in front of an audience of science fiction writers, publishers and fans. Andrew M Butler, Chair of Judges, said, “Humanity’s attitudes to reproduction have been core to science fiction at least as far back as Frankenstein. Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time explores the theme with a delightfully rich but unshowy intergenerational novel that demands rereading.”
Award Director Tom Hunter said, “This is a much-deserved win for a writer whose time has definitely come. Charnock’s multi-generational vision of expanding human reproductive technologies is smart, science-literate fiction that embraces the challenge of humanizing big ethical questions, and succeeds by exploring possible future scenarios that feel utterly real.”
Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock
In a near-future London, Millie Dack places her hand on her belly to feel her baby kick, resolute in her decision to be a single parent. Across town, her closest friend–a hungover Toni Munroe–steps into the shower and places her hand on a medic console. The diagnosis is devastating. In this stunning, bittersweet family saga, Millie and Toni experience the aftershocks of human progress as their children and grandchildren embrace new ways of making babies. When infertility is a thing of the past, a man can create a child without a woman, a woman can create a child without a man, and artificial wombs eliminate the struggles of pregnancy. But what does it mean to be a parent? A child? A family? Through a series of interconnected vignettes that spans five generations and three continents, this emotionally taut story explores the anxieties that arise when the science of fertility claims to deliver all the answers.