renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
Renay ([personal profile] renay) wrote in [community profile] ladybusiness2017-05-13 04:18 pm

Let's Get Literate! Clarke Award Finalists

This year there was a shadow jury for the Clarke Award, which was fascinating. they released their own list of finalists right before the Clarke Award dropped the official finalist list.

Clarke Award Finalists

  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
  • After Atlas by Emma Newman
  • Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan
  • Central Station by Lavie Tidhar
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Sharke Six

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • A Field Guide to Reality by Joanna Kavenna
  • Infinite Ground by Martin MacInnes
  • Central Station by Lavie Tidhar
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  • The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

The shadow jury's finalist list name is super cute.

The Clarke is an SF award I'm not up on even though I keep meaning to be. I've read five out of thirty winners: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

The book I am most excited to see on the Clarke list is Ninefox Gambit, which I adored. It's a challenging read, but I loved the characters and the robot pals. Robot pals! I enjoyed the process of reading it a lot, because the world building itself often made me have to adjust my perspective and what I thought I knew.

The rest of the books I haven't read which isn't a surprise to me: the Clarke is often the award I have the least overlap due to how my routine reading goes and what the jury eventually selects. I do plan to read A Closed and Common Orbit because it's a Hugo finalist. I keep putting it off. Although I like the stories Chambers is telling and the characters she creates I find her writing hard to get through for some reason. It happened in the first book, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, too.

Many reading pals love Planetfall and After Atlas. I bought a book by Emma Newman years ago titled Between Two Thorns and had a lot of trouble with the writing. I never finished the book (in fact, I only read two chapters). But that's fantasy, and I'm notoriously bad at remembering fantasy tropes and also knowing anything about faeries. This is generalizing but it feels like a lot of authors who write about faeries assume readers are bringing a lifelong knowledge of how faeries and their culture, even reimagined, work. Meanwhile I'm over here asking for some arm floats because I did not spend my early reading years immersed in faeries. So I'm hopeful that the science fiction work Newman does will be more familiar to me. I know I don't have to read Planetfall, but it's the one I own so I'll start there. Occupy Me sounds like it could be interesting? I've never read any of Sullivan's work so I have nothing to compare it to. Has anyone read this one?

The Sharke list (hee!) is great because I'd only heard of half of it before the list came out. I've begun the process of getting a copy of A Field Guide to Reality since it's sounds like the one I'll like the most. Initially, I wasn't going to read The Underground Railroad because several friends who know my preferences told me I might not get on with Whitehead's writing. But now that it's on both lists I want to at least give him a shot to know for sure.

Lastly, The Power is the one has been on my radar since before it was published even in the UK (I was ahead of the curve!). It's not out in the US until October. I was going to import it, but it was out of my price range when I considered it. But now that it's on a finalist list (Bailey's), there's a good chance my library will get it for me if I drop that tidbit. I'm going to be patient and wait since I have 800 other books to read according to my TBR. [insert 90 laughing while crying emojis here]

Both finalist lists are highlighting neat books. The Clarke finalists definitely tend toward fiction the online genre community is familiar with and less toward smaller press books. Are Viking and Doubleday small? They're not publishers that I'm as familiar with when it comes to the genre awards I follow. The Clarke is going in a different direction right now, which I like a lot, but other readers are not as fond of. The Sharke list has more books that look like they're playing with form and structure, perhaps? I'll be interested to see how I feel about the books on the lists I manage to read.

Also: my brain every time I get to say "Sharke":

Arthur Clarke's head on a shark's body. Don't ask.


Next time: Locus finalists! \o/
novin_ha: Buffy: gotta be a sacrifice (Default)

[personal profile] novin_ha 2017-05-13 10:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I think Doubleday is.. not small and part of Random House! My first ever English-language typical hardcover edition* of anything was Doubleday Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment which my mom brought me from a work trip to the UK. And they have some imprints that publish a lot, I guess.

And Viking is, I think, part of Penguin? Both of them publish a lot of mainstream fiction, which is probably where I know them from.

*Poland doesn't really have this thing with hardcover editions coming out long before or being larger, so it was a really strange experience for me.

I've been meaning to try out Alderman - I really liked her short story I read in Granta best writers under 40 volume, and I liked her collaboration with Atwood. But the book was so expensive - and isn't exactly cheap even now.

I do have Yoon Ha Lee on my e-reader since I bought it on some sale, but for now, I'm making my way through Jaran.
Edited 2017-05-13 22:39 (UTC)

[identity profile] susanhatedliterature.net 2017-05-14 11:47 am (UTC)(link)
I've read two from the Clarke list, the Becky Chambers & the Ya Hoon Lee. Both of which I thought were great, but I probably loved the Chambers just a tad more.

I haven't read anything from the Sharke list, but like yourself, I've been eyeing The Power for quite a while now. I added it to our ebook list at work so hopefully the library will have it in soon.