The submissions list for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award was released today. There are lots of great books on it, and as always many interesting-sounding ones I’m not familiar with. However, I suspect that one of the things that will grab the attention of UK fans is the absence of Jeff Noon’s Channel Sk1n.
Of course it is possible that Jeff decided not to submit it. You do have to pay to get onto the Clarke long list. But I tried to submit Archangel Protocol and was told that ebook-only editions were not eligible. I’m guessing that Jeff’s book was ruled out for the same reason. I should note that I had a very friendly discussion about this with Tom Hunter, and he did say that he’ll be looking at possibly changing that rule for future years. I hope he does.
Other awards do somewhat better. We are happy to receive digital-only books at the SF&F Translation Awards. Indeed, as we have such an international jury, we prefer submissions to be electronic. I did most of my Crawford reading digitally, and knowing the rest of the advisory group I can’t see any of them objecting to digital-only. We did, of course, have a long, hard fight to get the WSFS Business meeting to specifically include digital books in the Hugos, though there was never any wording that unequivocally excluded them, no matter how hard some people tried to advance strange interpretations of the word “published”. I did put Channel Sk1n forward for consideration on the Locus Recommended Reading List, but as far as I’m aware it failed to make the list because too few people supported my suggestion, not because it was a digital-only publication.
Back with the Clarke, I have no idea what will win. M. John Harrison’s Empty Space is probably the best written book on the list, but there’s no guarantee the jury will go for that. I’m expecting to see some outsiders on the short list, as usually happens. Maybe Ken Macleod’s Intrusion, or Juli Zeh’s The Method.