Survival of the Sci-Fitest: who will win the 2023 Clarke Award? (award news)

In a shocking turn of events, six (yes, just six!) science fiction books have managed to survive the literary equivalent of the Hunger Games to find themselves shortlisted for the illustrious Arthur C. Clarke Award for the science fiction book of the year 2023.

This year’s brave contenders, who have faced down the existential dread of blank pages and the daunting terror of writer’s block, are:

  • “Venomous Lumpsucker” by Ned Beauman, a title that has us both intrigued and slightly worried about Ned’s choice of pets.
  • “The Red Scholar’s Wake” by Aliette de Bodard, promising a novel that will assuredly keep you awake long past your bedtime.
  • “Plutoshine” by Lucy Kissick, a title that sounds like a new makeup line from an intergalactic cosmetics firm.
  • “The Anomaly” by Hervé Le Tellier, which was translated by Adriana Hunter (making us wonder if it’s not an anomaly that she translated it, but the book itself is the anomaly).
  • “The Coral Bones” by E.J. Swift, a title that suggests a haunting maritime journey or a really detailed guide to oceanic osteology.
  • “Metronome” by Tom Watson, possibly the first thriller about a ticking time bomb… metronome.

In a statement about the shortlist, Chair of Judges, Dr Andrew M. Butler, hinted at potential referee gear and whistles, saying he “look[s] forward to what I suspect will be a passionately argued decision.”

Award Director Tom Hunter tossed out a number so big it almost made us forget how to count, stating the judges had over 988,000,000 possible mathematical combinations of books to choose from.

The suspense for this year’s competition will finally end on Wednesday, 16th August 2023, when the winner is revealed. The victorious author will receive a trophy, a cheque of £2023.00, and most importantly, bragging rights for life. This tradition of the prize money being equal to the year in memory of Sir Arthur C. Clarke seems to have been a fantastic idea back in 2001, but we wonder if the tradition will be as warmly embraced in 2101?

This year’s judging panel included representatives from the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation, and the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival, which we presume to be the most fun science fiction gathering this side of a Star Trek convention.

Here’s to the Arthur C. Clarke Award, continuing to elevate, celebrate, and stimulate the imagination of sci-fi fans worldwide. To the nominees, may the odds be ever in your favour… and please, no one try to domesticate a venomous lumpsucker at home.

Survival of the Sci-Fitest: who will win the 2023 Clarke Award? (award news)
Survival of the Sci-Fitest: who will win the 2023 Clarke Award? (award news)


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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