Saturday, June 16, 2012

Awards - Very British Science Fiction

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is a relatively recently created annual award that is given to the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. Established by a grant provided by Arthur C. Clarke, the award was first given in 1987 to Margaret Atwood for The Handmaid's Tale, her dystopian tale of misogynistic theocracy. Atwood, somewhat predictably, was shocked to discover that she had written a science fiction novel, and has spent the last several years dismissively pooh-poohing the entire genre, which has alienated a large cadre of her potential readers (go to list of Arthur C. Clarke Award Winners).

The winning book is chosen by a panel of judges drawn from from the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation, and SF Crowsnest. The winner is given a prize consisting of a number of pounds sterling equal to the current number of the calendar year (i.e. in 1987, for winning the award she was horrified to receive, Atwood was given 1,987 pounds sterling). You can find the official website for the award here.

1987 Arthur C. Clarke Winner: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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  1. When I saw this post in my feed, my heart stopped for a moment. I feel a personal connection to England (many reasons) and I'm currently obsessed over science fiction, attempting to write my own. So I am most definitely going to read The Handmaid's Tale. It sounds really fascinating!

    Thank you for the post! :D

  2. @Kirthi: I first read The Handmaid's Tale when it was first published. It is such a frightening depiction of a theocratic future that I dismissed it as a possibility at the time, but with the way politics are going these days I'm not so sure any more. it is definitely worth reading.

    As with all of the major science fiction awards, I plan on reading and reviewing all the Clarke Award winners, but it is a long haul to get through all the books.