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07 May 2015 @ 12:38 pm
wondering about the 2015 Clarke Award  
The Clarke Award is "a British award given for the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year." (Wikipedia)

This year's winner is STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel (link to book at Powell's: http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780385353304-3). It is a post-apocalyptic novel about the survivors of a global pandemic. It makes references to _Star Trek_ episodes. It sounds interesting and I'd like to read it.

Apparently, according to hearsay on a comment thread on io9, the author doesn't consider her book science fiction. This is a commonly stated opinion among "literary" authors who use speculative fiction settings and concepts in their work (see Ishiguro, McCarthy, etc...)

If this is true, then I wonder: Since the Clarke Award is specifically for a "science fiction novel" will the author accept the award? And will the author cash the check (2000 pounds) that comes with it?

Just curious.

- yeff
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jeffsoesbejeffsoesbe on May 7th, 2015 10:27 pm (UTC)
cash it!
Thinking about this some more, in the context of this article in the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/10/15/sorry-emily-st-john-mandel-resistance-is-futile/

She will probably cash the check, and she should.

In my opinion, it's definitely speculative fiction. Is it "science fiction"? Well it's post-apocalyptic, and involves a global pandemic. Is it "sci-fi"? I think of that as a "catch-all" term for all types of speculative fiction, so yes it is.

In the end, the Clarke jury defines what they want to call "science fiction" and nominates works and gives the award based on their definition. And, in this case, that's all that matters.