Skip to content

Clarke Shortlist (Belated response)

I have never seen so many sweet violets in Sussex, never. Easter Monday, mild, weak sun through cloud. Tadpoles thriving, and gradually being moved to the wildlife pond, but sadly one of our fish, known only as Red One (we gave up naming them, due to rapid turnover, and then these two lived for years) has succumbed to the attentions of a fishing cat. It survived the attack, but died later in the emergency ward. . .

Deeply engrossed all last week in the grim interactive gothic novel my family is still enacting, but yes, with thanks to those who inquired, I have noticed that Spirit is shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke award. An unlikely candidate!, given various constraints, not least that it only got submitted by Gollancz after special pleading. Still, never mind. There are strong books on this short list, April 28th will come, and I'll be delighted for the winner.

Did you know, Escape Plans, the Ur-novel of this protracted sequence, was shortlisted for the very first Arthur C Clarke award, in 1987? Isn't that remarkable.

Hi Jesper, and thanks for your comment on the Dragon Tattoo. . .

I agree! In the first book Salander's computer-whizzness didn't worry me. This obviously isn't realist fiction, and I'm used to the same phenomenon in sf, where some applied technology (eg genetic engineering) works exactly like magic, but I'm supposed to suspend disbelief because the terms and language are "scientific". In the second book I thought Salander's "hacker" credentials really fell apart, and the third, even to my small knowledge of computers, was worse. Also left slightly feeling that if I winced at the computer stuff, real investigative journalists might be grimacing madly at flaws invisible to me. . . But this is still ace bestseller material. It's like a movie being Oscar material: a mystery when you look closely, instantly recognisable from the proper distance.