Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time has won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award! The UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction was announced on August 24 at Foyles Bookshop by Tom Hunter, Director of the Clarke Award.
Published in the UK by Pan Macmillan, Children of Time is a post-humanity novel in which the remnants of the human race leave a dying Earth behind and discover the ultimate good fortune: a new planet already terraformed for human life. But this planet is not unoccupied and just waiting for them—instead, it is home to the Spiders, who have reached levels of evolution and intelligence to match (and perhaps outpace) the human survivors.
“I think I’m about to die,” a stunned Tchaikovsky joked as he took the podium for his acceptance speech. In accepting the Clarke Award for Children of Time, he praised the other five novels on the shortlist for a recurring theme:
“It’s a book about spiders, but it’s also a book about empathy. One of the things that struck me about the shortlist for this year is empathy as a theme that runs through a lot of these books. Empathy across races, across borders… One of the things the book is about is the ability of humanity to seize value in things that are different, and the danger when that doesn’t happen. I guess what I’m saying is, the spiders are not from outer space after all, they are, in a way, in all of us.”
With 2017 marking the centennial of Arthur C. Clarke’s birth, the Clarke Award committee announced several exciting pieces of news:
- There are plans for a Clarke conference (organized by Chair of the Judges Dr. Andrew M. Butler) next year. (Hunter joked about calling it “2017: A Clarke Odyssey.”)
- The Clarke Award is partnering with Ada Lovelace Day (assisted by Anne Charnock) to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM.
- Rules change: Starting in 2017, self-published books will be eligible for the Clarke Award.
- A new award, the Nommo Award for African sci-fi and speculative fiction, is coming, thanks to Geoff Ryman and Tade Thompson.