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2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Statistics: The State Of The Industry

with 20 comments

The full list of novels submitted for the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award has been published at Torque Control. This isn’t a shortlist, it is a list of every novel – submitted directly by publishers or called in by the judges – that has been entered for the award.

I am one of this year’s judges so I know the shortlist. It will be revealed on Friday but I would encourage you to guess the shortlist because a) I like seeing what other people think will be on there and b) you could win all the novels plus Fables From The Fountain. In the meantime, here are some stats I’ve noted down as I’ve been reading my way through the submissions.

Who is publishing science fiction?

As you might expect, the majority of submissions were from the major science fiction imprints:

Submissions By Type Of Publisher

That leaves still leaves almost a third from other sources though. This is one of the stats that I would particularly like to see longitudinal data as I’m sure the amount of science fiction coming from non-genre imprints and small presses has increased. All in all, 22 different publishers submitted work.

Still, it it is clear that the big three still the roost. Or perhaps that is just the big one; Gollancz submitted more books than Orbit and Pan Macmillan combined. As I said, it would be fascinating to see how this changes over time. (By the way, small press encompasses an enormous range of publishers from Granta, the independent literary press, to what are clearly vanity publishers.)

Who is being published?

Guess what? It is straight, white men. If the diversity of publishers is encouraging, the diversity of their authors is not.

Sex of Author

Race of Author

Sexuality of Author

When it comes to nationality, the picture is a little more diverse:

But not much. It is clear that the US and UK completely dominate British science fiction publishing:

Nationality by Continent

Anglo-American Dominance

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Written by Martin

28 February 2011 at 22:09

Posted in awards, sf

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20 Responses

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  1. Brightly-colored graphs! Thank you for visually sorting them all out that way.

    Out of curiosity, do you know race for all of them, or, in absence of other data, are you assuming race?

    Speaking of gender disparity, I was sorry to see that, for whatever reason, Fables ended up with a single (albeit major) female contributor out of the nineteenth people who wrote things for it.

    Shana

    28 February 2011 at 22:20

  2. As far as I know Charles Yu is the only non-white author submitted but it is possible others self-identify this way.

    More brightly-coloured graphs tomorrow (providing Google Charts doesn’t send me round the bend).

    Martin

    28 February 2011 at 22:35

  3. I was wondering who the Icelandic writer was. I should’ve guessed it was an Eve tie-in novel.

    Liz

    28 February 2011 at 23:34

  4. [...] I wrote who was publishing and being published in the British science fiction industry. Later today I am going to be writing about what is being [...]

  5. I love these.

    Isn’t a requirement of the ACC that the book be published in English? That’ll throw the nationality graph a bit out of whack.

    Jared

    1 March 2011 at 13:33

  6. I seem to recall that, according to Stonewall, 6% of the population are homosexual? That given, your fifth graph actually shows that the publishing industry’s straight on the money, assuming the “unknown” 35% is proportionally split the same way as the known 65%.

    And then nationality split, likewise, is pretty fair for a cross-section of British genre publishing.

    The race and gender splits are shameful. It’s true that more men are published in genre fic than women, and many more white than other, but that in turn is an indictiment on the community.

    David Moore

    1 March 2011 at 14:24

  7. Jared: The Clarke is for best science fiction novel published in Britain. So fiction in translation is eligible but I don’t think any was submitted. Conversely, much US SF is ineligible because it hasn’t been published here.

    David: Sexuality is tricky because it is less visible than, say, race. It also hasn’t been monitored for as long. 6% sounds reasonable but I’ve seen figures suggesting closer to 10% so I think the 4% here (two openly homosexual writers) is probably a bit less than we’d expect if it was truly representative.

    Martin

    1 March 2011 at 14:26

  8. Equally, foreign language fiction would be eligible, if published in Britain, but there’s the problem of whether or not the jury would be capable of reading it.

    Shana

    1 March 2011 at 14:32

  9. That’s an interesting point, Shana! It hadn’t occurred to me but yes, will be UK presses publishing work in lanaguages other than English. For example, The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis was submitted this year. Whilst that is in English, Lewis has previously published in Welsh so it is conceivable an SF novel in Welsh could be submitted.

    Martin

    1 March 2011 at 14:47

  10. This is one of the stats that I would particularly like to see longitudinal data

    This shouldn’t be impossible to collect, should it? I would have thought Serendip has records of what was submitted each year, but if not I’m sure individual judges will. (I still have mine.)

    Niall

    1 March 2011 at 14:53

  11. [...] is Nice has some nice, juicy posts up analysing the eligible submissions for the 2011 Clarke Award. The Clarke Award is awarded annually for the best science fiction (or fantasy) novel published in [...]

  12. This shouldn’t be impossible to collect, should it?

    I’m sure its possible. I will now rashly promise that once I’ve done this year’s Clarke Award stats, I will set up a Google Doc to collect this data.

    Martin

    1 March 2011 at 15:28

  13. Just to push you a little on your methodology and play devil’s advocate for a sec…

    Isn’t your sample skewed simply because 55 books is only a subset of everything published that could be considered SF or close-to-SF? If you included books not put forward, including relevant ones from non-genre imprints, how different would your stats look? And have you looked at imprints that specialize in translations but don’t self-identify as genre? And if not, why not? Wouldn’t you need some larger sample to *compare* your subset to?

    Do you have data on how many manuscripts SF/F imprint editors saw in 2010, and the stats on what they rejected? (I know this is impossible, but it’s an important question.)

    Also, aren’t you making huge assumptions about the sexuality of the writers? I sure as shit never told you I was heterosexual or made any kind of statement on the subject one way or the other. You’d have to put me in the unknown category for Finch because you in fact have no way of knowing if I’m bisexual, for example.

    I’d also like to see your homework–the math, basically. Where you sat down and compiled your stats so it’s possible to check it against the books.

    These are just a few of the questions that come to mind when looking at pie charts.

    JeffV

    Jeff VanderMeer

    1 March 2011 at 23:43

  14. sorry–“saw in 2009″ since most books published in 2010 would’ve been acquired in 2009.

    Jeff VanderMeer

    1 March 2011 at 23:44

  15. Other people are free to do their own stats but my sample in explicitly the Arthur C Clarke Award submissions list because that is what I’ve read. I do think that list makes a pretty proxy for British science fiction publishing in general though.

    The sample size is not perfect but I doubt that many non-genre and small press science fiction novels were excluded. I am aware of a few additional ones that may have existed, just as a few of those actually submitted probably aren’t. If the sample skews significantly though, it is in ignoring tie-in fiction and spinoffery (only two such novels were submitted).

    Identity questions are problematic. In the real world you would have many more categories than I’ve used and you certainly wouldn’t allocate people into them. For example, I doubt Charles Yu self-identifies as “Asian” and it is a uselessly broad. Similarly, real equality monitoring would include at least straight, gay male, lesbian, bi and probably others too.

    Since self-reporting was impossible, I have crudely allocated people into categories using the evidence available. This is problematic but I took a judgement that it was interesting information to present.

    Martin

    2 March 2011 at 09:31

  16. [...] The State Of The Industry: who publishes who. [...]

  17. [...] has also been a fairly neutral and causal assessment of the fabric of recent SF awards submissions, which is interesting and worth taking a look at, but generally suggests to us that the the SF [...]

  18. [...] there, and in part because it’s data which is a payoff from having read all those books. (His statistics on the race and sexuality of the authors may be approximately right, but it’s data that no [...]

  19. [...] there is a big gap in numbers between female and male writers. Illustrated well by Martin in a series of interesting posts where he gives those numbers a good old crunching. I have to admit that I’m more surprised at [...]

  20. [...] The Art #1 – in which I analyse who we see and how we see them in British science fiction. 4) 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Statistics: The State Of The Industry – in which I analyse who publishes who in British science fiction. 5) A Long But Necessary [...]

    Three « Everything Is Nice

    27 October 2011 at 16:07


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