2011 Arthur C Clarke Award Statistics: The Shape Of British Science Fiction
Yesterday 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 published. But first a bit of overlap between the who and the what.
There were thirteen debut SF novels published in 2010, including highly fancied debuts such as How To Live Safely In A Science Fiction Universe by Charles Yu, The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. At the other end of the spectrum, Stone Spring was Stephen Baxter’s 33rd novel. Baxter famously has been nominated seven times for the Clarke Award without a win. Baxter’s output is extraordinary, his nearest rivals are Iain M Banks and Chris Wooding on their 24th novels. Both have only been shortlisted once. It is also probably worth mentioning Ken MacLeod who in the past has had five nominations from just eleven novels (although, like Baxter, he is yet to win).
So it seems like there is quite a bit of new blood coming into the genre as well as some venerable warhorses plugging away. Perhaps science fiction isn’t quite dead yet. And what are these authors writing, in the broadest possible sense? Well, haven’t fully entered the age of the sequel yet:
Again, this would be an interesting one to watch over time. At the moment, the majority of science fiction is still published as individual standalone novels. But only just and there is a clear split between the publishers:
What about the other accusation levelled at modern science fiction, that they are all bricks? Again, it is a mixed picture that varies by publisher type. Overall, the mode is actually a modest 250-300 pages but page count creeps way up after that:
The real heavy weights and The Evolutionary Void by Peter F Hamilton (surprise!) with 726 pages and The Passage by Justin Cronin with 766 pages.