The shortlist for the 20th annual Arthur C Clarke Award was announced earlier today and we're glad to see that this is pretty much the first all-British shortlist in the award's history (we say pretty much because although Geoff Ryman is Canadian he's a long term UK resident which is close enough for us). For our money the best book on the list is Charlie Stross' 'Accelerando'. We have no qualms at all in recommending his work to everyone we know. Imagine Len Deighton's Harry Palmer fighting the minions of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos and you've drawn a bead on his 'Atrocity Archives'. One of the most enjoyable books we've read in a long time.
Being a forward thinking type Charlie has put up his entire novel for you to download and read for free on his website. Give it a go and if like us you enjoyed the hell out of it then grab the hard copy or at least spread the word. There's much more to sci-fi than Captain Kirk Skywalker and his blue box that's for sure.
The full shortlist for the "Booker of the sci-fi world" is as follows:
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)
Learning The World - Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
Pushing Ice - Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz)
Air - Geoff Ryman (Gollancz)
Accelerando - Charles Stross (Orbit)
Banner Of Souls - Liz Williams (Tor)
The winners will be announced at the Sci-Fi-London festival on Wednesday 26 April 2006.