The Arthur C Clarke Award , the most prestigious award for science fiction in the UK, found its latest winner last night in Jane Rogers.
Rogers won for her novel The Testament Of Jessie Lamb (published by Sandstone Press ), a bleak dystopia set in the near-future, after an act of biological terrorism has unleashed a deadly virus which only affects pregnant women.
The shortlist had proved to be controversial, and the win comes as something of a surprise; many were banking on China Miéville to claim his fourth Clarke award. Assessing Rogers’s chances of winning back in March, SFX described The Testament Of Jessie Lamb as “Possibly a choice too far from SF’s centre-ground even for the Clarke judges,” but a win for an author from outside the genre has proved popular with many.
No doubt someone who will be especially pleased is Christopher Priest, who described Rogers’s novel as the “only one which I think is something we should be proud of” during a recent outburst about the quality of the shortlist. Said Priest, “Ms Rogers is a successful and intelligent writer from what the SF world calls the ‘mainstream’. [Her novel] was quickly recognised by many commentators in the SF community as a work of real interest… if this alone encourages Ms Rogers to try her hand at more speculative fiction in future then the whole business has been justified."
SFX was there on the night , mixing with authors, Award organisers and publishing insiders - as always we were proud to be associated with the event as a media partner. The Arthur C Clarke Award was held at the Apollo West End (Piccadilly Circus) on the second night of the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival which is now in full swing. For a colourful look at the evening's fun, check out writer Paul Cornell's Twitter feed where he shared the evening's "red carpet" fashions .