Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden was yesterday named the best science fiction novel of the year at the Arthur C Clarke Award 2013 .
The judging panel named Beckett , who follows in the illustrious footsteps of Margaret Atwood, Christopher Priest and China Miéville, as the 27 th winner of the annual prize. His novel ( recipient of five stars in SFX 's review ) won out against a shortlist of Adrian Barnes’ Nod , Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker , Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars , Ken MacLeod’s Intrusion and Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 . Beckett now takes home a cheque for £2013, and membership of an illustrious club.
" Dark Eden fuses rich biological and sociological speculation,” said chair of the judges Andrew M Butler. “Beckett really makes you care for characters who are stranded light years from an Earth they have never really known. It’s a great book, and this is a well-deserved win for Chris Beckett."
“I remember sitting at the 2005 Easter SF Convention with Chris Beckett, about the time I took him on as an agency client,” added Beckett’s agent John Jarrold. “I read his first novel, The Holy Machine , and saw exactly why it had such a buzz in the genre. Cool yet involving, and deeply intelligent. Since then his short fiction (his collection The Turing Test won the Edge Hill Prize against opposition from a Booker Prize winner and two other Booker shortlisted authors) and novels have more than fulfilled the promise I saw. Winning the Arthur C Clarke Award for Dark Eden isn’t a final culmination, it’s simply a mark of how special a talent his is. Can’t wait for the future books…!”
The Award was presented at the Royal Society in London yesterday, the grandstand finale of an evening that had kicked off with the " 2001 Days Later: Living In The Future " panel discussion. With SFX Editor-in-Chief Dave Bradley in the chair, panelists Professor Ian Stewart FRS, Professor Sheila Rowan, Rachel Armstrong and Adrian Hon talked about what technological advancements the world might realistically be seeing in the next 2001 days (that's about five years). With a mathematician, an expert on gravitational waves, a pioneer in the field of living architecture and a top software developer among them, the group discussed topics like the mathematics of biological systems, SF staples like teleportation and faster-than-light travel and building a sustainable interstellar spacecraft within 100 years. You can watch a video of the whole panel and award at the Royal Society site.
Audiences in the afternoon were also treated to a Write The Future mini-conference devoted to science and science fiction. Follow the hashtag #WTF13 on Twitter to see what people thought of the afternoon's presentations.
Gela’s Ring , the sequel to Dark Eden , will initially be published as a serial over twelve months from Easter 2013 in the new online magazine Aethernet . Corvus will then publish it in physical form in the Spring of 2014.
SFX is proud to be the media partner for the Arthur C Clarke Award and you can find out more about the award at its official website . Visit the website of the Royal Society to find out more about the venue. WTF 2013, the Arthur C Clarke Award and the 2001 Days Later panel were also associated with the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival which is running this week too.