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The Arthur C. Clarke Award

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The Arthur C. Clarke Award

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Arthur C. Clarke 2018 Winner:
Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock


Dreams before the start of time - Arthur c Clarke Winner 2018
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It’s with great pleasure we announce Anne Charnock’s startlingly prescient novel of the future of human fertility, Dreams Before the Start of Time, as the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2018.

 

‘Humanity’s attitudes to reproduction have been core to science fiction at least as far back as Frankenstein. Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time explores the theme with a delightfully rich but unshowy intergenerational novel that demands rereading.’

Dr Andrew M Butler, Chair of Judges

 

In a poignant and timely story spanning continents and five generations, Charnock considers the future promised by breakthrough developments in human reproductive technology. Through these changing ways of creating new life, she asks important questions about family, childhood and what we risk when we become our own creators.

 

The Shortlist

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In a world reduced to a wasteland, long devoid of human population, a sentient AI struggles to remain an individual in the face of the homogenising One World mainframes determined to wipe out those who stand apart. Praised by the Financial Times as a compelling ‘vision of a world cannibalising itself and the poignant questions it raises about soul and sentience’, Sea of Rust is a fiery evocation of hope and non-human survival.

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As the Second American Civil War rages, a young Louisianan woman is drawn into its orbit, turning from a victim of the fighting to a deadly weapon. Part dystopian vision, part war story, American War is a stark, visceral and breathtakingly ambitious debut. Turning the tables on East-West power relations, American War is a gripping, page-turner of a novel that confronts the universality of war’s devastating cost on human lives.

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Hot on the heels of his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy, Borne is a deeply strange, luminously brilliant exploration of metamorphosis and non-human sentience. In a future ruined by biotech, a woman stumbles upon a strange new creature, drawing her into a journey into new consciousness with the capacity to inspire or threaten human existence. A Frankenstein for a new age, Borne is a tantalisingly daring glimpse into intelligence beyond human understanding.

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It’s a ‘zany satirical debut is bursting at the seams’ writes the Guardian of Czech-born author Jaraslov Kalfar’s mad-capped debut adventure, ‘Solaris with laughs’. Set in a near-future, it follows a Bohemian spaceman’s voyages to Venus and the starling repercussions back on home ground. Moving from space epic, to thriller, it’s a novel packed full of ideas that confronts ideas of nationhood, history and family loyalty through the filter of what we dare risk in the name of progress.

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On an isolated island where resources are scarce, men rule unchallenged and women’s fertility is strictly controlled and manipulated, four teenage girls tell stories of survival and rebellion. Echoing the haunting resonance of The Handmaid’s Tale, Jennie Melamed’s debut feels perfectly primed for our time. As the Express comments, ‘at a time when it feels as if women’s rights around the world are being slowly eroded this absorbing novel is both gripping and to-the-bone chilling.’
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Confronting very real contemporary fears about the leap forward in reproductive technology, Anne Charnock’s novel of future fertility deftly considers ideas of parenthood and family in a future where child-bearing has become science’s toy. A multi-generational novel, it’s a moving, complex and finely tuned examination of cultural and personal fears and desires that goes to the heart of modern debates about reproductive rights and responsibilities.

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