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Arthur C Clarke award won by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time features talking space spiders

The book Children of Time by British sci-fi author Adrian Tchaikovsky has been announced as the winner of this year’s Arthur C Clarke award.

The award was established by Sir Arthur, who is considered one of the “Big Three” of influential science fiction writers, along with American authors Issac Asimov and Robert Heinlein.

Tchaikovsky’s book is about the last survivors escaping a dying Earth to find new life on a terraformed planet – and they are surprised to find it full of talking space spiders.

Andrew Butler, chair of the judges, praised the book and said “it takes the reader’s sympathies and phobias, and plays with them masterfully on an epic and yet human scale.”

Tchaikovsky’s win coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Arthur C Clarke award. Tom Hunter, the award director, celebrated the event with a new announcement.

Self-published books will now be considered for the award. Science fiction stories will no longer need to be represented by publishers, which opens up the field for amateur science fiction writers and enthusiasts.

The change reflects the shifting culture of publishing. One title on this year's shortlist, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, was spawned from a Kickstarter campaign before it was picked up by Hodder & Stoughton.

The winner receives a prize consisting of a number of pounds sterling equal to the current year, with Tchaikovsky winning £2,016.

Children of Time was Tchaikovsky’s first venture into science fiction. He is best known for his fantasy books, the Shadow of the Apt series. Tchaikovsky writes books in his spare time and works as a lawyer in Leeds.

The Arthur C Clarke award ceremony took place four days before the Hugo Award, the most prestigious science fiction and fantasy award in the US. All four awards for books at the Hugo Award were won by women after it was plagued by claims, made by the group Sad Puppies, that it advanced a “niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavour” viewpoint.

The best novel prize was won by N.K Jemison for The Fifth Season; the best short story prize went to Naomi Kritzer for Cat Pictures Please; whilst the best novella award was won by Nnedi Okorafor for Binti. The best novelette gong went to Hao Jingfang for Folding Beijing. ®

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