Christopher Priest, one of Britain’s most acclaimed modern science fiction authors, has slammed this year’s Arthur C. Clarke award nominees, saying that he believes most of the shortlisted books are unworthy and that he wants the judging panel to resign. In a blog post, Priest argues that there is no point awarding the prize this year if the panel can’t come up with a better crop of nominees.
As well as criticising the inclusion of books such as China Mieville’s Embassytown and Charles Stross’s Rule 34, Priest questions the omission of the likes of Ian R. MacLeod’s Wake Up and Dream and Simon Ings’s Dead Water. But Priest’s post isn’t just a case of him disagreeing with the judges’ selection; it’s a case of him disagreeing with the whole process behind the award.
The winner will be announced on May 2nd and Priest says that the only novel he believes is worthy of winning is Jane Rogers’s The Testament of Jessie Lamb. Priest wants the current panel of judges to be fired, and he wants this year’s award cancelled and the prize rolled over to 2013 (when novels published in both 2011 and 2012 could compete). He’s unlikely to get his wish, but this year’s awards event looks set to be a little more acrimonious than has been the case in previous years.