So, it appears to be inarguable now that this happened:

IMG_0202My very own beautiful Children of Time has won the Clarkes this year.

Please do tune in to those stalwarts Barry and Dave at Geek Syndicate, here, for a skipthrough of the ceremony itself, including my horribly garbled acceptance speech and a spectacularly rabbit-in-headlamps interview after.

It’s probably useful to get an insight into my psychology here. The next morning I woke up not thinking “OMG I won the Clarke” but:

  1. Oh God the “talking spiders from outer space” line in my speech will sound like a slur on Margaret Attwood (you know, the actual first winner of the Clarkes) when it really wasn’t.
  2. Oh God I didn’t thank anybody that needed to be thanked (except for the actual judges and award administrators, thankfully).

I said in the interview (I think) that I didn’t have any words for this sort of thing. It’s not just a figure of speech. My life strategy to date has been very much “expect the worst”, and that very British thing of shrugging off all attempts at praise or compliment because then it’s easier to weather the bad stuff. Confronted with something definitively and inescapably good, I found that I simply don’t have the language to deal with it. So right now, after some reflection and de-British-izing (1), I can say:

  1. I really should thank, in no particular order, my wife, Annie; my editor, Bella; my nonpareil of an agent, Simon; and Chris Beckett, author of Dark Eden, the reading of which rekindled my desire to write a hard SF book about an alien society.
  2. I am actually pretty happy with this development and to hell with understatement.

I will also say that it was a tough field, and all the other shortlistees are a cracking read and well worth picking up. I particularly enjoyed Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and Hutchinson’s Europe At Midnight but they are all extremely good (as one would expect).


(1) using the ‘z’ makes it even less British

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