We Value Your Privacy

This site uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies and other technologies.


Arthur C. Clarke Award-Winning Books: Honored Classics and Hidden Gems

These decorated titles deserve your attention. 

Arthur C. Clarke Award
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Photoshop / Unsplash / mymind

Named for the author who gave the grant to establish the award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award was first rewarded in 1987. 

Every year since, a panel of judges has chosen a science fiction book published in the United Kingdom during the previous year to receive one of speculative fiction's highest honors. 

American readers of contemporary sci-fi might have missed some of these titles, so we're highlighting every book that has won an Arthur C. Clarke Award since the honor's inception. How many have you read?

1987 Award


The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood

The first book to win the award, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopian novel examining an America where certain women have no rights and religious fanatics rule.

1988 Award

Drowning Towers

Drowning Towers/The Sea and Summer

By George Turner

Published in the U.K. as The Sea and Summer, Drowning Towers follows a young boy struggling to survive the devastating effects of climate change.

RELATED: Inspiring Arthur C. Clarke Quotes

1989 Award

Unquenchable Fire

Unquenchable Fire

By Rachel Pollack

A compelling alternate history, Unquenchable Fire reimagines an America governed by spiritual forces. Amid this landscape, one woman must cope with being chosen as the catalyst for change.

1990 Award

The Child Garden

The Child Garden

By Geoff Ryman

Set in a semi-tropical version of London, The Child Garden examines the implications of individuality as nonconformity and the importance of art.

1991 Award

Take Back Plenty

Take Back Plenty

By Colin Greenland

An action-packed and outrageous space opera, Take Back Plenty follows Tabitha June as she outmaneuvers the authorities on Mars and accidentally challenges the order of the Solar System.

1992 Award

cyberpunk books Synners Pat Cadigan


By Pat Cadigan

A cyberpunk classic: Two people struggle to find themselves and each other in a world where virtual reality dominates every facet of human existence.

1993 Award


He, She and It/Body of Glass

By Marge Piercy

Combining religious folklore with science fiction, He, She and It (also published under the title Body of Glass) examines the ethics of artificial consciousness, gender constructs, and the danger of global corporate control.

RELATED: 50 of the Best Science Fiction Books Ever Written

1994 Award



By Jeff Noon

A psychedelic joyride, Vurt follows Scribble on his obsessive journey to find the most powerful narcotic in existence and rescue his lost sister.

1995 Award

Fools Pat Cadigan


By Pat Cadigan

Fools takes the reader on a kaleidoscopic journey through a world where downloading memories blurs the line between what's remembered and what's experienced.

1996 Award



By Paul McAuley

A dark look at the future, genetic engineering, and the implications of autonomous artificial intelligence, Fairyland follows a child genius who works to free artificial companion dolls from servitude.

1997 Award

The Calcutta Chromosome

The Calcutta Chromosome

By Amitav Ghosh

Blending fact with fiction, The Calcutta Chromosome travels through centuries and around the globe chasing a dangerous conspiracy.

1998 Award

the sparrow

The Sparrow

By Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow follows a group of Jesuits into space where they face the ramifications of alien life, and grapple with what it means to be human.

1999 Award

Dreaming in Smoke

Dreaming in Smoke

By Tricia Sullivan

Trapped in a cyber-Dream with a scientist, Kalypso Deed has to heal the artificial intelligence keeping humanity alive on a planet with other plans.

RELATED: Must-Read Nebula Award-Winning Books

2000 Award



By Bruce Sterling

Set in a future that strikes entirely too close to the state of politics today, Distraction by Bruce Sterling imagines a broken American political system that can only be saved by revolutionary PR.

2001 Award

steampunk books

Perdido Street Station

By China Miéville

Set in a nightmare city filled with nightmare creatures, Perdido Street Station takes readers on a political, mythical, and moral journey through the streets of New Crobuzon.

RELATED: Weird Fiction That Takes You on a Ride Through the Strange and Unusual

2002 Award

Bold As Love

Bold as Love

By Gwyneth Jones

Set in the near future, Bold as Love follows three rock-and-roll misfit heroes who are tasked with making the government cool again.

2003 Award

The Separation

The Separation

By Christopher Priest

This alternate history about twin brothers during World War II will keep readers engrossed and engaged through multiple plot twists, conflicting timelines, and unreliable narrators.

2004 Award

Quicksilver Neal Stephenson


By Neal Stephenson

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson goes back to the 17th century to showcase the struggle of scientific disciplines against the power of ambition and politics.

2005 Award

Iron Council

Iron Council

By China Mieville

The winner of Mieville’s second Clarke Award, Iron Council is a standalone steampunk Western set in the Bas-Lag universe that tackles war, politics, revolution, and human nature.  

2006 Award



By Geoff Ryman

Air is a breathtaking examination of how technology can clash with culture and what happens when the past collides with the future.

2007 Award

Nova Swing

Nova Swing

By M. John Harrison

A space noir that is both futuristic and retro, Nova Swing raises metaphysical questions through a disruption in the space-time continuum that is exploited in dangerous and unpredictable ways.

2008 Award


Black Man/Thirteen

By Richard K. Morgan

Originally titled Black Man, Thirteen follows genetically-engineered soldiers who are deemed a threat to humanity and exiled on Mars—until one of them escapes and another has to hunt them down or die trying.

2009 Award

Song of Time

Song of Time

By Ian R. MacLeod

In Song of Time, nuclear war, bioterrorism, and a lifetime ravaged by change and uncertainty are experienced through the eyes of one woman recalling her life to a convalescing stranger.

2010 Award

the city and the city

The City and the City

By China Mieville

Making Miéville the first and only three-time Clarke Award-winning author, The City and the City wraps fantastical storytelling within a compelling murder mystery.

2011 Award

Zoo City

Zoo City

By Lauren Beukes

Zoo City is a compelling murder mystery set in a future Johannesburg where criminals are marked by animals on their shoulders.

2012 Award

The Testament of Jessie Lamb

The Testament of Jessie Lamb

By Jane Rogers

Combining the horrors of bioterrorism with reproductive technology, The Testament of Jessie Lamb follows one teenager as she struggles with finding independence by making an extreme choice.

RELATED: Must-Read Hugo Award-Winning Books

2013 Award

Dark Eden

Dark Eden

By Chris Beckett

Centered around an abandoned colony on a distant planet, Dark Eden explores themes of sociology, biology, theology, and anthropology through a narrative about humanity’s struggle to survival.

2014 Award

best science fiction books

Ancillary Justice

By Ann Leckie

Narrated in part by a spaceship, Ancillary Justice plays with language while exploring gender and the fine line between vengeance and justice.

2015 Award

Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven follows a troupe of actors as they travel through a pandemic-ravaged America, highlighting the importance of art and culture as a necessary facet in humanity’s survival.

2016 Award

Children of Time

Children of Time

By Adrian Tchaikovsky

The last survivors of the human race head for a terraformed New Eden only to discover a sentient species got there first. 

2017 Award

literary fiction

The Underground Railroad

By Colson Whitehead

Whitehead reimagines the Underground Railroad as a literal railroad in this powerful and harrowing novel.

2018 Award

Dreams Before the Start of Time

Dreams Before the Start of Time

By Anne Charnock

Dreams Before the Start of Time follows two families and their reproductive choices as artificial wombs eradicate infertility but create new anxieties and ethical dilemmas.

2019 Award

Rosewater Tade Thompson


By Tade Thompson

The town of Rosewater sits on the edge of an alien biodome where one man discovers a dark truth in this inventive and gritty take on alien invasion stories.

RELATED: Nommo Award-Winning Books

2020 Award

The Old Drift

The Old Drift

By Namwali Serpell

The Old Drift is an interweaving family saga confronting colonialism and exploring revolution across generations and continents.

2021 Award

The Animals in That Country

The Animals in That Country

By Laura Jean McKay

A story about a pandemic that results in humans being able to understand animals, The Animals in That Country was praised by the judges for shifting the limits of science fiction.