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?
The Handmaid's Tale
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.
Drowning Towers/The Sea and Summer
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.
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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.
The Child Garden
Set in a semi-tropical version of London, The Child Garden examines the implications of individuality as nonconformity and the importance of art.
Take Back Plenty
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.
A cyberpunk classic: Two people struggle to find themselves and each other in a world where virtual reality dominates every facet of human existence.
He, She and It/Body of Glass
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.
A psychedelic joyride, Vurt follows Scribble on his obsessive journey to find the most powerful narcotic in existence and rescue his lost sister.
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.
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.
The Calcutta Chromosome
Blending fact with fiction, The Calcutta Chromosome travels through centuries and around the globe chasing a dangerous conspiracy.
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.
Dreaming in Smoke
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.
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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.
Perdido Street Station
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.
Bold as Love
Set in the near future, Bold as Love follows three rock-and-roll misfit heroes who are tasked with making the government cool again.
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.
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson goes back to the 17th century to showcase the struggle of scientific disciplines against the power of ambition and politics.
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.
Air is a breathtaking examination of how technology can clash with culture and what happens when the past collides with the future.
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.
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.
Song of Time
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.
The City and the City
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.
Zoo City is a compelling murder mystery set in a future Johannesburg where criminals are marked by animals on their shoulders.
The Testament of Jessie Lamb
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.
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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.
Narrated in part by a spaceship, Ancillary Justice plays with language while exploring gender and the fine line between vengeance and justice.
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.
Children of Time
The last survivors of the human race head for a terraformed New Eden only to discover a sentient species got there first.
The Underground Railroad
Whitehead reimagines the Underground Railroad as a literal railroad in this powerful and harrowing novel.
Dreams Before the Start of Time
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.
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.
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The Old Drift
The Old Drift is an interweaving family saga confronting colonialism and exploring revolution across generations and continents.
The Animals in That Country
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.