Thursday, January 30, 2014

BSFA awards shortlists look beyond 'usual roll call of male writers'

After an all-male shortlist in 2013, Ann Leckie and Kameron Hurley are in contention for this year's novel award, and short story prize contenders are all women

Kameron Hurley and Ann Leckie
'Better than we've seen in a while … Kameron Hurley (left) and Ann Leckie

From Kameron Hurley's story of a womb-selling bisexual bounty hunter to Ann Leckie's starship AI downloaded into the corpse of a soldier, the shortlists for this year's British Science Fiction Association's awards have gone beyond "the usual roll call of white middle-aged men".

Announced on Wednesday morning, the BSFA best novel prize pits Hurley's God's War – which opens with the attention-grabbing line, "Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert" – against Leckie's debut Ancillary Justice, in which a hive-mind artifical intelligence must animate her one remaining "corpse soldier" to take revenge against her enemies. The line-up – which is voted for by the BSFA's membership of fans, authors and publishers – also features Evening's Empires by Paul McAuley, Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L Powell and The Adjacent by Christopher Priest.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, and the Booker-shortlisted A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, just failed to make the final shortlist, according to awards chief Donna Scott.

Last year both the BSFA and the Arthur C Clarke shortlists were entirely made up of male writers, a gender disparity that prompted calls to increase the visibility of women in science fiction.

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