The 6 Best Sci-Fi Novels Of The Last Year

Since 1987, the Arthur C. Clarke Award has honored the best science fiction novels published in the U.K. I'm pleased to announce that the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist is fantastically diverse, with works by three women authors, two writers of color, and one transgender author among the six books that made this year's cut.

Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad is by far the most "mainstream" of the books on the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist. The Underground Railroad wound up being released ahead of its original publication date after Oprah named it as a book club selection in August 2016. Whitehead's novel went on to win the Carnegie Medal, National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

It's also not surprising to see Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit on the list. Lee's breakout novel has been nominated in the Best Novel categories of both the Hugo and Nebula Award competitions. Also up for the Best Novel Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke Awards is A Closed and Common Orbit, the sophomore offering from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet author Becky Chambers.

The 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award winner will be announced on July 27. The author of the winning novel will take home a £2,017 cash prize. Check out the complete list below, and share your thoughts on the contenders with me on Twitter!


'The Underground Railroad' by Colson Whitehead

Cora has spent her entire life on a Georgia plantation, but she finally makes up her mind to flee north when a newly arrived slave named Caesar tells her about the Underground Railroad: a secret network of subterranean trains that usher slaves to freedom.

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'Ninefox Gambit' by Yoon Ha Lee

A disgraced military leader must recapture a fortress in order to win back her honor and standing in this debut novel from Yoon Ha Lee. If the fortress remains in enemy hands, the world as Captain Kel Cheris knows it could be at stake. Her only aid in the fight is General Shuos Jedao, the ghost of an ancient tactician-turned-mass-murderer.

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'After Atlas' by Emma Newman

In this follow-up to her 2015 novel Planetfall, Emma Newman returns to the same universe as her previous work, but takes on a whole new host of characters. Forty years after the Atlas spaceship left Earth behind, Detective Carlos Moreno is still picking up the pieces of the lives it shattered. When the leader of the religious cult the detective grew up in is found dead, Moreno finds himself in charge of the murder investigation.

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'A Closed and Common Orbit' by Becky Chambers

In this sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, the ship A.I. Lovelace wakes up in a physical body with no recollection of her past. Accompanied by an engineer called Pepper, Lovelace recasts herself as Sidra and takes off on a mission to study the universe, one human feature at a time.

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'Occupy Me' by Tricia Sullivan

Pearl is an angel, but her wings exist in another dimension. She works for the Resistance: a mysterious organization that fixes human problems to make the world a better place. Pearl can't remember who she is, but she knows that there's something about the man with the briefcase on the plane that seems . . . eerily familiar.

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'Central Station' by Lavie Tidhar

In the years following a series of catastrophes that destroyed much of the world as we know it, a spaceport called Central Station towers above Tel Aviv. Refugees and cast-offs live at the foot of the station, in a place where dead soldiers are brought back to life as Robotniks, and children perform incredible feats with the flick of a finger. And in the midst of it all, Tel Aviv's prodigal son, Dr. Boris Chong, has returned home from Mars.

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