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The Red Men by Matthew de Abaitua
Snowbooks Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781905005581
Date: 01 October 2007 List Price £7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /

Like other in the SF community, I have some big issues with this year's shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke award - the premier genre prize for the best SF novel published in the UK in a given year. My problem stems from the simple fact that of the six books on the shortlist, I had only heard of half of them. This implies that either I am not doing my job as an SF commentator who specific brief is to focus on the UK market at all well (not true!) or (and this is how it seems to me) that the Clarke judges are going out of their way to chose obscure titles that fall beneath well the radar of the folks who might like to read them, perhaps wishing to be seen more as a literary rather than a genre prize. If that is the case, then I think they're going about it all wrong - see this link to agent John Jarrold's blog for fiery commentary on this whole contentious subject, and I see in the editorial of the latest print edition of LOCUS, that Charlie Brown agrees with my thoughts too.

To flip my argument on it's head though, it is nice to see smaller, independent publisher receive some recognition for their SF output, and this novel The Red Men, published by the very fine and professional Snowbooks is one of the titles that has caused so much fuss. I never saw a copy when it came out last October, but they have now kindly sent one over.

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