South African author Lauren Beukes picked up the coveted Arthur C Clarke Award yesterday for her novel Zoo City, where a future Johannesburg has criminals partnered with animals and subject to a new apartheid. SciFiNow‘s James Rundle said in his review, “this is a fine novel that will wrap itself around your imagination like a sloth on your own shoulders.”
Beukes is the ninth woman to have won the award, which was presented by last year’s winner China Miéville at a ceremony as part of SciFi London last night.
She said to The Guardian that South Africa is “an incredible place to live … and write about It’s really where science fiction is. It’s in the developing world, it’s first world, it’s third world – the way we use technology is different to the way it’s used elsewhere. This book is about magic and technology and it’s very special to be here.”
Judge Jon Courtenay Grimwood commented in the same article that “Zoo City filters brutal social honesty through a stunning imagination to produce a world recognisably ours and obviously different. The plotting is tight, the characterisation strong and the writing superb.