Science Fiction can no longer be fit into a simple box, and this year the shortlist for the Arthur C Clarke Award demonstrates it more than ever. Andre M Butler the chair of judges commented that the books selected this year have “something for everyone: alien contact, post-apocalyptic disaster, near future cyberpunkish police procedural…” Some of the authors will be immediately recognized by Science Fiction readers but this year’s shortlist includes names such as Jane Rogers whose The Testament of Jessie Lamb was also long listed for the Man Booker. This novel, is set a world in which a rogue virus that kills pregnant women has been let loose; and where one young woman begins to question her parents’ attitudes, their behavior, and the very world they have bequeathed her. Others shortlisted were more controversial – China Mieville has already won the Arthur C Clarke award an unprecedented three times. His book Embassytown, which has received glowing reviews, is a deep-space exploration of language, truth and identity. Judges commented that the prize might actually have to be renamed the “C.Mieville award” if he wins again. We will have to wait till the 2nd of May to find out the winner. Meanwhile, if you have been hooked on the latest craze for dystopian teenage novels, here is your chance to discover a new genre by reading this year’s best of the best in British Science Fiction and share your thoughts on our Science Fiction discussion pages. The six finalists are: Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear The End Specialist by Drew Magary Embassytown by China Mieville The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers Rule 34 by Charles Stross The Waters Rising by Sheri S Tepper The Arthur C Clarke Award is the most prestigious award for science fiction in Britain. The annual award is presented for the best science fiction novel of the year, and selected from a shortlist of novels whose UK first edition was published in the previous calendar year. The winner is judged by a jury panel which is made up of a voluntary body of distinguished writers, critics and fans with the panel line-up changing every year.