Lauren Beukes's Zoo City has been honoured with the Arthur C Clarke Award for science fiction novel of the year, being tipped to bring "a whole new readership" to the genre. Zoo City's publisher Angry Robot Books has also been hailed as one of the most "innovative and exciting" genre publishers in the country following the announcement.
The award, worth £2,011, was presented at a ceremony last night (27th April) held as part of the London Sci-Fi Film Festival. Beukes' novel is set in modern Johannesburg and portrays psychic criminal guilt taking physical animal form.
Award director Tom Hunter said: "This is a great book that promises to inspire both long terms fans of the genre and introduce a whole new readership to the best of science fiction literature." Chair of the judges Paul Billinger, said the award contenders had been some of the "most witty, diverse and daring". "Zoo City is a title that realises the enormous potential of SF literature, and as a piece of social commentary it is unsurpassed in the field," he added.
The other judges were: Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Martin Lewis of the British Science Fiction Association, Phil Nanson and Liz Williams of the Science Fiction Foundation and Paul Skevington of SF website Crowsnest.com.
The Arthur C Clarke Award is now in its 25th year, with Margaret Atwood being the first author to win the award for The Handmaid's Tale.