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By Adam Roberts | March 18, 2009
Categories: Chitchat

Sometimes things don't go so well. Yesterday my bike was stolen (the sort of thing that happened all the time when I lived in London, but which is something of a shock after six hitherto biketheft-free years of living in Staines). Today it seems that my car has died: unsurprisingly, since it's a banger, but still. And this afternoon I discover not only that Swiftly has not been shortlisted for the Clarke, but that Graham Sleight, a critic whose opinions I respect enormously, doesn't consider it a book he or anybody else might even have expected to see on the shortlist. [Update, 19.3: I spoke too soon, as you'll see if you click the link] So it goes, of course, howsoever disheartening. I get the sense that the stuff I'm interested in and value, SF-wise, really aren't the things SF as a whole considers interesting or valuable. The wisdom of crowds, and okham's razor, suggests that SF as a whole may be in the right. Ho hum.

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8 Comments to-date;

8 Responses to “Things”

  1. Paul Graham Raven Says:
    March 18th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Chin up, Roberts, old chap. I'm sure once you shake yourself out of this juvenile intellectual phase of yours and knock out the urban fantasy heptet you just know you've got in you, critical acclaim will be heaped upon you from all sides.

    And hey, think positive - means you can write your yearly shortlist review without any fear of bias. ;)

  2. Graham Sleight Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 2:52 am

    Adam, I have to confess that Swiftly was left off the list inadvertently because I was finishing the post in a rush. (As you may know, the shortlist announcement happened several days sooner than planned.) So apologies for any upset caused.

  3. Adam Roberts Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Paul: you speak words of wisdom, sir. These are wise words that you are speaking. I like the thought of a heptet too. It's got 'hep!' in the title.

    Graham: no upset at all. This post, hmm, hoom, reads (looking at it now) rather more self-pitying than I intended. I'm actually much more pissed off about my bike.

    I can certainly say in all honesty I didn't expect to get shortlisted, although I persist in thinking it's the kind of novel a body might think could conceivably have been shortlisted, along with a dozen other titles that didn't make the list. Of course, Freud knows there's many a truth in inadvertence; but that doesn't mean there's any general moral here, beyond the obvious one, that I need to write my novels better. Which is always good advice.

  4. Neil Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Hope you're feeling better.

    My bike was stolen when I was living in Bow. Quite funny now.

    I walked back to the flat from a holiday and someone went past on a bike that looked like mine.

    My that looks like my bike, I remarked to myself.

    And of course it was actually my bike.

    Oh how I laughed, once I stopped chasing the guy (self preservation kicking in quite late on in the whole affair). *coughs*

    Anyway, Swiftly rocks - in my humble opinion.

  5. Adam Roberts Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks Neil. The thing that particularly annoys me is that I'd only just replaced my crappy old bike with a shiny new one, complete with shiny new child-seat for porting my 1-yr-old son about in. 350; two weeks' use; gone. Now I'll have to get a new one.

    I had more than one bike stolen when I lived in Wandsworth, but you sort of expect it there. Plus I didn't need it every day to ship a toddler to nursery, as I now do.

  6. Clarke Commentary « Torque Control Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    [...] Adam Roberts: Sometimes things don’t go so well. Yesterday my bike was stolen [...]

  7. Tom Hunter Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Adam

    Sorry about your bike.

    Like Paul, I'm definitely looking forward to your shortlist review. I'm not allowed to discuss nominations and who's shortlisted or not (mostly because I'm not even in those meetings) but I'm definitely allowed to say that I've always thought of your round-ups of the Clarke Award shortlists as one of the real highlights of all the varied attention the award tends to generate.

    Also, a small consolation perhaps, but assuming you'll be able to make the ceremony this year at least you can just enjoy the night and not spend the whole time worrying about which combination of expletives is the best way to top Richard's acceptance speech last year...

  8. Adam Roberts Says:
    March 20th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    It's very kind of you to say so, Tom: thanks.

    Richard's speech last year was memorable, though, wasn't it? My understanding is that in the Morgan attic there's a portrait of elderly Church of England vicar drinking a cup of tea with his pinkie out getting more and more delicately proper in his speech as the years go by.