Woop woop! Lauren Beukes' amasing sci-fi novel Zoo City won this year's Arthur C Clarke Award. Jacana Media is the original South African publisher, and I hope winning this award will boost sales figures in SA, as well as globally.
I read the novel last year, and I really enjoyed it. Part of the enjoyment for me was that it was set in Jo'burg. However, the Jo'burg of Zoo City is a lot darker and more sinister than the one I know and love, and it is full of "familiars" (ecchoing His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman) and missing people and things. Our heroine is especially apt at finding missing things, and that gets her into all kinds of problems. Beukes' dystopia draws you in and does not let go (even after you are done with the book).
The cover design for the book is stunning! The intricate details are most easily perused with a copy of the book in hand. It perfectly captures the sinister essence of the book. I love it.
Also check out Beukes' earlier novel Moxyland, set in Cape Town. Another sci-fi dystopia, but completely different and exciting. The cover grabbed my attention in a bookshop, and I just had to get it! The novel is clever, fun, and oddly realistic. It really makes you stop and think about all the information we send out using phones and internet (like I'm doing now!). Who said sci-fi is only for boys and can't be set in Africa? If anyone did say it, Lauren Beukes sure has proven them wrong.
As an aside, I wanted Lauren Beukes to write a sci-fi series for "tweens" for my fictional publishing house (Mtoti Press) in one of my publishing assignments last year. I'll get right on that when I'm a commissioning editor.