2013 Golden Tentacle

The Golden Tentacle is awarded annually to the debut novel that best fits the criteria of progressive, intelligent and entertaining. The book must be the author's first published work of novel-length fiction in any genre.

The winner receives a £500 prize, a hand-crafted trophy and a bottle of The Kraken's black spiced rum.

Previous winners of the Golden Tentacle include Karen Lord's Redemption in Indigo (2012), Kameron Hurley's God's War (2011) and Maurice Broaddus' King Maker (2010).

Winner

Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Orbit

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose - to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch. (About the Author| Purchase | Acceptance Speech)


Finalists

A Calculated Life

A Calculated Life
Anne Charnock
47 North

Late in the twenty-first century, big business is booming and state institutions are thriving thanks to advances in genetic engineering, which have produced a compliant population free of addictions. Violent crime is a rarity.

Hyper-intelligent Jayna is a star performer at top predictive agency Mayhew McCline, where she forecasts economic and social trends. A brilliant mathematical modeler, she far outshines her co-workers, often correcting their work on the quiet. Her latest coup: finding a link between northeasterly winds and violent crime.

When a string of events contradicts her forecasts, Jayna suspects she needs more data and better intuition. She needs direct interactions with the rest of society. Bravely - and naively - she sets out to disrupt her strict routine and stumbles unwittingly into a world where her IQ is increasingly irrelevant... a place where human relationships and the complexity of life are difficult for her to decode. And as she experiments with taking risks, she crosses the line into corporate intrigue and disloyalty.

Can Jayna confront the question of what it means to live a "normal" life? Or has the possibility of a "normal" life already been eclipsed for everyone? (About the Author | Purchase)


Stray

Stray
Monica Hesse
Hot Key Books

Lona Sixteen Always is not herself - quite literally. She lives her life virtually through the experiences of Julian, a boy who was chosen as a role model for the Pathers of Quadrant 1 - troubled children who have been 'rescued' by the government and put 'on-Path'. But one day Lona finds she can think for herself.

And on top of that, the face of a familiar boy appears on her screen - Fenn, who she thought had moved on to a different stage of the Path last year. But he didn't. Fenn and other rebels like him have strayed from the Path, and now Lona must stray too. But life off-Path is strange and difficult, and Lona uncovers a secret that will threaten all their lives. Can there really be life after the Path? (About the Author | Purchase)


Nexus

Nexus
Ramez Naam
Angry Robot Books

When the fog comes down and the drums start to beat, the inhabitants of the island tremble: for the punishment satellites - which keep the tyrannical Wastelords at bay - are blind in the darkness, and the islanders become prey.

The inhabitants are the old, the sick, the poor: the detritus of Society, dumped on the island with the rest of Society's waste. There is no point trying to escape, for the satellites - the invisible eyes of the law - mete out instant judgement from the sky. (About the Author | Purchase)


Mr Penumbra 24 Hour Bookstore

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Robin Sloan
Atlantic

Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, coupled with sheer curiosity, has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead they simply borrow impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behaviour and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore... (About the Author | Purchase)


The Kraken Rum