February 19th, 2017


Goodreads/LibraryThing stats: Clarke submission list

As usual, I've run the books on the Arthur C. Clarke Award submission list through Goodreads and LibraryThing to see how many people have registered copies on each system (NB you have to dig down a level for this on Goodreads) and what the average rating of each book is. They are listed below by (geometric) average number of owners on the two systems. The top quartile, more or less, is bolded in each column (and for Goodreads ratings, anything over 4).

A couple of additions to my reading list, I think.

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BSFA shortlist


#AE17 Upper Bann: UUP most likely to lose.

Upper Bann stretches from the southern shore of Lough Neagh, through Lurgan, Craigavon and Portadown to Banbridge and my ancestral home of Loughbrickland. In 2016 Unionists won four seats with 59.3% of the vote, and Nationalists won two with 34.4%.

2016 result
DUP 14,188 (31.1%, +4.0%) 2 seats
UUP 9,884 (21.6%, -3.0%) 2 seats
TUV 1,177 (2.6%, +0.2%)
UKIP 1,072 (2.3%, +1.7%)
PUP 704 (1.5%)
Conservatives 79 (0.2%)

Alliance 1,424 (3.1%, -3.4%)
CISTA 672 (1.5%)
Green 495 (1.1%)
NI Labour 250 (0.5%)
Independent 33 (0.1%)

Sinn Féin 11,373 (24.9%, -2.3%) 2 seats (+1)
SDLP 4,335 (9.5%, -1.9%) (-1)
2017 candidates
@Carla Lockhart (DUP)
Jonathan Buckley (DUP)
@Doug Beattie (UUP)
@Jo-Anne Dobson (UUP)
Roy Ferguson (TUV)
Ian Nickels (Cons)

Tara Doyle (Alliance)
Simon Lee (Green)
Colin Craig (WP)

Dolores Kelly (SDLP)
@John O'Dowd (SF)
Nuala Toman (SF)

Only four incumbents are running for re-election here (the lowest anywhere), with retirements from both the DUP and SF. The DUP, UUP and SF are all defending two seats with 1.9, 1.5 and 1.3 quotas respectively. In 2016 there were 3.6 Unionist quotas and 2.1 Nationalist quotas.

On the Nationalist side, SF will need to hold heir vote share and balance ahead of the SDLP to keep both seats, but after several unsuccessful attempts they seem now to have got the knack. However, a change of SF personnel will not help and we can't exclude the SDLP making a return.

On the Unionist side, this is a seat where the UUP should be looking to start their renewal. The DUP position is not unassailable, and again the change of personnel won't help. But starting from where we are, the UUP's second seat is clearly the most vulnerable.


#AE17 North Belfast: very difficult to call, perhaps SDLP worst placed?

North Belfast is the most divided part of the city, Unionists and Nationalists winning three seats each here in 2016 with 47.7% and 37.1% respectively.

2016 result
DUP 12,783 (35.0%, -2.1%) 3 seats
UUP 1,972 (5.4%, -2.8%)
PUP 1,238 (3.4%)
UKIP 751 (2.1%)
TUV 644 (1.8%)

Alliance 2,569 (7.0%, +0.9%)
PBP 1,286 (3.5%)
Green 796 (2.2%)
WP 476 (1.3%, +0.3%)
Inds 330 (0.9%)
NILRC 127 (0.3%)
NI First 32 (0.1%)

SF 9,704 (26.5%, -5.4%) 2 seats
SDLP 3,866 (10.6%, -1.4%) 1 seat
2017 candidates
@Paula Bradley (DUP)
@William Humphrey (DUP)
@Nelson McCausland (DUP)
Robert Foster (UUP)
Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston (PUP)

Nuala McAllister (Alliance)
Malachai O'Hara (Green)
Gemma Weir (WP)
Fiona Ferguson (PBP)
Adam Miller (Independent)

@Nichola Mallon (SDLP)
@Gerry Kelly (SF)
@Carál Ní Chuilín (Sinn Féin)

All six incumbent MLAs are standing again; three of them are women, and indeed this is the only constituency where women candidates outnumber men (by 7 to 6).

The DUP are defending three seats with 2.1 quotas; SF are defending two seats with 1.6 quotas; and the SDLP are defending their seat with 0.6 of a quota. In 2016 there were 2.9 Unionist quotas and only 2.2 Nationalist quotas on the first count; the gap narrowed but did not close in subsequent counts.

Two of the three DUP seats are safe, and one of the two SF seats likewise. There is probably a third Unionist seat, but it is not clear who is best placed to win it. On paper, the DUP were so far in advance of the other parties last time that they should be considered to have a strong position this time, but I hear that they are under pressure.

On the non-Unionist side, the SDLP seat is weakest but it is nonetheless tough for SF to keep both of theirs. Alliance were runners-up last time; if they are eliminated this time, their votes will help the SDLP. On the other hand, the reverse may also be the case; Alliance were not far behind last time, and have pulled off unexpected gains from a low base in North Belfast before. (Though notably not in 1996, as I have personal cause to remember.)

I guess an SDLP loss is the most likely outcome; but things are very finely balanced.


Sunday reading

Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (a chapter a month)
To Lie with Lions, by Dorothy Dunnett
Bernice Summerfield and the Doomsday Manuscript, by Justin Richards

Last books finished
THEN: Science Fiction Fandom in the U.K., 1930-1980, by Rob Hansen
Short Trips: Time Signature, ed. Simon Guerrier
Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch
The Raven and the Reindeer, by T. Kingfisher [Ursula Vernon]
The Eye of the Tyger, by Paul McAuley
The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown (did not finish)

Last week's audios
The King of Sontar, by John Dorney
White Ghosts, by Alan Barnes

Next books
A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth
The Habit of Loving, by Doris Lessing
The Parrot's Theorem, by Denis Guedj

Books acquired in last week
Based on the Popular TV Serial: A Comprehensive Guide to the Novelisations of Broadcast Doctor Who, by Paul Smith
Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
A Closed and Common Orbit, by  Becky Chambers
Occupy Me, by Tricia Sullivan
Europe in Winter, by Dave Hutchinson
Daughter of Eden, by Chris Beckett
Azanian Bridges, by Nick Wood