The Helsinki University Science Fiction Club has granted the Tähtivaeltaja Award of 2017 to Lauren Beukes, the guest of honour of Finncon 2018, for her novel Zoo City (2010).
Zoo City is a detective story and social criticism in alternative Johannesburg. It deals with themes of xenophobia, commercialisation, and polarisation of the society by skilfully combining reality and fiction. The central idea of the novel is that as a result of various events, some people now have animal familiars that they are associated with. This idea forms the basis for discussion of deeper themes of stratification of the society, atonement, adaptation, and conflict.
The award jury describes the novel as strong and unique and was impressed by its varied characters and lively setting. The translation into Finnish by Tytti Viinikainen was also praised by the jury for its ability to skilfully retain the speed and energy present in the original novel.
The Tähtivaeltaja Award is an award granted annually by The Helsinki University Science Fiction Club for the best science fiction book published in the previous year in Finnish. The winner is selected by an expert jury. This year the award jury consisted of critic Hannu Blommila, editor-in-chief of the Tähtivaeltaja magazine Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and critic Antti Oikarinen.
The proud and delighted con committee wants to congratulate the author, translator, and the publisher of the winning novel.