Sheffield doctor shortlisted for prestigious sci-fi book prize in USA

Dr Tom Anderson.Dr Tom Anderson.
Dr Tom Anderson.
A doctor who teaches in Sheffield has been short-listed for a prestigious book prize in America.

Dr Tom Anderson, who teaches chemistry at the University of Sheffield, is in line to scoop a prestigious international prize for fiction.

His short story - N’oublions Jamais - co-written with Canadian friend Bruno Lombardi - has been nominated for the 2018 Sidewise Awards for Alternate History which recognise the best in alternate history fiction from writers around the globe.

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Tom, from Edenthorpe, Doncaster who went to Hungerhill and Danum 6th Form in the town, before studying chemistry at Cambridge University now teaches at the University of Sheffield where he is senior tutor in the chemistry department.

Dr Anderson, who has been writing since school, is one of four writers nominated for the short form award which will be announced at the World Science Fiction Conference in San Jose, California later this month.

Previous winners have included Stephen Fry and Philip Roth.

As a writer, he focuses on the genres of science fiction, historical fiction and their hybrid, alternate history - a genre which considers the consequences of history having turned out differently from a change in events or decisions in the past, often a very small one.

He said: "It's fair to say I was pretty bowled over to hear I’d been nominated. I was aware of the awards but had never dreamed of ever being nominated, in part because these awards are usually focused on American writers.

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"This story involves an alternate version of the First World War, in which the alliances were different at the start of the war. Thus, in this setting, Britain is allied to Germany against France—which causes conflicting loyalties for one young French-Canadian soldier."

He has a new novel coming out - The Surly Bonds of Earth - in the next year which includes scenes set in the Sheffield of the year 2063.