2019 Sunburst Award Winners

The Sunburst Award Society has announced the winners of the 2019 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult, Young Adult, and Short Story categories.

Adult Award

The winner of the 2019 Sunburst Award for Adult Fiction is Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano Lax [Penguin Random House Canada].

The Sunburst Jury commented:

Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano Lax is a masterpiece, a story set in a future Japan so deftly drawn that it makes its world seem inevitable. The main characters’ lives and relationships are steeped in, and grow from, a past which is both historical and personal, built on a century of colonialism and exploitation: social, sexual, and economic. Woven into the novel is a unique exploration of an Artificial Intelligence story, incorporating both fast-forward developmental psychology and an analysis of the facets of empathy. This brilliant, character-driven novel examines individual reactions to threats to survival and autonomy. In the process, it challenges notions of insularity, suggesting that loyalty comes primarily from personal connection rather than group association. The interrogation of the notions of Outsider/Insider, connection, belonging, and compassion drive a story that is all too relevant to our present-day world.

Andromeda Romano-Lax has been a journalist, a travel writer, and a serious amateur cellist. She is the author of The Spanish Bow (translated into eleven languages and chosen as a New York Times Editors’ Choice), The Detour, and Behave, among others. Plum Rains draws inspiration from her family’s experience living in rural Taiwan. Andromeda co-founded and continues to teach for 49 Writers, a nonprofit organization. She currently lives with her family in Ladysmith British Columbia.

The other shortlisted works for the 2019 Adult Award were:

  • Amber Dawn, Sodom Road Exit [Arsenal Pulp Press]
  • Kate Heartfield, Armed in Her Fashion [ChizinePublications]
  • Rich Larson, Annex [Orbit/Hachette Book Group]
  • Eden Robinson, Trickster Drift [Penguin Random House Canada]

Young Adult Award

The 2019 winner of the Sunburst Award for Young Adult Fiction is Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman [Penguin Random House Canada]

The Sunburst Jury commented:

Rachel Hartman’s Tess of the Road is a tour de force, a novel that dives headfirst into its heroine’s complex, messy, morally multifaceted world while never losing sight of the story at its heart. Hartman’s Tess is on a journey whose point is less self-discovery than it is a simple acceptance of self-worth. Her credo, “Walk on,” comes to encompass not just her physical journey but her struggle to accept that she matters and that it is possible for others to find worth in her. Tess’s progress takes place in a richly imagined fantastic landscape where even the deeply alien quigutl are so deftly painted that the unfamiliar becomes known and comforting. The reader is able to journey with Tess into an understanding that the seemingly strictest and most unshakeable beliefs can be based on lack of knowledge or unwillingness to embrace change.

Rachel Hartman is both an author and comics creator; she currently lives in Vancouver. Tess of the Road is a companion novel to her first two YA books, Seraphina and Shadow Scale, the former of which won the Sunburst Award, the William C. Morris Award, and the Cybilis Award. Tess itself was shortlisted for the Andre Norton Award and the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.

The other shortlisted works for the 2019 Young Adult Award were:

  • Sebastien de Castell, Spellslinger [Orbit/ Hachette Book Group]
  • Regan McDonell, Black Chuck [ Orca Book Publishers]
  • Rebecca Schaeffer , Not Even Bones [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt]
  • Patrick Weekes, Feeder [Simon & Schuster Canada]

Short Story Award

The winner of the 2019 Sunburst Award for Short Story is “The Glow-in-the-Dark Girls” by Senaa Ahmad [Strange Horizons, 15 Jan 2018]

© 2017 Sam Guay, “The Glow-in-the-Dark Girls”

The Sunburst Jury commented:

In a remarkable year for short speculative fiction, Senaa Ahmad’s The Glow-in-the-Dark Girls stands apart, its horrific scenario etched in cool crisp prose: A group of young girls hope to better their lives by volunteering to be deployed as living incendiary devices, razing cities and their inhabitants, and accelerating their own decay and death in the process. A cunning inversion of the real-life Radium Girls, factory workers who were gradually and grotesquely poisoned by the material they worked with, Ahmad’s story turns the titular girls into weapons of mass destruction, objectified and vilified by the larger world even as they yearn for normalcy, grapple with their mortality and the consequences of their choices–and set each other on fire.

Senaa Ahmad is a writer living in Toronto. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Lightspeed Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, and Strange Horizons. A Clarion 2018 alumnus, she is working concurrently on her first two short story collections.

The other shortlisted works for the 2019 Short Story Award were:

Sunburst medallion.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic has celebrated the best in Canadian fantastic literature in both Adult and Young Adult publications since 2001. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

SUNBURST JURORS. The 2019 Sunburst Award novel jury was comprised of Greg Bechtel, Susan Forest, Kari Maaren, and Susan Reynolds. Jurors for the 2019 short story awards were S.M. Beiko, David Demchuk, and Gemma Files.

The jurors for the 2020 Sunburst Awards have been named. Novel Jury: Kristyn Dunnion, Michelle Butler Hallett, John Jantunen, Michael Johnstone, and Peter Darbyshire. Short Story Jury: Omar El Akkad, Ruth Clarke, and Sarah Tolmie.

Submissions of eligible works published in 2019 for the 2020 awards will be accepted October 15, 2019. Submissions will close January 31, 2020. See the Sunburst Award News Page for details.

[Based on a press release.]

2019 Sunburst Award Shortlists

Sunburst medallion.

The 2019 shortlists for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic were posted July 29.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2019.

Adult Fiction

  • Eden Robinson, Trickster Drift [Penguin Random House Canada]

The down-to-earth prose of Trickster Drift, by Eden Robinson, plunges readers into the fully realized story of a young boy mired in a milieu of addictions, magic, and family, battling to make something of himself. Humorous and filled with memorable characters with entangled relationships to each other and to their world, this novel considers to what extent a person can remake himself, and how much he is influenced by his universe and the people in it.

  • Andromeda Romano-Lax, Plum Rains [Penguin Random House Canada]

In a future dystopian Japan populated by the aging, Angelica, a Filipina nurse, cares for Sayoko, a moody, one-hundred-year-old Japanese woman. But the arrival of a robot “friend” for Sayoko triggers a complex exploration of the historical and cultural underpinnings of this challenging future. Gorgeous and unusual, Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax deals in an interconnected way with technology, biology, memory, environmentalism, law, and criminality, ultimately examining the question of where to draw the line between being AI and being human.

  • Kate Heartfield, Armed in Her Fashion [Chizine Publications]

In Armed in Her Fashion, Kate Heartfield paints a darkly fantastic, humourously grotesque portrait of the European Middle Ages. Heartfield’s deep knowledge of art and literature from and about the medieval period allows her to approach her setting in a way that is simultaneously affectionate and subversive. Her engaging characters wander through a landscape in which horror and absurdity combine, seemingly rigid truths are deconstructed, and it very much matters who is telling the story.

  • Amber Dawn, Sodom Road Exit [Arsenal Pulp Press]

When Starla drops out of university and returns home to Crystal Beach, she knows what traumas will haunt her: her mom, her childhood, being queer in a small town. But the ghost she frees from a haunted carnival stunt will peel back the skin of the town’s hidden histories of queer desire, seducing and consuming her in the process. Simultaneously poetic and page-turning, this visceral ghost story of 1990s Ontario plumbs the deep links between trauma and desire, history and liberation, self-destruction and healing.

  • Rich Larson, Annex [Orbit/Hachette Book Group]

In Rich Larson’s Annex, an alien scouting operation has targeted Earth as their new home—but young humans are key to making that happen. Though their parents have been lobotomised and mined for psychic access, the children resist being warehoused, and a group of escapees are doing all they can to sabotage the aliens’ plans. If Under the Dome met Lord of the Flies and interbred with Arrival, this heart-stopping thriller might be the lovechild. Told through different points of view, this book explores identity, family, loyalty, courage, and sacrifice.

Young Adult Fiction

  • Rebecca Schaeffer, Not Even Bones [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt]

What is a monster? Not Even Bones, a fast-paced horror by Rebecca Schaeffer, explores the divisions between “us” and “them” through biology, behavior, law, and social expectation. Rather than make excuses for the extreme violence it depicts, this novel shows that good does not negate evil, even as evil does not negate good. Complex characters draw the reader in to a fully believable world of shifting morality.

  • Patrick Weekes, Feeder [Simon & Schuster Canada]

Feeder is several things at once: an environmentalist critique, a futuristic fantasy, and a fresh take on the superhero origin story, all wrapped up in a tale of family and friendship. Diverse, complex characters, brought to life via writing that is at once humorous and emotional, find their way together to face a threat whose implications are world changing but still deeply personal.

  • Rachel Hartman, Tess of the Road [Penguin Random House Canada]

Rachel Hartman’s superb fantasy, Tess of the Road, takes the comfortable old idea of the protagonist on a journey of self-discovery and gives it a twist to the left. Rather than undertaking a journey to find her place in the world, Hartman’s Tess undertakes a journey to convince herself she deserves such a place. The trajectory of the story echoes the complexity of its heroine: prickly, surprising, and not quite fitting into any one category.

  • Regan McDonell, Black Chuck [Orca Book Publishers]

When his best friend dies, Réal knows that the Windigo isn’t “just” a story, that his dreams aren’t “just” dreams, and that something happened that night—something he can’t remember. Evie knows her dead boyfriend was both more and less than he seemed, but Réal remains a mystery to her. In taut, vivid prose, Black Chuck pulls no punches in its genre-bending portrayal of the friendship, secrets, lust, and love that bind together the teens at its living, beating heart.

  • Sebastien de Castell, Spellslinger [Orbit, Hachette Book Group]

In Sebastien de Castell’s riveting fantasy, Spellslinger, the young protagonist Kellen is desperate to pass his mage trials. Kellen’s magic fails, dooming him to a life beyond a spellcaster’s privilege in a society whose hierarchy is based on magical ability—and a secret history of genocide. Kellen must find a place for himself where he can be enough, just as he is. This novel challenges notions of privilege, politics, and transactional relationships in a brilliantly told story.

Short Story Fiction

The Jury:

The Jurors for the 2019 Sunburst awards are:

  • Novel Jury: Greg Bechtel, Susan Forest, Kari Maaren, and Susan Reynolds.
  • Short Story Jury: S.M. Beiko, David Demchuk, and Gemma Files.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story. Also via Locus Online.]

2019 Sunburst Award Longlists

Sunburst medallion.

The 2019 longlists for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic were posted June 12.

The annual Sunburst Award celebrates the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year.

Below are the longlisted works, with links where available:

Adult Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Short Story Fiction   

The Sunburst Award official shortlist will be announced in late June. Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2019.

The Jurors for the 2019 Sunburst awards are:

  • Novel Jury: Greg Bechtel, Janie Chang, Susan Forest, Kari Maaren, and Susan Reynolds.
  • Short Story Jury: S.M. Beiko, David Demchuk, and Gemma Files.

Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction. Past winners of the Sunburst Award include Ruth Ozeki, Guy Gavriel Kay, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, Charles de Lint, Thomas King, and last year’s winners David Demchuk and Cherie Dimaline.

2018 Sunburst Award Winners

The Sunburst Award Society has announced the winners of the 2018 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult, Young Adult, and Short Story categories.

Adult Award

The winner of the 2018 Sunburst Award for Adult Fiction is The Bone Mother by David Demchuk, [Chizine Publications]

The Sunburst Jury commented:

David Demchuk’s The Bone Mother invites the reader into the uncanny valley between the present and the past. A series of related stories, many of them set in Eastern Europe, chronicle the fates of humans and mythical creatures as they face a war that may be their undoing. The stories explore the boundaries of compassion and warn of the dangers of forgetting. As unsettling as the stories are, they lead the reader deeper into the woods like breadcrumbs. The language is beautiful and the characters as haunting as the archival photographs that illustrate the book. The Bone Mother is a unique achievement.

David Demchuk has been writing for print, stage, digital and other media for nearly 40 years. The Bone Mother, his debut horror novel, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, and a Shirley Jackson Award, as well as being longlisted for the Toronto Book Award. David has a special interest in queerness and monstrosity. His Cabbagetown back yard is home to a hive of curious but quick-tempered bees. He is quietly at work on a troubling new novel.

The other shortlisted works for the 2018 Adult Award were:

  • Omar El Akkad, American War [Penguin Random House Canada]
  • Terri Favro, Sputnik’s Children [ECW]
  • Fonda Lee, Jade City [Orbit]
  • Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster [Penguin Random House Canada]

Young Adult Award

The 2018 winner of the Sunburst Award for Young Adult Fiction is The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline, [Dancing Cat Books]

The Sunburst Jury commented:

Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves is the story of young Frenchie, an Indigenous teen, and his companions, who are on the run from a society that wants their bodies — and their souls. The book brilliantly connects the legacy of residential schools to a dystopian post-climate-change future where only Indigenous people are able to dream. Dimaline’s novel reminds us of the power of storytelling and the importance of community, reinforced for the disenfranchised children by the wisdom of the heroic elder, Miigwans. The writing is painful yet beautiful, bleak but ultimately hopeful. In this era of reconciliation, Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves is a work of speculative fiction that resonates and stays with the reader long past the last page.

Cherie Dimaline is an author and editor from the Georgian Bay Métis Community. The Marrow Thieves has already been awarded The Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature and the U.S. Kirkus Award For Young Readers. Her first book, Red Rooms (Theytus Books, 2007), won Fiction Book of the Year from the Anskohk Aboriginal Book Awards. Her novel The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy (Theytus Books, 2013), was short-listed for the 2014 Burt Award.

The other shortlisted works for the 2018 Young Adult Award were:

  • Charis Cotter, The Painting [Penguin Random House Canada]
  • Fonda Lee, Exo [Scholastic]
  • Kari Maaren, Weave a Circle Round [Tor/Forge]
  • Wendy Orr, Dragonfly Song [Pajama Press]

Short Story Award

The winner of the 2018 Sunburst Award for Short Story is “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” by Sandra Kasturi [The Sum of Us, Laksa Media]

The Sunburst Jury commented:

In a strong field with many outstanding stories, Sandra Kasturi’s “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” did for the jury what speculative writing does best, by using a fantastic/technological trope to explore the complexity of human relations and the texture of human life. Kasturi’s story is linguistically complex, economical, emotionally intense, and yet accessible, and it provokes recurring thoughts about our human predicaments.

Sandra Kasturi is a poet, writer and editor, and co-publisher of the World Fantasy and British-Fantasy Award winning press, Chizine Publications. Born in Estonia to an Estonian mother and a Sri Lankan father, she now lives in Canada. Sandra is co-founder of the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium and the Chiaroscuro Reading Series. Her work has appeared in publications such as On Spec, Prairie Fire, Tesseracts anthologies, Taddle Creek, ARC Magazine and others. Her two poetry collections are: The Animal Bridegroom and Come Late to the Love of Birds. Sandra is currently working on a new poetry collection as well as a new collection of her short fiction.

The other shortlisted works for the 2018 Short Story Award were:

  • Rich Larson, “Spiked” [Abyss & Apex, June 2017]
  • Karin Lowachee, “Meridian” [Where the Stars Rise, Laksa Media]
  • Rati Mehrotra, “Hacker’s Faire” [Cast of Wonders #239, March 2017]
  • Kate Story, “Animate” [Cli Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change, Exile]

Sunburst medallion.

Winners of the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

SUNBURST JURORS: The 2018 Sunburst Award jury was comprised of Megan Crewe, Kate Heartfield, Dominik Parisien, Halli Villegas, and Heather Wood. Jurors for the 2018 short story awards were Candas Jane Dorsey, Emily Pohl-Weary, and Alexandra Renwick.

Jurors for the 2019 novel awards will be Greg Bechtel, Janie Chang, Susan Forest, Kari Maaren and Susan Reynolds. Jurors for the 2019 short story awards will be S.M. Beiko, David Demchuk, and Gemma Files.

Submissions of eligible works published in 2018 for the 2019 awards are now being accepted. See the Sunburst Award News Page for details.

[Based on a press release.]

2018 Sunburst Award Shortlists

Sunburst medallion.

The 2018 shortlists for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic were posted July 30.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2018.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

Adult

  • Omar El Akkad, American War [Penguin Random House]

Set in a dystopic future as a second American Civil War rages, Omar El Akkad’s timely and disturbing novel bring to life a complex anti-heroine, Sarat Chestnut, and shines a light on the origins of terrorism, the catastrophic consequences of peak oil, the ravages of climate change, the plight of refugees, and the politics scarcity and resentment. American War’s masterful prose presents a powerful future mirror to the world we live in today.

  • David Demchuk, The Bone Mother [Chizine Publications]

In the hypnotic cadences of fairy-tales, like secret stories passed as wisdom down the family line, David Demchuk’s The Bone Mother whispers and warns of the dark extraordinary in all of us. This book dazzles, capturing the readers imagination, transcending easy labels to appeal to any one who loves literature.

  • Fonda Lee, Jade City [Orbit]

The characters in Jade City live and breathe, in a world that feels as real as our own. In that world, though, wearing jade gives some people powers, and those powers come at great cost. Every detail, from the décor to the dialogue, is chosen with care, without slowing down the novel’s pace. This book is a tour de force, and Fonda Lee has shown herself to be a master of her craft.

  • Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster [Penguin Random House]

Whether he likes it or not, the supernatural world of spirits and witches is coming for sixteen-year-old Jared in Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster. Considering the life he’s had so far, a little magic might be what he needs to find his way through the chaos of his family, friends, and neighbors. At turns heart-wrenching and humor-filled, this contemporary fantasy brings its characters to vivid life in a story nearly impossible to put down.

  • Terri Favro, Sputnik’s Children [ECW]

In Sputnik’s Children, Terri Favro gives us the remarkable comic book creator Debbie, an unreliable narrator who decides to finally tell the story of her most famous character, Sputnik Chick: The Girl with No Past. Deftly mixing elements of CanLit, alternate history, weird fiction, and cold-war paranoia, Favro has created a memorable book full of adventure and feeling.

Young Adult

  • Wendy Orr, Dragonfly Song [Pajama Press]

Wendy Orr’s Dragonfly Song follows Aissa, or No Name, in her heroic journey to find her place in a cruel world. Abandoned as a child and raised as a slave and outcast following the death of her adoptive family, Aissa relies on her courage, determination, and wit to become a bull dancer for the great Bull King. Set in the Bronze Age, Dragonfly Song brings mythology to life through a mix of gorgeous prose and poetry.

  • Fonda Lee, Exo [Scholastic]

Generations after Earth has been taken over by an alien race, a teen boy finds himself at the center of the struggle between peace and freedom. Fonda Lee’s Exo deftly examines timely issues of colonialism, complicity, violent resistance, and personal responsibility in an intense, fast-paced work of science fiction that’s as gripping as it is thought-provoking.

  • Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves [Dancing Cat Books]

Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves brilliantly connects the legacy of residential schools to a dystopian future where only Indigenous people are able to dream. Written in exquisite prose, this stunning young adult novel is painful yet beautiful, bleak but ultimately hopeful. In this era of reconciliation, The Marrow Thieves is a speculative fiction that resonates and stays with the reader long past the last page.

  • Charis Cotter, The Painting [Penguin Random House]

The Painting has the feel of a classic novel for young readers, in which two girls are drawn together through a portal they can’t explain, and in which the atmosphere of the coast of Newfoundland weaves its own kind of magic. It is, though, a thoroughly modern novel, one that pulls the reader in to its mystery through the alternating perspectives of the two girls. Charis Cotter’s storytelling is brisk, confident and compassionate.

  • Kari Maaren, Weave a Circle Round [Tor/Forge]

Pure fun from start to finish, Kari Maaren’s Weave a Circle Round has characters you want to time travel with forever. In addition to exploring friendship and family, the book is about embracing our own peculiar personal powers and making the story we are caught up in our own.

Short Story Fiction

  • Sandra Kasturi, “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” [The Sum of Us, Laksa Media]
  • Rich Larson, “Spiked” [Abyss & Apex, June 2017]
  • Karin Lowachee, “Meridian” [Where the Stars Rise, Laksa Media]
  • Rati Mehrotra, “Hacker’s Faire” [Cast of Wonders #239, March 2017]
  • Kate Story, “Animate” [Cli Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change, Exile]

The Jury: The jurors for the 2018 Sunburst awards are:

  • Novel Jury: Megan Crewe, Kate Heartfield, Dominik Parisien, Halli Villegas, and Heather Wood.
  • Short Story Jury: Candas Jane Dorsey, Emily Pohl-Weary, and Alexandra Renwick

2018 Sunburst Award Longlist

Sunburst medallion.

The Sunburst Award Committee has published the 2018 longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

Adult Fiction

  • Janie Chang, Dragon Springs Road [HarperCollins Canada]
  • Joey Comeau, Malagash [ECW]
  • David Demchuk, The Bone Mother [Chizine Publications]
  • Cory Doctorow, Walkaway, [Tor/Forge]
  • Kristyn Dunnion, Tarry This Night [Arsenal Pulp]
  • Omar El Akkad, American War [Penguin Random House]
  • Terri Favro, Sputnik’s Children [ECW]
  • Barbara Gowdy, Little Sister [HarperCollins Canada]
  • Fonda Lee, Jade City [Little, Brown Book Group]
  • Elan Mastai, All Our Wrong Todays [Penguin Random House]
  • Ahmad Danny Ramadan, The Clothesline Swing [Harbour Publishing]
  • Emma Richler, Be My Wolff [Penguin Random House]
  • Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster [Penguin Random House]
  • Adam Sternbergh, The Blinds [HarperCollins Canada]

Young Adult Fiction

  • S.M. Beiko, Scion of the Fox [ECW]
  • Kate Blair, Tangled Planet [Dancing Cat Books]
  • Charis Cotter, The Painting [Penguin Random House]
  • Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves [Dancing Cat Books]
  • Catherine Egan, Julia Defiant [Penguin Random House]
  • Ashley Graham, All the Stars Left Behind [Entangled Publishing]
  • Fonda Lee, Exo [Scholastic]
  • Lesley Livingston, The Valiant [HarperCollins Canada]
  • Kari Maaren, Weave a Circle Round [Tor/Forge]
  • Wendy Orr, Dragonfly Song [Allen and Unwin]
  • Ursula Pflug, Mountain [Inanna Publications]

Short Story Fiction

  • Nathan Adler, “Valediction at the Star View Motel” [Love Beyond Body, Space and Time, Bedside Press]
  • Rebecca Campbell, “On Highway 18” [The Magazine for Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2017]
  • Peter Darbyshire, “Casual Miracles” [Has the World Ended Yet? Wolsak & Wynn]
  • David Demchuk, “Dragoi” [The Bone Mother, ChiZine Publications]
  • Kate Heartfield, “Not Valid for Spain” [49th Parallels, Bundoran Press]
  • Claire Humphrey, “Yellowcat” [Grain Magazine #44.3, Spring 2017]
  • Sandra Kasturi, “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” [The Sum of Us, Laksa Media]
  • Rich Larson, “Spiked” [Abyss & Apex, June 2017]
  • Karin Lowachee, “Meridian” [Where the Stars Rise, Laksa Media]
  • Rati Mehrotra, “Hacker’s Faire” [Cast of Wonders #239, March 2017]
  • Matt Moore, “Goodbye is that Time Between Now and Forever” [The Sum of Us, Laksa Media]
  • Julie Paul, “The Expansion” [Chapbook, The Rusty Toque]
  • Kate Story, “Animate” [Cli Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change, Exile]
  • Naru Dames Sundar, “The Weight of Sentience” [Shimmerzine #40, November 2017]
  • Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, “Gone Flying” [The Sum of Us, Laksa Media]

The Sunburst Award official shortlist will be announced in late June. Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2018.

The Jurors for the 2018 Sunburst awards are:

  • Novel Jury: Megan Crewe, Kate Heartfield, Dominik Parisien, Halli Villegas, and Heather Wood.
  • Short Story Jury: Candas Jane Dorsey, Emily Pohl-Weary, and Alexandra Renwick

[Via Locus Online.]

2017 Sunburst Award Winners

The Sunburst Award Society has announced the winners of the 2017 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult, Young Adult, and Short Story categories.

Adult Award

The winner of the 2017 Sunburst Award for Adult Fiction is Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey (Thomas Dunne Books).

The Sunburst Jury commented:

In her debut novel, Claire Humphrey shows us a world of magic existing in the shadow of Queen Street bars and down side streets lined with old houses in Toronto. When Lissa Nevsky’s grandmother dies, she inherits the old world magical practices and an old obligation that comes trailing a dark history of violence and bitterness. In cool, elegant prose, Humphrey’s novel gives us a fresh take on magic, exploring the gifts it can bestow and the price it exacts. Humphrey’s use of a real, contemporary Canadian setting and her refusal to allow her characters any easy victories set this novel apart from a field of strong competitors.

Claire Humphrey is a national buyer for Indigo Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, Crossed Genres, Fantasy Magazine, and Podcastle. Her short story “Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot” appeared in the Lambda Award-nominated collection Beyond Binary, and her short story “The Witch of Tarup” was published in the critically acclaimed anthology Long Hidden.

Young Adult Award

The 2017 winner of the Sunburst Award for Young Adult Fiction is Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier [Puffin Canada].

The Sunburst Jury commented:

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (volume two in the Peter Nimble series by Jonathan Auxier) is a surprisingly complex take on age-old themes. Intrepid heroes, vivid villains, and an array of fantasy characters interact in a plot that places the importance of storytelling at its heart. It’s a metafictional adventure about the power (and limits) of story that, despite its invocation of well-worn tropes and its echoes of classics of children’s fantasy, still manages to be both surprising and gripping (and very funny) in its long, intricately-plotted narrative. It celebrates pure storytelling pleasure and refreshingly avoids any didactic moralizing.

Jonathan Auxier is a Canadian-American writer of young adult literature. His debut novel Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes was an ABA New Voices pick and a BookPage Magazine Best Book of 2011. His novel The Night Gardener won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award, and was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award and the Governor General’s Award.

Short Story Award

The winner of the 2017 Sunburst Award for Short Story is “The Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)” by A.C. Wise (initially published in The Dark, Issue 14).

The Sunburst Jury commented:

In an ingenious twist on the “found manuscript” trope, the narrative develops through pictorial vignettes inscribed on whalebone, baleen, and a rib of mysterious origin, minutely described as if for a museum catalogue or forensic report. Wise’s story is eerie, subtle, and highly visual, with pleasurably chilling overtones of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth abominations. Although individual characterization is virtually eliminated by the unique form and the distanced, objective narrative, it still succeeds in frightening and engaging the reader.

A.C. Wise was born and raised in Montreal, and currently lives in the Philadelphia area. Her work has appeared in publications such as Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Shimmer, and The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2017, among other places, and has been a finalist for the Lambda and the Sunburst Awards. Her collections The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again and The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories are both published by Lethe Press.

Sunburst medallion.

Winners of the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic  receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

SUNBURST JURORS. The 2017 Sunburst Award jury was comprised of Nancy Baker, Michel Basilières, Rebecca Bradley, Dominick Grace, and Sean Moreland.

Jurors for the 2018 novel awards will be Megan Crewe, Kate Heartfield, Dominik Parisien, Halli Villegas, and Heather Wood. Jurors for the 2018 short story awards will be Candas Jane Dorsey, Alexandra Renwick, and Emily Pohl-Weary.

[Based on a press release.]

2017 Sunburst Awards Shortlists

Sunburst medallion.

The shortlists for the 2017 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic have been announced.

The juried awards are presented to the best Canadian speculative fiction novel, book-length collection, or short story published any time during the previous calendar year. Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2017.

Sunburst Award winners receive a cash prize of $1,000 for the Adult and Young Adult categories, and $500 for the short story category, as well as a medallion which incorporates the Sunburst logo.

The jurors for the 2017 award are Nancy Baker, Michel Basilières, Rebecca Bradley, Dominick Grace, and Sean Moreland.

ADULT SHORTLIST

  • Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey (Thomas Dunn Books)
  • The Witches of New York by Ami McKay (Knopf Canada)
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Del Ray)
  • Necessity by Jo Walton (Tor Books)
  • Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor Books)

YOUNG ADULT SHORTLIST

  • Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier (Puffin Canada)
  • Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley (HarperCollins)
  • The Inn Between by Marina Cohen (Roaring Brook Press)
  • Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan (Doubleday Canada)
  • The Skids by Ian Donald Keeling (ChiTeen)

SHORT STORY SHORTLIST

[Via SF Site News.]

2017 Sunburst Awards Longlist

Sunburst medallion.

The 2017 longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic was announced on May 29. Below are the works longlisted by the jury.

ADULT FICTION

  • Gail Anderson-Dargatz, The Spawning Grounds [Knopf Canada]
  • Madeline Ashby, Company Town [Tor Books]
  • Jay Hosking, Three Years With the Rat [Hamish Hamilton]
  • Claire Humphrey, Spells of Blood and Kin [Thomas Dunne Books]
  • Ami McKay, The Witches of New York [Knopf Canada]
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Certain Dark Things [Thomas Dunne Books]
  • Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants [Del Rey]
  • Jerome Stueart, The Angels of Our Better Beasts [ChiZine]
  • Jo Walton, Necessity [Tor Books]
  • Robert Charles Wilson, Last Year [Tor Books]

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

  • Jonathan Auxier, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard [Puffin Canada]
  • Karen Bass, The Hill [Pajama Press]
  • Kate Blair, Transferral [Dancing Cat Books]
  • Lena Coakley, Worlds of Ink and Shadow [HarperCollins]
  • Marina Cohen, The Inn Between [Roaring Brook Press]
  • Catherine Egan, Julia Vanishes [Doubleday Canada]
  • Ian Donald Keeling, The Skids [ChiTeen]
  • Arthur Slade, Flickers [HarperCollins]
  • Jeff Szpirglas, Sheldon Unger vs The Dentures of Doom [Star Crossed Press]
  • Moira Young, The Road to Ever After [Doubleday Canada]

SHORT STORY

The Sunburst Award official shortlist come out in late June. Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2017.

The jurors for the 2017 award are Nancy Baker, Michel Basilières, Rebecca Bradley, Dominick Grace, and Sean Moreland.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

[H/t SF Site News.]

Pixel Scroll 11/17/16 The Pixel Opened A Blue Scroll And Winked At Him

(1) COZY HORROR? In the November 12 Financial Times, columnist Nilanjana Roy explains why she likes “Black Mirror” — “’Black Mirror’ and ghost stories of a digital dystopia”. (* Article is behind a paywall, but you can get to it by Googling the name of the columnist.)

Black Mirror starts by riffing on the modern fear of living in a digital, immersive world.  It’s ironic that fans will watch episodes where a young boy is surveilled through his webcam by unrevealed stalkers, with inevitable grim results, then take to their smartphones or Twitter to declare that they want to get away from their phones and get offline.

But, huddled in a razai quilt with the air purifier on full blast, with a cup of ginger tea by my side, I realize I don’t watch Black Mirror to have my worst fears confirmed.  I watch it to be reassured.”

(2) THE FANNISH INQUISITION. Smofcon 34 has asked existing and prospective Worldcon and NASFiC bidders to complete a questionnaire – some responses are already available online.

Seated

Bidding

Smofcon

(3) THE BOUNDARIES OF EMPATHY. Ann Leckie says there was really nothing special about Nazis — “On Monsters”.

Here’s the thing–the Nazis? Those concentration camp guards, the people who dug and filled in mass graves, led prisoners to gas chambers, all of that? They were not inhuman monsters. They were human beings, and they weren’t most of them that different from anyone you might meet on your morning walk, or in the grocery store.

I know it’s really super uncomfortable to look around you and realize that–that your neighbors, or even you, yourself, might, given circumstances, commit such atrocities. Your mind flinches from it, you don’t want to even think about it. It can’t be. You know that you’re a good person! Your neighbors and co-workers are so nice and polite and decent. You can’t even imagine it, so there must have been something special, something particularly different about the people who enthusiastically embraced Hitler.

I’m here to tell you there wasn’t.

(4) QUESTIONING AND COMMON GROUND. Cat Rambo inserts a page from Maslow in her response to recent events, and shares her plan for moving forward: “Nattering Social Justice Cook: Stay the Course”

One of the phenomena that led to the weirdness of the recent election is the use of binary thought, a basic Us vs. Them that does not allow for the fact that human beings are significantly more complicated than a single yes/no statement. I see it being embraced even more strongly now – by both the Left and the Right.

The world is more complicated than that. To fall into that trap is to let yourself be controlled by whoever wields the media around you the most effectively. You must think, you must question. You must figure out where your common ground is and how to use it. This is not the time to be silent. This is a time when how you live and act and speak is more important than it ever has been.

So. Here’s what I’m doing.

  • I’m listening to the voices that haven’t been listened to and amplifying their message wherever I can. Recommending a wide and interesting range of works for the SFWA Recommended Reading List. Reading across the board and making sure I look for new, interesting, diverse stuff – and then spreading the word of it. I’m nominating and voting for awards and taking the time to leave reviews when I can.
  • As a teacher, the most important thing I can do is try to show my students how an artist lives and works. Why it’s important to confront and acknowledge one’s own flaws so you understand them in others. How to be a good human, one that is responsible, ethical, open to the world. Feminism is more important now than ever, and being one publicly in a way that redeems the bizarre media stereotypes that have been imposed upon it is crucial to generations to come.

And there’s more!

(5) FIRST FEMALE ISS COMMANDER RETURNS TO SPACE. Astronaut Peggy Whitson wrote a few more entries in the history books this morning: “Watch the first female commander of the space station blast off today”.

Whitson became the first female commander of the International Space Station in 2007, and at 3:20 EST today, she’ll ride a Soyuz rocket alongside cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, to take her place as commander of Expedition 51 on the International Space Station. She’s also set to become the oldest woman in space, at 56 years of age.

In a CBS News interview from 2008, following an extremely hard reentry of Expedition 16, Whitson—today holding the title of NASA’s most experienced female astronaut, with nearly 377 days logged in space and six space walks totaling 39 hours 46 minutes—said of her many records that “no one should be counting,” but until we’re beyond the point of having to count, she’s happy to be a role model. “It seems odd to me to think of myself that way, but I hope that I can inspire someone to do something they maybe didn’t think they could.”

(6) SPOOLING OUT. The inaugural Rewind Con, a new celebrity convention held this month in Chicago, probably took a bath according to a Nerd & Tie report, “Rewind Con Was Apparently a Total Mess”.

We’ve been following this con behind the scenes for quite some time, mostly because they rescheduled the even from September to November earlier this year. The schedule change was due to a switch in venues, and originally they put out a statement which directly stated that it was because the convention had grown too much — although they would later take that back and put out a slightly more vague one blaming “multiple factors with the original venue.”

…We don’t have exact figures, but people present have estimated numbers anywhere between one and three thousand attendees. And while any of those would be a respectable number for a first year convention, when you consider Rewind Con had between fifty and sixty guests (most of whom likely asked for pretty sizable guarantees) this event must have been a massive financial disaster. The only way the organizers could have paid those guarantees is if the money came directly out of owner Jaymie Lashaway’s pocket.

We’ve also seen reports of people who paid for the $300 VIP Passes not receiving what was promised, tons of reports of staff mismanagement, issues with paid photo ops, and a complete inability to put on a good show.

(7) MIND MELD. Shana DuBois populated the latest Mind Meld with the editors and authors of the recently released anthology The Starlit Wood from Saga Press.They were asked “to chat about fairy tales and their influence on modern-day storytelling.” The participants are Navah Wolfe, Dominik Parisien, Margo Lanagan, Kat Howard, Stephen Graham Jones, Aliette de Bodard, Charlie Jane Anders, Jeffrey Ford, Theodora Goss, and Daryl Gregory.

(8) FULL FATHOM FIVE-SEVEN-FIVE. With two five-syllable verses, the traditional haiku is arguably a poetic form tailor-made for Filers. Therefore I want you all to know Fantasy Literature has kicked off its “Third Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest”. Leave entries in the comments. The rules don’t state a deadline for entering.

(9) BRADBURY’S NATIONAL BOOK AWARD MEDAL. Sixteen years ago this month Ray Bradbury gave an acceptance speech when the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation conferred its Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on him.

This is incredible. This is quite amazing because who you’re honoring tonight is not only myself but the ghost of a lot of your favorite writers. And I wouldn’t be here except that they spoke to me in the library. The library’s been the center of my life. I never made it to college. I started going to the library when I graduated from high school. I went to the library every day for three or four days a week for 10 years and I graduated from the library when I was 28.

(10) UNDER THE HAMMER. Heritage Auctions published the top bids from its recently-completed Space Exploration Auction #6167.

We are proud to announce that, as of this writing, total sales are $744,923 with a 98% sell-through rate both by lot and value. Of 729 total bidders, 226 were successful in winning 515 lots. It’s interesting to note that 296 of these 515 lots were won by bidders on Heritage Live! If you’re not using this amazing online bidding platform, you should definitely check it out. Eight lots vied for the honor of top price realized:

  • Lot 50102 Apollo 13 Flown and Crew-Signed Checklist $42,500
  • Lot 50145 Skylab: Rare NASA Contractor’s Model, 1/48 Scale $42,500
  • Lot 50038 Alan Bean Original 1984 Painting “Test Drive” $42,500
  • Lot 50064 Apollo 11 Flown Quarantine Cover $40,000
  • Lot 50037 Alan Bean Original 2005 Painting “Our World At My Fingertips” $38,750
  • Lot 50119 Apollo 14 LM Flown and Surface Carried Tool $37,500
  • Lot 50132 Apollo 17 Flown Robbins Medal, Serial Number 62 $37,500
  • Lot 50065 Apollo 11 Flown Robbins Medal, Serial Number 64 $35,000

(11) SUNBURST SEEKS SHORTS. The Sunburst Awards, recognizing “Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic,” is looking for submissions to be considered in its short story award category. Short stories published in magazines, anthologies or collections, or online all qualify.

Canadian authors: It’s free to submit, and your publishers may not have already done so.

Publishers: If you have submitted a collection for the novel length award already, please send us a note to secretary@sunburstaward.org to let us know which of the stories included qualify (see below) for the short story award. You may submit stories which qualify from magazines or anthologies you have published as well. To submit these, please upload the individual story files from the link on our website.

The Sunburst Awards will consider short fiction (up to 7,500 words.) for the short story award. Submissions are made electronically using a submission system for short form works and must be in either Word document or pdf format only. You will be asked to provide details of where the work was originally published along with the date and story length. All works must have been previously published in 2016. *See additional criteria on our website.

*Please include only one story per upload file.

*Do not submit a complete magazine or anthology.

*Non paying markets qualify.

*Short stories have only one year of eligibility.

*There is no administrative fee for short form submissions.

*Deadline for submissions is Midnight Eastern Standard Time on January 31, 2017.

(12) BYRON, SELL HIGH. At the SFWA Blog, Rosalind Moran talks about the appeal of broody men: “Brood For Thought: On The Enduring Appeal Of The Moody Male Lead”.

The moody male lead is widespread throughout all genres, but it can be difficult to see why anybody would want to spend time with him. He’s brooding, exceedingly individualistic, melancholic, and disposed to hanging around outdoors during thunderstorms for no good reason beyond cultivating his mystique. Furthermore, despite possessing attributes such as introspection, sophistication in some form, and intelligence, he is also typically rather unpleasant.

So what’s underpinning his enduring presence and appeal in fiction?

(13) A WRETCHED HIVE OF SCUM AND VILLANY…AND LOVE. Turns out Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford weren’t the only ones getting busy on the set of Star Wars. Stephen Colbert had a Star Wars affair, too

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chip Hitchcock.]