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Mostly lists and information about award books and other interesting lists of books, color coded as follows:

RED–Read since ~2000
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The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
Only You Can Save Mankind
Nice and Mean
Cruisers Book 1
The City of Ember
Crispin: The End of Time
Lost Goat Lane
Amelia Rules! Volume 1: The Whole World's Crazy
How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life
As Simple as It Seems
Wolf Brother
The Ogre of Oglefort
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunburst Award (2001-2009)

From wikipedia and Sunburst Award website accessed 9/29/09

The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award given for a speculative fiction novel or a book-length collection. The name of the award comes from the title of the first novel by Phyllis Gotlieb, Sunburst (1964).

The first award was given out in 2001. The award consists of a cash prize (C$1,000 in 2001-2005) and a medallion. The winner is selected by a jury; a new jury is struck each year. In 2008 a young-adult winner was added. The winners to date have been:

2001 Sean Stewart, Galveston
2002 Margaret Sweatman, When Alice Lay Down with Peter
2003 Nalo Hopkinson, Skin Folk --short stories
2004 Cory Doctorow, A Place So Foreign and 8 More
2005 Geoff Ryman, Air
2006 Holly Phillips, In the Palace of Repose (ISBN 1894815580)
2007 Fabrizio's Return by Mark Frutkin
2008 first young-adult award: Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx
2008 adult: The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
2009 young-adult: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
2009 adult: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


Sunburst Award administrator and jury use the broadest possible definition of speculative fiction for eligibility purposes: "science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, horror, surrealism, le fantastique, myth and legend, fantastical storytelling, and any other writing beyond the strictly realistic". To be eligible for the award, a work must be published between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year. Only Canadian citizens and landed immigrants are eligible, however there are no Canadian residency requirements, and three of the five awards presented to date have gone to expatriates (Stewart, Doctorow, Ryman).

2009 Winners

Toronto, September 28, 2009: The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of its 2009 adult award is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson and the winner of its 2009 young adult award is Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.


Night Child by Jes Battis
The Sunburst jury says: "Occult Special Investigator Tess Corday is a terrifically appealing heroine—determined, charming, vulnerable and very human in a world of vampires, necromancers and other supernatural menace. Night Child takes what is becoming a hackneyed genre—romantic supernatural investigator—and injects it with a kind of manic, crazy, campy fun: a little bit Buffy, a little bit CSI and even a little bit hardboiled."

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The Sunburst jury says: "An unquenchable thirst for story and a phenomenal command of his craft make Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle a reader's dream. This ferociously ambitious, incendiary (at times literally) story of one man's phoenix-like transformation at the hands of a woman, possibly mad, who claims to have known him for 700 years, is prepared to fall on its own highly charged imaginative sword at any time, but never does. Davidson manages to evoke squirm-inducing horror and abiding love with the same unblinking powers of observation and self-consciousness. As the relationship between narrator and Marianne deepens and her tale of their shared history unfolds, past and present converge in ways tragic and redemptive, and immensely satisfying."

The Alchemist's Code by Dave Duncan
The Sunburst jury says: "With The Alchemist's Code, Dave Duncan accomplishes something which seems to have become an increasing rarity in this or any other genre—the telling of an exciting, interesting and coherent story that has an actual beginning, middle and end—a skill surprisingly lacking in many writers. Set in an alternate 16th-century Venice filled with lush architecture, dashing gondoliers, sultry courtesans, political intrigue and magic, young Alfeo is apprenticed to doctor/prognosticator extraordinaire Nostradamus. When the corpse of an old friend, skewered by Alfeo's own rapier, is left, literally, on his doorstep, it's up to Alfeo and Nostradamus to solve the crime and restore order—whilst still trying to earn a living, capture a spy, and eat a decent meal, not to mention trying to avoid accusations of witchcraft and being burned at the stake. While technically a sequel to Duncan's earlier The Alchemist's Apprentice, readers can jump right into Code and feel right at home—again, a subtle skill on the writer's part that should be lauded. A charming book, full of wit, good humour, and some jolly good mental and physical fencing. Not to mention some delicious-sounding risotto." The Alchemist’s Code is the second book in Dave Duncan’s The Alchemist series.

Things Go Flying by Shari Lapeña
The Sunburst jury says: "Shari Lapeña’s disarmingly deadpan novel of domestic dysfunction nudges readers into the realm of the uncanny, wherein the oh-so-familiar is suddenly rendered strange, even frightening, but which, when faced, leads its characters back to the familiar, and the essential truths of who they are. As the Walker family begins to disintegrate in the usual ways of busy modern urban families, the unusual and extraordinary begin to happen. Eventually, the boundaries between normal and paranormal are blurred to the extent that everything—from a husband and father’s midlife crisis to a teenage boy’s exploration of sex and identity—is edged with strangeness, with magic and finally wonder. A gem."

Half a Crown by Jo Walton
The Sunburst jury says: Half a Crown "presents a striking contrast between the increasingly grim reality faced by one protagonist with the lighter observations of an initially naïve second major character, walking a difficult tightrope of growing suspense until both protagonists face consequences, and the stakes and tension rise grippingly. Although some readers will find the ending jarring, the book is an outstanding examination of both how evil can become 'normal' and of personal courage (of 'doing what is right' rather than two-fisted heroics). A heroine takes shape before the readers' eyes." Half a Crown is the third volume in Jo Walton's alternate-history Small Change series, preceded by Farthing (2006) and Ha'penny (2007).

Jury's Recommended Reading
The jury felt that the following merited Honourable Mention:

* Blackouts, by Craig Boyko
* The Frankenstein Murders, by Kathlyn Bradshaw
* Here After, by Sean Costello
* Toll the Hounds, by Steve Erikson
* The Seary Line, by Nicole Lundrigan
* After the Fires, by Ursula Pflug
* Blasted, by Kate Story


The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Sunburst jury says: "A necromancer just realizing her true self and the extent of her powers in a mysterious and potentially dangerous world, Chloe Saunders is also a typical teenage girl starting at a new high school in Toronto. After causing a stir at school when she sees some ghosts, she ends up at a group home for troubled teens. It is there that the world of the supernatural collides with the world of the adolescent. The Summoning combines those two worlds beautifully in a coming-of-age story that is exciting and suspenseful, tender and affecting. It captures teen angst with perfect pitch, and without a whiff of sentimentality." The Summoning is book one in her Darkest Powers YA urban-fantasy series; book two, The Awakening, came out in May 2009. Frostbitten, book 10 in the Otherworld paranormal fantasy series (which began with Bitten, 2001), will be published in October 2009.

Dingo by Charles de Lint
The Sunburst jury says: "Teenager Miguel discovers that his new Australian girlfriend, along with her twin sister, are shape-shifters, half human and half dingo. De Lint expertly weaves Australian folklore throughout and switches effortlessly from everyday settings such as Miguel's high school or his father's comic and music store to the mythical realm of the Dreamtime. Similarly, we think nothing of how otherworldly creatures appear in a contemporary North American setting. The characters are well drawn, in particular the two sisters with their contrasting personalities, and the way in which Miguel and his long-term nemesis, Johnny, have to put aside their differences to release the girls from a centuries-old curse is really well handled. Dingo is a well-written, highly imaginative and unusual fantasy novel that stands out from other current novels for the YA age group. This book demands to be read from cover to cover in one sitting, and fortunately that's very easy to do."
Charles de Lint is credited as having pioneered the contemporary fantasy genre with his 1984 urban fantasy novel Moonheart, which is still in print. His work includes 65 books published to date. He has been a finalist 17 times for the World Fantasy Award, and won in 2000 for his story collection Moonlight and Vines. These stories (and most of his recent novels) are set in his fictional city of Newford.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
The Sunburst jury says: "Many novels take a chapter or two to introduce the setting and protagonists and get the plot on the road. Not so Little Brother—it sings and zings from the first page, perhaps even the first line. Readers will immediately be swept up in the story of 17-year-old Marcus and his buddies, who, after a terrorist attack on not-so-far-future San Francisco, get caught in a government street-sweep simply because, well, they were there. So they must be guilty, right? After Marcus is finally let go, he decides that something needs to be done about this horrifying erosion of liberties and the scary world made scarier by the very people who are supposed to protect us. Besides, some of his friends are still, ominously, missing. Using his technogeek expertise, the Internet and every contact he has, Marcus takes on the school system, the government, Homeland Security, and anyone else standing in the way of freedoms both small and large. In anyone else's hands this material might so easily have come off as preachy or even trite, but Doctorow's superb handling of his protagonists and his plot turn the story into a nail-biting, heartbreaking, rollercoaster of a novel that will leave the reader anguished and sweating over the fate of its characters. Thankfully, the novel wasn't doled out in installments, like Dickens, or we would all have been waiting on the virtual pier, begging to know what became, not of Little Nell, but of Marcus and his friends. A gem of a book—topical, well written, and not to be missed."

Wild Talent: A Novel of the Supernatural by Eileen Kernaghan
The Sunburst jury says: "An absorbing, carefully crafted coming-of-age story and a vividly successful evocation of Victorian occult worlds, with real people and events skillfully interwoven with the author's fictional supernatural elements (and the false supernatural of charlatans), this book reads like a superb historical novel as well as a superior fantasy."

Night Runner by Max Turner
The Sunburst jury says: "Night Runner is an entertaining and well-crafted novel that offers a fresh take on the vampire genre. From the first paragraph, in which protagonist Zach Thomson tells us that 'this is the story of how I died, twice,' readers are completely pulled in. The story is action-packed right from the start, and it blasts off at a pace as quick and exciting as the chase scenes that appear throughout the novel. All the characters are vividly portrayed and the dialogue is extremely well crafted. Zack Thomson in particular is a highly original character with a distinctive voice. The reader believes in him, urging him on through page-turning plot twists in this story of an eternal war between good and evil. Once we started reading, we couldn’t put it down."

The jury felt that the following YA works merited Honourable Mention:
* Feather Brain, by Maureen Bush
* Watching July, by Christine Hart
* Starclimber, by Kenneth Oppel
* Far, by Carol Matas
* Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival, by Arthur Slade
* Shadow Town, by Duncan Thornton
* The Incredibly Ordinary Danny Chandelier, by Laura Trunkey

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