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Shortlist for the 2007 Sunburst Award


Fabrizio's Return

by Mark Frutkin

Alfred A. Knopf Canada

ISBN: 0676977278

From the book jacket: "A brilliant novel packed with delights: grand romance, alchemical potions, violins to make you weep, commedia dell'arte theatre, reappearing comets, rambling skeletons and cracks in time."

The Sunburst jury says: "Fabrizio's Return is a complex drama of faith, love, church politics, and art, set in 17th- and 18th-century Cremona. The story explores the events surrounding the mission of a 'devil's advocate' sent by the church to investigate the life of a local 'saint.' Frutkin's narrative is probing in its exploration of ordinary human nature. Rich in humour, a sense of irony, and celebrating the power of passion, this novel blends fantasy, realism and historical authenticity to create a unique and engaging work of art."

Mark Frutkin is the author of three books of poetry and six of fiction, including Atmosphere Apollinaire, which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award, the Trillium and the Ottawa Book Award. He lives in Ottawa.

The Droughtlanders

by Carrie Mac

Puffin Canada

ISBN: 0143056662

From the book jacket: "Twin Brothers Seth and Eli Maddox are Keylanders—sons of the Chancellor’s Chief Regent, brought up within the privileged and protected Eastern Key. Keylanders, the boys are told, must keep within their walls to avoid the filth and disease spread by the Droughtlanders—those who struggle to survive on the parched land between the Keys. But when Eli sees their mother helping one of the wretched Droughtlanders, a chain of terrible events begins to unravel their world."

The Sunburst jury says: "This is a story whose deceptively simple voice perfectly mirrors its heart: the complexity and range of human nature. Mac depicts the divisiveness of social class and the brutality human beings are capable of showing towards one another; she also highlights our stubborn capacity for tenderness and joy. The world she has created is post-apocalyptic in its grimness, yet readers will be impatient to return to it in books two and three of the trilogy. For, while the landscape is harsh, the people who inhabit it brim with hope and promise."

Carrie Mac is the multiple-award-winning author of Crush (2006), Charmed (2004), The Beckoners (2004), and a story collection. The Droughtlanders is Book One in the Triskelia Series, with Book Two, The Keylanders, due in 2007. Carrie Mac lives in Vancouver.


Keturah and Lord Death

by Martine Leavitt

Front Street

ISBN: 1932425292

From the book jacket: "When Lord Death comes to claim 16-year-old Keturah while she is lost in the King’s Forest, she charms him with her story and is granted a 24-four-hour reprieve in which to seek her one true love."

The Sunburst jury says: "A delicate, haunting story-within-a-story told by a girl who must choose between her bright, beloved town and the dark forest beyond it; between living and sacrifice. The tale is told with grace and humour, and it resonates with a deep understanding of yearning, loss and youth."

Martine Leavitt's previous books include Heck: Superhero (2004), Tom Finder (2003), The Dollmage (2001), The Taker's Key (1998), The Prism Moon (1993) and The Dragon's Tapestry (1992). She lives in Taber, Alberta.


by Peter Watts

Tor Books

ISBN: 0765312182

From the book jacket: "Two months since the stars fell.... Two months since 65,000 alien objects clenched around the Earth like a luminous fist, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown. Two months of silence, while a world holds its breath. Now some half-derelict space probe, sparking fitfully past Neptune's orbit, hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever’s out there isn't talking to us. It's talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer, something en route. So who do you send to force introductions on an intelligence with motives unknown, maybe unknowable? Who do you send to meet the alien when the alien doesn't want to meet?"

The Sunburst jury says: "Neurobiology, vampires, alien encounters, mommy issues, deep space: Peter Watts has taken these elements (and countless others) and created a dense, provocative hard science fiction novel that puzzles as much as it enlightens. The motives of the human, mostly human, and non-human beings who populate the story are as deliciously uncertain as the outcome of their mission. Blindsight is a mind-bending, stylish question mark of a book; we dare you to answer it."

Blindsight follows Peter Watts's novels Starfish (1999), Maelstrom (2001), Behemoth: Book One: B-Max (2004) and Behemoth: Book Two: Seppuku (2005). His story collection Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes was published by Tesseract Books in 2000. He lives in Toronto.


Before I Wake

by Robert J. Wiersema

Random House Canada

ISBN: 0679313737

From the book jacket: "Tragedy can strike at any time. In a single moment of distraction, in one instant's miscalculation. "On a beautiful spring day, three-year-old Sherry Barrett is injured in a hit-and-run accident. Her devastated parents, Simon and Karen, wait by her bedside, hoping for a miracle ... one that doesn’t come. Told that she will never recover, they agree to remove her from life support. And then the miracle occurs. Sherry doesn't die. But neither does she wake. "Under the pressure of caring for their child, the fissures in Simon and Karen’s marriage become gaping wounds, and the family is pushed to the point of collapse. And then pushed even further by the undeniable fact that their little girl, trapped in her living death, has become a healer."

The Sunburst jury says: "A mortally injured child lying in a coma seems to influence, or somehow preside over, the lives of her parents and others. Wiersema's first novel is a tour-de-force of shifting narrative viewpoints, influenced by William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, but entirely successful in its own right. Direct, sensitive and powerful, this novel uses its fantastic premise to probe human nature, passion, and the mysteries of human consciousness with irony and insight."

Robert J. Wiersema is a bookseller and reviewer who contributes regularly to the Vancouver Sun, Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen and numerous other newspapers. He's also the event coordinator for Bolen Books. He lives in Victoria, BC. Before I Wake is his first novel.

Jury's Recommended Reading

The jury felt that the following merited Honourable Mention:

  • Widdershins by Charles de Lint
  • One Chrysanthemum by Joan Itoh Burke
  • Powers by Lynn Jacobs
  • Farthing by Jo Walton