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Children's Fiction General


by (author) Phyllis Gotlieb

Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Initial publish date
Sep 1982
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1982
    List Price

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First published in 1964, Sunburst, Canadian writer Phyllis Gotlieb's first science fiction novel, is now considered a classic of speculative fiction. A radioactive accident at a nuclear power plant causes Sorrel Park, a small town near Chicago, to be quarantined from the outside world. Children born in the years following the accident develop incredible psychic powers but also begin to exhibit deeply disturbing psychotic behaviour, and as a result they are confined to a compound called "the dump."
As Sunburst begins, the children, better known as "dumplings," find a way to escape. We witness these events through the eyes of 12-year-old Shandy Johnson and her friend Jason Hemmer, a dumpling allowed the freedom of Sorrel Park because he's able to evaluate for the authorities the psychic powers of children as they are born.

Readers of Gotlieb's later fiction will find Sunburst fascinating, as she begins to explore themes she returns to in such classic novels as A Judgment of Dragons and O Master Caliban!, as well as more recent offerings like Flesh and Gold and Violent Stars. Sunburst is speculative fiction at its most intriguing and provocative, as relevant today as it was when it was first published.

About the author

Phyllis Gotlieb was born in Toronto, Canada where she still currently resides. She is married to Calvin Gotlieb, now ­professor emeritus of Computer ­Science at the University of Toronto and has three grown children, and four grandchildren. She has published five volumes of ­poetry, nine novels (eight of them ­science fiction), as well as two story collections, and has co-edited an anthology of Canadian science fiction. Versions of her works have appeared in nine languages worldwide.

Phyllis Gotlieb's profile page