The James White Award is a short story competition for nonprofessional writers, and Interzone have been publishing each year’s winner for some time now.
Unlike many of the past winners, this story doesn’t show any signs at all of being by an (until now) unpublished author, and stands foursquare with the other stories in the volume. It’s a tight, claustrophobic piece, with a young woman forced to slum it, having been kicked out of her comfortable life and privilege. We find out what she has done, and who she has offended (quite neatly it’s a virtual AI taking the persona of Ada Lovelace). She is desperate to find a way back to her previous life, and a shamaness offers her the chance to do this, but is she willing to pay the high, very high, price for that chance?
So in addition to the award, a handsome trophy, and the cash prize, and publication in Interzone, C.J. Paget gets his name added as an author on Best SF. Just how long before clicking on the Filed Under link above will generate more than just the link to this story?