Speculating Fantasy

Speculating FantasyBy Derek Newman-Stille
Fantasy fiction is frequently viewed as an escapist form of fiction, one whose sole purpose is to provide a retreat from reality. Even people who advocate for the importance of fantasy tend to treat it as being important solely for its ability to provide an escape from reality. However, fantasy, like any genre fiction, is produced and created through the social lens of the author who writes it. Authors draw on the events, anxieties, uncertainties, ideas, developments, and issues of the world that they belong to when writing fantasy, converting these contemporary thoughts into symbolic form and writing them onto the canvas of a different world. 
Fantasy is unselfcritically defined in opposition to realism, not seeking to pretend to be based on the real world and therefore it has leeway for addressing issues that are “too real” for realist fiction by converting them into symbolic media, transforming them from issues into ideas. By defining itself as “untruth” – as fantasy – the genre does not lay claim to any single truth or single interpretation, but, instead presents a series of dream-like images. Dreams have symbolic power and blend images together in a way that requires the mind to be actively involved in translating them. 
Fantasy provides a lens for us to examine our own world in abstraction, slightly removed from reality. It is as much a journey as it is a genre, pulling the reader between the pages with an intensity that makes him/her come back to the everyday with a form of culture shock, suddenly viewing the “normal” anew and asking questions about the taken-for-granted qualities of the “real” world. 
In saying that fantasy has the power of reflection (though a distorted mirror) embedded into itself, I am not suggesting that fantasy is without problems. The genre has been based on extreme ethnocentrism, colonial ideologies, racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism. But, fantasy still contains that seed of change, that embedded potential that allows for engagement with mythic themes, fairy tale ideas, and the power of imaginative new possibilities. Fantasy could invite questions about the normative gaze, that socially embedded structure that reifies the world into Us and Them, Self and Other by providing a more distant Other, an Otherworldly set of encounters that invite questions about the Self, about what we consider the easy-to-define norms. 
Fantasy operates through the power of estrangement, inviting readers to accept unfamiliar universal rules (planes where magic exists alongside technology, where orcs and elves and goblins are possible, and where it is possible to confront the monsters that lurk in the shadows) and through this process of exploring the unfamiliar, fantasy has the ability to question the familiar, to invite questions about why we accept certain ‘rules’ as universal and instead open the world up to the question “what could be true?” and “what is possible?” 
We return from the adventure of fantasy with quest items that are really questions, speculations that invite us to wonder at the world we return to like our epic heroes/heroines, who once they return, discover that they have been permanently changed by their experience.

What Makes Fairy Tales So Brilliant?

What Makes Fairy Tales So Brilliant?

By Derek Newman-Stille

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Fairy tales always exist in multiplicity, in versions. There is never one TRUE version, but rather a fluid polyphonic group with multiple voices sharing different takes on the same tale. Fairy tales possess the magic of changeability. Born in oral narratives, they have the power to shift and change with each telling, adapting to new tellers and new audiences. They resist the idea that there can be only one truth and illustrate that there are always multiple truths, each with different messages that speak to different people.

 

Fairy tales are delightfully slippery and whenever people seek to pin them down, they adapt, change, and modify themselves to speak to a new generation and a new group of people.

 

We create our fairy tales to tell us about ourselves, to learn from our own imaginative words and explore our boundaries. Fairy tales let us walk out into the darkening woods of our own subconscious and see more of ourselves, the selves that we tell into existence when we sit around a camp fire.

 

In our fairy tales, we encounter strange beings – beasts and otherworldly entities and animals that act far too much like we do – but these encounters are always with ourselves, always about us colliding with murky mirror images of ourselves, and those mirror selves always have something to share, something to teach to us.

 

Our fairy tales shift from generation to generation to capture our new ideas, interests, perspectives, and our anxieties. But what fairy tales do we need for this age? What should we be telling ourselves to learn and change?

 

Now when we venture into the woods, it is not the wolves that Red Riding Hood should fear, but they should fear us because of the damage we have done to our animal neighbours. Tales of commoners who become princesses have reinforced the oppression of women and made sure that we don’t critique wealth because so many people believe they can go from commoner to royalty, so how do we change that tale? We have told tales of desiring youth and fearing old age, so how do we switch it so that we can desire our own aging? How do we tell tales of enchanted apples when they are sprayed with chemicals and waxed?

 

We are storied animals, composed by the stories we hear, the stories we tell, and, most importantly, the stories we tell ourselves to get us through each day.

It Doesn’t Have to be ‘The Way it is’

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One of the phrases that frustrates me most is “it is what it is”. As a speculative fiction scholar and fan, when I hear these words, I hear the closing down of opportunities and the reifying of the status quo. “It is what it is” tells me that people are frustrated with the existing state of things, but are unwilling or feel unable to make changes. SF is the literature of change, a literature of new potentials and possibilities. That is not to say that it reguarly challenges the way things are because most SF doesn’t imagine new possibilities but only further entrenches existing ideas and the current structures of power, BUT it has the POTENTIAL to imagine changes, to think of new ways of understanding the world and new possibilities that challenge the world as it is. 

Today I listened to a talk by Alyx Dellamonica about environmentalism and SF in which she reminded listeners that one of the most dangerous things we can do is say “there’s nothing we can do”. She pointed out that people will often close down possibilities for imagining new ways of being in the world because we convince ourselves that substantive change is impossible and then we close down our own faculties for thinking of new ideas and new solutions to existing structures. 

I think this illustrates some of the issues I have long had about phrases like “it is what it is”. These phrases serve to support the way things currently are, serve to further entrench them. We tell ourselves that it is impossible to imagine new ideas and to think of fresh ways of understanding the world and so we support the status quo, we don’t challenge the existing authority structures that are unwelcome, unhealthy, and unsafe for so many people. 

I have the same reaction to “what can you do?”, which, despite starting with “what”, a question, has never been about asking a question, but rather providing a nihilistic rhetoric, a closing down of questioning and imagining new possibilities. I would ask us to take that question seriously, to reimagine it as an actual question. When asked “what can you do?” that we operate in the realm of the imaginative, the realm of potentials and we work on thinking about new ways of existing with and within our world. SF has this potential, but that doesn’t mean that this is exclusively the perview of SF authors. As a public, we too can SPECULATE. We can interrogate existing systems and ask what they exist for, whether new and better ideas can rise out of them, how we can substantively change, what posibilities exist, and what we can imagine our way out of and, perahps more importantly, what we can imagine ourselves into.

I am not saying that we should all walk around with utopic visions in our minds, particularly since, for many of us from disempowered groups, we so often have our utopic visions shattered, but that we keep pushing at the fringes of our society to advocate for positive changes. There is still a place for the apocalyptic in our imagination since it often allows us to articulate the way we see our worlds shaped for something other than us, a world that is fundamentally hostile to us (particularly if we are from disenfranchised groups), but it is important to remember that every apocalypse is about change, about a world in flux, and THAT has imaginative potential. Apocalypses are about recognizing that the world is no longer able to support an existing way of being and they call on us to imagine a new possibility, a new method of understanding a changing and changeable world. 
SF can be a way of critiquing the world as well as a way of imagining a new world, new possibilities, and a change to look at our own world from askance to see the things that we ignore, push aside, choose not to contemplate so that we can exist in a world of “it is what it is”. How do we use SF to imagine a world that ISN’T “what it is”? 

Canadian SF Authors, What Are You Reading? Gemma Files

Gemma Files shares her favourite reads of 2015 with us here at Speculating Canada along with her brilliant insights about the books she has read:

2015 Reading List By Gemma Files

I read a lot, pretty much constantly, and the sad part is that I all too often forget what I’ve read unless I write it down or write about it, even though it all goes into the garburator that is my creative process. So these things are actually very useful for me—I’m forced to think about what I liked and why, what stuck around longest, what I’m still thinking about, etcetera.

As it turns out, the books I’m (re-)reading at the moment are all non-fiction. Two are old, and for research—Harold Schechter’s gleefully trashy Fatal: The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer and Jean Plaidy’s A Triptych of Poisoners, a book I’ve owned since I was thirteen—and two are new, for fun, about one of my all-time favourite subjects (The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul, edited by Gina Freitag and Andre Loiselle) and one of my all-time favourite movies (Canadian Cinema’s spotlight on John Paisz’s Crime Wave, a film so fascinatingly obscure you can’t even find it on DVD, as unpacked by Jonathan Ball).  

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In terms of novels I read this year, meanwhile, I’ll start with something I came to very late but enjoyed the unholy hell out of nonetheless. That’d be Clifford Jackman’s The Winter Family, a hell-bent Western that revolves around Civil War veteran turned “Dandy Killer” Augustus Winter, who evolves from an uneducated, abused child turned soldier first into a complicatedly deadly mechanism fit for little but killing, then a creature of almost unspeakable ravenous purity—the barely humanized avatar of whatever cosmic self-destructive force drives people throughout history to hurt each other for no good reason and feed on the pain that hurt creates. The prose is gorgeous and horrifying and blackly, bleakly funny throughout, Cormac McCarthy by way of Quentin Tarantino; I bought it and devoured in a single day, then spent the weekend re-reading it over and over. There’s a reason it was nominated for a  Governor General’s Award, is all I’m saying.

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One of my backbone pleasures is the fact that powerhouse Irish author John Connolly somehow manages to come out with a Charlie Parker novel almost every other year, and thankfully, 2015 was no exception to the rule. This time, in A Song of Shadows, Parker—a Maine PI with truly horrifying bad luck/homme fatale constantly surrounded by similarly fatal people, who may also be (according to Enochian apocrypha) the vile body currently inhabited by the one fallen angel to ever regret his choice to rise against God—is recovering from his last wrestling match with evil, which left him partly crippled and almost dead. Nevertheless, he still can’t manage to stay out of trouble, or at least out of proximity with other people’s troubles. As ever, this is a fast, engrossing read, every word chosen for both maximum impact and deep-set creepiness. (This year also brought me Night Music: Nocturnes II, Connolly’s second collection of short horror stories, which is equally enjoyable.)

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As always, various friends of mine came out with amazing stuff, some through my own publisher: three ChiZine Publications titles I’d like to highlight here are Lauren B. Davis’s Against a Darkening Sky, which plays like a dark, low-rent mirror of Nicola Griffith’s Hild; Rio Youers’s frankly excoriating Point Hollow and Kenneth Mark Hoover’s Quarternity, the bloodily existential prequel to his Weird West tour de force Haxan. From other sources, Signal to Noise—Silvia Garcia-Moreno’s rightly acclaimed first novel—follows three 1980s Mexican teenagers who come of age while experimenting with a very peculiar sort of witchcraft, channeling their loves and hates through music’s totemic medium, while Amanda Downum’s rich, strange and startlingly poetic Dreams of Shreds and Tatters replants Robert Chamber’s King in Yellow mythos to the raincoast artistic scene of Vancouver, where creativity pushed to its limits opens doors to a terrifyingly inspirational parallel universe, releasing a plague of ecstatic madness that’s at first spread only oneirically, yet gradually grows to infect and threaten the entire waking world.

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And then there’s Paul Tremblay, who—like Helen Marshall—is rapidly becoming yet another person whose brilliant brains I yearn to eat. With A Head Full of Ghosts, Tremblay manages to create a true Shirley Jackson-esque thriller for the 21st century, a multimedia commentary on the surreal truthiness of “reality” entertainment filtered through horror culture and tropes to create a story that can be potentially read from almost any direction. I don’t want to go too deep into it for fear of spoiling your fun, but the nested testimonial structure builds a psychological puzzle-box that’ll have you questioning every character’s motivation by the book’s climax; it’s a sweet trip through unreliable narrator city, and Tremblay makes for one hell of a tour guide.

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2015 also brought the end of a few series I’ve been following for years, and none of them disapointed. At the top of the list has to be Carsten Stroud’s The Reckoning, “the thrilling conclusion to the Niceille Trilogy”…but seriously, if you haven’t checked these books out yet, then do, stat. I once described them to a friend as a happy collision between Peter Straub and Elmore Leonard, and that continues to hold true; the characters are tough, eccentric and utterly human, the mythology rich, odd and essentially American in a way that mines all the darkest veins of racism and violence inherent in that country’s willfully forgotten history (along with our own, sadly).

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On a completely different note, meanwhile, Cherry Bomb brings Caitlin R. Kiernan (writing as Kathleen Tierney)’s hilariously foul-mouthed deconstruction of the received paranormal romance paradigm to a suitably slammin’ conclusion. Her protagonist, Quinn, started out as a monster-slayer but became something considerably more after being bitten by both a vampire and a werewolf; she’s then reduced to making her quote-quote “living” settling disputes in Massachusetts’ supernatural underworld, where she spends most of her time drinking, screwing a laundry-list of bad news dames and tearing her enemies apart limb from limb. My verdict: while all the installments are worth your while, this one reaches epic depths of punk Lovecraftiana, so check it out.

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I also spent some time catching up on Ben Aaronovitch’s wonderful Rivers of London series, best described as a mash-up of Neil Gaiman and J.K. Rowling, whose multiracial protagonist treats magic like a science while dealing with various locus genii on behalf of the London Metropolitan Police Service. Simultaneously, I acquired and read the last three Marla Mason books, by Tim Pratt—Grim Tides, Bride of Death and Lady of Misrule—in which our favourite brute force-o-mancer deals with the literally world-rocking consequences of her total own inability to lose gracefully, which have already cost her most of her friends and control of “her” city, the tiny industrial hamlet of Felport, California. Both series are consistently addictive, rewarding, surprising and amusing, just like I like ’em.

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My brain is beginning to grind to a halt, so here are some more picks, from those who want ’em: Clockworks and Alpha & Omega, graphic novel collections from IDW, finally bring Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s epic, heartwarmingly horrifying Locke & Key series to its climax. They deliver on every possible basis.

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A Daughter of No Nation by Alyx Delalmonica, second in her Stormwrack series, which provides portal fantasy with a difference. In this installment, Sophie Hansa gets to know her literally swashbuckling, potentially psychopathic birth-Dad, and surprises those around her by applying basic CSI/scientific principles to criminal investigations conducted in a world where magic is just another recognized part of the ecosystem.

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Lagoon, by Nnedi Okorafor, is a fascinatingly raucous and inventive first contact story set in Lagos, Nigeria. While juggling a cast that includes shapeshifting aliens, marine biologists, hardcore Baptists and globally popular rap artists, Okorafor does things you don’t expect in almost every chapter, including telling one from the POV of a spider and another from the POV of a road.

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The Devil’s Ark, by Stephen Bywater, hits all my old-school horror buttons—it’s set immediately after World War I, and follows the excavation of an archaeological site which may contain either a shrine to or the tomb of Lilith, Adam’s legendary first wife, supposedly worshiped in ancient Mesopotamia as a blood-sucking night-goddess. Similarly transportative is Jonathan Aycliffe’s The Sound of Ghosts, a genteelly pitch-black ghost story set during World War II that quickly grows M.R. Jamesian resonances.

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The Glittering World, by Robert Levy, is a startlingly dark first novel whose protagonist returns to New Brunswick to investigate the childhood he can’t remember, thus submerging himself and his friends in a sinister mystery involving some of the least Disney-friendly fairies ever. In Christopher Buehlman’s The Lesser Dead, meanwhile, Buehlman—another of my current favourite writers—applies his trope-deconstructionist’s eye to the problem of vampires, conjuring a vicious generational power-struggle set against the funky/gritty backdrop of 1970s New York. And in The Damned, by Andrew Pyper, a man haunted by the malign ghost of his dead twin sister finds out first-hand that hell apparently looks a lot like downtown Detroit.

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Finally, even if you haven’t read her brilliantly weird epistolary thriller The Three (which you really should’ve, so fix that), I’ll put in an equally high recommendation for Sarah Lotz’s Day Four, a side-quel to the same story that’s more than qualified to stand on its own, though it does plug some of the original’s lacunae. It’s like Lost as written by J.G. Ballard, a haunting vision of a potential future terrible enough to infect the present and taint the past; great stuff, if that’s the kind of stuff you like. Which I obviously do.;)

 

Thank you Gemma Files for the brilliant discussion of some fantastic books.

The Speculating Canada Website and the Speculating Canada Radio Show on Trent Radio BOTH Won Aurora Awards

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Thanks to the support and encouragement of fans, followers, friends, and interviewees, BOTH the Speculating Canada website and the radio show Speculating Canada on Trent Radio won Aurora Awards. These awards wouldn’t have been possible if all of you weren’t willing to go on this adventure into speculation with me, creating a space where we can all ask powerful questions, explore the deep ideas that SF literature evokes, and imagine possibilities. 

Speculating Canada (whether in its web form or over the airwaves) is ultimately a teaching forum. Now, when I say that, I don’t mean that it is sharing facts (as some people assume teaching is), but instead that it recognizes that fans and authors are brilliant people, more than capable of thinking of the deeper ideas and messages in their literature and interrogating those deeper ideas. We as fans and authors know that little secrets – that even though we say our literature is “just a fun read”, it is always so much more because we understand ourselves and our world through stories, and speculative literature always has deeper questions in it. After all, the term Speculative Fiction says it all – it tells us that we are reading a literature of speculation, of questions, and we all know that we learn best by ASKING questions, not by just giving answers to them (because no answer covers everything). So, Speculating Canada is a forum for questions, for pondering, and for learning TOGETHER. I am honoured to be on that journey with each of you.

Many of you already know this, but the Speculating Canada website originated from a couple of factors that tied together. The first of this factors was my experience of my own disability. I have always had learning disabilities relating to memory, but a few years ago, an unrelated health disability began to create further memory issues and in order to keep up with my own research, I started to write larger notes for myself about each of the works I was reading. I have always made notes about what I read to remind myself of ideas I have had while reading fiction, but I started to take more detailled and longer notes… and it occurred to me that these were very much like reviews (well, reviews with a bit of analysis). When I realized that I was essentially already writing reviews, I allied this with my consistent desire to make teaching accessible to those outside of the university classroom. I am able to discuss issues and ideas in literature with the university students in my classroom, but I am also aware that not everyone has the privilege to be in university AND many people want to carry on the types of questions they explored in university long after they graduate. So, Speculating Canada became a place for me to put ideas out there for all of you brilliant people who read this website to participate in. 

When friends of mine and fans of the Speculating Canada website started asking me about different formats for my editorials and interviews, I finally took up Alissa Paxton’s suggestion that I turn Sepculating Canada into a radio show. Alissa was already a long-time participant in Trent Radio and she convinced me to create the show over time by gradulally interviewing me on the air for different special topics and through that she convinced me that the radio wasn’t too scary. The people who run and have shows on Trent Radio 92.7 FM made the experience of having a radio show one that was consistently filled with excitement. 
I went with a “coffee shop chat” style for the radio show because I was tired of hearing interviews of authors that were highly edited to the point that their ideas were reduced to robotic sound clips. I wanted my show to be one where the audience feels like they are right at the table with myself and the authors I interviewed – to let the listener feel like they are part of the conversation, because, dear listeners, you are always in the studio with us conceptionally even if you are listening from a distance. I don’t edit out the “ums”, “wait whats” and “likes” because they allow us to experience the author as an actual human being and allows us to realise that autors say brilliant things even when they are having to think on the fly. The fabulous people I have interviewed have been wonderful at going along with the “coffee shop chat” style of the show, letting themselves have a natural conversation… and, of course, for letting their inner geeks loose and allowing us to be fans together. I want to thank the interviewees for letting me push the interview boundaries by asking them deep questions and inviting them to interrogate and explore the deep questions of their work.

Speculating Canada has always been an opportunity to share my love of Canadian speculative fiction with others but it became so much more than that. It became another forum to teach outside of academia (and when I say “teach” I mean share questions and ideas with other brilliant people and let them know that they are able to interrogate what they are reading). It was a forum for reviews (my little love letters to the authors I adore). It provided me with a space to interview authors and share their brilliance with others – the incredible insights that go into speculative fiction writing. But the most important thing that Speculating Canada became was a community. It allowed me to meet others who are passionate about their SF, who love it and love to think about it. I met some of my most treasured friends through Speculating Canada and I want to thank everyone who has supported it. We are lucky to be part of such an amazing fan community and I feel fortunate that I have found a community to connect with and share with. Thank you to all of you who supported speculating Canada in diverse ways. 

 
 

Photo of the 2015 Aurora Award Winnder courtesy of Do-Ming Lum

 
For those unaware of the Prix Aurora Awards, these awards are Canada’s equivalent of the Hugo Awards. They honour all of the top voted creators of Canadian Speculative Fiction. To find out more about the Aurora Awards, visit their website at http://www.prixaurorawards.ca .

Here is the full list of 2015 Prix Aurora Award winners. I am so pleased to be part of such a distinguished list of brilliant people. 

Best English Novel: A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books

Best English YA Novel: TIE:

Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, Tor Books

Out of This World by Charles de Lint, Razorbill Canada

Best English Short Fiction: “Crimson Sky” by Eric Choi, Analog, July/August

Best English Poem/Song: “A Hex, With Bees” by Tony Pi, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE

Best English Graphic Novel: It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic

Best English Related Work: On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society

Best Artist: Dan O’ Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press and On Spec magazine

Best Fan Publication: Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Music: Kari Maaren, YouTube Channel

Best Fan Organizational: Sandra Kasturi, Chair, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Toronto

Best Fan Related Work: Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

A Love Leter to Can Con

A Love Letter to Can ConBy Derek Newman-Stille

One of the things being talked about in academic circles currently is the issue of the “all male panel”, which happens far too often. I often expect academic conferences to be ahead of a lot of public conferences, but was increadibly excited when I heard Can Con planners talking about the issue of the all male panel earlier this year and was even more excited when I arrived and saw that it was already in practice. In all of the panels I attended and presented in there were panelists who identified as male and female. This is yet another reminder of the welcoming environment that Can Con strives each year to create. 
For those of you who don’t know, Can Con is an annual speculative fiction conference held in the Ottawa region with a particular focus on literary SF. I have attended Can Con for a number of years and have seen it grow in numbers. A growth in numbers always evokes an anxious response from me because I worry that the sense of camaraderie and family will be lost as the numbers increase, but Can Con consistently excites me because even as the numbers grow, the welcoming environment grows with those numbers as more people are invited into this familial environment. There is no ubiquity that comes with the growth, but rather Can Con makes sure to invite the individual to express themselves in diverse ways. 
I think part of what makes Can Con so welcoming (especially of diversity) is the excitement by the organizers to create panels that explore the diversity of people creating Canadian Spec Fic, reading it, and being represented in its pages. Can Con organizers make sure to have exciting panels on representations of disability, neurodiversity, sexuality, gender diversity, ethnicity, and a range of identities as part of their planning and they consistently are able to attract exciting panelists who are writing these SF representations of identities, are people who identify with these identities, and people who are invested in exploring what these identities mean. But the really exciting part is the reactions of the audience to the panels on identities because these panels are consistently packed and the audience questions are insightful…. and I think this is part of that culture of diversity inspired by the Can Con organizers. It filters through into the audience and whereas at other conferences where there is the one token “here are the people who aren’t talking about the white, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical, male” panel the audience is often not as geared toward excitement about the exploration of identities, because of the plethora of panels on diverse identities at Can Con and because of the welcoming and encouraging support of the organizers, Can Con tends to have more positive and excited audience responses to diversity. 
Why do I write a love letter to Can Con? Because there is a certain environment to the conference that allows me to feel refreshed, inspired, and excited after every conference. I often throw myself on as many panels as possible because I love to participate in Can Con, but I don’t feel exhausted after the conference as one would expect from all the work put into it. Instead, I feel energized, excited, and inspired to do some writing, reading, and (most importantly) fan boying about Speculative Fiction. I have been watching the various love letters to Can Con come rolling in through Facebook, Twitter, and through my email inbox and I think that I can say that this sense of camaraderie is shared by others who attend the conference and that they are experiencing the bittersweet combination of excitement and mourning that comes with having a great time and realising that we all have to wait another year for this exciting experience.

If you haven’t checked out Can Con, you can find out more about it by visiting http://www.can-con.org and I hope to see you all there.

2015 Aurora Nominee

Dear Speculating Canada fans,  

 Speculating Canada has been nominated for a Prix Aurora Award again this year, which is extremely exciting news… and all of this is thanks to you and your support and participation in the project of speculating the Canadian fantastic. I want to thank all of you for all of your insightful questions, for reading the site, for introducing me to authors, and for letting me know that all of you are out there and interested in reading about the type of reviews, commentaries, and interviews that Speculating Canada does. 

A year ago, Speculating Canada jumped onto the airwaves in addition to being on the web at this site, and it is incredibly wonderful to find out that Speculating Canada on Trent Radio has been nominated for a Prix Aurora Award in addition to the Speculating Canada website. Thank you to Trent Radio (92.7 FM in Peterborough) for all of their support and for providing a space for radio broadcasts.

Visit the Prix Aurora Awards website at  http://www.prixaurorawards.ca and check out Speculating Canada under the following Categories. 

Speculating Canada – Best Fan Publications category

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM – Best Fan Related Work category.

I also encourage you to check out the Prix Aurora Awards nominees in all of the categories because there is some amazing Canadian SF work on the ballot and it is worth checking out and participating in the voting process. 

Here are some of the amazing works on the ballot this year:

Best Novel – English

Echopraxia by Peter Watts, Tor Books

The Future Falls by Tanya Huff, DAW Books

My Real Children by Jo Walton, Tor Books

The Peripheral by William Gibson, Penguin Canada

A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books
Best Young Adult Novel – English

Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, Tor Books

Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf by Sherry Peters, Dwarvenamazon

Out of This World by Charles de Lint, Razorbill Canada

Rain by Amanda Sun, Harlequin TEEN

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong, Doubleday Canada

Twist of the Blade by Edward Willett, Coteau Books

The Voices in Between by Charlene Challenger, Tightrope Books
Best Short Fiction – English

“Crimson Sky” by Eric Choi, Analog, July/August

“Jelly and the D-Machine” by Suzanne Church, Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction, EDGE

“Mecha-Jesus” by Derwin Mak, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE

“No Sweeter Art” by Tony Pi, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #155, September 4, 2014

“Soul-Hungry” by Suzanne Church, Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction, EDGE
Best Poem/Song – English

“A Hex, With Bees” by Tony Pi, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE

“Aversions” by Helen Marshall, Goblin Fruit, October

“The Machine” by David Clink, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE

“The New Ways” by Amal El-Mohtar, Uncanny Magazine, November

“The Perfect Library” by David Clink, If the World were to Stop Spinning (Chapbook)
Best Graphic Novel – English

Cassie & Tonk by Justin Currie and GMB Chomichuk, Chasing Artwork

It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic

Raygun Gothic Vol. 2 by GMB Chomichuk, Alchemical Press

Treadwell by Dominic Bercier, Mirror Comics

Trillium by Jeff Lemire, DC Comics-Vertigo
Best Related Work – English

Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction by Suzanne Church, EDGE

Gifts for the One Who Comes After by Helen Marshall, CZP

Lackington’s Magazine edited by Ranylt Richildis

On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society

Strange Bedfellows edited by Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
Best Artist

James Beveridge, cover for Tantamount and Out Dweller

Erik Mohr, cover for The Door in the Mountain and ChiZine Publications

Derek Newman-Stille, cover for Elephants and Omnibuses

Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press and On Spec magazine

Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk & Steve Fahnestalk, “Walking on the Moon”, cover for On Spec, No. 95 (Vol. 25 No. 4),
Best Fan Publication

Broken Toys edited by Taral Wayne

Ecdysis edited by Jonathan Crowe

Pubnites & Other Events edited by Yvonne Penney

Space Cadet edited by R. Graeme Cameron

Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille
Best Fan Music

Brooke Abbey, Weirdness from 2014, Bandcamp

Copy Red Leader, Crossing the Streams CD, The Pond Studio

Debs & Errol (Deborah Linden and Errol Elumir), OVFF Concert (Ohio Valley Filk Fest)

Kari Maaren, YouTube Channel

Stone Dragons, Dream of Flying CD, Stone Dragon Studios
Best Fan Organizational

Sandra Kasturi, Chair, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Toronto

Derek Künsken, Farrell McGovern, Caycee Price and Elizabeth Buchan–Kimmerly, Executive, Can*Con 2014, Ottawa

Randy McCharles, Chair, When Words Collide, Calgary

Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau and Nicole Lavigne, Co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa

Alana Otis-Wood and Paul Roberts, Co-chairs, Ad Astra Convention, Toronto
Best Fan Related Work

R. Graeme Cameron, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine

Steve Fahnestalk, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine

Kevin B. Madison, Thunder Road Trip

Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

Lloyd Penney, fan writing for fanzines and e-zines
The awards will be given out at Canvention 35, hosted by SFContario 6 in Toronto, Ontario on the weekend of November 20 – 22nd. Full details about CSFFA, the awards and voting can be found at http://www.prixaurorawards.ca.