Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 10: An Interview With Michael Matheson

For this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, I had the opportunity to interview SF author Michael Matheson at Ad Astra, a speculative fiction convention, this year in Toronto and discuss with him some of his thoughts about speculative fiction in Canada, and particularly LGBT speculative fiction. Please excuse the background noise. This was an interview conducted on the spot and that means that all of the background noise came with it… consider it atmospheric.

Michael Matheson is a gender fluid Toronto author. He is currently a managing editor at ChiZine Publications and a submissions editor at Apex Magazine.

Michael has edited the forthcoming collections of QUILTBAG or Queer fiction “Start a Revolution”, which focuses on Science Fiction and “This Patchwork Flesh”, which is oriented around horror lit. Both are coming out from Exile editions. He has published work in Ideomancer, and Lovecraft eZine, and in the collections Chilling Tales 2, Dead North, Masked Mosaic, and Future Lovecrat.

Michael runs the Can Spec Fic website which features and categorises lists of Canadian Speculative Fiction.

Michael has just had the amazing experience of being able to attend the fantastic writer’s workshop series Clarion West, an opportunity for him to share and write with famous spec fic authors. This is an opportunity afforded only to those who give a successful application, and unfortunately is quite costly, so if you can, you can donate to help Michael, a struggling young author, afford this experience by donating to his Kickstarter at http://www.gofundme.com/mathesonclarion . There are prizes for funding him.

I hope that you enjoy our interview.

Explore Trent Radio at www.trentradio.ca

Explore Trent Radio at http://www.trentradio.ca

This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.

 

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Superhero Complex(ity)

A review of Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories (edited by Claude Lalumiere and Camille Alexa, Tyche Books LTD, 2013)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover photo of Masked Mosaic courtesy of Tyche Books

Cover photo of Masked Mosaic courtesy of Tyche Books

There has been a recent increase in the public interest in the superhero genre with increasing numbers of superhero movies, increasing numbers of people wearing superhero related merchandise and increasingly larger population groups getting excited about the figure of the superhero. Yet superheroes that are being represented often embody American ideals of the self-made man, the perfect body, and dichotomous views of good and evil. It is therefore timely that Claude Lalumiere and Camille Alexa released Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories.

Masked Mosaic seeks to push the boundaries of the superhero genre: to include complexities and issues that were often ignored in the Golden Age of comics and continue to be ignored in our culture’s nostalgia over comic figures of the past. The stories in this volume often play with Golden Age themes and complicate them. Rather than replicating hegemonies, the characters are diverse: aged, not ideals of bodily perfection, queer/ LGBTQ2, and culturally diverse. They represent a more inclusive reality of Canadian culture. It is a combination of pastiche and resistance to the past hegemonies that were embedded and encoded in Golden Age comics.

The binary image of superheroes with a universal idea of good and evil is disrupted in this volume, blurring the boundaries between hero and villain. The authors of these short stories recognise that heroes often support causes that are unjust and that heroism is often tied to political beliefs of the time and are not, in fact, universal concepts. Heroism is tied to ideologies of the ruling elite, enforcing power structures. Yesterday’s heroes may be considered today’s villains or vice versa. This volume is a reminder that heroes can fall.

Superheroes as mythic and iconic symbols are explored as well as exploring the complexities and problematic nature of symbols.

Featuring the work of E.L. Chen, Kristi Charish, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Jonathan Olfert, Kevin Cockle, David Nickle, Derryl Murphy, D.K. Latta, Emma Faraday, Mike Rimar, Emma Vossen, Patrick T. Goddard, A.C. Wise, Rhea Rose, David Perlmutter, Lisa Poh, Marie Bilodeau, Rhonda and Jonathan Parrish, Chantal Boudreau, Michael S. Chong, Jason Sharp, Alyxandra Harvey, Michael Matheson, and Jason S. Ridler this volume contains a diversity of voices in Canadian SF – both new and established. The stories involve everything from supervillains in a relationship with heroes, superheroes made out of dreams, Mexican wrestlers, aliens, seamstresses, archaeologists playing with possession, and figures from the Canadian mythic past and from history.

In an era of obsession with origin stories, Lalumiere and Alexa collect stories that represent every part of the superhero’s life from origin to retirement.

You can find out more about the Masked Mosaic collection at Tyche Books’ website http://tychebooks.com/ . You can check out a review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “Iron Justice Versus the Fiends of Evil” from this volume at https://speculatingcanada.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/unmasked