Thursday, January 29, 2009

Goddamn it...

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, I learned a couple of days ago, here, is gone. According to co-editors Kelly Link, Gavin Grant and Ellen Datlow, St. Martin's Press will not be publishing their massive year-end round-up of horror and the fantastic this year, or likely ever again. And we're all poorer for it. For 21 years, the blue-chip anthology has been a reliable guide to the fantastic in miniature; even hard-core genre readers would have missed half or more of the stories that Datlow, Link, Grant and (before those two) Terri Windling dredged up from the stew of literary magazines, anthologies and genre magazines.

On a personal/professional note, this was also home of my hands-down most validating sale. For Volume Eight, Ellen Datlow picked up "The Sloan Men." The story was my fourth-ever short fiction publication, and imagine my wide-eyed wonder at seeing it proximate to a piece by Steven Millhauser, not far from stories by Neil Gaiman and Stephen King and Ray Bradbury and Jonathan Carroll.

So: imagine my personal and professional sadness at seeing this fine anthology go down.

Now go back to your own personal and professional sadness, because the loss of YBFH is really a loss for all of us: for we readers, who'll be deprived of an annual omnibus of excellent fiction pulled from high places and obscure nooks; and for we authors, who've lost a place where, if we sing sweet enough, sometimes we can share the stage with the Roy Orbisons, the Charlie Parkers, of the fantastic.

Happily, Ellen's year-end round up of the horror genre lives on. Night Shade Books has snapped up her services for at least two years of The Best Horror Of The Year, a horror-only anthology. But there is a fantasy-shaped hole in the publishing world - made larger this week by the demise of a primary-source fantasy outlet, the glossy magazine Realms Of Fantasy.

Goddamn it.

* * *

Feb. 1 addendum: And The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I heard last night, is moving from monthly to bi-monthly publication.

Double dammit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Tesseracts Twelve Shout-Out...

... this time from The Fix - an online short fiction review. Read it here. Reviewer Jason Sanford loved or liked every story in the book, writing of them: "... not a single one of which isn’t good or great." If I parse his review-let of "Wylde's Kingdom" correctly, I'm guessing it falls into the good rather than great category - but that's more than cool. As editor Claude Lalumière pointed out to me last week, there have been no fewer than seven positive reviews in various spots for the little Canadian novella anthology since it came out in the fall. That is, by the standards of the long-running Tesseracts anthology series, a pretty damn fine shower of attention.

But back to The Fix. Putting the T12 review in context, Sanford raises an old (for we Canucks) question of national taxonomy: what makes Canadian speculative fiction Canadian? and concludes, correctly I think, that on the evidence of T12, the answer is "nothing in particular." For a number of years, we Canadian writers of speculative fiction were distinguished by not producing very much of it - but that's not the case any more. Cory Doctorow, Karl Schroeder, Peter Watts, Robert J. Sawyer, Guy Gavriel Kay, Phyllis Gotleib, Michelle West, Candas Jane Dorsey (among many others whose names didn't spring to mind as I started this sentence but will on the way to work this morning) have effectively popped that cherry.

We also used to fill up panel discussions at conventions talking about how our speculative fiction was about regional alienation, our relationship to the landscape, and maybe the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Thankfully, we've since realized that nobody wants to read about that stuff and learned to shut up.

What finally defines us, perhaps, is our obsessive numeracy.

At least when it comes to counting up positive reviews and publishing them in our blogs.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

And Now For A Word From Our Publisher...

... and pals, Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi at Chizine Press. We know the economy's in the pot and you're either afraid of being laid off or already laid off. You've blown all your money on that last, perfect Christmas where you can pretend nothing is wrong, and are starting to feel buyer's-remorse about that 60-inch LCD TV you bought for the cat. The zombies are at the door growling "Candy-gram" about as convincingly as a cheap seventies land-shark and the asteroid hurtling towards Earth is so close you can see its venom-tipped spikes on a clear night.

And yes, the clear nights are goddamn cold in January 2009.

We're in it together, yard-apes. Can't think of a better time to curl up with a good Tel Aviv Dossier. Chizine has made this press release to explain exactly why.


ChiZine Publications’ The Tel Aviv Dossier Available for Limited Time

TORONTO, Ontario (December 23, 2008)—ChiZine Publications has released its third title, The Tel Aviv Dossier, in a limited hardcover edition. Orders for these editions, which are available exclusively on the Horror Mall website, must be received by January 15, 2009.

All copies of the hardcovers will be signed by authors Lavie Tidhar and Nir Yaniv and cover artist Erik Mohr, who also designed the covers for previous ChiZine Publications books Filaria by Brent Hayward and Horror Story and Other Horror Stories by Robert Boyczuk.

Combining biblical allusions, Lovecraftian echoes and contemporary culture, The Tel Aviv Dossier is the story of the last days of Tel Aviv that merges a supernatural thriller with a meditation on the nature of belief. Yet underneath is all, humour is never absent.

The print run for this book will be limited to those orders received and all orders must be placed by January 15, 2009. The Tel Aviv Dossier can be ordered on the Horror Mall website at

Brett Alexander Savory, Publisher
ChiZine Publications

About ChiZine Publications
ChiZine Publications (CZP) is an independent, invite-only publisher of weird, subtle, surreal and disturbing dark fiction. It is the book-length, print version outgrowth of ChiZine, an online professional market in operation since 1997 focused on the same type of story material. Bram Stoker Award winners Brett Alexander Savory and Sandra Kasturi are CZP’s Publisher and Senior Editor, respectively. Erik Mohr serves as cover artist with publicity by Matthew Moore.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Radejastians lives


My story "The Radejastians" will be in Tesseracts Thirteen, unless email lies. Found out last night from co-editor Nancy Kilpatrick, that the story's been accepted for the 13th edition of the long-running Canadian anthology series. In honor of the number, this one's all horror.

Nancy and co-editor David Morrell (of the First Blood fame) are aiming to have it out in time for Halloween of this year. So I'd better get going proofing those edits...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ought-Nine and counting...

... among other things, counting the days until we will no longer have to use the word Ought to describe the current decade. Then it's the teens, I guess.

But that's all a matter of amateur speculation for now. In the meantime, there's business for fanciers of professional speculation: the 2009 Aurora Award nominations are open. The Auroras are the Canadian version of the Hugo Award - honouring works of Canadian speculative fiction and various other specfic doings that are chosen by fans. And writers. And friends of writers. And sometimes their mothers.

The online form is here. It is customary on author's blogs, to pimp their own works published in the past year. I will do that, but later.

First, here are some works that have found favour in the Yard this year - not all of which have made it onto the eligibility database here , but all of which should meet the eligibility requirements.

  • "Fitting A New Suit" By Madeline Ashby. Published in Rudy Rucker's online journal FLURB. Worth a look and then some, as is Mrs. Ashby's story "βoyfriend," which appeared on
  • Pirate Sun, the conclusion to Karl Schroeder's fantastical Virga Trilogy. If you like zero gravity sky pirates, Newtonian hard science fiction and Gormenghastian intrigue, then I don't see how you could have avoided at least having started this series. If you've finished it - think kindly this Aurora season when you're perusing the novel category.
  • Peter Watts, of the rifters and the space vampires and the sunny outlook (that last one was just to see if you were paying attention) published some fine short stories this year, including "Eyes of God" in the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Volume Two, and "Hillcrest v. Velikovksy", which unless someone wants to correct me in the comments, I believe showed up in a little magazine called Nature this year.
  • "Beneath The Skin," by Michael Skeet and Jill Snider Lum is a novella from Tesseracts Twelve. You can read a sample of it here. But of course you already have that anthology, don't you? Because it contains my story "Wylde's Kingdom," which is also eligible. Sample that one, with flashy multi-media wiki easter-eggs, here.