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One Nation Under Gods, in Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories

The author of “One Nation Under Gods”, Jerome Stueart, emigrated to Yukon from the States in 2007, and his former citizenship is evident in the themes and content of his story. I’m not biased in its favor because of my nationality, nor simply because its dark vision seems in concord with my fears. This story succeeds, in my eyes, because of his detailed worldbuilding, the realistic relationship between the narrator and his sister, and his cultivation of genuine menace, an evocation of the way people can be treated as things. In the world of this story (which in outlook and some tropes puts me a bit in mind of Steve Darnall and Alex Ross’ 1997 comic Uncle Sam) concepts like Freedom and Patriot are incarnate as deities, administered by priests and priestesses, and the Statue of Liberty herself is known to walk abroad. The history of the gods is the history of the country, and its people are required to memorize that catechism or pay with their lives in particularly grotesque ways; if a child fails the standardized test which is a mandated rite of passage, he or she is transformed into a public object, anything from a soda shop to a garbage can. Stueart skillfully incorporates the conflict between individuality and vested religious and political powers; the way those powers can intertwine and what that merging means; the clash between idealism or perception cultivated through propaganda and reality, between history as the study of people in power versus the study of the people’s past; and the transformation of people into instruments, people into numbers.—Val Grimm at the Portal.

How Magnificent is the Universal Donor, in Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead

…left me breathless….reads like a medical thriller….  “How Magnificent is the Universal Donor”  does what few short stories manage. It remains strong on all fronts. Well developed characters, a clever and unorthodox world and enough suspense all result in a must-read page turner. It’s a true gem that fulfills the anthology’s theme and delivers a lot more. —  Temple Library Review, on “How Magnificent is the Universal Donor” from Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead.

Two of the most powerful stories were placed in the final part of the anthology. In «How Magnificent is the Universal Donor» Jerome Stueart there are virtually no vampires (at least those that originate through Stoker’s Dracula). The story can be attributed to pure science fiction, and this is the definite plus.— Ray Garraty, Endless Falls Up, on “How Magnificent is the Universal Donor” from Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead.

The Moon Over Tokyo Through Leaves in the Fall, in Fantasy

This is precisely the kind of story–melancholy, sedate, focused on its protagonist’s angst–that I tend to recoil from, if only because they crop up so very often.  Stueart, however, makes this all too common approach his own with a combination of strong writing, a compelling main character, and an interesting and original SFnal McGuffin (I’d wonder about the presence of a clearly SFnal story in Fantasy Magazine‘s archives, but there are at least two other stories there which are purely mimetic, so).  Yumi is the much-younger wife of Matsui, a maker of piku-wines–wines that cause their drinkers to experience complete immersion in another person’s memory.  The marriage has been floundering for some time, as Matsui’s tastes and opinions become those of an old man’s, leaving behind a woman with whom he’d previously had much in common, and Yumi finds a focal point for her frustration when Matsui becomes obsessed with his latest creation, a recreation of one of his memories which features a woman whom Yumi becomes convinced was Matsui’s lover.  The contrast between a technology that allows one to experience another’s memories with the growing alienation between the couple is obvious but well-done, and as foreign as they are to each other Stueart makes sure that we understand Yumi and Matsui’s frustrations.  This is a quiet piece–the quietest on this list–but also an effective and moving one.—Abigail Nusbaum, Top Stories of 2009, on “Moon Over Tokyo Through Leaves in the Fall” from Fantasy

Why the Poets Were Banned from the City, in OnSpec

Why the Poets Were Banned from the City by Jerome Stueart examines the issues of murder, redemption, madness and media manipulation. Literary in style, it disturbs on both a gory, in-your-face level, and on a far more subtle, far nastier level as it examines just how far a person can be manipulated before something snaps.--Horrorscope: the Australian Dark Fiction Weblog on “Why the Poets Were Banned from the City” from OnSpec

When a father finds that his daughter has committed suicide with a line from a poem (by Emily Dickinson) clutched in her hand, he seeks out those writers for revenge. On top of creating an intriguing and disturbing future, the story is full of questions and musings on the nature and power of stories. …a powerful look at the nature and strength of stories, and of literature in general, both the reading and the writing of it.–Tangent Short Fiction Review on “Why the Poets Were Banned from the City” from OnSpec

The story explores the idea that without artistic culture to contextualise our emotions, we can’t understand them. More specifically, the father of a girl who has killed herself can’t understand her suicide note, which consists of a line of poetry. Heady stuff.–Neale Monks, SFCrowsnest.com on “Why the Poets Were Banned from the City” from On Spec

Lemmings in the Third Year, in Tesseracts 9

Jerome Stueart’s wacky, sweet short story Lemmings in the Third Year has received Honourable Mention from this year’s Fountain Award jury. Geoff Ryman and I were co-editors for Tesseracts Nine, which is, I believe, the tenth anthology in a series of original Canadian science fiction and fantasy shorts in English. Congratulations, Jerome! – Nalo Hopkinson on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

Jerome Stueart opens the volume with a whimsical tale about Yukon researchers who discover the polar bears and lemmings around them can not only talk but are researching them.–Carl Hays, Booklist on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

“A stranded research team spends their time in the Arctic interviewing a group of lemmings who, in turn, are studying their predators in Jerome Stueart’s eerie Lemmings in the Third Year…”  ––Library Journal on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

“Lemmings in the Third Year by Jerome Stueart – in which intelligent lemmings are recruited to help in scientific research, into the feeding habits of owls, feeding on lemmings. A tongue-in-cheek story with the immortal line in response to a lemming gleefully postulating the exhilaration of being scooped into an owl’s talons: “I underestimate their death wish.”… Tesseracts Nine, continues the great Canadian speculative fiction anthology series, with a wonderful mix of stories…. Kudos to both Hopkinson and Ryman, for piecing together a stem-to-stern, satisfying read.”—Yet Another Book Review on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

“Tesseracts 9 starts out with a strong run of stories. The opening story, “Lemmings in the Third Year” by Jerome Stueart is an unusual mix of humour and pathos, handled with a light touch and no shortage of feeling. A small group of scientists has been stranded in an alternate version of the Arctic; in this reality, the animals all speak…. Tesseracts Nine is a solid collection of short sf works.”– James Schellenberg, Challenging Destiny  on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

Jerome Stueart’s “Lemmings in the Third Year” is a funny piece about a researcher marooned among talking animals.  —Speculative Literature Foundation on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

“…Jerome Stueart’s “Lemmings in the Third Year” manages to be both laugh-out-loud funny and thoughtful, almost painful in this tale of strange talking animals and the scientific method.”–Sarah Meador, Rambles: a Cultural Arts Magazine on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

Favorite short story read this year? Lemmings in the Third Year, by Jerome Stueart. Its in the Tesseracts Nine Anthology put out by Edge Books.--Bruce K. Derksen, interview with Shimmer on “Lemmings in the Third Year”

Brazos, in Strange Horizons

In Brazos by Jerome Stueart, a god approaches the human narrator with a proposition of marriage between his son, the Brazos River, and the narrators daughter…Most importantly, the author doesnt forget that a story is, first and foremost, meant to entertain; Brazos does that well, too.–The Fix, short fiction review on “Brazos” from Strange Horizons

Bear With Me, in Tesseracts 11

“One story with a sure ’nuff Canadian setting is Jerome Stueart’s “Bear With Me”, in which a woman goes to the Yukon to visit her long-distance boyfriend for the first time. And, of course, he’s a bear a real bear, at least some of the time. Stueart plays the story completely straight, and it works well.”–Rich Horton, Locus on “Bear With Me” from Tesseracts 11

Where the Sled Dogs Run, in Queer Wolf

This well-written first-person narrative gives us a light, witty tone and a likable hero. –Obsidian Bookshelf on “Where the Sled Dogs Run” in Queer Wolf

“…a touching and warming tale about acceptance and change.”--Nigel Puerasch, Wilde Oats on “Where the Sled Dogs Run” in Queer Wolf

Posted January 2, 2010 by jstueart

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