Speculating Canada reviews my story, “One Nation Under Gods”

Really thrilled that Speculating Canada reviewed my short story, “One Nation Under Gods” which appeared in Tesseracts 14. It’s hard to get short fiction reviews and they are so valuable.  The SF/F/H community should hold tight and nurture as many reviewers as we can. With a growing market of books, the discerning reader looks to reviews to help choose what to read.  And reviewers who choose short fiction, new authors, and anthologies help support beginning writers who are starting their careers, hoping that someone notices.  So we can’t fete reviewers enough–we need them, we love them, we should be very kind to them.

I’d say this for any thoughtful reviewer, even if Derek had NOT liked my work.  It’s the way he liked my work that makes me happy. 

Speculating Canada has a really great aim:

This site has been created in response to the overwhelming number of people who are surprised that Canadian literature includes the fantastic. Canadian SF, fantasy, and horror have been cast into a literary ghetto under the power structure of CanLit, and cast as either inferior literatures, or literatures that are not ‘of here’, i.e. from abroad. Yet, Canadian speculative fiction has a long history in Canada and engages with ideas of Canadian identity, belonging, and concepts of nationhood, place and space (both ‘the final frontier’ type, and the geographical).

Realist fiction is often seen as the only ‘truly’ Canadian fiction, but even realist fiction speculates, postulates and creates a fantastic idea, just one that is based more closely on the normative world around us than most SF authors are inclined to do.

Canadian SF allows for the engagement with ideas such as What is Canada? What does belonging mean? What is the nature of ‘human’? Why are things the way they are? How do we change things? Can things change?

The appeal of Canadian SF is not just regional, but has implications for a wider audience. Canadians, long un/comfortable with our identity as a hybrid of the American and English, Francophones and Anglophones, Aboriginal and settlers, and the multicultural mix that is embedded in our philosophy, means that we are comfortable with questions of identity and the exploration of our place, ideas that naturally lend themselves to science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We live in a world that is unsure of itself, and uncomfortable with ideas of belonging, and Canadian SF plays with ideas of belonging, disrupts the normal (or what has come to be seen as normal) and allows for a new way of experiencing the world.

As for the review–well, I’ll let you read most of it as his site, but here’s a nice chunk:

Continue reading

“…his cultivation of genuine menace…”: a review of “One Nation Under Gods” at Portal

Val Grimm, over at the Portal, gave me a good review for my short story, “One Nation Under Gods”!  Thanks, Val.  I’m always thrilled that there are people who will review short fiction, and anthologies.  Thank you, Val!  Val reviews the whole anthology, Tesseracts 14, story by story.  Here is his review of mine:

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.

Inhuman anthology includes Whitehorse writer, Dave Strachan

You might recognize Dave Strachan as the guy who helps you with your Arctic Cat snowmobile needs at Listers Motorsports (that is not him on the cover of the book there).  I know Dave more as a science fiction writer and friend.  I’m THRILLED to say that Dave made it into the Inhuman anthology put out by Absolute XPress, a Direct-to-Reader press owned by Hades Publications, which specializes in scifi, fantasy, horror e-books and paper-books.  

The anthology is made up of flash fiction–stories under 1000 words–part of the Flash Fiction #4 Challenge that Absolute XPress issued earlier this year.  The stories discuss what it means to be human from an inhuman POV.  Some stories are all from that POV, and some have characters that are inhuman chatting about humanity.  I was the guest editor who helped choose the stories, but I’m proud to say that the judging was blind and that his story was chosen by all three judges.  I had no idea if we were going to end up with Dave’s story in the bunch.  There were a lot of great entries and we couldn’t put everyone in–but collectively we ended up choosing great stories.   

Thank you, everyone who submitted.  I’m proud of the stories included in the anthology.  You can order the anthology on their website, or through Amazon.com.   

And, Dave…. way to go.

Egalité at the World Fantasy Convention, a report

img_7941I have returned from Calgary where I attended the World Fantasy Convention, a yearly gathering of editors, publishers, writers of Fantasy literature. There were three of us from Whitehorse–Marcelle Dubé, Claire Eamer and me–forming a Contingency.

The convention for me was divided into four parts: the seminars, the networking, the readings and the dealer’s room.

The Seminars: The theme was Mystery in Fantasy Literature, with some seminars on how to put mystery elements into your fantasy fiction, or the best Fantasy novels of the last 20 years, etc. You can go and hear editors and publishers and writers speak about their writing strategies and their interests. Important was putting names and faces together in the editing and publishing world and getting an idea of what each editor might enjoy seeing in fantasy fiction, and how they might be to work with as editors and publishers. I also learned a lot about which authors were considered the best in the field, and how to catch up on authors I’d missed out on.

Networking: This is actually a lot of fun. Catching people for dinner, or talking with them in the convention suites after programming/seminars were over. You meet a lot of people you could never meet otherwise and this is for them–and you–to put names and faces together. I was able to hand out a few cards (ones that I’d made on my computer an hour before I left on the Air North plane), and meet a lot of people one on one who are exciting, interesting folks–fellow writers, and the aforementioned editors and publishers. You’d be surprised to learn, I’m sure, that I’m not a good schmoozer. I couldn’t last the many hours it requires. However, as the picture implies, we all got nametags and were encouraged to sit in the autograph room as equals–this is actually a very nice egalitarian maneuver. We’ve been hearing and talking to editors and publishers as they are movers, shakers, and opinion-makers–and then for two hours, we are all on the same level together. Nope, no one came up to have me sign anything. But it was nice–to feel like a writer, someone who COULD give autographs at any moment.

The readings: though I didn’t go to very many, I did enjoy the ones I went to. Mostly they were friends that I knew. Here you can hear about books you haven’t bought yet.

The dealer’s room: where books are sold. Ah, the joy of the dealer’s room. Lots of books. And I got to do an interview with Edge Books Website for a podcast. I even signed some books for them: Tesseracts Nine and Eleven. Edge Books and Hades Publications are fantastic people.

I’d like to do it again. But one of the biggest lessons I learned there was that you could be a well-known name despite publishing very much. If you send stuff out to be published, and are rejected, your name will still be more recognizable than if you had never submitted at all.

So, courage–even without publication–is rewarded with recognition. And recognition in a small cadre of people is worth its weight in gold.

(picture: l-r, Catherine Cheek, Derek Kunsken, me, Peter Atwood—Catherine and Peter were fellow Clarionites–and thanks to Liza Trombi of LOCUS for the pic!  Thanks, Liza!)