Canadian cli-fi: Harold Johnson’s Corvus

Not too long ago I got the chance to interview Canadian author Harold Johnson about his new sci-fi novel Corvus. I loved the way it handled how different things might be by the end of the century, the way he portrayed different aspects of Canadian society — the haves, the have-nots, the differences between how Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities might be in the future, and, of course, people’s use of and relationship with technology. 

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Corvus coverHarold Johnson’s fifth novel Corvus is set in an imagined late twenty-first century, in which climate change and war have dramatically changed Canada.

The idea for Corvus came when Johnson heard David Suzuki, Al Gore, and James Lovelock discuss climate change. Gore asserted climate change could be fixed. Lovelock said it was too late; climate change is the new reality. He advised Suzuki to move north and build nuclear reactors for electricity.
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Back to the Front: researching “The Wolves of Vimy”

Kneeling in the Silver Light visits the war memorial on Memorial Boulevard in Winnipeg.

Kneeling in the Silver Light visits the war monument on Memorial Boulevard in Winnipeg.

Shifting genres to tell an earlier part of a character’s story wasn’t something I initially planned on when writing “The Wolves of Vimy” (out now in Kneeling in the Silver Light). But when it came down to it, I thought, what the hell — there’s a story there and I might just learn something.

I’ve blogged earlier this year about how writing “A Deeper Echo” for Long Hidden changed my approach to writing speculative fiction (and, indeed, the way I look at history). For Kneeling in the Silver Light, a dark fantasy/horror anthology of stories about the First World War, I wanted to tell a story in a genre I’d never written in before: military fiction.
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Classic Canadian comic heroes to be collected for first time

Splash page from Johnny Canuck’s first adventure.

You may not have heard of Brok Windsor or Johnny Canuck, but back during the Second World War they were part of Canada’s Golden Age of comic books. Comics from the U.S. were deemed “non-essential” imports under wartime legislation and as such were not allowed into Canada. But kids were already hooked on superheroes, adventure comics, humour books and more. So a homegrown Canadian comic book industry was born — and it lasted until the end of the war.

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“The Wolves of Vimy” in Kneeling in the Silver Light

kneeling-in-the-silver-lightIt’s been hard to sit on this one, as I was very very keen to submit a story to Kneeling in the Silver Light: Stories From the Great War. That was way back in November 2013, but now editor Dean M. Drinkel has released the table of contents, so I can announce that I have a story, “The Wolves of Vimy” in this collection.

Kneeling in the Silver Light is published by The Alchemy Press and released in time for FantasyCon, held this year in York.
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Marginalization, speculative fiction, and writing for Long Hidden, part I: the why

Writing and submitting a story for Long Hidden has changed the way I approach speculative fiction. Probably not enough, but it’s a start.

If you’re not familiar with Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, click on over and see what it’s all about. One of the purposes of the anthology edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older, published by Crossed Genres, is to put marginalized people at the centre of the story, with the added context of real-world history blended with speculative elements.

A big part of the reason I wanted to submit a piece to Long Hidden was I wasn’t sure I could do it.
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Douglas Smith and The Wolf at the End of the World

Douglas SmithAward-winning short story writer Douglas Smith has been called “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction” (Library Journal), and this fall he brings readers a deeper story in his novel The Wolf at the End of the World.
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