Canadian Report - July 2002
By Asta Sinusas
My first stop was the Bakka bookstore on Yonge Street in Toronto. They had a party honoring DAW’s 30th anniversary and three authors from the house graciously agreed to read.
Julie Czerneda’s www.czerneda.com latest TO TRADE THE STARS, the last in the Trade Pact trilogy, just came out last month but already she was focusing on new writing she had done. She read from HIDDEN IN SIGHT, the last in the Web Shifters Series, which is coming April 2003. Mindy Klasky more predictably read from her latest, THE GLASSWRIGHTS' JOURNEYMAN. She also has some more pictures of the event on her website. www.sff.net/people/mindy-klasky/Toronto.htm. Wen Spencer www.wenspencer.com read a charmingly bloody episode from TAINTED TRAIL that drew a few chuckles from the audience.…
Off I went to the posh Royal York hotel for another anniversary party - this time honoring HB Fenn’s 25 year climb to become the number one book distributor in Canada. I was introduced to Nalo Hopkinson www.sff.net/people/nalo/ pretty early in the evening. Not only was Skinfolk out earlier in the year, but she recently handed in a time travel manuscript called Griffone that takes place in Haiti just before Toussaint L’ Ouverture, 19th century Paris and 4th century Egypt. I’m exhausted just thinking about traveling to all those places, let alone doing it across century lines! The unflaggable author told me she now has tentative plans for a YA novel. But then the crowd shifted and I was introduced to Karl and Janice. The conversation went something like this:
Apparently, no one has ever had a reaction to him quite like mine. Perhaps that’s a good thing. To see more about Karl, please go to www.kschroeder.com.
There was no rest for the weary and I was up and about the show. I managed to "bump" into Rob Sawyer www.sfwriter.com/ after waiting for half an hour with the direct intention of seeing him, signing copies of Hominids (see our Hominids Review) for a few appreciative fans (more like a hundred, truth be known). Of course, there’s nothing like a hometown advantage.
I found out that ORBITER, from Julie Czerneda’s TALES FROM THE WONDERZONE series has been delayed for distribution, but that she was signing copies of the first two books, STARDUST and EXPLORER, that she edited (anthologized). When I arrived, I was surprised to meet some of the other contributors who also came out! Mark writes under one, two or both of his last names, just to make things interesting while Marcel www.salmar.com/marcel also authors a few Linux bibles for the IT crowd. Alison webhome.idirect.com/~dbaird/ I saw again later promoting one of her other books. In the meantime I was hanging out and was introduced to Peter. He has something to do with the Sunburst Award www.sunburstaward.org, but prefers to not say what. A behind-the-scenes kind of guy. It’s a refreshing change to hear someone who doesn’t want fame and recognition. Sure he saves the universe every three days, but just so the world leaders can keep on running things.
My personal favorite. The best SF book I have read in two years and if I had an award to give, this book would win. OK, so 2002 isn’t over yet, and I’m already prejudiced. Fine! I dare you, authors, to dazzle my eyes. In the meantime, you can find out about the book and Emily at www.kissmachine.org/emily.htm
Nearing the end of my time, not only did I manage to meet Alison Baird who was promoting her work in TALES FROM THE WONDERZONE, but also her novel WOLVES OF WODEN. She also has the WITCHES OF WILLOMERE upcoming from Penguin Canada next month. Speaking of things witchy, I did notice a lot of non-fiction books on the subject of Wicca and witchcraft for the fall. Speaking of wizards, the word on the street is that with no new Harry Potter in sight for holiday giving, the books (I said books, not movies) that are going to be hot are the LORD OF THE RINGS (prompted by THE TWO TOWERS release) and the SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS by Lemony Snicket. If you’re the type to shop early, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The biggest news at the conference was Timothy Findley passing away on June 20, 2002. He was considered to be one of the great Canadian literary writers. His speculative fiction included PILGRIM (1999) about a man who lives forever and his take on history passing him by, if he’s not hallucinating the whole thing and really just an insane mental patient. The other book of note NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE (1984) is a takeoff on Noah's Ark told partially from the point of view of a cat.
The other big discussions revolved around the opening of www.amazon.ca, and the decision on whether or not they needed to have approval from the Canadian Government to operate in Canada. As they have no offices or staff in Canada, the decision was that no investigation of the company was necessary. The response was not appreciated by independent Canadian booksellers as they were upset about sales attrition with the advent of the website’s launch, but at least it’s giving the chapters.indigo.ca site a little competition. Ah, the wonders of the internet and international finance. As far as the situation at Stoddart/General, currently there are offers for some of the imprints, but no suitable offer for the distributor. Word is that publishers may be able to get stock out of the warehouse soon, but how soon is everyone’s guess. The end result is that I still haven’t seen my copy of West of January by Dave Duncan, but I live in hope.
Finally, the shortlist for the Prix Aurora Awards have been announced. Please
for further details. The 2002 Prix Aurora Award Supplement is now online at http://members.rogers.com/mic-newsletter/index.htm
© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu sa072402