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SF Canada is a bilingual association of Canadian writers, artists
and other professionals working in the fields of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and
SF Canada aims to provide a structure for socializing and
maintaining links among members throughout Canada, from coast to coast to coast, in both
official languages, and to promote the publishing and sale of works created, edited, and
published by its members.
Here is the official information. Its very important
information and if youre clued in enough to be reading SOL Rising it is
likely to be useful.
SF Canada exists to foster a sense of community among Canadian
writers of speculative fiction, to improve communication between Canadian writers of
speculative fiction, to foster the growth of quality writing in Canadian speculative
fiction, to lobby on behalf of speculative fiction, and to encourage the translation of
Canadian speculative fiction. SF Canada supports positive social action.
SF Canada aims to provide a structure for socializing and
maintaining links among members throughout Canada, from coast to coast, in both official
languages, and to promote the publishing and sale of works created, edited and published
by its members.
Theres more at SF Canadas website; www.sfcanada.ca
Here is some personal information or rather what the work
of SF Canada has meant to me directly over the last 10 years:
Community - when I first joined the Cecil Street writers group I
was very excited to learn about SF Canada, or SWAC as it was known then. Very excited is
something of an understatement. It was a lot like the reaction you might get if you just
received that long-awaited transmission from an extraterrestrial civilization -- a
gigantic YOU ARE NOT ALONE! message from the stars.
Commerce My earliest fiction sales were through SF
Canadas network of people and information resources. This is still an invaluable
professional resource for me.
Criteria Theres more Canadian SF in print than ever
before. Back in the early 1990s when Allan Weiss and I were curating the National Library
/ Merril Collection exhibition on Canadian SF we quickly learned that SF Canada s members
were setting standards of excellence.
So that s what SF Canada has meant to me. Sure theres some
overlap between the official and personal experiences, there should be. If you are an
aspiring or an accomplished SF professional then I invite you to join and discover your
Hugh A.D. Spencer, President, SF Canada
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The Northern Frights anthology series of dark fantasy and
horror stories, set in Canada and written mostly by Canadian writers, is acknowledged as
being one of the world's best 'such' series. Much of the credit for this acclaimed and
award winning series goes to its creator and editor Don Hutchison.
An ex-documentary filmmaker turned author and editor, Don has
published over 100 magazine articles on popular fiction, and is one of the leading
authorities on the history of the pulp fiction era. He has published 4 books on pulp
magazines, including the definitive work on The Great Pulp Heroes. He is also the
founder of Toronto's annual Fantastic Pulps Show and Sale. His knowledge, enthusiasm and
expertise have helmed his editing skills so that he, along with some great writers, can
produce this wonderful series.
JF: How did you come up with the idea of a dark
fantasy/horror anthology with an all-Canadian theme?
DH: Fantastic literature in all its forms has
always been a part of my reading diet. When I began the Northern Frights series
in 1992 Canadian SF was being taken care of nicely by Tesseracts and On Spec
among others. I thought it was about time for Canadian authors to have a specialised
ongoing market for visions of a darker muse. Until our series began, such a market did not
JF: What, if any guidelines or restrictions did
you give the authors. In addition, how supportive were the writers of this project?
DH: The basic requirement was for stories of dark
fantasy written by Canadians and/or set in Canada. I tried not to be more restrictive than
that other than to stress writing quality and originality of concept. I've always believed
that the classic horror tale is not some kind of junk-food fiction. In my introduction to
the first volume I attempted to inspire would-be contributors by mentioning some of the
field's finest short-story practitioners: John Collier, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison,
Fritz Leiber, and Richard Matheson among others. I wasn't looking for stories that
imitated the work of those authors but simply used their names as a means of announcing
standards. Frankly, I believe that the overall quality of the series speaks for the fact
that many talented writers accepted that challenge.
JF: Were there any persons or groups that were
helpful in getting the series off the ground?
DH: Primarily I have to thank my friend Peter
Sellers, editor of the Cold Blood mystery series, who recommended me and my
concept to his publisher, Howard Aster at Mosaic Press. Howard responded enthusiastically
with a contract for the first volume. From the beginning I wanted the book to be a market
for original stories written by Canadians but it was a supposition on my part that there
were enough writers out there to fill the book. The person who helped get things moving
was Lorna Toolis, Collection Head of the then named Spaced-Out Library. Lorna passed on a
list of possible contributors and arranged for me to meet a number of them at one of the
library's social functions. The rest, as they say, is history.
JF: Was it any easier for you to get submissions
after the first book or two in the series?
DH: I have to believe that Northern Frights
was an idea waiting to happen. News about the book spread like wildfire and I was soon
deluged by manuscripts. At first it was exciting to read through stacks of submissions,
looking for that rare gem that stands out from the crowd. Eventually, however, an editor
begins to realise that most submissions will not be good enough for publication or bad
enough to be truly entertaining. What makes it all worthwhile is discovering that good
story and perhaps working with the author to fine-tune it for publication. I won't go into
details about writing hundreds of rejection letters and the dreary task of copy editing
because those duties are too painful to recall.
JF: The cover art for the series is excellent.
Who is responsible for the art and were they working under any conditions or guidelines?
DH: Foolish or not, publisher Aster allowed me
freedom to choose cover art and artists. At the time I felt that too many Canadian
anthologies featured covers either plastered with boring type or inserts of public domain
art unsuited to the contents. Our first three covers by top illustrator Henry Van Der
Linde may have leaned strongly toward werewolves and other leering beasties but they
served their purpose. Those paintings suggested that Northern Frights would be an
exciting read even if it was Canadian. With the series well established, our fourth book
was more design conscious and probably even scarier. My favourite cover image is Dale
Sproule's ghostly apparition on volume five. I think that one accurately suggests the tone
of the book's content.
JF: The authors have ranged from old pros to
current writers, to new writers just starting out. Have there been any 'breakout' stories
or authors? If so, name them.
DH: Clearly there isn't enough space for that.
The series encouraged so many writers to try their hands at this kind of material. Many of
them found that they had a talent for it and have gone on to much success. Among others,
we published Gemma Files's first story as well as initial dark fantasy efforts by Nalo
Hopkinson, Scoff Mackay, Sally McBride, David Nickle and Michael Rowe. I'm particularly
proud of encouraging Robert Charles Wilson to cross some genre borders by, as he put it,
mounting a series of stories "with a science fiction engine in a horror story
chassis." He wrote his award-winning novella "The Perseids" for us, and
that became the genesis of the Toronto fantasies that form his marvellous new book The
Perseids And Other Stories.
JF: As a result of your creating and editing this
series you have become known as Canada's leading horror anthologist, and are held in
world-wide esteem by the horror community. Did you ever imagine this might happen, and how
has it effected your life?
DH: Life is unpredictable and on top of that you
seldom get to write your own epitaph. I was introduced at a party recently as
"Canada's King of Horror." Assuming they weren't talking about my appearance, I
accepted the accolade as a badge of accomplishment. Northern Frights has been a
lot of work but the rewards have been many, chief among them the number of friendships
fostered and the positive feedback from so many sources. In addition to two Aurora Awards
and numerous rave reviews, the series has garnered international recognition with three
World Fantasy Award nominations. Did I imagine this would happen? Not really. Was it all
worthwhile? You bet.
Jamie Fraser, Vice Chair
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Michael Rowe Talks About His New Book
Recently, I caught up with Michael Rowe. Queer Fear, his
third gay-themed horror anthology, and fifth published book, was released worldwide last
month, just before Halloween. Like many writers, and anthology editors, the reading public
doesn't know a great deal about him personally. Here is what Michael has to say..
MR: I was born into a diplomatic family in Ottawa
in 1962, which meant that my life would be spent travelling and living abroad a great
deal, which meant long periods alone. I think that If any one fact contributed to my
becoming a writer, it was that we moved so often that a series of internal dialogues were
always occurring in me. Making new friends and learning a new language was a frequent
occurrence in our lives as kids. My mother, who died this year, was a great believer in
the power of literature and reading, so a lot of the alone time was spent reading. In
1973, my father was posted to the United Nations in Geneva, and we moved into this huge
rambling old house on a hill--very old, very gothic. It was reputed to be haunted, though
Im not convinced I ever saw anything. In any case, Mom ordered crates of British
books from England, and there were a lot of ghost and horror stories. Reading them in that
house made a huge impression. My favorite babysitter, Nancy Moss, who later became like a
sister to me--and still is--introduced me to the gothic novels of Marilyn Ross, who wrote
the novels based upon the Dark Shadows television series. I read Salems
Lot in that house during a lightning storm. Believe me, it brought the book to life.
KCH: Did you begin writing at that time?
MR: I wrote a lot of poetry in those days. Very
adolescent and very romantic. My first professional publication was in the December 1977
issue of TEEN magazine--I was at boarding school in Manitoba, and it caused a bit
of a stir. I went to a very macho school, and a lot of people there couldn't decided if
they were pleased that a student had published something in a magazine, or whether they
were horrified that it was in a teenage girls fashion magazine. I was in seventh
heaven, so there was no conflict for me. And all the while, I kept reading horror fiction.
KCH: How do you feel about genre fiction?
MR: It depends on the genre. Look, as a gay man
and a gay writer and editor, I have to acknowledge that anything about me or other gay
people is going to be automatically slotted as genre fiction, in spite of its literary
merit. My mentor, John Preston, was a great writer. He wrote essays and edited
anthologies, but he was most famous for his pornography--he refused to call it erotica. He
also refused to acknowledge genres. Writing, to him, was either good writing or bad
writing. I have to agree with him, and Ive tried to cleave to that standard.
Ive written erotica, Ive written horror, Ive written essays and
journalism on a variety of topics--all published, by the way. My only question is whether
or not Ill change when I see it in print because Ive been sloppy in some way.
I never ask myself if Ill be slotted into a genre. I assume I will be. I know too
many fine writers working in the horror genre to look at it disparagingly. I d love to be
able to write as well as these people.
KCH: Are you thinking about anyone in particular?
MR: Stephen King and Peter Straub are obvious.
Robert McCammons work has moved me to tears, as has the work of Michael Marano, who
published a novel a few years back called Dawn Song. That novel, to me, stands as
a perfect illustration of the incredible power of horror fiction as literature. And of
course, I am currently completely enamored of the work of Douglas Clegg, and in awe of the
seriousness with which he treats his writing. He is, I believe, the heir apparent to King,
Straub, and Barker. Both Doug and Michael are in Queer Fear, which is an honour
for both me, as an editor, and all our readers. We were privileged to publish a few new
writers in this book. Two of them in particularC. Mark Umland and T.L. Bryers--have
wonderful careers ahead of them if they stick with it. Marks story blew me away when
I read it the first time, and in fact it was the final impetus that drove me to seek a
publisher for Queer Fear.
KCH.- Tell me about Queer Fear. How hard
was it to publish gay horror as a specific subgenre?
MR: In 1997, Thomas S. Roche and I edited an
anthology of gay vampire stories called Sons Of Darkness, followed the next year
by a sequel, Brothers Of The Night. Both books were published by Cleis Press in
San Francisco, who also published Pam Keesey's excellent collection of lesbian vampire
stories, Daughters Of Darkness. Thomas and I figured that vampire fiction would
be a good forum to explore gay-themed horror, and Sons Of Darkness was nominated
for a Lambda Literary Award. I had wanted to do a general gay horror anthology for years,
and when I approached Arsenal Pulp Press in Vancouver, they were very enthusiastic. For
me, that was wonderful. Firstly, I wanted to work with a Canadian publisher, and secondly
I wanted to work with a quality literary press this time. Arsenal is one of the hottest
Canadian literary presses in Canada, and everyone there is very hip, so this was the
perfect forum for my book. As to whether or not its hard to publish gay horror, I
think that the horror field has been pretty heterosexually-driven for years.
KCH: For instance?
MR: You know, male antagonist, female victim.
Even vampire fiction has gotten awfully drippy and romance-driven. Theres way too
much overblown purple prose about unhappy women waiting for their leather-clad dark lover
in smoky Goth nightclubs. A lot of it reads like warmed-over Harlequin Romances, and has
nothing to do with horror fiction. The readers for powerful, scary, gay-themed horror
fiction are there, however. As in any other genre, gay people have been waiting for years
to see themselves accurately reflected in stories without being the freak element. I was
lucky to find a publisher with enough guts to do it up properly. Poppy Z. Brite has said
some wonderful things about Queer Fear, as has Kathe Koja, so were hitting
all the right notes so far. Its also interesting to me that Ive worked with a number
of brilliant horror writers who are straight, and who have written wonderful stories to
me. Im only half-kidding when I say that a significant number of straight men will
do anything to avoid writing about the act, so we get these lush, rich, layered stories
from them. I love those guys. [laughs]
KCH: Traditionally, much of gay and lesbian
literature has been very erotically identified. Porn, even. Where do you see the genre
MR: I think that, as gay and lesbian writers
continue to publish mainstream-inflected literature, those distinctions are going to
continue to fade away. Bear in mind that a large segment of the population will always
view anything featuring gay and lesbian characters as necessarily pornographic, which is
bullshit, and not our problem. Its theirs. With editing Queer Fear
and the vampire anthologies, I can't tell you the difficulty Ive had explaining to
people that these were not pornographic stories, and if anyone was looking to flog the
bishop over them, they were in for a disappointment. Which is not to say that some of them
arent very sexy, which is fabulous. And don't get me wrong--I'm a huge fan of
well-written porn. My first book, Writing Below The Belt, was a defense of
pornography as a valid genre. I just think its sloppy scholarship to assume that
gay-inflected writing in any genre is pornography just because of the acts it describes.
It demeans gay writing in general, and it invalidates some of the truly wonderful
pornography out there.
KCH: Can gay or lesbian horror make it as a
market in itself?
MR: Well see. I hope so, obviously. What I
can say is that the stories in Queer Fear are absolutely first-rate horror
stories. They just happen to feature gay characters. In the end run, its always up
to the readers. But in terms of merit, it's all there.
KCH.: Do you like or dislike being labeled as a
horror writer? A gay writer?
MR: I m always flattered to be labeled a horror
writer, since so much of my horror writing has been non-fiction cultural criticism and
reviews. My short horror fiction seems to have been well received, and thats
wonderful. I owe that to Don Hutchison, who edits the Northern Frights series of
anthologies, and who bought my first horror story. Don is one of the great heroes of
horror writing in Canada. The fact that horror fiction exists in Canada at all is 100% due
to him and his work. As to being labeled a gay writer, I love it! Bring it on! I LOVE
being a gay man -- I love almost everything about men -- the way they look, move, think,
taste, smell, act--and I treasure the gifts that my outsider perspective has brought to my
work. I didn't always write gay-themed stuff, remember. My earliest journalism was for
city magazines. It was a relief to begin to write from a gay perspective. It all gets back
to honesty. If youre an honest writer, you pull something precious out of yourself
and put it on paper. The more honest the work, the closer it is to the universality of the
human experience, and readers--both gay and straight--respond to that.
KCH: What is your general philosophy of horror?
Say the most important aspect? Do you think horror is easily defined?
MR: It's getting harder and harder to define it,
as boundaries continue to expand and grow. Since my own particular tastes run to high
quality literary horror, I'm always going to appreciate gorgeous language and atmosphere.
Though I'm not particularly impressed with gore, it has its place when used with style and
discretion. Gemma Files, who is in the book, won the International Horror Guild Award last
year with a story in Northern Frights 5 which is one of the most disturbing
stories Ive ever read. Its brilliant, and I don't mind being disturbed when the
payoff is that kind of brilliance.
KCH: Why do you think people like horror? What do
you think scares people?
MR: I think that people have always loved horror
because its transportative. It moves them out of a real of safety and relative
non-feeling, and forces them to deal with the idea that theres a bad thing out
there, and it's coming for them, and the people they care about. Also, like erotica, it
deals with passion. Erotica can provide fantasies that won't necessarily break up your
marriage or your relationship, and horror allows you to feel a frisson that feels like
terror, but really isnt. You can close the book and you're still safe, but you can
explore what it might feel like to not be so safe. Different things scare different
people, but weve all been genetically coded to need light, and the company of other
like ourselves, to feel really safe. Anything that taps into those primal fears is going
to elicit a visceral response.
KCH: Do you have a favorite example of that?
MR: Absolutely. Look at Young Goodman Brown,
by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Sure, its about witches and the Devil, but its also about
the vast, dark New England forest full of wild animals and heathen savages, which must
have been terrifying to 17th century Puritans at a time when the only light in their world
came from candles, oil lamps, and the sun. Anyone whos ever been to the country, or
a cottage, knows how dark it gets when the sun goes down.
KCH: Have you ever scared yourself while writing?
MR: Yes, I have. I wrote "Wild Things Live There,"
during the summer session at Harvard. I was taking a course in horror writing taught by
Kathryn Cramer, an anthology editor. The story, set in Milton, Ontario, features an old
woman who isn't what she seems to be, and a young boy who discovers her secret. I wrote
late into the night, and at about 2:00 AM a buddy of mine knocked on the door of my dorm
to see if I wanted to get something to eat. I screamed! Really. It was so embarrassing.
That story appeared in Northern Frights 3, and was optioned for the movies, so I
do believe what James M. Cain said, that if your writing doesnt keep you up at
night, it won't keep anyone else up either.
KCH: Where do you see the horror genre going in
MR: I think that a new generation of horror
writers is going to rise up--led by Douglas Clegg and writers like him--and they are going
to reclaim the literary territory that was so badly violated and damaged by the hack
writing that buried the horror field in the 1980s. Much of the credit for this renaissance
is due to editors like Leisure Books' Don D'Auria, who has almost single handedly revived
the mass-market horror paperback original, and the smaller, specialty presses like
Cemetery Dance and Subterranean Press.
KCH: Canadian horror, I believe has much
potential Do you see a comparison to the USA and/or UK markets? Where is the success to be
MR: I co-wrote an essay about this once called
"Anne Of Green Gables Has Risen From The Grave," about why Canadians, in
general, ought to avoid making horror movies. As a people--and this is a huge
generalization, though not without precedent--we have traditionally been very
uncomfortable with genre material. For some reason, sci-fi seems to be exempt from this
prejudice, probably because it is perceived as intellectual, whereas horror is always seen
as visceral, and even a little unkempt and lowbrow. I think Canadians will go nuts about
orphans in the Maritimes--or really, orphans anywhere, we're very big on orphans--or
trappers in the bush, or social workers, or life in remote northern towns. These are
worthy subjects for serious drama, but when it comes to monsters and witches, or God
forbid, sex, we're wound as tightly as Marilla Cuthberts hair bun. Before Don
Hutchison launched the first Northern Frights, there was nothing in Canada that
really smacked of horror literature. I mean, the Northern Frights series has been
nominated for the World Fantasy Award almost every year, but the books have by and large
been ignored by the media. If this was the United States, Don Hutchison would be famous.
The British have a long history of quality supernatural fiction, and, of course, since
they are the mother country, they don't have that self-conscious colonial mentality that
plagues Canadians so ruthlessly. Once again, it s the young writers who are going to save
us from this snobbish torpor, because they arent going to buy this beavers and loons
mentality without questioning it. I think that there is a vast untapped gothic
consciousness in the Canadian psyche, but its never going to work as horror fiction
until we get to the point of taking it as seriously as any other sub-genre of CanLit.
KCH: Have you ever been censored with your work?
I understand a lot of writers in the field have complaints about censorship within the
publishing world when it comes to horror
MR: No, I haven't. I was censored once in a
mainstream magazine article about gay teenagers that was dropped by the magazine because
the article was too gay, whatever that means. My book, Writing Below The Belt has
been held by Canada Customs coming into Canada, but it got here. Im luckier than
some of my colleagues whose work suffered at the hands of ham-fisted Customs officials who
continue to make a career of tormenting Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver by seizing
boxes of books and magazines.
KCH: What do you enjoying reading? More
specifically in fiction, the short story or novel?
MR: I read a lot of biographies, and a lot of
other nonfiction. In terms of fiction, I read pretty widely I never miss certain authors
new books. In horror, Douglas Clegg, Michael Marano, Jonathan Aycliffe, Elizabeth Hand. I
read all of my friends books, which might be uncomfortable if they werent such good
writers. I read tons of magazines. Im a media junkie, which I understand is endemic
in journalism. There's a journal out of BC called All Hallows. It s quality
English-style ghost stories, and I love it.
KCH: Have you always known you were a writer?
Prior to writing what did you do?
MR: It's always funny to tell people this,
especially at this point in my life, but I was a model, though that was hundreds of pounds
ago [laughs]. I went to Paris to an agency called Universal right after high school, and
then moved to Toronto with the intention of pursuing it here. My family wasnt
delighted by my career choice. But I came to my own conclusions about the modeling
industry at a very early age. Modeling is pretty passive, and Ive never liked being
at someone elses beck and call. I was writing short stories in Paris when I was
there, and I retired from modeling once and for all at 20 when I started at the University
of Toronto. I celebrated by writing my first published magazine article in 1982, during my
KCH: Is that the point from which you date the
beginning of your writing career?
MR: Yes, I think so. I published a lot of
articles in sports magazines, and I did a lot of profiles of sports and entertainment
figures. In 1987, I joined Fangoria magazine and started writing about horror
films. I started publishing short fiction and essays in reviews and anthologies in the
early 90s. My first book, Writing Below The Belt was published in 1995. The
vampire anthologies came later, then in 1999, I published Looking For Brothers, a
collection of my gay-themed essays and journalism.
KCH: Are there any people, books, art, or films
that have particularly influenced your writing?
MR: So many writers have influenced my style,
writers whose work means a lot to me, but Id have to say that my late mentor, John
Preston, remains a standard that I continuously strive to attain, especially inasmuch as
he was a documentarian. I feel as though my fiction writing has been influenced by some
great writers whose names Id be uncomfortable mentioning in relation to my
work--they re too awe-inspiring. Ive been deeply influenced by the literary
sensibilities of people like Peter Straub. And because I m a maximalist, I really love the
incredible southern lushness of writers like Tennessee Williams, Pat Conroy, Anne Rice,
and Truman Capote.
KCH: Do you have any goals beyond writing?
MR: None. I am where I am meant to be. I was
always a writer--it was just a matter of accepting it and moving ahead, making the best of
the gifts God gave me. I cant DO anything else. I can barely change a fuse [laughs].
I certainly couldn't go back to modelling. Food is currently an altogether too close
friend to make any sort of comeback possible [laughs]. Personal goals? To stay married,
stay healthy, keep my eyes and ears open, and write down what I see as clearly and
honestly as possible. May Sarton said that a writer is an instrument for life to pass
thorough so it can be related to others and understood. I believe that.
KCH: What is the greatest reward as a writer?
MR: MY greatest reward as a writer is the very
humbling experience of people responding to my work and understanding it. Ive
received some really beautiful letters from all over the world about Looking For
Brothers, and I can't tell you how humble that makes me feel. As a journalist,
its a huge reward to be allowed into peoples lives, and have them trust you to
tell their stones. For instance, some years back, a young man--a prostitute--was murdered
on Victoria Day. There was a flurry of garish news coverage about it, mostly dwelling on
his lifestyle, then nothing. It was unbearable to me that this kidsomeones
son--would die so ignominiously, and that's all anyone would know. I went to his hometown
and interviewed his friends and family, then wrote about him. It was my way of ensuring,
in some small way, that he would have some cenotaph in the public consciousness besides
being a murdered hooker. The privilege isnt in being written about, the privilege is
being allowed to do the writing, and having it move others.
KCH: What advice can you give to young aspiring
MR: Try to believe in yourself, and write from
the heart. You have no idea how many people will try to dissuade you from becoming a
writer--they'll talk about the low pay, the instability, the small chances of getting
published. If those things matter to you, forget it. Youll likely never make it. If,
on the other hand, being a writer is something that you ARE, get any job that will allow
you time to write, and keep at it. Youll know the point at which you become a
writer. John Preston always used to tell me publishing rewards persistence. He was
right--this isn't acting or singing. You re never too old to write. But respect the craft,
and approach it with the seriousness it deserves. There are millions of people in grey
suits pouring into the office buildings five days a week. There are only a handful of
people who can be writers. It isn't hard to tell who the special ones are.
Congratulations on the new book Michael. We can certainly look
forward to reading more of Michael's fiction and hopefully a Queer Fear 2!
His Previous Publications are;
WRITING BELOW THE BELT (1995),
SONS OF DARKNESS (1996),
BROTHERS OF THE NIGHT (1997),
LOOKING FOR BROTHERS (1999), and
QUEER FEAR (2000).
Michaels been the Canadian correspondent for Fangoria
magazine since 1987, and was a 1997 National Magazine Award Finalist for his work in FAB
Kate Corkery Hustins, Editor
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No matter whether you're a fan of Jack Vance or not, you've just
got to be impressed by what's going on at the Vance Integral Edition (www.vanceintegral.com). The VIE is an
international, all-volunteer, non-profit effort to raise the literary profile of a former
winner of the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement by publishing his collected
works in a matching set of 44 hardcover volumes. The website itself isn't much to look at
- mostly text with a few graphics here and there - but it's significant in that it
represents an effort that wouldn't have been possible a few years ago. Without the
widespread availability of inexpensive computers, and the Internet to link them together,
the VIE could not exist. Look around and you'll realize what a group of well organized,
highly motivated fans can accomplish. Along with the expected data entry, proof reading
and typesetting work, a big part of the effort revolves around what is called textual
integrity: the painstaking restoration of all texts to the author's original, unaltered
intention. By the way, if you're interested in acquiring the books for yourself, you'd
better act soon. A maximum of 600 sets will be printed for sale to subscribers on a first
come, first-served basis and many of them have already been spoken for. At this writing,
publication is anticipated in late 2001 or early 2002. A final price has yet to be
While the name of the late Richard Powers may not be well known.
his artwork certainly is. Anyone who has spent any time at all going through the
paperbacks in the science fiction section of their local used bookstore will instantly
recognize Powers' surreal alien landscapes, which appeared on the covers of many classic
titles published from the 1950's through the 1980's. His often abstract,
non-representational art proved that a science fiction paperback would sell even without
rocket ships and bug-eyed monsters on the cover. The Powers Compendium,
maintained by Sean Rohde at members.home.net/sjrohde
is an ambitious work-in-progress. Not only is he trying to list all of Powers' published
work, he's also trying to include a reproduction of the cover of every book, including
Powers' numerous non-sf works. With his research initially based on a list compiled by
Friends of the Merril member John Anderson, Rohde has amassed a catalog of well over 1,000
titles, and currently has images for approximately 740 of the books on his site. The
layout is elegant, with easy access to each image by either author or publisher. Browse
through the covers of the Ballantine editions published in the mid 1950's and see a golden
age of science fiction illustration unfold before your very eyes
One of the problems with attempting to compile a bibliography of a
living author is that it's always out-of-date. One of the advantages of publishing on the
World Wide Web is that you can update the bibliography - in effect publishing a new
edition - as often as need be. One example of such a site is Michael Hutchins' A
Michael Bishop Bibliography at: http://www.mindspring.com/~mhhutchins/bishop.htm.
The main attraction of this interesting site is the fact that Bishop himself actively
contributes, so the bibliography lists a lot of items - such as essays and reviews written
for various newspapers - that are often missed. Hutchins is also running excerpts from
Bishop's autobiographical Military Brat: A Memoir. Philip Josť Farmer:
International Bibliography, located at users.castel.nl/~nuniz01/,
is exactly what it says it is. Full publication info is provided on all American and
British editions, as well as foreign language editions from a number of countries,
including Russia. The listings are extensively illustrated with cover images for many of
the books, although it's not always easy tell which cover belongs to which edition. Even
the short story listings are illustrated - with magazine and anthology covers. And
finally, in this category, I mention (without further comment) Daughter of the Night:
An Annotated Tanith Lee Bibliography located at www3.sympatico.ca/jim.pattison, compiled
by Paul A. Soanes and myself.
I'm not sure whether The Second Coming Project is science
fiction or science fact. In either case, the site's URL says it all: www.clonejesus.com. The site presents a
"not-for-profit" plan to clone Jesus Christ and bring about the Second Coming in
time for the 2,000th anniversary of His birth. It's all presented absolutely straight-up,
so there's no way to tell from looking at the site, whether these people are serious or
not. The actual plan sounds like a Michael Crichton plot. They intend to collect an
incorrupt cell of Jesuss blood or body from one of the Holy Relics that are
preserved in churches throughout the world, extract its DNA, insert it into an
unfertilized human egg, and then implant the egg into the womb of a young virginal woman
who has volunteered of her own accord. One question they completely avoid is that of
authentication. They fail to explain how they know which of these Holy Relics is genuine.
In any event, the birth is to occur on exactly December 25th, 2001. The somewhat sparse
site contains background information on both the Second Coming and the science of cloning,
including a selection of quotes from The Bible that allegedly predict the cloning of
Christ. Science fiction or science fact? I have my opinion, but I'll let you decide for
Most people think that Buffy The Vampire Slayer must be a
pretty silly TV series, but those of us who actually watch it know better. Witty dialogue,
interesting characters and some fairly serious subject matter combine to make this one of
the best shows on TV right now. There is of course an official site at www.buffyslayer.com, but for a real between-shows
Buffy-fix, point your browser at www.buffyguide.com
instead. The site bills itself as The Complete Buffy Episode Guide, but it's much
more than that. Amongst other things, it includes lots of photos, continually updated news
items, lists of upcoming TV appearances by Buffy cast members, and links to over 450(!)
other sites of interest. As the name implies, it also has a detailed, up-to-date guide to
the series. The guide contains both short and detailed synopses for each episode, but be
warned - you could probably watch a good part of the show itself in the time it would take
to read one of the detailed entries. As well, there are complete lists of all actors,
writers and directors cross-referenced by episode. To keep track of the various story arcs
and the constantly evolving cast line-up, the site also maintains a set of Thematic
Episode Lists. There are a lot of Buffy sites out there, but this is clearly the center of
the online Buffy universe.
Jim Pattison, Member at Large
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