Over the past several months there has been concern on
the part of the Friends of the Merril Collection that the Collection might
have its building sold out from underneath it. However, at its meeting of
February 25, 1991, Toronto City Council did not approve the sale of the 40
St. George St. property to a non-profit housing corporation but instead
recommended that the property be sold to the University of Toronto with the
provision that the University allow the Toronto Public Library Board to
continue to use the building for the children's library and the research
collections until such time as the new building at 239 College St. is
During the last several months, members of the Friends
have played significant roles in this latest crisis that threatened the
research collections. Members have served on the Building Committee for the
long, ten year (so far) process of finding a new home for the Merril
Collection and other collections and services of the library which are
housed at, 40 St. George St. The Building Committee has
been very vocal in its prompting of the TPL Board to take positive action
on this issue.
The Executive Committee of the Friends has written
letters to all members of the TPL Board and Toronto City Council stating
the Friends' position. The Executive Committee has written to members of
the Friends keeping them informed of progress on the fight to save the
building and asking their assistance. Larry Hancock, Chairman of the
Friends, led deputations of members to the Board and to the Executive
Committee of City Council.
The Friends of
the Merril Collection position was clear from the beginning: any
consideration of a sale of 40 St. George St. at this time is
inappropriate. The only reason a sale is being considered at all is because
the TPL Board will eventually be moving the collections and services
currently housed there to a new location. But considerable obstacles still
stand in the way of the proposed 239 College. St. site and a move is still
a couple of years away (and even longer if still another new site must be
The Friends are not opposed to the use of the current
library site for non-profit housing. They neither approve nor disapprove of
any particular use of the site, once the TPL Board is done with it.
The Friends were also extremely concerned over
possible damage to the Collection in such a move and whether the temporary
location would allow for public access to the Collection.
For the time being, the crisis is averted and efforts can once
again be returned to clearing obstacles to the new site at 239 College St. For more information, a chronology
of events is included elsewhere in this issue of Sol Rising.
Committee would like to extend special thanks to those members of the
Friends and other friends who took the time to make telephone calls and
write letters In response to our urgent requests. Your efforts did make a
Nancy Soltys resigned
effective April 30, 1991 in order to stay at home with
her son, Edward. The position has been posted internally in the Toronto
Public Library, as required by TPL's contract and
will be filled, probably before the annual general meeting.
Recently, the Merril
Collection has acquired two paintings by H. R. Van Dongen
and a griffin sketch by Judy King Rienets. One
Van Dongen was used as the cover piece for a 1959
issue of Astounding, the other as
the cover to the 1977 Ballantine edition of
Gordon R. Dickson's Mission to Universe. These will be added to the collection of original art
already held, including pieces by Kelly Freas,
Vincent di Fate, Grant Canfield, and Ed Emshwiller. The sketch by Judy King Rienets
was used in a Cheap Street solstice chapbook, The Arimaspian
Legacy by Gene Wolfe.
Patrons of the Merril
Collection are familiar with the major periodicals in the field and
consult them regularly. However, not all patrons are aware that the Merril
Collection also subscribes to more specialized materials such as Future Survey, a bibliography of
future studies material, Paperback Parade,
dealing with popular culture as expressed through paperbacks, with
articles for collectors in different areas, Air and Space, the Smithsonian's magazine dealing with
aeronautics and the space sciences, Info
Journal and The Fortean Times dealing with unexplained phenomena, The Skeptical Inquirer which surveys
such phenomena with a jaundiced eye, The
Journal of Popular Culture and Million:
the Magazine of Popular Fiction, both dealing with popular culture as a
whole and sf as a subset of that, Factsheet Five, a bibliography of special
interest fanzines in North America, Cattoonist Profile
for illustrators, Datazine, a bibliography
of amateur fiction set in the various media universes, Time Screen, dealing with British media sf&f.
Ask staff for other references.
The University of Toronto held a disaster planning
workshop on April 5,1991. Loma Toolis
attended for the Merril Collection, as
the Toronto Public Library is becoming increasingly interested in this kind
The basic premise for disaster planning is simple:
accidents happen. Even when you didn't plan on having something go wrong,
the inherent perversity of mechanical objects is such that things go wrong,
sometimes catastrophically wrong.
Disaster planning may be broken down into two
sections, first those steps that can be taken to prevent disaster, mostly
involving regular maintenance and safety checks and secondly, the steps
that should be taken when the disaster has already happened. Activity under
this heading includes preparing lists of people to notify in case of
disaster, complete with telephone numbers, talking to local police and fire
officials, arranging for space in an industrial freezer, etc. The emphasis
was on planning for water damage; due to a number of disasters in the
library community over the last two decades a great deal of experience has
been gained in planning for and minimizing damage once it has taken place.
This is where the Friends come in. Staff
are in the process of compiling a disaster manual for the Merril Collection. We need to know
how many of the Friends will volunteer to come and help us pull water-soaked
books out of steaming rubble. There is no danger involved, but it would
involve getting a telephone call at some improbable hour of the late night
or early morning and coming down to help staff salvage as much of the
damaged material as possible. Anyone interested in volunteering should
contact Merril Collection staff.
Barry Hughart's firstcomicfantasy, Bridge of Birds (1984), won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. His second
novel, The Story of the Stone (1988),
also received rave reviews, and now he has produced a third novel, Eight Skilled Gentlemen (1991), and
it's just as good.
All three novels are set in "an ancient China that never was,"
beautifully constructed of myth, folklore, history and imagination. They
feature the venerable sage Li Kao (who has a slight flaw in his character)
and his assistant, Number Ten Ox, a brawny (but not stupid) young peasant.
InBridge of BirdsNumber Ten Ox hires Li Kao to discover the cause of and cure for a
mysterious illness that has stricken the children of Ox's village. Master
Li diagnoses poison and the only cure is the Great Root of Power, aka the Queen of Ginseng. However, the Queen is in the
clutches of the evil Duke of Ch'in and to acquire
her they must also solve the puzzle of the Princess of the Birds, enchanted
a thousand years before. In their way are monsters, murderers, ghosts,
gluttons, swindlers and Lotus Cloud, a girl who mysteriously inspires men
to sell everything they have to give her pearls and jade.
The Story of the
Stone (1988) sees
Master Li and Number Ten Ox off to solve the murder of a monk, the theft of
a remarkable document and the unwelcome (to say the least) return of the
Laughing Prince (supposedly dead 750 years) and his ghastly Monks of Mirth.
The key to the mystery is a stone of immense power, and Li and Ox are accompanied
by the brilliant, incredibly handsome and rather promiscuous sound expert,
Moon Boy, and by Grief of Dawn, the prostitute who keeps him from getting
out of control. The path leads through all nine levels of Hell itself
before they uncover the truth.
Skilled Gentlemen were shamans three thousand years ago. The story
opens with an execution disrupted by the arrival of a vampire ghoul, and
the phrase "monsters, mandarins and murder" follows Master Li and
Ox to the Forbidden
where someone is trying to hush up the death of a high official. Is the
cover-up because the murder was committed by China's greatest
living saint, or are the Eight Skilled Gentlemen and their demon servants back? Why
are the demons stealing the ancient birdcages that once belonged to the
Eight? Li Kao and Ox are helped this time by Yen Shih, a puppeteer, and his
shaman daughter Yu Lan, and as usual, nothing is
as it first appears.
It is almost hopeless to provide more than the
lightest overview of Hughart's plots; they have
more twists than a dragon and more memorable characters than there is room
to mention. His portrayal of ancient China has a feel or reality that
comes from internal consistency and a gift for description. Even when
Number Ten Ox, as narrator, is lecturing it does not detract from the
story, it adds to the picture of the world. The stories are fast, sly, very
funny, occasionally poignant, sometimes gory, and always enthralling.
Jane Starr is a
librarian at the Alberta Agriculture Library and a regular reviewer for SOL RISING.
Over the last six months I have met and interviewed
four UFO abductees. Perhaps a better way to express what I have been doing
is to say that I have quizzed four men and women from Toronto who claim
that, as children or as adults, or both in childhood and in adulthood, they
have been abducted by aliens, taken aboard their spacecraft, minutely
examined, and then returned to earth, strangely and subtly altered. The
informants feel that they live "special" lives and remain in some
way in one-way contact or two-way communication with alien beings.
What has prompted my investigation is my own curiosity, which is omnivorous at best, coupled with my
long-standing wish to study and research and publish a book on the
subject of ufology in this country. That book, UFOs over Canada ,willbe published later this
year. It consists of the verbatim accounts of sixty witnesses. Their
accounts range from an 18th-century description of a marine
vessel floating through the sky over Minas Basin, N.S., to highly detailed and
circumstantial accounts of abductions that occurred last year in Toronto. For instance, one reported
abduction took place from the bedroom of an apartment building on Spadina Road about a mile north of Boys
and Girls House.
Most science-fiction readers are interested in ufology. It would be reasonable to expect to read a
couple of accounts of UFO abductions in the balance of this column. The
problem is that these accounts are invariably long and detailed, unlike the
short and sketchy descriptions of simple sightings. The average abduction
account that will appear in UFOs over
Canada isabout 3500 words in
length. The accounts would be longer but for my desire to keep them of
manageable length and readable in a single sitting.
It is quite easy to say that people who report UFO
abductions are psychiatric patients who require the professional services
of alienists (to employ the turn-of-the-century term for psychiatrists).
After all, Budd Hopkins and Whitley Strieber and other proponents of the
abduction scenario might well be full of hot air. And Philip J. Klass, the scientifically trained sceptic,
might be right on target when he says that this alien abduction business is
"a dangerous game".
Yet there is a medical doctor in Toronto who specializes in the
treatment of patients who report the distressful symptoms of
"anomalous trauma" associated with alien abductions. He publishes
a newsletter to keep in contact with medical and paramedical colleagues in
the field, including writers on anomalous phenomena like Hilary Evans and
even public personalities who promote the notion of
"conspiracies" like Stanton Friedman.
It is apparent to me, as it is to the good doctor,
that the term "UFO," as expansive as it is, is simply not
expansive enough to embrace the full range and depth of "the UFO
phenomenon." What seems to be surfacing in the accounts of alleged
abductees and in the public appreciation of them is a pattern of
anomalistic behaviour in thought, feeling, and
action that is consistent with the continuum of psychic episodes through
the ages, yet especially characteristic of events and experiences
associated with the inauguration of a new era—the feeling of
anticipation and fulfillment coupled with the sense of strangeness and
estrangement when faced with the deconstruction of a world that once was
thought to be wholly ours.
After such thoughts what makes sense? From accounts of
abductees, one may turn to experiences of witnesses of simple sightings-and
do so with a sigh of relief. Here, from the book, are two accounts of sightings.
In the simplest and most basic sense, UFOs are "mystery lights."
In these accounts the witnesses describe their thoughts and feelings about
lights unexpectedly and perhaps inexplicably observed in the day and night
skies over Hamilton and Toronto.
A Platter of Light
Kamala Bhatia is an educator who was born in Bombay, India. From the University of Bombay she holds two bachelors'
degrees (both honours) in Mathematics and in
French and English. From the University of Punjab she received her master's degree
in English and her bachelor's in Education. Thereafter she taught at
various schools and served as the principal of the largest municipal girl's
highschool in New Delhi.
She was awarded a Fulbright travel grant for 1954-55
to lecture throughout the United States. In 1965 she returned to the United States with her husband, the
psychologist Baldev Bhatia. She taught at the
State University of New York in Buffalo where she earned her master's
and doctor's degrees in Education. The latter degree, awarded in 1970 for a
critical study of the communications theory of Marshall McLuhan,
was the first doctoral dissertation ever accepted on that subject. When Baldev Bhatia accepted an appointment in Psychology at
Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Sciences, they moved to Hamilton, Ontario.
Dr. Bhatia designed and delivered the first course
devoted to Multiculturalism ever given at any academic institution. The
course, called "Multiculturalism," was introduced in the fall of
1976 at MohawkCollege. The Department of the
Secretary of State appointed Dr. Bhada the First
Visiting Professor of Multiculturalism at any academic institution in 1979
and the appointment was renewed the following year.
Dr. Bhatia, the author of a number of textbooks, wrote
the following account on 17 Nov. 1989.
"The long spell of intermittent showers all day
was broken; it was about on the 26th of September 1989, in Hamilton, Ontario, that I sat on the balcony of my apartment, after
listening to the evening news. I gazed at the still, dark, and cloudless
sky, scanning the firmament in vain for the Great Bear, Andromeda, Orion,
and the Milky Way, but not even Venus was visible: This had been my favourite evening occupation many times in balmier
climes and at lower latitudes.
"All at once,
a few moments later, I saw a moving light in the southwest direction. It
appeared to be heading in my direction. It proceeded swiftly, and gradually
became larger. Apprehensions of a plane crashing on the tree-tops of the
escarpment, or on the nearby building, filled my mind, and apparitions of
impending disaster momentarily seized me, but no!
flying object came closer, it appeared to be a large silvery bluish plane,
as it were, and on closer observation, it was an aerial object in the shape
of a very large solid soup plate. It resembled a platter of light. As it
moved, it made no sound at all, as a plane would have. The light it emitted
was a steady bright glow, and it steered a clear course above the towering
oak and maple trees of the conservation area close by.
nearer and nearer, and may have been less than six hundred yards away; it
hovered and gradually seemed to stop over the trees, and then... it moved
away, backwards, along in the same direction that it had advanced. It
receded steadily into the southwest, large and luminous, but becoming
smaller and smaller, and less distinct as it vanished slowly from my field
of vision into the distant darkness.
and eerie feeling overcame me. I was dazed, bewildered, wondering, and
gazing still, for I hoped the object may perhaps reappear. Was it a vehicle
from some other planet? Were there beings like E.T.'stravelling on it?
one of the E.T. creatures had landed on my balcony. What would he or she be
like? What would I say? What language would I communicate in? Would we use
gestures or sign language? But no... there were
and are no answers to these questions. The solid, sparkling, luminous
object never landed! The E.T. never came! Oh, my disappointment!"
Phenomenon in the Night Sky
Since time immemorial, man has raised his head to the
heavens and described the strange sights he sees there. When man peers into
the depth of the night sky, what he describes are strange lights.
"Mystery lights" is the broadest and most
inclusive term to use to refer to some of the unexpected illuminations that
play or appear to play across the heavens between dusk and dawn. Ben Viccari and his wife Anne experienced the display of
such lights from the balcony of their Walmer Road apartment in Toronto.
Were the Viccaris alone in
witnessing these four grey-white discs? There are, to date, no other
reports of the play of lights in Toronto that night. Perhaps the
spectacle was meant for the Viccaris alone.
Ben Viccari, a newspaperman
by training, is the managing editor of Canadian
Scene. This is a news and information service that takes the form of a
biweekly bulletin which appears in fifteen languages and is supplied free
of charge to the ethnic media across the country.
What is intriguing about this account is the fact that
the play of lights persisted for some time after the Viccaris
left the balcony. Had the display been psychic in origin, it is unlikely
that the effect would have continued in their absence.
"On Monday, September 10, 1990, shortly after , my wife Anne stepped out onto the balcony of our
apartment for a breath of air. We face south, toward LakeOntario, and are located close to Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue. A few minutes after she had gone out she called me
to look at a strange phenomenon in the night sky.
already dark, about six days after the full moon, and I don't think the
moon had yet risen that evening. It was a clear night of about average
temperature for the time of year.
"What I saw were four large discs that l first took
to be the terminal points of searchlights, but in an instant I realized
that the discs were unconnected to any beams. And the discs were moving too
fast to be searchlights. They were moving up and down and sideways and each
disc appeared to be spinning on its own axis. The discs were very large and
a milky grey-white in colour. At one and the same
time they had the appearance of being flimsily opaque but not truly solid.
continued to move up and down, backwards and forwards ‑ always
and never colliding. It was quite an
amazing display of aerobatics. Since nothing further happened, we went
inside after about twenty minutes. Then, a short while later, I looked out
again to see the discs still moving about. I looked out again a little
later and they were gone. Though I kept checking until about , they didn't reappear.
conclusion was that the discs didn't appear solid enough to be aircraft of
any kind, and that reflected light from objects on Earth or LakeOntario had probably caused the phenomenon. But who can
John Robert Colombo is compiling two books about the
paranormal for publication this year. These are Mackenzie King's Ghost and UFOs over Canada(both Hounslow Press). He is also the editor of The Dictionary
of Canadian Quotations (Stoddart) to appear this fall.
The hardest challenge faced by any writer working
repeatedly with the same cast of characters is to keep those characters
from becoming stale. Many a.series has foundered
as its component novels degenerate into boring repetitions of the same
characters performing insignificant variations on the same deeds.
Lois McMaster Bujold has
been singularly successful at avoiding this fate. Her success, though,
comes by dint of hard work: she never loses the strong focus of her stories,
and she virtually reinvents her characters for each new book.
All of Bujold's books are
set in the same universe. The most important—set aside her Nebula-winning
Falling Free—focuson the same person: Piotr Miles Vorkosigan is
destined to be one of the most memorable characters in popular fiction.
What makes the Miles novels so successful—and such good reading—is
more than just clever plotting or even a well-conceived character (though
both of these things are nevertheless valid for the Miles books). What
makes them work is Bujold's focus—er insistence on detailing for readers the price that
must be paid as a character grows—and the way her characters defy not
only time but chronology.
What sets Bujold's books
apart is that they are written out of chronological sequence. This is what
is meant by her characters "defying chronology": Bujold has to treat her continuing cast virtually as
new characters in each book, because according to the author these novels
are not being written to conform to any grandiose master plan. Bujold has only the sketchiest idea of how her
protagonist's life is going to unfold.
This means that she has to take care to ensure that
the Miles of The Vor
Game (1990) knows less, and is less shaped by life, than the Miles of Brothers In Arms (1989) or
"Borders of Infinity" (1987). Although written earlier, the
latter two stories feature a Miles in his mid-20s, several years into a
career that is just beginning in The Vor Game.
It makes for interesting
reading. Bujold's style has clearly matured in The Vor Game and
the linking chapters of Borders of
Infinity (a "novel"
that collects three unrelated Miles novellas, including the title work mentioned
earlier). Nevertheless, even in the work written earliest it is possible to
discern the differences between the younger and older Miles. The internal
witticisms that are so characteristic of Bujold's
style are less self-conscious, more shaped by experience in the elder
Add to her compelling characters Bujold's
willingness to turn on its ear the sub-genre in which she works, and her
popularity is even easier to understand.
Bujold writes space opera, a type of
SF often maligned, especially by those who neither understand nor read it.
On the surface, space opera is about heroes and roaming the galaxy. But in Bujold's hands, space opera is not so much about heroes
as it is about heroism, and about the price of courage. In focusing on the
price paid, Bujold plays on the reader's
expectations and turns space opera around on itself.
Take Miles' first appearance. Still arguably the most
enjoyable of the Miles novels, The
Warrior's Apprentice is on the surface classic space opera. The tale of
a young man, frustrated in his search for respect, who
leaves home and under another name becomes a powerful leader, at first wouldn't
have been out of place coming from Heinlein. But look closer. Miles is
hobbled by physical limitations at the start of the novel. By the end…he's
still hobbled. No matter how heroic he may believe himself to be, there are
some things he can't overcome. And not only does he not excel in the
physical side of combat, when he does finally have the opportunity to be a
hero in battle, he's felled ‑ not by gunfire, but by a bleeding
ulcer. And this happens while he's waiting to leave for combat, before he
can even fire a shot.
To make matters even worse, somebody else gets the
On one level, though, Miles' story in The Warrior's Apprentice satisfies
all who love a hero. For if Miles has physical limitations, they're more
than compensated for by the power of his mind. And the success that he
achieves is the success of a young person discovering that opening the mind
to its full capacity can be deeply rewarding ‑on a material as well
as a spiritual level.
But there is a price to be paid for this. Even given
the unusual nature of the protagonist, the Miles stories would be little
more than golden-age space opera were it not for the fact that Bujold reminds us at every turn that heroism does not
exist in isolation. Miles becomes a hero in The Warrior's Apprentice, but he does so at the expense of
friends and family—and himself. People suffer emotional loss and even
die as a result of his decisions, and Bujold
makes certain that we see the impact this has on a seventeen-year-old.
She also, however, shows us that Miles learns from
this. What's more, he takes responsibility for his actions—a process
that over the course of these stories evolves into a matter of embracing responsibility.
Most definitions of science fiction eventually reduce
down to its being a fiction of ideas. Bujold's
work is no exception to this general rule. But what makes Bujold's fiction memorable is that, while it is
entertaining us and teaching us about history and social structures, it is
also teaching us something of ourselves.
A Lois McMaster Bujold
Shards of Honor,
Books, June 1986
Apprentice, Baen Books, August 1986
Ethan of Athos, Baen Books, December 1986
Falling Free, Baen Books, April 1988
Infinity, Baen Books, October 1989
Arms, Baen Books, January 1990
The Vor Game, Baen Books, September 1990
Barrayar, Baen Books, forthcoming October
"Barter", Twilight Zone, April 1985
"The Hole Truth", Twilight Zone, December 1986
"Aftermaths", Far Frontiers V, May 1986
"Garage Sale", American Fantasy, Spring 1987
"The Borders of Infinity", Freelancers, September 1987
"The Mountains of Mourning", Analog, May 1989
"Labyrinth", Analog, August 1989
"The Weatherman", Analog. February 1990
latest science fiction short story appears in Tessaracts3.
The St. George St. Building Committee has been
searching for a new home for the research collections, the children's
library and an adult circulating library for the last ten years. The
acquisition of 239 College St. by the City of Toronto for the library is almost
complete, but significant obstacles could still kill this location and send
the Building Committee back to square one.
This latest crisis for the Collection was first brought to the attention of the Executive
Committee of the Friends by Mr. Chester Gryski,
Chairman of the Friends of the Osborne and Lillian H. Smith Collections who
received a telephone call from Mr. Les Fowlie,
Chief Librarian, inviting him to attend the Toronto Public Library Board
meeting of November 28, 1990. At that meeting Mr. Gryski heard Mr. Fowlie
report to the Board that discussions were well underway with the City and
with Lantana Non-Profit Homes Corporation (representing Metta
Housing Co-operatives Inc.) for the sale of the St. George St. building. Several members of
the Board raised concerns about the sale and asked Mr. Fowlie
to gather further information.
Mr. Gryski contacted various
members of the Building Committee and the Friends of the Merril Collection. All agreed that, during the
ten year life of the Building Committee and plans for moving the research
collections to new premises, this was the first time that these groups had
been informed that the current home of the collections might have to be
sold prior to moving to new premises.
At this same time, library staff
were informed by the Chief Librarian to start planning for a move to
a temporary location in early-spring 1991.
The major problem facing the Committee and Friends organizationsat this time was a lack of
information. Nobody could tell them who had instigated
discussions for the sale of the property, nor who had the right to sell the
property, or to order a sale of the property. Several weeks and several
meetings later, the Friends were
able to determine that the TPL Board owns the property, but must have the
approval of Toronto City Council to sell any property. In turn, City
Council could recommend to the Board that a particular property should be
sold to a particular party; the Board would not likely refuse the recommendation,
though it could, since the Board's members are appointed by City Council
and the large majority of the Board's funding comes from the City.
More importantly, the Friends found it difficult to
determine who had instigated discussions for the sale of the property, and
what opinions various parties held on the matter. For example, did the TPL
Board want to sell the property at this time?
At the December 8, 1990 annual Christmas reception of
the Friends, Mr. Larry Hancock, Chairman of the Friends, circulated a letter to those members in attendance in
which he asked members to contact the members of the TPL Board in order to
support the position of the Friends, that being that the Friends "are
totally and unequivocally opposed to any move from St. George St. prior to
a move directly to the new building which is currently under
discussion". Mr. Hancock contacted as many members of the Board as
possible by telephone, and followed this up with copies of the December 8
letter to ensure that the Board was aware of the Friends' position.
On December 11, the Building Committee met to discuss
the matter. All members of the Committee agreed that over its ten year
existence the Committee had received repeated assurances from the TPL Board
and its staff that the collections would remain at 40 St. George St. until the new building was
built and ready for occupancy. The Friends'
letter of December 8 was read to the Committee and endorsed by them, as
were letters and opinions from other Committee members. The Committee
expressed several major concerns over a move from St. George St. at this time.
First, there was a concern over possible damage to the
research collections. Any move of the collections would result in some
damage, though proper care could minimize the damage. Plans had always
called for only one move, from St. George St. to permanent new quarters. A
move to temporary quarters would be one extra move, and one extra chance
for damage. And if further temporary moves became necessary, the problem
would be compounded.
Second, no assurances were available that the
temporary quarters would allow access by the public to the collections. In
fact, no thought had yet been given to where the temporary quarters might
Most importantly, serious obstacles still stood in the
way of the construction of the new building at 239 College Street. If the sale of 40 St. George St. was completed and then 239 College St. did not go ahead, the
collections would find themselves in temporary quarters for an indefinite
period of time, with no plans for a permanent home and a very bleak future
The Committee appointed a special delegation which was
directed to address the next meeting of the TPL Board and inform the Board
of the Committee's recommendation that 40 St. George St. not be sold at this time.
Several members of the Friends and other friends of
the collections did indeed contact members of the Board and Ms. Liz Amer, the city Councilor for the Ward in which the
Collection is located. As a result of the heightened concern, two meetings
were arranged: the Building Committee and Friends organizations were
invited to send deputations to the December 12 TPL Board meeting and Councilor
Amer invited all concerned parties to a meeting
at her office on December 18.
At the TPL Board meeting, even before the deputations
from the Building Committee and the Friends
organizations had their turns to speak, the TPL Board made it clear to
the deputations that the Board's position on the matter was the same as
theirs, that the Board's preference was that the collections and services
currently housed at 40 St. George St. should be moved directly to a new
location, without any interim moves and that any sale of 40 St. George St.
to any party must include the provision that the Library would continue to
have use of the building until such a move could be made, no matter how
long it would take.
Mr. Jack Kirchhoff of The Globe and Mail attended the
Board meeting and reported on the issue in the December 14 issue of the
newspaper. On December 19, Mr. Hancock wrote to the editors of the
newspaper to respond to comments attributed to Councilor Amer in the article, but his letter was not printed.
At the afternoon meeting with Councilor Amer on December 18, it was made clear to the
representatives of the Committee and the Friends organizations by Councilor Amer
and the representative of Lantana that discussions on the sale of the
property had progressed too far to stop and that, due to the fact that
Lantana and Metta's government funding depended on
demolishing the existing building in the spring of 1991, the collections
would have to be moved almost immediately. Councilor Amer
also made it clear that, in order for the City to purchase the College St. site, the St. George St. property must be sold first.
The Building Committee met that same evening and heard
reports from members who had attended the afternoon meeting. The Building
Committee passed a motion urging the TPL Board to reaffirm its position to
Toronto City Council and, should it be directed to sell the property, to
refuse to do so as it would not be in the best interests of the Board and
its mandate. This position was stated to the TPL Board at a special Board
meeting in January 1991.
Also at this time, the University of Toronto once again expressed interest
in acquiring the St. George St. property. Discussions took
place between the University, the staff of the Board and representatives of
Lantana to reach an agreement under which the University would acquire the
property and Lantana/Metta would acquire another
suitable site from the University. unfortunately,
these discussions were not successful.
In mid-January, the Friends learned that this matter
would be coming before the Executive Committee of City Council on February
18 who would be asked to recommend to City Council that the St. George St. property be sold to Lantana/Metta for non-profit housing purposes.
On February 8, Mr. Hancock wrote to Mayor Art Eggleton and all members of City Council expressing
support for the stated position of the TPL Board. At the February 16
reception for Tessaracts3,
Mr. Hancock distributed a letter to the members who were present, again
requesting their assistance, this time asking them to contact members of
This item had been allotted one-half hour on the
agenda of the Executive Committee, but took almost three hours to resolve.
Deputations were heard from both Friends
organizations, the TPL Board, Lantana/Metta,
the University of Toronto and many other interested
parties. Half way through the discussions it became apparent that Councilor
Amer and the Lantana representatives had decided
that the acquisition of 40 St. George St. was a lost cause and their
efforts appeared to be aimed at ensuring that another suitable location
could be found for the co-operative.
The University of Toronto reiterated their desire to
acquire the property and confirmed that they would reimburse Lantana/ Metta for costs incurred to date and would reach an
agreement with the TPL Board allowing the collections to remain where they
are until the new building is ready.
The Executive Committee approved a motion recommending
to City Council that the TPL Board be asked to negotiate the sale of the
property to the University, under the terms stated.
On February 25, City Council debated the item and
approved the recommendation of the Executive Committee. However, they
expressed concern that the new College St. site might not be the best
available for the TPL Board's purposes and requested City staff to return
at a later date with a report on possible alternate sites for the proposed new
library building. This report has not yet been made to City Council.
In the meantime, the Planning Advisory Committee has
recommended to the Land Use Committee that the Committee refuse the TPL Board's
request for the new building to exceed current height restrictions. If the
Land Use Committee accepts the recommendation, this would effectively kill
the new building.
Members of the Friends
are currently working with the TPL Board to ensure that this, and
future, obstacles are overcome.
Copies of all
correspondence referred to in this
article are available to member of the Friends uponrequest.
Canadian works are appearing in record numbers on
American lists of the best Science Fiction and Fantasy.
The 1990 Preliminary Nebula Awards Ballot was issued
on Sunday, January 6, 1991. There were five Canadian
works on it. Far Best Novel, Golden
Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer (Questar, with 13
recommendations [and, incidentally, the highest ranked first novel of
1990]) and Tiganaby Guy Gavriel
Kay (Roc, 6 recommendations). For Best Novelette, "Eternity,
Baby" by Andrew Weiner (Asimov's,
November, 7 recommendations) and "River of the Dying" by
Augustine Funnell(Universe 1, 5 recommendations). For Best Short Story, "Wolfrunner" by Mary Choo(Sword & Sorceress VI, 6 recommendations).
The Locus 1990
Recommended Reading List contains the following Canadian works: The Difference Engine by William
Gibson and Bruce Sterling, and The
Divide by Robert Charles Wilson (SF); Drink Down the Moon and Ghostwood, both
by Charles de Lint, and Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (Fantasy); Dark Matter by Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Horror); Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer
(First Novel); and Distant Signals by
Andrew Weiner (Short Story Collection).
of the Best Novels of 1990, as chosen by reviewer Don D'Ammassa,
contains the following Canadian works: The
Divide by Robert Charles Wilson; Ghostwoodby Charles de Lint; Angel
of Darkness by de Lint writing as Samuel Kay; Shifter by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens; and Bloodshiftby Garfield Reeves-Stevens.
The May 1991 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction gives reviewer
Orson Scott Card's choice of the Best SF Novel of 1990: Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer. The Divide by Robert Charles Wilson
was one of three runners-up. Card's pick for the best fantasy novel of the
year: The Little Country by
Charles de Lint.
Penguin Canada has dropped its
much-ballyhooed Canadian SF line, and let editor Laurel Bernard go.
Lynne Armstrong-Jones of London, Ontario, is the author of "N-Sisti's Solutions" and "Vegetable
Matter" in the 1990 special short-short issue of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine. Her "Warrior's
Oath" is in Sword and Sorceress
VII. In the spring of 1991, her "The Lesson in the Foothills"
was published in Renunciates of Darkover.
Two of her poems will appear soon in Weird Tales: "Bewitching Lessons" and "Friday
Night!" She has an interview with Robert J. Sawyer coming up in Sidetrekked, the newsletter of SF London.
John Robert Colombo of Toronto is writing the new entry on Canada for Peter Nicholls' revised Science Fiction Encyclopedia.
Last fall, Press Porcépic
released Pallahaxi Tide (formerly Rax) by Michael G. Coney of Sidney, B.C., as a mass-market
Don H. DeBrandt of Vancouver has sold his first novel, Quicksilver, to Del Rey.
Barbara Delaplace of Vancouver has a short story called
"Legends Never Die" in The
Fantastic Robin Hood edited by Martin Harry Greenberg. It'll be out
this summer. She also has "Choices" coming up in Alternate Presidents edited by Mike Resnick and Greenberg, to be published in January 1992.
Barb is one of the sysops of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum on
CompuServe, a commercial computer bulletin board service owned by H&R
of science fiction and fantasy stories by Canadian authors, was released in
December 1990 by Press Porcépic. Editors were Candas Jane Dorsey of Edmonton and Gerry Truscott of Victoria. A launch party was held at
the Merril Collection on 16 February 1991.
Avon books re-released The Harp of the Grey Rose by Ottawa's Charles de Lint in
February. His Spirit Walk—anomnibus of three short sequels to Moonheart—andan original fantasy have sold to Tor.
Atheneum brought out his The Dreaming Place, as illustrated by Brian Froud,
in hardcover this spring. He was interviewed in the March Locus, which ran a colour picture of him on the cover.
Dave Duncan of Calgary has four new fantasy novels
out or just about to be out from Del Rey: Magic Casement (December 1990), Faery Lands Forlorn (April 1991), PerilousSeas(July 1991), and Emperor and
Clown (September 1991). He also has an SF novel forthcoming from them: Hero (May 1991). He signed at White
Dwarf Books, Vancouver, on March 9.
Donna Farley of Surrey, B.C., has sold "The
Passing of the Eclipse" to Universe
Prof. Peter Fitting of the University of Toronto was one of the judges for
this year's Philip K. Dick Award (for best novel originally published as a
mass-market paperback in 1990).
WilliamGibson and Bruce
Sterling, was published in hardcover by Gollancz
(U.K.) in September 1990 and by Bantam Spectra (U.S.) in May 1991. Late
last year, Gibson gave a talk about Cyberpunk at the "MondiVirtuali"
conference at the FortunyPalace and Museum in Venice, Italy. Gibson sold U.K. rights to his Virtual Light for £110,000.
Scroll of Saqqaraby Pauline Gedge of Alberta was a Science Fiction Book
Club Selection in early 1991.
Phyllis Gotlieb is reviewing
SF for The Globe and Mail.
The December Locus
featured a profile of Toronto's Guy Gavriel
Kay (page 6) and a picture of Judith Merril and her ex-husband Frederik Pohl (page 7). Guy's Tiganawas a recent selection of The Science Fiction Book Club, and
was the only Canadian title to have a general free mailing from its
publisher to all SFWA members in 1990.
Children of the
Rainbow by Toronto's Terence M. Green will be a
Spring 1992 hardcover from McClelland & Stewart.
Tanya Huff’s next book out is Blood Price from DAW (May). She's
sold three more books featuring the same characters. All are contemporary
urban fantasies set in Canada. Tanya, Robert J. Sawyer, and Karen Wehrstein read from their novels Blood Price, Golden Fleece, and Lion's Heart at the Spaced Out Library on December 8, 1990.
A volume entitled Science
Fiction and Fantasy by Montreal's David Ketterer
is forthcoming from Oxford University Press's "Perspectives on
Canadian Culture" series.
Shadow's Son by Toronto writers Shirley Meier, S. M. Stirling, and Karen Wehrstein
will be released by Baen in November 1991.
Toronto's Judith Merril will be
writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto in 1991-92.
Edmonton's Marianne O. Nielsen has a
story, "Ice Cold Comfort," in the May 1991 issue of Pulphouse Press's hardback SF magazine.
John Park of Ottawa had a translated version of his
"The Software Plague" published in Solaris 91. Jean-Louis Trudel did the
They're old, but I haven't seen them recorded in any
other SF bibliography, so I'll mention them here: Gustav A. Richar of Pointe-au-Baril,
Ontario, had two SF short stories published in 1989: "The
Dictionary" in Dandelion (out
of Calgary), Volume 16, Number 1, 1989, and "Spring Fever" in Green's Magazine (out of Regina),
Volume XVII, Number 3, 1989.
Photos of science fiction writers by Toronto's Tom Robe are cropping up in
Locus and Science Fiction Chronicle with great regularity. The January Locus has his photo of Tanya Huff
(page 8); the February Locus has
his photo of Charles de Lint (page 9); and the March Locus has his shots of
Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens, Spider and Jeanne Robinson, and Robert
J. Sawyer (page 9). Different photos by Tom of Spider and Jeanne, Gar and
Judy, and Rob also appear in the March SF Chronicle (pages 10 and 12).
Starseedby Vancouver's Spider and Jeanne Robinson,
the sequel to Stardanceis forthcoming from Ace as a
hardcover. Spider has sold a sequel to Callahan's
Lady to Ace and a short story collection called True Minds to Pulphouse.
John Rose, owner of Toronto's Bakka
SF Bookstore, is chairperson of this year's Canadian Booksellers
Association convention committee, to be held in Toronto in July.
Michael Rosenberg of Toronto, a member of The Friends of
the Merril Collection, has announced a newsletter/journal entitled Computers, Evolution and Society. Subscriptions
are $10 for four quarterly issues (cheques
payable to Computers, Evolution and
Society, 603 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto, M5N 1L9).
Michelle Sagara, manager of Bakka, has sold her first novel, a fantasy, to Del Rey. It's called Into
the Dark Lands: The First Book of the Sundered. Michelle and Merril
Collection staff members Mary Cannings, Lisa
Shirley, and Lorna Toolis were quoted in an
article by Henry Mietkiewicz entitled "Star
Trends: The Next Generation," about SF readers, in The Toronto Star for Saturday, March
9 (page H1).
In an auction conducted in February by his agent,
Richard Curtis, Robert J. Sawyer of Toronto sold two completed novels, Face of God and End of an Era to Ace. Rob gave a reading from his novel Golden Fleece at the main branch of
the Richmond Hill Public Library on December 5, 1990, and autographed at Bakka on December 15, 1990. Under the auspices of the
Writers Development Trust, he is a writer-in-electronic residence for Wired
Writers, an on-line workshop for high school students across Canada administered through SimonFraserUniversity.
Karl Schroeder will be teaching a course on writing
science fiction at GeorgeBrownCollege in Toronto later this year.
Baird Searles, former owner
of New York City's Science Fiction Shop,
editorial consultant to Warner Books, and book reviewer for Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine,
now lives in Montreal.
Toronto's S. M. Stirling
is writing a collaborative novel with Anne McCaffrey set in the universe of
McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang. He's
also got contracts for two more novels, including a fourth Draka book. He wrote the introductions to the stories
in The Fantastic Civil War, coming
in June. Also in June, a collaboration between Stirling and Jerry Pournelle,
Go Tell The Spartans: A Novel of Falkenberg's Legion, willbe released. His anthology Power
willbe published in November.
All of Stirling's works are from Baen Books.
Jean-Louis Trudel of Toronto is a regular reviewer for The New York Review of Science Fiction, Solaris, and The Ottawa Citizen, and new co-editor (with Karl Schroeder) of SF Canada, the newsletter of the
Speculative Writers Association of Canada.
In September 1990, Andrew Weiner of Toronto sold a short story called
"A New Man" to The Magazine
of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Movie rights to Andrew's 1987 novel Station Gehennawere optioned in January 1991 by Europa
Productions in California.
Karen Wehrstein's first
novel, Lion's Heart, was released
by Baen in March. The sequel, Lion's Soul, will come out in July.
Lyle Weis of Edmonton has sold his first novel, No Problem,
We'll Fix It, to General Publishing.
Dr. Allan Weissof Toronto is teaching a course on
Science Fiction at YorkUniversity. Canadian books on the
curriculum: Margaret Atwood's The
Handmaid's Tale, William Gibson's Burning
Chrome, and selected stories from the anthology Tesseracts2, edited by Phyllis Gotlieb
and Douglas Barbour.
In April 1991, Toronto Hydra, an association of
Science Fiction professionals, will hold its seventh anniversary meeting.
The Hydra mailing list has 46 names currently, and about half of those turn
out at any one meeting.
GEnie, the General Electric Network
For Information Exchange, a commercial online computer bulletin-board
system, has a lively Science Fiction and Fantasy "Roundtable"
section. Category 3 of that section, "The Authors," has permanent
message topics devoted to several Canadian writers: William Gibson (topic
26), Guy Gavriel Kay (topic 29), Spider Robinson
(topic 68), Robert J. Sawyer (topic 8), S. M. Stirling
(topic 37), and A. E. van Vogt (topic 9).
Science Fiction and Fantasy writers are well
represented in The Writers' Union of Canada, one of the most-effective
lobbying groups in the publishing industry. Margaret Atwood, Lesley Choyce, Michael Coney, Candas
Jane Dorsey, Wayland Drew, Dave Duncan, Leona Gom,
Phyllis Gotlieb, Monica Hughes, Eileen Kernaghan, Alberto Manguel,
Alice Major, Judith Merril, Teresa Plowright,
Robert Priest, Spider Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, Robin Skelton, ÉlisabethVonarburg, and
Andrew Weiner are all currently members.
Recent Canadian guests on TVOntario'sPrisoners of Gravity include Mark
Askwith, Leslie Gadallah,
Terence M. Green, Tanya Huff, Shirley Meier, Marianne O. Nielsen, Spider
and Jeanne Robinson, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Robert J. Sawyer,
S. M. Stirling, and Andrew Weiner. The series is
produced and directed by Gregg Thurlbeck; hosted
and written by Rick Green. The associate producer is Mark Askwith and story editor is Shirley Brady. Executive
producer is Daniel Richler.
The following is a listing of the science fiction,
fantasy and speculative fiction published by Canadians in 1990. This list
has been derived from the nominations list for the 1991 Canadian Science
Fiction and Fantasy (AURORA) Awards. We welcome any additions or corrections.
We welcome all authors, publishers, and other knowledgeable individuals to
keep us informed of works in the sf field by all
Canadians so that we may publish as complete and comprehensive a list as
possible each year.
Novels and collections - English
J. Brian, The Expediter, DAW
Lint, Charles, The Dreaming
Lint, Charles, Drink Down the
Lint, Charles, Ghostwood, Axolotl Press
Lint, Charles, Philip Josè Farmer's The Dungeon #5: The HiddenCity, Bantam Spectra
Denis, Shooting for the Stars, Black
Candas Jane and Truscott, Gerry (editors), Tesseracts3, Press Porcépic
Dave, Magic Casement Del Rey
Dave, Strings, Del Rey
Gadallah, Leslie, Cat's Gambit, Del Rey
·Gedge, Pauline, Scrolls
of Saqqara, Penguin/Viking
William and Sterling, Bruce, The Difference Engine, Gollancz
Gom, Leona, The
Y Chromosome, Second Story Press
Huff, Tanya, The
Fire's Stone, DAW
Monica, Invitation To The Game, Upton
Guy Gavriel, Tigana, Penguin/Roc
Samuel M., (de Lint, Charles) Angel
of Darkness, Jove
loannou, Greg and Missen,
Lynne (editors), Shivers:
Canadian Tales of the Supernatural, Seal Books
Luiken, Nicole, The
Catalyst, Tree Frog Press
Melling, O.R., Falling
Out of Time, Penguin
Garfield, Bloodshift, Popular Library
Garfield, Dark Matter, Doubleday
Judy and Garfield, The
Chronicles of Galen Sword #1: Shifter, Roc
Judy and Garfield, Star Trek:
Prime Directive, Pocket Books
Spider, True Minds, Pulphouse Press
Robert J., Golden Fleece, Warner/Questar
Sernine, Daniel, Argus
Steps In, Black Moss, YRL 7
Sernine, Daniel, Scorpion's
Treasure, Black Moss, YRL 2
·Semine, Daniel, The
Sword of Arhapal, Black Moss, YRL 3
Sernine, Daniel, Those
Who Watch Over the Earth, Black Moss, YRL 6
Stirling, S.M., Stone Dogs, Baen
Wilson, Robert Charles, The Divide, Doubleday/Foundation