Blogs

IMPOSSIBILIA reviewed at Speculating Canada

Derek Newman-Stille has just posted a review of Impossibilia, my first collection from 2008, on his excellent Speculating Canada site. An excerpt from the review follows:

"Impossibilia features Douglas Smith’s fascination with moral questions and morally ambiguous spaces where characters are forced to question conflicting values and ideologies. ... There is no certain ground in Smith’s work and readers are compelled to question every element of their identity and explore whether there is anything such as a fixed identity. Everything is changeable and everything is open to questions.

A collection of short stories, Impossibilia represents an exploration of the ways that the past continues to haunt us. ... Present and past intersect in Impossibilia, and memory is something inescapable. Smith does not focus his stories on the development of new loves (that’s too easy), but rather the fall-outs of love, the casualties of love and the repercussions."

You can read more about Impossibilia here. It was an Aurora Award finalist in 2009 and is now available as an ebook in either Kindle or epub (most ereaders) formats. Click here for buying links for all formats.

What in the (Warped) World am I reading?

Doing her bit to promote the National Reading Campaign, writer Kristene Perron interviews me on reading as a writer on her Warpworld blog. Check out the short interview to learn more about what I'm currently reading, books that changed my life, and my thoughts on how to make your kids love reading. 

World Fantasy 2012: A tub full of authors

World Fantasy Convention 2012 ChiZine Tub Full of AuthorsSo here is my very late and abbreviated report from attending World Fantasy Convention in Markham (yes, Markham, not Toronto) two weekends ago. First, I had much fun and spent the entire weekend catching up with old friends, making new ones, and talking business. 

What? That picture at the left? Ah, well, that is the already famous "A tub full of authors" from the epic (EPIC!) ChiZine Publications party on Saturday night. But then, all CZP parties are epic. EPIC! From left to right, the peeps in the pic are: Brent Hayward, David Nickle, Rio Youers, Halli Villegas, Susie Moloney, Derryl Murphy, Gemma Files, Marcy Italiano, me and Tone Milazzo. (Tone, seeing that all of him that got into the pic was his head, commented: "Apparently I got naked for nothing.") And yes, this is how CZP stores their authors when they're not using them.

World Fantasy 2012 Barry King and Doug SmithAt the right is a pic of me with friend, fellow writer, and CZP website ninja, Barry King, at the World Fantasy Awards banquet on Sunday. We sat at one of four CZP tables. CZP was nominated, but sadly did not win.

I decided not to do panels this time and instead just enjoy the con. I did one reading (and thanks to all those who showed up at 10am on Sunday after the big party night to hear me read. Much appreciated!). I read from my latest story, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland" from the fall issue of On Spec that was released at the con. I didn't even get to any panels. Every time I started to walk somewhere, I'd run into someone and end up talking for half an hour. Which was great! Best kind of con, imo.

World Fantasy 2012 Doug Smith and Hayden Trenholm

I did get to hear Charles de Lint do a reading, and finally had the opportunity to meet him face to face after that and chat for a while. Major fan boy moment for me, and he's just as nice as all his characters would lead you to believe, by the way.

And one last pic, on the left, of me and friend, fellow writer, and editor, Hayden Trenholm, at the mass signing on Saturday. It was a fun weekend and a very well run con, and all involved seemed to have a great time.

Ecology and Werewolves: A review of "Spirit Dance"

Spirit Dance coverOn his "Speculating Canada" site, Derek Newman-Stille finished off his Halloween-themed  "Werewolf Wednesdays" review series in October with a thoughtful review of "Spirit Dance," one of my Heroka stories. You can read Derek's review here. Some selected excerpts follow:

"Spirit Dance represents a blending of mythologies, combining European myths of the werewolf with myths from Canada’s indigenous peoples. When a non-indigenous person uses aboriginal myths, there is always a danger of misuse or cultural appropriation, and although Douglas Smith refers to elements of indigenous culture, he does this in a respectful way. ... His work shows a respect for Canada’s First Peoples as formative for the Canadian experience. ...  Unlike many authors, Smith does not put aboriginal people in the position of the cultural Other, nor does he try to put aboriginal people into the position of the “noble savage” archetype, trying to make them the holders of ancient wisdom. ...
 
Smith, as many writers are beginning to do, wields the werewolf as a symbol for ecological issues, representing the fusion of the natural and the human in one form and representing an animal that is traditionally stigmatised as dangerous while also representing the deep woods and the image of untouched nature.
 
Smith presents a strong ecological mystery story ... where characters are forced into a space of moral question where values conflict with one another."

"Spirit Dance" was my first story, both written and sold, and was first published in Tesseracts6 (edited by Robert J. Sawyer and Carolyn Clink, 1997). A translation won the Aurora Award in 2001. The story is also the basis for my upcoming novel, The Wolf at the End of the World, due out in 2013 and which takes place five years after this story. If you want to read "Spirit Dance," you can find it in my collection Impossibilia or as a stand-alone ebook in my bookstore or in any of the ebook stores listed at the top left on this page.

"Fiddleheads" and Chilling Tales 2 cover

Chilling Tales 2 coverI'd blogged earlier about selling a new short story entitled "Fiddleheads" to the upcoming anthology Chilling Tales 2. I can now share with you the final cover for the antho, shown here, and also the amazing list of authors alongside whom I will have the honour to appear. 

Table of Contents:

  • In Libitina’s House by Camille Alexa
  • Gingerbread People by Colleen Anderson
  • Meteor Lake by Kevin Cockle
  • Homebody by Gemma Files
  • Snowglobes by Lisa L Hannett
  • The Dog’s Paw by Derek Künsken
  • The Flowers of Katrina by Claude Lalumière
  • Goldmine by Daniel LeMoal
  • The Salamander’s Waltz by Catherine MacLeod
  • Weary, Bone Deep by Michael Matheson
  • The Windemere by Susie Moloney
  • Black Hen A La Ford by David Nickle
  • Day Pass by Ian Rogers
  • Fiddleheads by Douglas Smith
  • Dwelling on the Past by Simon Strantzas
  • Heart of Darkness by Edo van Belkom
  • Fishfly Season by Halli Villegas
  • Road Rage by Bev Vincent
  • Crossroads Blues by Robert J. Wiersema
  • Honesty by Rio Youers

As with Chilling Tales 1, the anthology was edited by Michael Kelly and is being published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy in Edmonton. More information on the anthology and the contributors is availabe at the Edge website.

Get your ebooks autographed

I'd blogged earlier about how the very cool site Kindlegraph let you request autographs, complete with personal messages, for your Kindle ebooks from your favourite authors. Well, the site has now been expanded to include all ebooks, not just on the Kindle. In keeping with that change, the site is now called Authorgraph (which I think is a great name for this service).

I've registered all of my ebooks with Authorgraph site and have my own page, where you can request a personalized autograph for any of my ebooks that you might have in your collection. Simply go to my Authorgraph page, click on the "Request authorgraph" button below the book that you want autographed, and follow the instructions. Another change: you now no longer require a Twitter account to request an autograph -- just an email address.

You'll receive a separate ebook file, which will contain just the cover of the ebook, under which will appear a personalized message from me to you, and the author's electronic signature. It would be ideal to have it inserted into the original ebook, but this is still a very neat, simple, and free little service. I hope that you'll try it out, for my ebooks or any ebook from your favourite authors.

My schedule for SFContario

I'll be an author guest at SFContario 3 this coming weekend, Nov 9-11, in downtown Toronto. This is a fairly new convention, now in its third year. If you're in the area or are already going, here is my schedule of panels, readings, and activities for the convention:

Saturday, Nov 10:

  • 11am - noon: Panel - But I don't know any vampires (Ballroom A)
  • 1:00 - 2:00pm: Reading (Gardenview Room)
  • 3:00 - 4:00pm: Signing (Ballroom hallway)
  • 5:00 - 6:00pm: Panel - SFContario Idol (Courtyard)
  • 6:00 - 7:00pm: Panel - What happened to our utopias? (Courtyard)

Sunday, Nov 11:

  • Noon - 1pm: Kaffeeklatsch (Room 207)

Here's some more detail on the above panels:

But I don't know any vampires: Our English teachers taught us to "write what you know" But very few of us have been on a long space journey, met a vampire detective, or fought a fire-breathing dragon. Our panelists discuss how a little research and common sense can give you just enough background to really write about what you don't know. (Helen Marshall, Michael McPherson, David Nickle, Douglas Smith (Moderator), Caitlin Sweet)

SFContario Idol: Attendees bring in the first page of their manuscript. A presenter from SFContario will read out the manuscript (anonymously) until a majority of our panel of judges ‘buzz’ the story to a stop. Discussion ensues on why they stopped it, what didn’t work and what did work. A great exercise in story openings that will provide immediate valuable feedback to the writers. (Suzanne Church, Sandra Kasturi, Duff McCourt, Brett Savory, Douglas Smith)

What happened to our Utopias? Finding examples of current SF dystopias is easy. But where are all of the utopias in our SF imagination? It seems that since the 1970s, it is more and more difficult for audiences to find examples of the perfect, harmonized future. Is anybody writing about utopia anymore? Does the lack of utopian fiction and film mean that we, as a society, have lost hope? (Chandler Davis, Violette Malan, James Nicoll, Douglas Smith)

Reading: I'll be reading from my new story, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland," which is out now in the new issue of On Spec.

Kaffeeklatsch: Drop by and have a chat with me in a small group about my writing, writing in general, Buffy, movies, or whatever.

Hope to see you there!

Me and Ray Bradbury -- in Bulgaria

Well, here comes another publication appearance for "Scream Angel." I'd just mentioned earlier this week about the story being reprinted in the anthology "Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top." Now "Scream Angel" will be translated into Bulgarian and published in the forthcoming 2012 issue of the annual FantAstika Almanac. The story's translator, Kalin Nenov, writes to me that "You and Ray Bradbury are the only English-speaking writers in this issue."

Major fan boy moment. The late Ray Bradbury is one of my writing gods, and if I have to go to Bulgaria to share a table of contents with him, well, that works for me. Wish I'd known that that was the trick -- I would've made the trip a lot sooner. 

This will be the fourteenth appearance for "Scream Angel," which won the Aurora Award in 2004 for best short story. It is the lead story in my collection Chimerascope, and you can pick up an ebook copy of the story at Amazon, Kobo, or my store.

New story in On Spec

On Spec #90 coverI have a brand new story out in the equally brand new issue of the long-running and most excellent Canadian speculative fiction magazine, On Spec. This is their "Apocalypse" issue, which forms the perfect lead-in to the coming end of the world this December--or at least the end of the Mayan calendar. Great timing by the On Spec folks, I'd say, getting the issue out just before the real apocalypse. Well done. Well done on the issue, too, starting with the typical top-notch cover art, this time by Andrew Czarnietzki.

My story, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland," is a multi-verse spanning surreal fantasy love story (another neglected genre) where our heroes fight to save our universe on the last piece of real estate still in existence--a coffee shop. From the opening:

     The universe ended at noon.
     Again.
     A very particular universe--the one that held prisoner the creature the Walker loved most in the entire Continuum. The one that held her.
     At ten minutes before noon, the Walker strode out of the Shifting Borderland and into that universe. He landed, a phase shift to the left of local reality, beside a dusty two-lane highway running through a remarkably unremarkable town in a northern landmass on a planet called Earth.

...

This marks my third appearance in On Spec (the others being "The Red Bird" and "Memories of the Dead Man").  You can pick up a copy at many major retailers this month, or go for a subscription at the On Spec site. The magazine is close to offering ebook format subscriptions as well, so I'll soon have this great magazine on my Kobo.

Fantasy under the big top

I'd blogged earlier about the upcoming circus-themed fantasy anthology coming out from Prime Books and edited by the multi-talented Ekaterina Sedia. The anthology is now out and available. I know because I have my contributor copy in hand with its beautifully creepy cover. My story "Scream Angel" is included along with stories by such luminaries as Peter Straub and Howard Waldrop. The book is available at all the major retailers, including Amazon.com.  "Scream Angel" is SF, not fantasy, but there are definitely some fantasy elements to the story, and regardless, I'm extremely happy to be included in such a fine lineup of writers.

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