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.
     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  "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.

Join my mailing list and get a free ebook

Just a reminder about my spiffy new spiffy mailing list. If you were subscribed to my old list, I've added you to the new list. For interested new subscribers, I promise that I will never spam you and will only send information on my writing life, including new books and stories that are coming out, award news, events that I will be attending, etc.. By signing up, you'll be eligible for contests and free giveaways, exclusive writing content such as extracts from upcoming works and works in progress, plus sales and special offers on my books in my online bookstore. You can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, as a thank you for signing up, for a limited time, I will send each new subscriber a free short story ebook. So now is the time to sign-up.

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Thanks for your continued interest in my writing!

New review and screening for "By Her Hand..." Movie

By Her Hand Movie Book coverThe movie review site Hacked in the Head (gee, do you think that maybe they focus on horror movies?) has a new review of Anthony Sumner's indie movie based on my short story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down": 

"A haunting tale of hunger,depression and subtle vampirism. … Fantastic and compelling performances elevate the bleak and unsettling plot into a short film demanding of your attention. Both leads create characters filled with despair, desperation and a yearning for a better life and this comes across all too well. … A horror film not to be ignored."

Very nice to see that the little flick is still getting attention, and positive attention at that. You can read the whole review here.

And it doesn't stop there. The film is being given a special screening on November 11 at the New York City Horror Fest. And (hopefully), the DVD anthology, The Gallery of Fear, which includes By Her Hand..., will be released in 2013, once a distribution deal is settled. 

New ebook edition of IMPOSSIBILIA available now

I have just released a new edition of the ebook version of my first collection, Impossibilia. Unlike the hardcover editions and the first ebook edition from PS Publishing, this edition contains story afterwords and notes, as well as excerpts from other stories, plus an excerpt from my upcoming novel, The Wolf at the End of the World.  This edition is also a lot cheaper at $3.99. Plus it still features that great cover art by Fernando Molinari.

Aurora Award Finalist
Collection | 3 novelettes, 97 pages | introduction by Chaz Brenchley
Ebook edition (all formats)

“Highly, highly recommended” —Fantasy Book Critic

Buying links

Here are a bunch of different buying links for the new ebook edition:

​And if you're interested in one of the print editions, here are they buying links for those, including how to request a signed personalized print edition from me directly:


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