Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tesseracts 17 Interviews: Eileen Kernaghan

anthology, speculative fiction, SF, fantasy, Canadian authors

Tesseracts 17 will be out this fall with tales from Canadian writers that spans all times and places.

Today, I’m continuing the Tesseracts 17 interviews with Eileen Kernaghan, whose poem “Night Journey: West Coast” captures elements that have always been present in the Pacific rainforest. The anthology will be out from EDGE in the following weeks.

CA: Eileen, your poem “Night Journey: West Coast” brings out a spiritual and metamorphic quality to the forest. You’re a BC native. What do you find is the most magical aspect of the province?

Eileen: For me, it’s the forest. I grew up on a farm that bordered on  woods  and mountains.  The forest,  when I was a child , was a magical  kingdom, full of hidden groves and secret passageways.  It was where I spent a great deal of my time, and where I imagined a great many stories that have yet to be written.  But in the forest at night there’s a darker kind of magic.  I wrote “Night Journey”  after an unnerving trip from Courtenay to Nanaimo on the new island highway,  in darkness, fog  and driving rain.  Quite co-incidentally, we had the music from Twin Peaks on the cassette player.  I really felt that if we veered from that black ribbon of highway, we could vanish forever.

CA: Are you done exploring the land here in terms of fiction or do you think new ideas are sprouting from the rich earth all the time?

Eileen: I’m not sure about fiction, but I’m certain  there’ll be more poems.

CA: What other encounters have you written about that involve the forest or the supernatural qualities of the land?

women in writing, horror, dark fantasy, dark fiction

Eileen Kernaghan is an award winning writer.

Eileen: What comes to mind is my most often published poem, which  appeared in an early Tesseracts. “Tales from the Holograph Woods” compares an imagined future landscape where there are no more forests, with an “older physics” where the land was a living entity . (One of  the places where it appeared was Witness to Wilderness: The Clayoquot Sound Anthology, which rose out of the protest of 1993. ) As to personal encounters—several poems came out of a  visit to  Stonehenge, Avebury and Glastonbury,  where  the magical qualities of the land are inescapable.  My novel Sarsen Witch, which is about earth magic, was written before that trip, but when (thanks to a letter of permission from English Heritage)  I was able to stand one late evening in the centre of the Stonehenge circle, I knew that I’d pretty much got things right.

 Eileen Kernaghan’s speculative poetry collection Tales From the Holograph Woods (Wattle & Daub Books, 2009)  draws its themes from science fiction, myth and magic, dark fantasy and fairy tales. Eileen is also the author of eight historical fantasy novels that reflect her fascination with other times and places, from the prehistoric Indus Valley to Victorian England. She was shortlisted in 2009 for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, and in 2005 for the Sheila Egoff Prize for Children’s Literature. Her latest novel, Sophie, in Shadow, is set in India under the Raj, circa 1914. It will be published by Thistledown Press in spring 2014.

www.eileenkernaghan.ca     http://www.eileen-kernaghan.blogspot.com

 

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Tesseracts 17 Interviews: Claude Lalumière

anthology, speculative fiction, SF, fantasy, Canadian authors

Tesseracts 17 will be out this fall with tales from Canadian writers that spans all times and places.

Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast (Canada has three coasts) is due out in October, from Edge Publishing. It features stories and poetry by Canadians and  those living in Canada. Edited by Steve Vernon and me, we were lucky enough to end up with at least one piece from every province and territory (Canada has three territories) except for Nunavut.  I’m doing short interviews with all of the authors over the next few months, so stay tuned to find out a little bit more about the authors and their pieces. The anthology begins with British Columbia, where Claude Lalumière was living at the time, and opens with his story “Vermilion Wine.”

CA: “Vermilion Wine” opens the the Tesseracts 17 anthology. Steve and I were immediately impressed and swept in by the mystical, mysterious feel of this piece. How did you come up with the idea of Venera, a shadow city to Venice, and is this anything like other mythical cites, such as  Shangri-la, Avalon, Bette Noire or Brigadoon?

writing, speculative fiction, fantasy, Tesseracts, Sf, Canadian authors

Claude Laumière is the author of many stories and has edited 12 anthologies including, Edge’s Tesseracts 12.

Claude:  I first conceived of Venera during my first visit to Venice in 2006. I was tremendously seduced by the sensuality of the place. I had just visited the (now defunct) Museum of Erotica (upon which is based the similar museum featured in “Vermilion Wine”) and Venera popped into my head while riding the vaporetto — the Venetian waterbus. I wasn’t consciously trying to come up with anything, but surrounded by the water and by the architecture of Venice, Venera started to take shape in my mind. Bits of Rome and Barcelona — both of which I also visited for the first time in 2006 — also contributed to the tapestry of Venera. “Vermilion Wine” was written during my third trip to Italy, in spring 2012. Venera is not so much kin to those mythical lands you mention, but more of a thematic hybrid of Ursula Le Guin’s Orsinia and J.G. Ballard’s Vermilion Sands, with perhaps echoes of Arthur Byron Cover’s strange future from his related novels Autumn Angels and An East Wind Coming and of Michael Moorcock’s End of Time society.

CA: Obviously, mythical lands have fueled human imagination for centuries. What do you think draws us to them? Are they all Edens or are some Hells?

Claude: Neither. I think it’s the romance of the unknown — that there might still be places in the world left to discover. That we can never know everything or everywhere.

CA: Will we see other Venera stories or are you done with this idea?

 Claude: Actually, I’m working on a book-length mosaic of stories about Venera. The project is called VENERA DREAMS, and “Vermilion Wine” is the fifth episode to appear. Venera first appeared online in “The City of Unrequited Dreams” in Chiaroscuro #43 (January 2010); it next showed up in “Vermilion Dreams: The Complete Works of Bram Jameson” in Tesseracts 14, then a third episode, “Xandra’s Brine” was published in the Dagan Books anthology Fish; more recently, “The Hecate Centuria” appeared online at Three-Lobed Burning Eye #23 (May 2013). There’s more on the way, too, but I can’t talk about those yet. I maintain a page on my website about the progress of the VENERA DREAMS project: http://lostmyths.net/claude/?page_id=1978

Claude Lalumière (lostmyths.net/claude) is the author of two books: the collection Objects of Worship (2009) and the mosaic novella The Door to Lost Pages (2011). He has edited or co-edited twelve anthologies, the most recent of which is Super Stories of Heroes & Villains. With Rupert Bottenberg, Claude is the co-creator of the multimedia cryptomythology project Lost Myths (lostmyths.net). Originally from Montreal, Claude is now something of a nomad.

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Demographics of My Blog

Since I’m on a demographics kick I thought I’d post about the countries that have viewed my blog. While I’ve been writing for about 5 years, WordPress only started doing the country demographics in February of 2012. So who reads my blog? The top ten countries might be who you would expect. After all, I write in English, so the Engligh speaking nations are at the top. Plus, I’m Canadian but Canada isn’t number one. This might be because we have a relatively small population for a rather larger land mass. Of course, we modern, pampered people tend to live more toward the southern border because it’s just much nicer than freezing your ass off. And to all the Inuit, I admire the ancestral hardiness that let you survive and prosper in the Arctic, but it’s not for me.

So yes, the US is my number one reading country. We have that close proximity and the masses to bolster the readers. Canada is in second place with the Brits not far behind. Sorry, Scotland, you guys are considered part of Great Britain, but the Republic of Ireland is separate. Fourth most populous readers is India. Not only do India and China have about a third of the world’s population but one of my more popular posts was Betel Nut Adventures.

Fifth place goes to the Ozzies. Hello, Down Under. If you haven’t done so, check out the blogger from New Zealand, Ms Bunny.Eats.Design. Great fun. Next come the Philippines and Brazil. I’m not sure what draws readers to my site but I’ve written about many things so something catches the eye.

The last three spots in the top ten readers fall to Germany, the Netherlands and France. I was in the Netherlands two years ago and loved it, especially Delft and Den Bosch. Germany and France, I’ll be visiting you in about a month and I hope to post about my travels.

From polgeonow.com

From polgeonow.com

As fascinating, at the other end of the demographics are all those countries where one lone soul found me: New Caledonia, Mauritania, Togo, Anguilla, Djibouti, Congo, Malawi, Faeroe Islands, Andorra, Somalia, Swaziland, Palau, Solomon Islands, Turks and Caicos, and Cuba. What’s fascinating is that I haven’t even heard of some of these places:  Marshal Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Kiribati, Gabon. I’ve learned something new about the world.

In fact, I can say almost all of the world has seen my blog. Here are the countries who haven’t found me yet: Greenland, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Then there is a strip in Africa: Zambia, Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Madagascar. I would hazard a guess that Greenland might have issues of connectivity. Whereas the other nations might be too impoverished or in political unrest (or they don’t speak English). It’s just a guess because I’m certainly not up on all the African nations but it’s my best surmise.

I can’t say how accurate WordPress’s map is in showing all countries but it’s interesting to think that we can reach most of the world these days. Even if most of the world doesn’t speak English, there are smatterings everywhere.  I’d be interested in some of the less frequent visiting countries to hear what drew you to my blog. In the meantime, it was fun to see what countries have stopped by. Keep on dropping in.

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Writing: Demographics of Tesseracts 17 Part III

anthology, speculative fiction, SF, fantasy, Canadian authors

Tesseracts 17 will be out in October, with tales from Canadian writers that spans all times and places.

I’m sorry that I’ve been so busy that I’ve had little time to write. In about a month I’ll be on my way to Europe and before that, Tesseracts 17 will be released. We’ll be doing a promo interview session on Bitten by Books so stay tuned for more information there. Plus, a reading is scheduled at Bakka Books in Toronto on Oct. 19 and David Jon Fuller, one of our authors will be reading at the Chi Reading Series in Winnipeg on Oct. 9.

Now, I’ve spent a great deal of time working out the demographics of Tesseracts 17, mostly because I was curious. Should I edit another anthology I would track from the beginning. Here I’ve tried to map the genres of the submissions. This is the most subjective list of all. One, I didn’t track all of the stories  so I may not remember what the story is about from the title and the notes. On top of that, every reader and writer will see a story differently. Is a zombie story a horror story, a science fiction story or fantasy? In fact, it can be any of those and sometimes more than one. And I don’t remember all of the stories that well, so the table has an added inaccuracy.

I found as I was starting to list the stories that I couldn’t just say “fantasy.” That’s far too broad a genre umbrella, so I started to list what type of fantasy.  Some of these are tropes more than genres. Was it fairies or mind control or shape shifting?  What about the steampunk wendigo story? Fantasy and SF or just fantasy? And yes there were a few themes that showed up more than once. While the wendigo stories could fit under the subgenre of mythic creatures, they are a specific type of beast, like zombies and vampires, and because there was more than one, they deserved their own heading. Interesting to note, of the three specifically Canadian mythic beasties (wendigo, sasquatch, ogopogo–and there may be more I don’t know about. Maybe Steve can fill in others from the opposite coast) only wendigo appeared in the submissions. ,You, dear reader, can add up the numbers yourself, because yes, I’ve probably spent over a dozen hours on all of the demographics.

This table could have been bigger or smaller. For instance, tales involving gods got shoved under mythic beings/other creatures. I didn’t single out the three tales that involved wine though you’ll read Claude Lalumiere’s tale of wine in the anthology. There were Western flavored tales and hillbilly talk, several brutish husbands with chickenshit wives (these were too cliche), cartoons, historical/alternative histories, Jewish and Asian fantasies, dragons, winged cats, chickens and cows. Yes, even vengeful cows. We do have a historical fantasy with Patricia Robertson’s beautiful tale, and a couple end of the world stories. If anyone is interested I will break down the stories in the anthology into the genres I think they are. It would be interesting to see how Steve would classify them.

The table is read from the left column first. So if I thought a story was predominantly bizarre or metaphorical with a dollop of descent into madness, it went in the left-hand spot for bizarre. If I thought it was descent into madness with a dollop of bizarre it would go into the left-hand spot for madness. Rhea Rose’s story fits in that second category. I’ve colored the table to differentiate the categories: yellow=SF, green=fantasy, blue=horror. So Rhea’s story is colored horror.

WordPress is not easy for inserting tables and spredsheets,  so I’ve attached it. Click on  Genre chart and you’ll be able to see the list. Remember, the numbers won’t match the original demographics because I didn’t include the poems, nor about 35 stories where I couldn’t remember if they were SF, horror or fantasy.

I’m done with the demographics and will be starting to put in short interviews with the authors that will probably span the next few months. I’d like to say I’ll get two in a week but it all depends on time. So in the meantime, enjoy the demographics and look for Tesseracts 17 in October.

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