Sunday, September 12, 2010

Living in the Genre Ghetto

Gentle reader,

I work on any number of projects for ChiZine Publications, but here is a big one that I've spent lots of time and energy on: The Toronto SpecFic Colloquium.  I know, you're asking: "What do we need another Toronto-based convention for?"  The thing is at most conventions it's very difficult to engage in any kind of sustained dialogue about the state of speculative fiction. In many ways, this is a very exciting time.  E-readers are opening up the potential for new avenues for publications, and, no doubt, will radically alter the way the books are created, distributed, and purchased. Canadian authors are receiving international recognition for their work in their own right -- not simply as adjuncts to the American market. At the same time, the recession has meant there's less money for new authors and for publishers, both small and mainstream.  The successes of The Da Vinci Code, Twilight and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo have encouraged publishers to seek out and promote bestsellers rather than nurturing new talent. As Leisure Publications suffers major setbacks and funding issues threaten the Sunburst Awards, there's also a growing sense of the challenges to be faced over the next few years.  Feelings of energy and enthusiasm, of new possibilities are mingling with fears for the future and what kind of publishing landscape might emerge...

Sandra Kasturi and I wanted to capitalize on the sense that we are living, industry-wise, in "interesting times" by bringing together a number of local authors -- new and experienced -- to share their thoughts on where Canadian speculative has been and where we are going.

The colloquium, a one-day event to launch the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, will deliver lectures by major names in the field on topics such as urban fantasy, cognitive science, queering the genre, and how Canadian science fiction is taking over the world, nicely.  The lectures will be followed by readings that showcase emergent and experienced Canadian speculative fiction writers.

Guests include Kelley Armstrong, Julie Czerneda, Guy Gavriel Kay, Tony Burgess, Gemma Files, Karl Schroeder, Peter Watts, David Nickle, Michael Rowe and Claude Lalumière. 

The Toronto SpecFic Colloquium will take place on Saturday October 23, 2010 in the Debates Room and Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle.   We've only got limited space so I encourage you to register at

For further information about the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium, visit