I’m happy to be able to attend and panel at Can-Con again this year, after missing out in 2015 because of travels. It’s my favourite SFF con; many of my friends are there, it’s a ten-minute walk from my home, and it’s growing by leaps and bounds every year so it’s fun to watch the evolution. I always meet interesting people there, as well, and I’m happy my city gets to host SFF fans, writers and publishers. Much praise for the organizers, who are so good about putting out feelers and staying on top of what needs to be done to make Can-Con welcoming and energetic. Looking forward to this weekend —here’s a list of panels I’ll be on, and my fellow panellists:
Friday 8pm – STORY STRUCTURE
With: Leah Bobet, Sam Morgan, Nina Munteanu, Sheila Williams
Saturday 11am – WHY DOESN’T EPIC FANTASY GET ANY CRITICAL RESPECT, OR DOES IT?
With: S.M. Carrière, Peter Halasz, Evan May, Ed Willett
Saturday 5pm – CAN THE EXORCIST WORK IN THE MODERN WORLD?
With: Madeline Ashby, Timothy Carter, Matt Moore, Mike Remar
So happy that Issue 6 is finally out, the more so because it contains a breathtaking story by L.S. Johnson that was originally slated for Issue 4 (“Institutions”). Her tale, “Littoral Drift,” deserves to be out in the world. I’m also pleased that this issue contains not one but two formally experimental pieces, by U.K. author/academic Steven Earnshaw, and New York author/academic Michael Cisco. (Um, yes — a large portion of our contributors are PhDs. This surprises no one.) Lackington’s always wants stories that play with traditional prose structure as well as language, so I’m tickled. It’s an added privilege to be able to feature a fragment of Cisco’s amazing, yet-to-be-published novel, UNLANGUAGE, another section of which appeared in Postscripts to Darkness Volume 5.
Lackington’s Issue 5 is bursting with beldams, so I suppose it’s anagram-ably fitting that the cover features a god of bedlam, the magnificent Dionysus. Lackington’s covers aren’t commissioned to match issue themes,* but this one worked out, in a way. My friend, the equally magnificent Derek Newman-Stille of Speculating Canada, had done interior artwork for the magazine before, and when I asked him for a cover, our mutual love for all things Dionysian resulted in an image I couldn’t be happier with. Thank you, talented one! I hope you never stop painting. (Readers: check out Derek’s portfolio. ‘Tis beauty.)
*I give each cover artist only two instructions: that the image feature books and that it give some sense, even if just fleeting or symbolic, of the late eighteenth century, in honour of the magazine’s namesake. I’m always delighted to see how each artist interprets that request.
Lackington’s Issue 4 was sent to subscribers and went on sale October 28, and now it’s free to read for everyone on the website (please do consider supporting us if you’re a happy reader). This issue contains five stories that tell of “institutions” material and otherwise, and has already garnered some wonderful attention from reviewers I admire. Charlotte Ashley wrote up Penny Stirling’s remarkable experimental piece about a parliament of birds for Apex Magazine‘s “Clavis Aurea” review series, while Amal El-Mohtar, over at Tor.com‘s “Rich and Strange” review series, has expounded on the connections between two pieces of science fiction I am proud to have been able to include in Lackington’s: Rose Lemberg’s “Stalemate” and Kate Heartfield’s “Bonsaiships of Venus.” These readers are the market we work for, so our satisfaction runs deep. It fills me with wonder to discover such impressive fiction in the submissions box and to have that fiction noticed and written about so beautifully and perceptively after the fact. I don’t think these thrills will ever wear off.
I’ll be participating on four panels at Can-Con, October 3-5. I was delighted to be asked for some ideas about panels this year, one of which is close to my heart: a discussion about the place of poetic, experimental, or maximalist prose styles in SFF fiction today (“Stop Counting Adjectives”). It’ll also be fun to jog my expertise about the history of execution and representations of execution on the “Crime and Punishment” panel. I’m looking forward not just to the discussions but to the overall gathering, which brings friends in from out of town for conversations, readings, and amazing South Asian suppers. My schedule is below; I’ll also be in the Dealer’s Room at times, staffing the Postscripts to Darkness table with co-editor Sean Moreland and cover artist extraordinaire Cherry Valance.
So delighted that one of my favourite-ever tales came into the world today, published in The Future Fire, Issue 30. I’ve always wanted to write an Ossian lay, near-fourteeners and all, and yes, I admit it’s programmatic as heck. This is what happens when a writer has to watch her government edge out of liberal democracy and into authoritarianism: heavy-handed allegory. It’s cathartic.