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SpecFic Colloquium Offers First Serious Discussion about Canadian Speculative Fiction

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From our friends at the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium:

On October 23, 2010, Toronto hosted the first SpecFic Colloquium bringing authors, editors and readers together to explore the state of speculative fiction — horror, science fiction, fantasy — in Canada.

“The first rule of Canadian speculative fiction is we don’t talk about Canadian speculative fiction,” says co-organizer Helen Marshall. “We tend to get subsumed into the American market, and the purpose of this event was to get Canadians talking about who we are and where we are going.” The day-long event, sponsored by ChiZine Publications, included notable authors such as Peter Watts, Karl Schroeder, Michael Rowe, and Kelley Armstrong.

A range of topics were discussed including urban fantasy, cognitive science, and the spread of Canadian science fiction, but the overriding emphasis was on building a sense of community. Julie Czerneda, author of In the Company of Others, urged writers to promote one another and share market information. Michael Rowe and Gemma Files, on the other hand, discussed the politics of marginalized groups within the broader literary community in their joint panel "Queering the Genre." The overwhelming consensus at end of the day was that Canadian speculative fiction offers more than an extra 'u' and the occasional hockey reference.

The success of the event depended on its unique format: a series of forty-five minute talks by major authors in an intimate environment. According to Montreal writer and journalist Claude Lalumiere, the academic-inspired structure allowed for “an effervescent environment for exchanging and playing with ideas.” Co-organizers Sandra Kasturi and Helen Marshall have already begun to plan for 2011.

For videos and transcripts of the lectures, visit our website: http://specfic-colloquium.com. For further information about the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium, please contact Helen Marshall at Helen@chizinepub.com or by phone at 416-550-4133.

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