Douglas Smith's blog

Talking about "Radio Nowhere" on the radio

Campus Chills anthology coverThanks to Mark Leslie (friend, fellow writer and editor of the most excellent anthology, Campus Chills), I recently had the chance to join Mark via telephone when he appeared in the studio on the syndicated "Night Fright" Radio Show talking about CAMPUS CHILLS with host Brent Holland.

The show also features fellow Campus Chills contributor, Nancy Kilpatrick, as well as Brent reading part of a hot "adult content" scene from Sephera Giron's story.

I've also had a couple of recent interviews around my new collection, Chimerascope, including a podcast interview with Joseph Planta on, and an interview with me in my local Markham paper, the Markham Economist & Sun.

You can find links to all of these interviews and more on my Interviews page.

"By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" Movie Trailer

I've written earlier on the indie film based on my short horror story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" by director Anthony Sumner of TinyCore Pictures. Anthony has finished the post-production work and is now ready to submit the film to festivals. The film will also be coming out as part of a horror movie DVD called "The Gallery of Fear." You can check out the official "By Her Hand..." web site for festival schedules, info on the cast and crew, and news and updates. Anthony has also posted the movie trailer there as well.


Help fight cancer -- support the Ride for the Cure

My friend and fellow creative person, Mici Gold, is currently training to bicycle over 200km over two days in the "Ride for the Cure" event in June. Mici has to raise $2,500 to be allowed to ride, and she needs your support. If you'd like to help make a difference for people suffering from cancer or whose families have been impacted by cancer, please consider supporting Mici in her ride by donating online here. Mici and everyone affected by cancer will thank you!

Last Chance to Enter Free Giveaway Contest for CHIMERASCOPE

Update: Contest closed April 9, 2010 Here's your last chance to enter the free giveaway contest for Chimerascope on Goodreads, the social networking site for book lovers. Here's the link to enter the contest. You have to be a Goodreads member, but that costs nothing, and if you love books, you'll enjoy this site. The giveaway contest ends shortly after midnight on April 9, so enter now for a chance to win one of two free copies.

My Ad Astra Schedule (Toronto, Apr 9-11)

I'll be appearing at Ad Astra, the excellent annual Toronto SF&F con in April. Ad Astra always features a strong literary program as well as the expected media focus. Location: Crowne Plaza Toronto Don Valley Hotel, 1250 Eglinton Avenue East. Here's my schedule for panels, signings, and readings, plus the official Toronto Chimerascope launch:

Fri 10:00 PM — Grassroots on Virtual Soil (Ballroom Centre) Word of mouth advertising has taken on a new life with current technologies. Learn how social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace can help advertise and build support for new books, movies, fan events and more. (Panelists: Matt Moore (m), Justine Lewkowicz, Douglas Smith, Cathy Palmer-Lister)

Sat 11:00 AM — ChiZine Publications Panel (Ballroom Centre) Beginning as the print off-shoot of Chiaroscuro, in less than two years, ChiZine Publications has grown into a small but influential player in independent genre publishing. CZP staff and authors discuss and answer questions about its growth in a bad time for publishing, the future of genre publishing, why a small press might be a better option for beginning writers, and how they have fun doing it. (Panelists: Brett Alexander Savory, Sandra Kasturi, Matt Moore Gemma Files, David Nickle, Claude Lalumiere, Douglas Smith, Helen Marshall, Laura Marshall, Erik Mohr, Bob Boyczuk)

Sat 1:00 PM — Autographs by Douglas Smith Dealers Room I'll be signing autographs and signing copies of my two collections, Chimerascope and Impossibilia, in the Dealers Room. You'll be able to buy copies of both as well.

Sat 3:00 PM — Beyond Wikipedia (Salon 443) Research techniques and pitfalls for writers. How do you know whether the information on the internet is accurate? What are your best reference sources, when are books better than the internet, and when (and how!) do you talk to an expert? (Panelists: Gabrielle Harbowy (m), Douglas Smith, Karin Lowachee, Bob Boyczuk, Justine Lewkowicz)

Sat 4:00 PM — Autograph Session (to 5:30) (Ballroom East) A large group of the author guests at Ad Astra will be at a group signing event for 90 minutes.

Sat 7:00-9:00 PM — Chimerascope Launch (as part of CZP Launch) (Antons') My publisher, ChiZine Publications, will be launching my collection, Chimerascope, along with Gemma Files' new novel, Book of Tongues. (Attendees: Brett Alexander Savory, Douglas Smith, Gemma Files, Matt Moore, Sandra Kasturi)

Sun 11:00 AM — Reading (Antons') I'll be reading, either from Chimerascope or from my Aurora short-listed story, "Radio Nowhere," along with friend and fellow CZP author, Claude Lalumiere.

Sun Noon-1:00 PM — "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" Movie screening and Discussion (Antons') I'll be screening an almost final cut of the indie film based on my horror short story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" and then discussing the story-to-film process with fellow ChiZine writer, David Nickle. Free giveaways of the official movie companion book.

Sun 2:00 PM — Dueling Openings (Ballroom Centre) Short fiction writers (all with collections out from CZP) take turns reading the opening lines of their published stories, and the audience chooses which opening(s) they like best. Authors discuss what makes a good opening, why they're important. (Panelists: Douglas Smith (m), Claude Lalumiere, David Nickle, Robert Boyczuk)


Chimerascope: An "A+" review in Fantasy Book Critic

Liviu Suciu provides another incredibly positive review of my new collection, Chimerascope in his Fantasy Book Critic review blog. Here are some excerpts:

"Douglas Smith's debut collection Impossibilia, which I reviewed last year and which has the lead story "Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh" (one of those rare "become a fan for life" pieces), made reading Chimerascope a must as soon as I have found out about it.

Adding that it has been published by Chi-Zine publications from whom I have read only quality works so far, and Chimerascope came with the highest expectations for me, and it matched them and more, with several mind-blowing stories in an ensemble of all-high-level ones. ...

The stories range from far-flung sf and time-travel, to fantasy-like landscapes and even towards straight horror, so Chimerascope, as befits its name, is a changeable entity, one that cannot be easily confined into a narrow pattern and will appeal to fans to all kinds of speculative fiction. ...

In conclusion. I would say that Chimerascope (A+ overall) confirms for me what Impossibilia affirmed, namely that Douglas Smith is an extraordinary author whom every lover of quality speculative fiction should read."

The review includes story-by-story reviews as well. You can read the entire review here.

Chimerascope: Starred review in Quill and Quire

Quill and Quire, the magazine of the Canadian book trade, gives Chimerascope a *starred* review:

"...Chimerascope is a massively enjoyable trek through the far-fetched, the horrifying, and the flat-out weird, all filtered through Smith's remarkable imagination and prodigious talent. ... Although Smith's tales may centre on the fantastic, what is immediately notable is his steady grasp of character, which lends humanity to even the most absurd situations. The stories in this collection traverse genres and styles -- from outright horror to witty surrealism to martial-arts mythology -- without missing a beat.

'The Boys are Back in Town,' set in a tavern managed by a fallen god, posits a reality where 'lawyers flirted with nymphs, tourists played pinball with satyrs, and professors debated hydras…Hydras aren’t too bright, but just try getting a word in against multiple heads.'

'The Dancer at the Red Door,' with its mix of oblique horror, urban fantasy, and monsters equipped with pincers extending 'from each side of a slit-like mouth,' recalls Clive Barker at his most disturbingly fanciful. 'State of Disorder' layers a time-travel scenario over a polite dinner between colleagues, with unsettling results. The closing story, the post-apocalyptic narrative 'Memories of the Dead Man,' contains echoes of Stephen King.

Chimerascope is a sterling set, with nary a weak or disposable entry. Smith's writing, evocative yet understated, gracefully brings to life his imagined realms.”

— Cory Redekop, Quill and Quire, Mar 2010

Glowing review of CHIMERASCOPE by American Library Journal

From the Library Journal(US) review of my collection, Chimerascope:

"From a bittersweet tale of love amid the savagery of human galactic conquest ("Scream Angel") to a postapocalyptic story of a righteous gunman known only as the Dead Man ("Memories of the Dead Man"), the 16 stories in this collection showcase the inventive mind and immense storytelling talent of one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction.

Covering the spectrum from sf ("Enlightenment") to horror ("By Her Hand, She Draws You Down") to fantasy ("The Boys Are Back in Town"), Smith writes with a keen eye for detail and atmosphere, crafting each story with wit and perception.

VERDICT: Twice winner of Canada's Aurora Award, Smith writes stories that will appeal to fans of such literary sf writers such as Jack Vance and Gene Wolfe."

Read more about Chimerascope, including reviews and excerpts here.

Researching "Radio Nowhere"

My short story, "Radio Nowhere," is one of five stories on this year's final ballot for Canada's Aurora Award. Before writing the story, I went back to the University of Waterloo campus (ever so many years after my student days) to do some research.

The trip was both nostalgic and a lot of fun. One of the advantages of being a writer is that people always seem willing to help you with your research, and you often get into some very cool places that you'd otherwise probably never get to see.

For this story, I had help from James "Road Dog" Walker, a veteran dj at the campus radio station, Radio Waterloo, CKNW 100.3. James gave me a tour of the station and patiently answered all of my questions about how a radio show actually works. Here's a shot on the right of one of the CKNW control rooms.


Rick Zalagenas, Director of Maintenance and Utilities at UW, was also extremely helpful in a key piece of research for the story: providing me with a tour of the infamous steam tunnels that run under the campus.

The tunnels were a thing of legend when I went to UW, and I'd heard the stories over the years, but had never actually been down into this labyrinth. They were just as creepy as I'd hoped and fit the story perfectly. The picture on the right shows a shot of one area of the tunnels.

Publishers Weekly Review of Chimerascope

From Publishers Weekly on my collection, Chimerascope:

"Smith’s second collection (after 2008’s Impossibilia) delivers an entertaining selection of stories that deftly span multiple genres, often milking surprisingly original tales out of tired tropes.

The Zelazny-inspired “The Boys Are Back in Town” nicely toes the line between quirky humor and pathos.

“State of Disorder,” featuring a classic mad scientist out for revenge, is a neat twist on time travel and quantum physics.

“Jigsaw,” a young adult tale, is a fun romp involving aliens and continental drift.

The best of the bunch, “By Her Hand, She Draws You Down,” is a haunting variant on the vampire legend with an understated and brutal ending."

And PW also had some very nice (and deserved) things to say about ChiZine Publications, my publisher for Chimerascope:

"ChiZine Press continues to hit the mark. I don't know what's in the water up in Canada, but it's turning out some great writers, and CZP is finding and publishing them with amazing alacrity. If I could subscribe to a publisher like a magazine or a book club—one flat annual fee to get everything they publish—I would subscribe to CZP. I think the only U.S. imprint I would say that about is Orbit, and CZP is just a touch better at hitting the literary-and-deeply-creepy mark that I love so much."

No surprise to me. CZP is great to work with and publishes a beautiful, high quality product in all of their books.


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