Douglas Smith's blog

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.

"Spirit Dance" picked for anthology of Aurora Award winners

My story, "Spirit Dance," has been picked for a new anthology from Nanopress entitled The Aurora Awards – Thirty Years of Canadian Science Fiction. Nanopress is a new small press based in Montreal, and their authors include Elizabeth Vonarburg.

Looking back, the road for "Spirit Dance" from birth to a "best of" antho seems like a long and strange one. It was the first story I ever wrote and the first I ever sold.

It appeared in Tesseracts6 in 1997, was a finalist for the Auroras in English the next year, and snagged an honourable mention for The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, all of which I thought at the time was pretty good for a first story. And that was where I figured it would end.

But then I discovered reprints, and foreign language reprints in particular.

I sold "Spirit Dance" to a great little (and now defunct) dark fantasy magazine in France, called Tenebres, whose editors kindly translated stories from English.

Once it appeared there, I was able to sell the translation to the excellent Quebec magazine, Solaris, which only takes subs in French. That translation, entitled "La Danse des Esprits," went on to win the French Aurora Award for short fiction in 2001, which then, almost a decade later, brings it to being picked for this Aurora Award anthology.

What a long strange trip it's been for the little story that could. "Spirit Dance" has been reprinted a total of eighteen times in several languages and was included in my mini-collection, Impossibilia in 2008. It's also the story on which I based my first novel, "Spirit Dreams."

Nomination period for 2010 Aurora Awards now open

The nomination period for the 2010 Aurora Awards is now open. Each year, the Auroras recognize the best in Canadian speculative fiction. This year my story "Radio Nowhere" is eligible to be nominated under "Best Short Form Work in English." "Radio Nowhere" appeared in the excellent Canadian anthology, Campus Chills (October 2009), edited by Mark Leslie. While the nomination period is open, I've put the full text of the story online here.

Anyone who is a Canadian citizen (not necessarily living in Canada), or a permanent resident may nominate a work for the Auroras. See here for a list of eligible 2009 works. Nominations can be done online or by mail-in ballot. Click the link below for access to the official Aurora Awards nomination site:

Nominating for the 2010 Aurora Awards

All nominations, both mail-in and online, must be submitted by February 8, 2010.

This will be the 29th year that the Canadian SF and Fantasy Association awards (the "Auroras") will be presented. On a per-capita basis, the Aurora Awards have the largest voter turnout of any national SF award in the world, exceeding that of the American-dominated Hugos, the Japanese Seiuns, the British Arthur C. Clarke Awards, and the Australian Ditmars.

Each year, a different convention or group hosts the awards. This year, they will be presented at KEYCON 27 in Winnipeg May 22-24, 2010.

Impossibilia in SF Crowsnest's Top 100 SF&F books of 2009

Hey cool! My first collection, Impossibilia is currently sitting at #43 on SF Crowsnest's Top 100 SF&F Books of 2009.

If you've read Impossibilia and liked it, please scoot over to the list and vote for it. Or for any book on the list that you enjoyed, for that matter--but, uh, mine would be the preferred choice, preferred by me anyway.

Additional story in hardcover editon of Chimerascope

If you order the signed, numbered, limited hardcover edition of my new collection, Chimerascope, you'll be getting an additional story that won't be included in the trade paperback editions. ChiZine Publications will be including "Murphy's Law" (reviews) in the hardcover. And an order for the hardcover also makes you eligible for the free book giveaway. Hardcover orders must be placed by Dec 31.

Chimerascope: Ordering period (and free give-away) extended

ChiZine Publications has decided to go with a single release date for both the limited hardcover and the trade paperback editions of all their new releases going forward, including my new collection, Chimerascope.

This means that the release date for the Chimerascope hardcover has been moved back to March 2010, to match the release of the trade paperback. They've also extended the ordering period for the hardcover to December 31, 2009. The limited, signed, and numbered hardcover edition is available only by pre-ordering.

And I'm also extending the free giveaway contest to Dec 31 as well. I'll be drawing three numbers from the pre-order list, and if you ordered one of those numbered editions, you'll receive a free copy of my first collection, Impossibilia (if you already have a copy of Impossibilia, I'll substitute a copy of the By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" Movie Companion Book).

"Jigsaw" in Greek, apparently with nipples

My story "Jigsaw" has been published in the Greek magazine, Ennea.

Now, "Jigsaw" was originally written for Odyssey, a YA SF anthology edited by Julie Czerneda in 2004, and being YA, I'm fairly certain my story didn't inspire the cover shown here at the right. Ennea is a weekly comic magazine supplement to a major Greek newspaper that publishes an SF story in each issue.

This is my fourth appearance in the magazine, so by now I'm used to their, uh, interesting covers (see here and here for covers from my earlier appearances).

Hey, it's a comic magazine, so their covers reflect their target audience of teenage boys. But the story did get published with a couple of illos that do reflect the story, shown here as well.

Spirit Dancing in Italy

My first (and most published) story, "Spirit Dance," appeared in June this year translated into Italian in the long-running magazine, Robot (cover to the left, by Stephan Martiniere).

Cool to be sharing cover credits with Lois McMaster Bujold and Robert Reed.

This is the 18th appearance and 14th language for this little tale, which is encouraging, seeing that this story was the genesis for my just-completed novel. A French translation of this story won the Aurora in 2001. "Spirit Dance" was included in my collection, Impossibilia.


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