Northern Suns: The New Anthology of Canadian Science Fiction

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9780312864620: Northern Suns: The New Anthology of Canadian Science Fiction
Review:

Northern Suns is the second anthology of Canadian science fiction from Hartwell and Grant (following Northern Stars). Grant's introductory essay describes the anthology's 21 stories "ranging from hard science fiction to visionary fantasy, from the horrific to the hilarious. Plus an essay by John Clute, and an updated reference list of the winners of the major Canadian SF and fantasy awards." Writers include Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, and W.P. Kinsella, all of whom are better known for mainstream fiction; Nalo Hopkinson, Geoff Ryman, and Cory Doctorow, whose names are most connected with SF and fantasy; and writers like Eric Choi, Sally McBride, and Alain Bergeron, known to Canadians but not yet familiar to American readers.

Grant argues that Canadian SF is distinctive for three reasons. First, unlike British or American SF, Canadian SF didn't evolve from commercial pulp fiction but was published by literary presses. Second, French Canadian authors bring the influence of French and other European SF--"tending toward surrealism, allegory, and folktale"--to bear. And finally, because Canadian SF has been shaped equally by men and women. In his essay, Clute suggests that it's a genre of solitary survivors who transcend human boundaries, unanchored in communities or extrapolated science and technology. Certainly it provides well-written, genre-bending entertainment, which will leave the reader eager to sample more. --Nona Vero

From Kirkus Reviews:

A companion volume to the 1994 hardcover collection of science fiction stories, Northern Stars (not reviewed), presenting 22 further pieces by Canadian authors``Canadian'' being defined in the loosest possible sense. This time, speculative fiction in very mixed modes takes over from SF, though the entries are drawn mostly from the middle and late 1990s. In Margaret Atwood's intriguing ``Freeforall,'' deadly STDs are rife, so that in order to prevent their spread, men become chattels or are abandoned to their fate; with its reverberations of The Handmaid's Tale, the tale reads like an SF novel-in-waiting. W. P. Kinsella offers an amusing short-short on the Japanese commercial invasion, while Karl Schroeder's recently settled planet is threatened by rogue colonists from space; Nancy Kilpatrick uncovers some nasty goings-on down on the farm; Robertson Davies entertains an odd, vinegar-swilling visitor; and Geoff Ryman's novella ``Fan'' is reprinted from Unconquered Countries. Critic John Clute wonders if theres a distinctive Canadian SF (no, but a particular conceptual approach, pioneered by A.E. van Vogt, may be close to it). Elsewhere, as you might expect, are three translations from French-language originals and several alternate-history variants involving Quebec having separated from Canada. Not to mention a solitary alien castaway (Sally McBride); a historical fantasy involving the astronomer Tycho Brahe (Scott Mackay); post-disaster surrealism (Ursula Pflug); acquisitive aliens (Cory Doctorow); and vampires, crash-test dummies, photography, and plague. Pleasingly eclectic and worth a try for story fans. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Hartwell, David G. & Glenn Grant, Editors
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Book Description Tor Books, 2000. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. 1st Edition. Collection of speculative fiction stories by Canadian authors. Includes stories by W.P. Kinsella, Nancy Kilpatrick, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood and more. 22 stories provide an introduction to science fiction and other speculations from our northern neighbors. 382 pages. Appendix lists Canadian SF awards. Published @ $15.95. Bookseller Inventory # 12344

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