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On Spec: The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic #85

On Spec: The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic #85
On Spec
In 1989, a small group of Edmonton writers formed The Copper Pig Writers Society in order to fill a niche in Canada. At the time, there was no paying market for literary works that the major American SF & Fantasy magazines deemed to be too "alien" for their audiences.

English-speaking Canadian SF writers were frustrated with having to "Americanize" their stories for the paying markets. Knowing there was an audience hungry for thoughtful, intelligent (often unconventional) SF and Fantasy with a uniquely Canadian perspective they put together an issue and sold out the initial print run of a test issue filled with stories sent by invitation.

On Spec Website

A review by Sandra Scholes

On Spec: The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic #85 Vol. 23 No. 2 is a magazine of fantasy and science fiction, yet it is broader than that. It is well designed, compact and, unlike most other mainstream magazines, it is small enough to carry in a bag. It is made up of three distinct elements -- poetry, fiction and non-fiction. A.E. Weber and Eryn Hiscock provide the poetry, "Dust to Dust," and "The Life Cycle of Clouds." The poetry is smooth and subtle, but hugely evocative.

This magazine is a combination of different themes that make it rather readable just from being different. In the editorial section, there are the writers of previous issues being discussed; Joanna Russ, renowned author of The Female Man, essayist and academic who sadly died, Candas Jane Dorsey and a certain young writer who becomes a guest editor in this issue. One of the more interactive parts of this publication is that the editor also requires input from readers about a reading list that they can suggest for the magazine. This is so that other readers can get the best out of it. In connection with this; he draws reader's attention to the Sunburst Award, which entails three and a half pages worth of books in several different categories that makes enjoyable reading.

"A Planet of One's Own," is this month's Guest Editorial by successful writer Hiromi Goto, which can be interrupted as more of an essay than an editorial piece that shows readers information. This is more of an opinion filled piece about the difference between the genres of fantasy and science fiction. "Steve Stanton: Writing With Faith and Hope For the Future," is an author interview by Roberta Laurie. She learns about Steve Stanton and his working life as a self-employed entrepreneur at a digital print shop in the late 90s which led to his creating his own Indie Print company. He explains the creative process for him, and his inspiration from science fiction and cyber-punk, but also that he is slower than most writers at getting his work completed. Readers can gain a definite insight into the author's world, his interests and which writers he likes the best.

Apart from the short stories in this volume, the highlight of the entire magazine is the Artist Interview with Dan O'Driscoll by Cat McDonald. She asks about O'Driscoll's background and early influences in art. The interview is propped up with several high quality black and white pieces of his computer rendered artwork. This acts as a showcase for his talent, and anything else can be viewed on his web site. It would have been better if the art had been in full colour as the cover art was -- I can imagine it would have looked fantastic.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra is amazed at the excellent weather at the moment and hopes it will turn into something that English residents recognise as summer (we don't get it that often.) She writes for websites, blogs and magazines such as Love Romance Passion, Love Vampires, and The Chronicles.

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