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The Giver by Lois Lowry is the one book on elementary/high school reading lists that Canadians our age remember fondly. Why is this, and why is the cover so darn memorable?

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Marie’s blog

Episode 26: Get Urras back to Anarres (Discussion of The Dispossessed)

Source of our theme song

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Kevan Manwaring is trying to define a new movement in fantasy he’s calling “Goldendark”. I can quibble about the name, which honestly ain’t great, but we’re well past due for another paradigm shift in fantasy literature, and Manwaring constructs an attractive and concrete thematic goal authors can aim for.

Mind you, Manwaring is participating in the “against grimdark” conversation that has been going on for years now; that is, a backlash against the perceived uptick of fantasy novels and stories with morally relativistic or amoral characters and settings, that emphasize violence and political machinations over other elements. The discussion around grimdark to this point has largely been dialectical: “old” vs. “new” fantasy, and as a result the periodic conversations tend to bog down in repeated arguments before fizzling out. People are still linking to my own stab at the subject from five years ago, much to my own bafflement. Continue Reading »

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The internet has provided ways for artists to skirt around traditional channels to get their work out to the public; web series are one of the more ambitious examples. We chat about our favourite web series and the idiosyncrasies of the medium.

Download the Podcast (archive.org page)

Marie’s blog

Episode 8: Eeee!

Source of our theme song

Web series mentioned:

The Guild
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Welcome to Sanditon
Emma Approved
The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy
Nothing Much to Do
Lovely Little Losers
The March Family Letters
Frankenstein M.D.
Job Hunters
LARPs
Humans and Households
Enter the Dojo
RWBY

 

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Keith Miller’s The Book of Flying (2004) seemed like the language-focused, flighty (ha!) novel I was in the mood for, complete with a glowing blurb from Ursula K. Le Guin splashed on the cover. And it was that, to a certain extent: it read easily, evoking a dream-like, metaphor-heavy world devoted entirely to artistic creation, fully of lovely imagery and wonderfully weird landscapes. Still, there were aspects that grew more and more irritating as I read on, causing eye-rolls and muttering that ultimately overshadowed anything good I might have to say. It’s a set of problems I can’t attribute so much to Miller himself as to a literary culture bent towards expressing its own importance, telling us artistic production is important and meaningful but retreating from attempts to explain why. The Book of Flying is a book in praise of books, a story purporting to be “about” stories but really seems to be about something else entirely; that is, making the reader feel good about being bookish. Continue Reading »

Short Fiction News

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Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction was released today and received a fantastic review on Tor.com from Haralambi Markov, with some attention given to my story “Strange Things Done.” Get the anthology from Exile EditionsAmazon.caAmazon.com, and Chapters-Indigo.

I’m also appearing in another Exile Editions anthology later this year, Those Who Make Us: Canadian Monsters, Creatures and Myths. You can view the table of contents here. “A New Bestiary” transplants medieval ideas on monstrosity into a cyberpunk-infused Montreal, and probably contains the most in-jokes out of anything I’ve ever written.

 

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We’re back! This time, we’re talking about adolescence, isolation and social anxiety in the anime series No Matter How I look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m not Popular! AKA, WataMote. Includes verbatim readings of entries from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and plenty of cringing.

Download the Podcast (archive.org page)

Marie’s blog

“Anxiety, Anger and Porn” – Alasdair Czyrnyj’s review of WataMote

Source of our theme song

Re-learning Art

As you might have guessed from the title, this blog started as a place to showcase artwork. Specifically, I was planning to delete my Facebook account after graduating from the University of Alberta and wanted an online place friends could still follow my antics, as well as a better spot to upload all the stupid comics I drew over my last two years in Edmonton. Well, that’s not at all what happened—I stayed on Facebook and even fell to the lure of Twitter (though, to be frank, I still have no idea what to do with that account), while this site drifted further and further away from its initial purpose. I’ve posted plenty of articles on history and various books, but haven’t posted a sketch here for years. Continue Reading »

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