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Tesseracts Nine: New Canadian Speculative Fiction

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Tesseracts Nine, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman, features twenty-three stories and poems that expand and showcase the dimensions of speculative fiction with startling visions of the future by new and established Canadian authors. (including English translations of works by French-Canadian authors).  Presenting a wide variety of material from absurdist humour, poe Tesseracts Nine, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman, features twenty-three stories and poems that expand and showcase the dimensions of speculative fiction with startling visions of the future by new and established Canadian authors. (including English translations of works by French-Canadian authors).  Presenting a wide variety of material from absurdist humour, poetry, and vampires, to time travel to illustrate a just a few of the topics.    The later stories and poems explore the themes of loss and death without becoming pessimistic or depressing.  Included in this anthology are:     •  A Canadian identity? No, thanks by Geoff Ryman (Introduction)     •  Lemmings in the Third Year by Jerome Stueart     •  Principles of Animal Eugenetics by Yves Meynard     •  Mom and Mother Teresa by Jane Dorsey     •  Fin-de-siecle by E.L. Chen     •  Thought and Memory by Alette J. Willis     •  Jimmy Away to Me by Sarah Totton     •  Before the Altar on the Feast of Souls by Marg Gilks     •  Newbie Wrangler by Timothy J. Anderson     •  Light Remembered by Daniel Sernine     •  The Singing by Dan Rubin       •  See Kathryn Run by Elisabeth Vonarburg     •  Mirrors by Rene Beaulieu     •  Omphalos by Pat Forde     •  Writing on the Wall by Steve Stanton     •  Mayfly by Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy     •  Our Lady of the Snows by Nancy Kilpatrick      •  Final Thoughts by Nalo Hopkinson (postscript) Other showcased authors are: Casey Wolf, Claude Lalumiere, Allan Weiss, Sylvie Berard, Anthony McDonald, and Jason Mehmel Poets: Sandra Kasturi and Rhea Rose-Fleming Contributor biographies are at the back of the book.


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Tesseracts Nine, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman, features twenty-three stories and poems that expand and showcase the dimensions of speculative fiction with startling visions of the future by new and established Canadian authors. (including English translations of works by French-Canadian authors).  Presenting a wide variety of material from absurdist humour, poe Tesseracts Nine, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman, features twenty-three stories and poems that expand and showcase the dimensions of speculative fiction with startling visions of the future by new and established Canadian authors. (including English translations of works by French-Canadian authors).  Presenting a wide variety of material from absurdist humour, poetry, and vampires, to time travel to illustrate a just a few of the topics.    The later stories and poems explore the themes of loss and death without becoming pessimistic or depressing.  Included in this anthology are:     •  A Canadian identity? No, thanks by Geoff Ryman (Introduction)     •  Lemmings in the Third Year by Jerome Stueart     •  Principles of Animal Eugenetics by Yves Meynard     •  Mom and Mother Teresa by Jane Dorsey     •  Fin-de-siecle by E.L. Chen     •  Thought and Memory by Alette J. Willis     •  Jimmy Away to Me by Sarah Totton     •  Before the Altar on the Feast of Souls by Marg Gilks     •  Newbie Wrangler by Timothy J. Anderson     •  Light Remembered by Daniel Sernine     •  The Singing by Dan Rubin       •  See Kathryn Run by Elisabeth Vonarburg     •  Mirrors by Rene Beaulieu     •  Omphalos by Pat Forde     •  Writing on the Wall by Steve Stanton     •  Mayfly by Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy     •  Our Lady of the Snows by Nancy Kilpatrick      •  Final Thoughts by Nalo Hopkinson (postscript) Other showcased authors are: Casey Wolf, Claude Lalumiere, Allan Weiss, Sylvie Berard, Anthony McDonald, and Jason Mehmel Poets: Sandra Kasturi and Rhea Rose-Fleming Contributor biographies are at the back of the book.

30 review for Tesseracts Nine: New Canadian Speculative Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ursula Pflug

    The following review appeared in The Peterbrough Examiner in December, 2005. It was reprinted in The New York Revioew of Science Fiction in January, 2006. One of the things I like about GoodReads is it provides a second or third home for my reviews. They're quite time consuming to enter, though, and I have a feeling I might not get to them all. Tesseracts Nine, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman Calgary: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2005; C$20.95 tpb; 390 pages reviewed by Ursula Pflug 95 The following review appeared in The Peterbrough Examiner in December, 2005. It was reprinted in The New York Revioew of Science Fiction in January, 2006. One of the things I like about GoodReads is it provides a second or third home for my reviews. They're quite time consuming to enter, though, and I have a feeling I might not get to them all. Tesseracts Nine, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman Calgary: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2005; C$20.95 tpb; 390 pages reviewed by Ursula Pflug 957 words Tesseracts is the more or less biannual Canadian anthology of speculative fiction. The first Tesseracts anthology was edited in 1985 by Judith Merril, the iconoclastic American expat writer and editor who took up residence in Toronto in the late ’60s, along with her enormous collection of sf books, and now has a library named after her. Which brings us to Tesseracts Nine. The publisher, Tesseract Books has recently been purchased by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy. Each volume, two Canadian editors perform the task of selection from hundreds of submitted stories, and, as editorial taste is subjective and personal, each Tesseracts volume has a slightly different flavour. I looked forward to this volume, as Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman are two of my favourite writers of Canadian sf, if indeed such a thing exists; they set out to prove it does not. Are Canadians still struggling with an inferiority complex, due to the behemoth south of us? Are we still trying to prove we’re just as good? Hopkinson, author of Midnight Robber and the IMPAC/Dublin nominated The Salt Roads, and Ryman, author of Air and The Unconquered Country, are themselves proof that no such fears need exist. As is this entire volume. This is a hefty Tesseracts: there are 23 stories and poems, some translated from the French. It’s a little-recognized fact that we have a healthy community of speculative writers publishing in French, many of whom see publication in France as well as Quebec long before their work is translated for Anglo-Canadian and American audiences. A selection from these: space colonization hasn’t been among my favourite sub genres since I was eleven, yet René Beaulieu’s “Mirrors” is a fresh (and squeamish-making) take on hard choices made in the name of survival. Élisabeth Vonarburg’s “See Kathryn Run” (reminiscent in both theme and title to the German film Run Lola Run) is as challenging, enigmatic, and multi-layered as Vonarburg’s novels, a toothsome combo to this reviewer. Yves Meynard’s “Principles of Animal Eugenetics” is skilfully written, hilarious and sickening by turns. Which brings us back to subjectivity: the reviewer has personal predilections as much as the editor. My favourites beyond the three mentioned above include Nancy Kilpatrick’s acutely empathetic and insightful Montreal story, “Our Lady Of The Snows,” about a poverty-bound, solitary pensioner and her discovery of transformative magic by way of a Madonna statue; Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy’s “Mayfly,” about a little girl whose artificially enhanced mind won’t fit into her body and the grief that ensues; Candas Jane Dorsey’s “Mom and Mother Theresa,” a humorous tale about the perils and rewards of opening one’s doors to the less fortunate; and Alette J. Willis’s “Thought and Memory,” about two crows who help an ex-urbanite move on from the death of her lover. Pat Forde’s “Omphalos” is a long, complicated, ambitious and ultimately successful tale about the power of media in shaping current global conflicts, and is spooky in its astute analysis of how television news audiences are being manipulated at every turn. A second read could compel me to choose different favourites. Tim Anderson’s “Newbie Wrangler” takes on not just the nature of the afterlife but the struggles of relief workers via a dreamlike weave between many states. Sarah Totton’s “Jimmy Away to Me” is satisfyingly creepy, about two college students who access another realm they love more than this one, and the beauties and dangers inherent in such an exploration. Its mood of Yeatsian Celtic twilight took me right back to the childhood summer my sister and I fought over Alan Garner’s The Owl Service. And the difficulty of teaching the scientific method to talking lemmings is irresistibly told, in Jerome Stueart’s “Lemmings In The Third Year.” The volume is about evenly divided between fantasy or magic realism and science fiction, There are several stories taking place on the human/divine interface. Some of the divinities who appear or are mentioned or whose interjection in human affairs is felt are Trismegistus, Mary, God, Odin, Anubis (Anpu) and La Sirene. And of the SF tales, only three take place partially off-world. We’ve turned from space exploration to the exploration of metaphysical spaces, it seems. As to the poetry: even those who haven’t walked British Columbia ocean beaches will feel as if they had after reading Rhea Rose Fleming’s lyric “Mermaid,” which begins with the delicious line: today I walked on the roof of the mouth of the sea. Sandra Kasturi’s “Carnaval Perpetuel,” is an allusion filled poem you could set to music, perhaps by the Dresden Dolls. Jason Mehmel’s tripartite “The Fugue Phantasmagorical” isn’t wholly successful; yet its insistence on staying with me tells me something more. It begs revision, a more finely tuned language bolstering content; just now this appears in some lines but not others. The thrice-blessed author of the alchemical Emerald Tablet was deity of both writing and magic for a reason: they are linked. Hopkinson in “Final Thoughts” does, for those who might have missed it before, list the tropes that...make us us: stories that privilege community over individual heroics; stories about open space(s), alienation, isolation, and so forth. But what she found, reading for this volume, was something we are not known for as writers, but are famous for nonetheless, that being humour. Canada exports comedians as everyone knows; “Humour,” Hopkinson says, “can humanize like nothing else, except perhaps death.” And humour is indeed the predominant mood of Tess 9. I’d go so far as to say it’s because of the big open spaces, the alienation, the isolation, the cold, the nagging fear of being swallowed by a pachyderm to the south. We’re funny because we have to be. Humour requires humility and lack of self-importance; humour humanizes, and it heals.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sue Chant

    On Kindle. Short stories - Tiptree longlist 2005. Most so dull I didn't finish them, one or two OK. On Kindle. Short stories - Tiptree longlist 2005. Most so dull I didn't finish them, one or two OK.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Here is the latest in a yearly collection of speculative fiction stories and poems from north of the border, in Canada. At an isolated research station in the north, one story concerns talking lemmings who are looking forward to being eaten by other predators. There is a modern-day vampire story. Mother Teresa moves into an elderly woman’s home, and turns it into an orphanage. A group of aliens about to terraform Earth are totally enthralled by the singing of an elderly eskimo woman who knows tha Here is the latest in a yearly collection of speculative fiction stories and poems from north of the border, in Canada. At an isolated research station in the north, one story concerns talking lemmings who are looking forward to being eaten by other predators. There is a modern-day vampire story. Mother Teresa moves into an elderly woman’s home, and turns it into an orphanage. A group of aliens about to terraform Earth are totally enthralled by the singing of an elderly eskimo woman who knows that she has reached the end of her life. There is a near-future computer-controlled war story. A man wakes up one morning to find himself conscious, but physically unable to get out of bed. Then he finds that he has turned invisible. His wife, who thinks that he left her in the middle of the night, goes into a deep depression. Then civil order collapses as thousands, then millions, of people similarly disappear. There is a wide variety of stories here; something for everyone. Read this an example of the state of speculative fiction in Canada, or read this as simply a group of really good stories. Either way, read it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve Stanton

    Tesseracts Nine won an Aurora Award in 2006 from the Canadian SF and Fantasy Association as determined by popular vote among the membership. The material is difficult to categorize, straining the bounds of possibility from far-out fantasy to hard science fiction. Two of the stories feature talking animals, for example, one in the literary absurdist sense and one surgically manifested, and another uses talking crows as metaphors for thought and memory. Although the authors are all Canadian, the t Tesseracts Nine won an Aurora Award in 2006 from the Canadian SF and Fantasy Association as determined by popular vote among the membership. The material is difficult to categorize, straining the bounds of possibility from far-out fantasy to hard science fiction. Two of the stories feature talking animals, for example, one in the literary absurdist sense and one surgically manifested, and another uses talking crows as metaphors for thought and memory. Although the authors are all Canadian, the topics are international in scope, including a sacred festival in Mexico, burial rites in ancient Egypt, street orphans in Haiti and vampires in downtown Toronto. Other highlights include the poignant aftermath of a crash landing on a distant planet, a curlicue story of interdimensional transport across space and time, an exobiological analysis of an alien in amber, and Timothy J. Anderson’s delightful rendition of an end-of-life experience. Death is a pervasive theme in this collection and many stories are serious in tone, but there is more hope than horror in this anthology, and a keen sense of the wonder and mystery of existence.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    An excellent anthology--the stories were quite varied, yet unfailingly interesting and entertaining. There's quite a bit of humor as well. As someone who very rarely enjoys every single inclusion in an anthology, this was a welcome exception. An excellent anthology--the stories were quite varied, yet unfailingly interesting and entertaining. There's quite a bit of humor as well. As someone who very rarely enjoys every single inclusion in an anthology, this was a welcome exception.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I only read the first story, i hope to finish it later

  7. 4 out of 5

    Henrik Rostoft

    There were stories in here, which I would like to see as a full novel instead of a short story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nat Smith

    could have been better, but I respect Nalo'd work, even as editor. could have been better, but I respect Nalo'd work, even as editor.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  11. 4 out of 5

    L.T. Getty

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erica Throne

  13. 5 out of 5

    La Tricia Ransom

  14. 5 out of 5

    René Beaulieu

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Kilpatrick

  16. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kiri

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Lyn

  19. 4 out of 5

    jannat pooler

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vierblij

  21. 4 out of 5

    Crow

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Nolan

  23. 5 out of 5

    cenobyte

  24. 4 out of 5

    Caty

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  26. 4 out of 5

    ndelamiko lord

  27. 5 out of 5

    Derek Newman-Stille

  28. 4 out of 5

    Z

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee

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