________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 10 . . . . January 11, 2008


Tesseracts Eleven: Amazing Canadian Speculative Fiction.            

Cory Doctorow & Holly Phillips, eds.
Calgary, AB: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2007.
325 pp., pbk., $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-894063-03-6.

Subject Headings:
Science fiction, Canadian (English).
Fantastic fiction, Canadian (English).
Canadian fiction (English)-21st century.
Short stories, Canadian (English).

Grades 9 and up Ages 14 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

***½ /4


Bram stuck his head out of the car window and shouted. “If there’s a vampire within fifty miles of here, then I’m Count Dracula!”

“Oh Bram,” Mina sighed. “Don’t be so melodramatic. You’ll have another stroke. Remember what the doctor said about your heart.”

“Doctor, schmoctor,” Bram grumbled. “That quack will say anything to keep our monthly appointments. Just so’s the money keeps rolling in. There’s nothing wrong with my heart.” He winced and pressed a hand against his chest, then took a pill from his shirt pocket and swallowed it dry.

Mina pushed the guide book under his nose. “It says here that vampires are mostly nocturnal. That to spot one in the daytime is rare.”

“Rare,” Bram echoed. He waved his hand out the window. “That’s why they have a vampire paddock. To keep the vampires fenced in where people can see them.”


Tesseracts Eleven is an anthology of 24 short stories by Canadian, or Canadian-connected authors, in the genres broadly covered by anything relating to imaginative literature, which gives the editors a wide range from which to choose. In this volume, we have science fiction, fantasy, humour, and romance. It also includes poetry and a translation of a work from the French language.

     The book opens with an introduction which starts with a question: "Does the world need "Canadian" science fiction," and then one of the editors attempts to answer it.

     The first short story, “In Which Joe and Laurie Save Rock N’ Roll,” is a twist on time travel while the second tale, “Swamp Witch and the Tea-Drinking Man,” is a fantasy that may have dealings with the Devil. “The Recorded Testimony of Eric and Julia Francis” takes the reader into some dark dealings by a government agency. The next item, “Rainmaker,” is a short poem.

     “The Azure Sky” is straight science fiction with a story of life on a station in the Kuiper belt, complete with an AI in charge, and  pirates. This is followed by “Persephone’s Library” and a world where you can fall off the edge, or jump, if you are so inclined.

     Next we have “If Giants Are Thunder,” a tale of little folk who make their homes out of the skulls of giants, and another short poem, “On Company Time”.

     “Vampires of the Rockies” is the next selection. It is a story about a slightly different kind of National Park. “Recursion” is a story that may be about searching for a missing child. “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” is a tale about the ultimate survival of the human race and what one mother is prepared to do about it. “After He’s Eaten...” is another short poem.

     “Seven in a Boat, No Dog” takes the reader on a sea voyage with a collection of strange characters, while “Pheobus 'Gins' Arise” tells of a strict schoolteacher with a temper. “Bear With Me” takes the long distance romance to unusual lengths when the young lady discovers her correspondent actually is a bear. “Citius, Altius, Fortius” leads us to Africa and experiments in human engineering.

     The next story, “Beat the Geeks,” is game shows taken to the extreme, while “Nanabush Negotiations: Brantford Ontario” brings an aboriginal deity into the household of Joseph Brant.

     “Urban Getaway,” a two-page poem, is followed by “The Object of Worship” in which almost everyone believes in personal gods. “Tofino” takes us on a journey to the edge of the continent with a man searching for something. In “Language of the Night,” we follow an explorer stranded on an unexplored planet.

     The penultimate story, “[Coping With] Norm Deviation,” shows us the life of two boys making a science fiction movie as a school project. The “Afterward,” by the second editor, makes some comments about the genre and “Grand Ideas”.

     This volume contains 315 pages plus seven pages of author’s biographies and three and a half pages from the publisher’s catalogue of books in these genres. The contents of the stories vary in length from half a page for one poem, up to 25 pages for the longest short story. There is a good gender balance of authors, with 12 male and 12 female, and the same holds true for the protagonists in the stories, themselves.

     Tesseracts Eleven is an excellent way of keeping a handle on what is current in this type of fiction, at least from a Canadian point of view, and would be of value to both the fan and the budding writer.

Highly Recommended.

Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups and workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.  

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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