Book Review: Second Contacts

So what happens after first contact? Leaving aside War of the Worlds scenarios where one race is completely destroyed, after the initial shock, what’s it like five or fifty years into  a universe where we know we’re not alone? Human history provides several possible outcomes: ranging from genocide to colonization to occupation to friendship and political alliance to the innocuous missionary outposts or even lone, Marco Polo figure.

Each of these come up in Second Contacts at one point of another, but this is a Canadian anthology . . .

Read my full review at AE.

Book Review: Get In Trouble

Link writes magical realism, many-layered tales of complex, fully realized human beings in settings and situations far less constrained to reality than traditional mainstream works. The marriage of literary style and character depth with the surrealist plots and settings traditional to fantasists dates at least as far back as the adjectival German-language writer Franz Kafka.

Read my full review at the Winnipeg Free Press.

Book Review: The Ballad of Danny Wolfe

The Ballad of Danny Wolfe is very much a Prairie story, and understanding Wolfe, IP, and Indigenous street gangs in general means understanding the West, particular Manitoba and Saskatchewan: our small towns, life on “the Rez”, the history of colonialism and residential schools, modern racial tensions, and the unique way these cultural strands all play out in Winnipeg’s core, IP’s birthplace.

Read my full review at the Winnipeg Free Press.

Book Review: The Affinities

Wilson imagines how a series of neurological, psychological and physiological tests might determine a sort of modern-day Zodiac, sorting humankind into “affinities” based on their deepest truest selves. Early on, he makes the point that the families we’re born into might be arbitrary, but he does suggest that being loved because you’re part of the same affinity with someone rather than because of a shared genetic lineage comes with its own problems.

Read the full review at AE.

Back to School, Belatedly

Well, time for some updates. I’ve still been writing, just not here. For this September past I penned a little essay for AE, appropriately, on education-themed science fiction. Perhaps just as appropriate a topic as the school year draws to a close.

You’ll notice my opening paragraph refers to the proverbial cocktail party. Often, when a person is going to pontificate on their career, and especially public perceptions thereof, they start off with, “When I meet people at cocktail parties . . .” I don’t actually go to a lot of cocktail parties, but in fine speculative as well as Einsteinian tradition: assume a perfectly spherical cocktail party. . . .

No, I’m half-kidding. But really, if I’m at the proverbial cocktail party, or some near analogue (gas-station nacho bar), and introduce myself as a teacher, I really do find it gets people talking. But I’m more interested in the deep thinking of smart writers on the topic than your typical non-educators. Thus, the essay. Please read it here.