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Reviews in Project: A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction (49)

Now And Forever Till The End Of Time

29 Dec, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

3 comments

To quote the FASS webpage:

What is FASS?
FASS (short for Faculty, Alumni, Staff, and Students) is an amateur theatre company at the University of Waterloo. Originally started as a variety show in 1962, FASS predates many of the modern organizations on campus, including the Federation of Students. In its current form, every year FASS produces an original script for its annual show in February. At the height of its existence in the 1980s, FASS was a major aspect of campus life, and tickets were hard to come by.
The FASS show is written every year from May through December, and then production kicks off in January with auditions held in the first week of classes. Throughout January and into February, the actors rehearse, the techies tech, and the production crew pulls their hair until, finally, everything is ready five weeks later. The shows are put on, many parties are held, and then everyone goes and collapses from exhaustion. It’s good fun. 


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Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Life and the Art of Lying

By Emily Schooley

22 Dec, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

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To quote her online bio:

Emily Schooley is a multi-passionate filmmaker who enjoys blending genres and pushing boundaries in her work. 
After graduating from the University of Waterloo with an Honours BA in Dramatic Arts, she quickly found herself immersed in the world of film alongside her work in theatre, first as an actor and then evolving to directing, writing, and producing. Now, she continues to work as an actor while simultaneously building her body of work and developing her voice as an emerging filmmaker. 
Her previous short film, Psyche, won Audience Choice at Festigious International Film Festival. Emily is a proud associate member of Film Fatales, and will be appearing in MJI Studios’ upcoming documentary about women in the film industry.

But I am not reviewing Psyche1. I am reviewing Life and the Art of Lying.

Ah, true love. The greatest impediment to true love: the people involved.

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Je ne souris, ni ris, ni vis

Spindle  (A Thousand Nights, book 2)

By E. K. Johnston

15 Dec, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

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To quote E. K. Johnston’s website

E. K. Johnston had several jobs and one vocation before she became a published writer. If she’s learned anything, it’s that things turn out weird sometimes, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Well, that and how to muscle through awkward fanfic because it’s about a pairing she likes.
Her books range from contemporary fantasy (The Story of Owen, Prairie Fire), to fairy-tale re-imaginings (A Thousand Nights, Spindle), and from small town Ontario (Exit, Pursued By A Bear), to a galaxy far, far away (Star Wars: Ahsoka). She has no plans to rein anything in. 

2016’s Spindle is a companion novel to E. K. Johnston’s A Thousand Nights.

The spinners of Kharuf fled a demon’s curse, seeking escape in foreign lands that were little interested in helping strangers. Even this was not enough to save all of them; many died of a slow, lingering malady. Yashaa’s dying mother sends Yashaa and his friends on a desperate quest, one that she hopes will allow some of her people to return to their homeland.

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Deep in the Forest Where Nobody Goes

Bitten  (Otherworld, book 1)

By Kelley Armstrong

8 Dec, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

2 comments

To quote Kelley Armstrong’s website:

I’ve been telling stories since before I could write. My earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, mine would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to my teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make me produce normal” stories failed. Today I continue to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves while safely locked away in my basement writing dungeon.

She has published in excess of thirty novels since 2001.

2001’s Bitten is the first novel in Armstrong’s Otherworld series.

Determined to live her perfectly normal life with her perfectly adorable boyfriend Philip, Elena Michaels carefully withholds one or two facts about herself from Philip. Chief among these is the fact that she is, occasionally, a wolf. Not only are werewolves uncommon in Toronto, but Elena is the only known female werewolf on the planet. 

Just one part of a colourful past she is determined to leave behind her.



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Something in the Wind

Radiant  (League of Peoples, book 7)

By James Alan Gardner

25 Nov, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

2 comments

To quote Wikipedia:

James Alan Gardner (born January 10, 1955) is a Canadian science fiction author. Raised in Simcoe and Bradford, Ontario, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied mathematics from the University of Waterloo.
Gardner has published science fiction short stories in a range of periodicals, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Amazing Stories. In 1989, his short story The Children of Creche” was awarded the Grand Prize in the Writers of the Future contest. Two years later his story Muffin Explains Teleology to the World at Large” won a Prix Aurora Award; another story, Three Hearings on the Existence of Snakes in the Human Bloodstream,” won an Aurora and was nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards.

Radiant is the seventh and thus far final volume in James Alan Gardner’s League of Peoples series. Readers who want more books should make that known to publishers.

Youn Suu’s mother wanted the genetic engineers to ensure that her daughter would be a beauty who would satisfy her mother’s very demanding standards. Instead, Youn was born with a face that was, shall we say, less than conventionally beautiful. How inconsiderate of her! 

The Technocracy has a use for people like Youn. The Explorer Corps is always looking for new recruits, particularly unsightly or unpopular people whose demise will be regretted by nobody. That’s because the hazards of exploration are matched only by the brevity of Explorer lifespans. Youn was fated from birth to become an Explorer or as they are better known, an Expendable.

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Fight Until The End

The Sleeping God  (Dhulyn and Parno, book 1)

By Violette Malan

17 Nov, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

5 comments

To quote Violette Malan’s bio, 

Violette Malan has a PhD from York University in 18th-Century English Literature, but reports that most people don’t hold it against her. She started reading fantasy and science fiction at the age of eight, and was writing stories not long after. Violette has been a book reviewer, and has written feature articles on genre writing and literature for the Kingston Whig Standard. She has taught creative writing, English as a second language, Spanish, beginner’s French, and choreography for strippers. On occasion she’s worked as an administrative assistant, and a carpenter’s helper. Her most unusual job was translating letters between lovers, one of whom spoke only English, the other only Spanish. 
Violette is co-founder of the Scene of the Crime Festival on Wolfe Island, a single-day event focusing on Canadian crime writing, and celebrating the birthplace of Grant Allen, Canada’s first crime writer. Violette is currently the president of the festival board, but in the past she’s given writing workshops, and was the original organizer and co-judge of The Wolfe Island Prize for first crime fiction, which is sponsored by the festival.

2007’s The Sleeping God is the first volume in Violette Malan’s Dhulyn and Parno series.

The contract seemed so straightforward. Escort a young woman to her nation’s capital. Unfortunately for Dhulyn and Parno, they’re heading for the capital of Imrion and disquieting events are underway. 

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Don’t Have Nobody to Call My Own

The Forgotten Tale  (Accidental Turn, book 2)

By J. M. Frey

10 Nov, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

1 comment

The Forgotten Tale is the second volume in J. M. Frey’s Accidental Turn series.

Once a supporting character in Elgar Reed’s deplorably written but popular fantasy series, spymaster Forsyth Turn escaped with his beloved Pip to Pip’s native Canada (which, as we all know, is nearly as happy as Denmark). Content in his new life, husband to Pip, father to Alis, Forsyth has no intention of returning to his native Hain or even of maintaining contact with Reed.

Alas, just because he is done with fantastic adventures in Reed’s poorly – thought-out land does not mean that Hain is done with Forsyth. Or with Forsyth’s family.

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Down to Your Bones

The Starving Queen

By Dean Italiano

3 Nov, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

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To quote Dean Italiano’s bio:

Dean Italiano lives with G and their twin boys in Waterloo, ON. Author of Pain Machine, Spirits and Death in Niagara, and Katrina and the Frenchman: A Journal from the Street, Dean also works with G musically to produce CDs Johnny Gruesome and From Skull Tavern, and occasionally does some artwork as well. By day, Dean works in a wonderfully busy elementary school Library. You can find more information at picpublishing.ca.

2017’s The Starving Queen is a stand-alone urban fantasy.

Bev managed to escape the Starving Queen. Her daughter Jasmine won’t be so lucky. 

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Dreams of You All Through My Head

The Red Ring  (Blood & Magic, book 2)

By Jen Frankel

27 Oct, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

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2014’s The Red Ring is the second volume in Jen Frankel’s Blood & Magic series. My review of book one, The Last Rite, is here.

In the previous volume, in order defeat a vicious warlock, almost-sixteen year old Maggie Stuart gave up her magic and now must live as a muggle. None of her former friends remember that she saved them from the warlock (or even that they had been her friends). Her loathsome mentor is pressuring her for sex. If she had any friends, she might cry on their shoulders … but the last three years has sent her decidedly into social reject territory.

Magic is about to come back into her life in a big way.

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There’s a Light

Ward Against Darkness  (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer, book 2)

By Melanie Card

21 Oct, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

3 comments

2013’s Ward Against Darkness is the second volume in Melanie Card’s Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series.

The good news is that Ward De’Ath is spending less time worrying about being outed as a practitioner of the forbidden surgical arts. That’s because he is facing a far more immediate problem: a band of highly motivated assassins want to kill Ward and his dead…ish companion Celia.

Ward and Celia manage to elude their hunters and head for a wilderness that might just be wild enough to hide them. There’s just one catch.

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