Tesseracts 11: Amazing Canadian Speculative Fiction.


344 pages
ISBN 978-1-894063-03-6
DDC C813'.0876208054




Edited by Cory Doctorow and Holly Phillips
Reviewed by Douglas Barbour

Douglas Barbour is a professor of English at the University of Alberta.
He is the author of Lyric/anti-lyric : Essays on Contemporary Poetry,
Breath Takes, and Fragmenting Body Etc.


Cory Doctorow and Holly Phillips have put together one of the stronger Tesseracts anthologies in the 11th iteration of this now standard Canadian speculative fiction series. Although there are a few one-off jokes and simply minor efforts, most of the work here has legs.


Perhaps most interesting is the way slippage between genres now seems more or less normal. A kind of “magic realist” formal approach enters even the most science fictional of these tales, where narrative twists and perceptual intensity rule. The stories range from social comedy to stark cultural encounters to quietly apocalyptic visions, but the craft and style push the best of them to the very edge.


Among the more interesting visions here: illiterate couriers in a world where the company that made and uses them demands unswerving service, even unto death; seven seniors in a boat who may be among the last alive after some strange pandemic may have killed off most of the population; a little community of true believers who are sure their little bit of fog-enshrouded land is all that’s left of the planet; a world changed utterly, and many people changed too, by what may be an alien invasion; a “living” planet on which a marooned interstellar scout discovers only that he, too, will eventually be merged. These are among the most satisfying stories in Tesseracts 11, although readers will find their own favourites.


With authors ranging from such well-known names as Candas Jane Dorsey and Elizabeth Vonarburg to first-time writers like Madeline Ashby and other fairly new writers like D.W. Archambault, Greg Bechtel, and Lisa Carreiro, Tesseracts 11 demonstrates that speculative fiction is alive and well in Canada.


“Tesseracts 11: Amazing Canadian Speculative Fiction.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/26882.