some background…

In case anybody is curious, the header image for this site is from a picture I took while in Hawthorne Park (Surrey, B.C., Canada) of my daughter’s (Brynne’s) high-tops: the picture roamed through Photoshop for a while, and then I cropped it for the banner. The thought-bubble diver in the top left-hand corner of the screen is a doodle I drew many years ago (please let me know if it isn’t visible on your screen: differing screen sizes and resolutions can muck things up).

Regarding the genesis of this blog:

I was reading Jo Walton’s novel Among Others, which is (in part) a love-letter to science fiction and fantasy novels and authors (and librarians). I did a quick search on the web and found a series in which she revisits the Hugo award winners of the past . It was an intriguing idea, and I decided to do something similar.


A Gorn: Star Trek (TOS)

When I was a young fellow, the books I read were almost exclusively speculative fiction (an ‘umbrella’ term that never quite caught on that includes science fiction (with its relatives: utopian, dystopian, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, weird, and alternate history fiction), fantasy, horror (though I’m not a fan of horror), et cetera); I have more varied  tastes now, but I still enjoy searching through the speculative sections of a bookstore. Many novels that I would call speculative are shelved with mainstream fiction: I’m sure the publishers have their reasons.

Over the past couple of decades I’ve become a bit of a fiction snob: some novels that seemed brilliant when I was younger just don’t cut the mustard anymore (a sad state of affairs, but I still have my memories).

I plan to use this blog to post about my experiences with speculative fiction; the good, the bad and the ugly ( mostly the good, I hope); both in print, and speculative elements in television and film. Initially, my goal is to post about once a week.

I’m also planning to give my opinion about which speculative novel was the best in any given year (any ‘best of’ is, of course, highly subjective): initial plans are to begin in 1953, sixty years ago, a nice round number. I’ll attempt to provide some historical perspective, including short stories written, movies premiered, TV shows, and which novel(s) won awards such as the Hugo (since 1953, named after Hugo after Hugo Gernsback, who founded the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories), the Nebula (since 1966), the British Science Fiction (since 1970), the Locus (since 1971; a magazine devoted to speculative fiction), the John W. Campbell (since 1973, for best new writer, named after the editor/writer), the World Fantasy (since 1975), the Philip K. Dick (since 1983, the year after his death), and the Arthur C. Clarke (since 1987: the author set up a trust for this award).

I haven’t read a lot of speculative fiction in the last twenty years; so, while I’m posting about books from decades ago, I’ll have to catch up on some reading.

If you’re interested, I’d love to have you along for the ride…



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