Science Fiction Fancies
By Angela Giacobbo
If you’re hungry for a story that will pull you from reality, science fiction may be the way to go. Check out these Canadian reads to explore a genre surrounded by technology and futurism.
The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed | Purchase The Annual Migration of Clouds
Dive into a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world set in Alberta where a young woman must decide if she’s willing to gamble her community’s stability for a chance at a better life.
The world has fallen into disaster. Erratic climate catastrophes left the continent in borderline famine conditions with little hope. Now there are parasites. A new fungus, Cad, latches onto the minds of anyone it can claim with wild ferocity.
Reid is one of Cad’s victims. She’s given the opportunity to leave her community and live in a pre-disaster society, but Reid cannot abandon her mother and the people who rely on her. Instead, Reid turns to a dangerous but rewarding mission that leaves the promise of a better life for her family. The problem? Reid can no longer trust her mind.
Premee Mohamed is a scientist currently working for the Alberta government to create industrial cleanup guidelines (read more about Mohamed here). Her written work is often science fiction and tied to her home: Edmonton. She’s written many books, including Beneath the Rising, And What Can We Offer You Tonight, and These Lifeless Things, each with their own exciting taste of disaster.
Buffalo is the New Buffalo by Chelsea Vowel | Purchase Buffalo is the New Buffalo
'Education is the new buffalo' is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, "Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?" (quote from Glass Bookshop)
Indigenous futurism dives into colonialism’s impact, reveals truths, and recovers ancestral traditions. Buffalo is the New Buffalo is filled with eight short stories of “Métis futurism” to offer readers a focused view of the Métis experience.
Each story highlights different challenges but is inspired by speculative fiction:
It’s the nineteenth century, and a Two-Spirit rougarou (shapeshifter) works to solve a murder and stop Canadian colonial expansion into the West.
A radioactive bison wounds a Métis man, giving him super strength and stealing his ability to be remembered by anyone who isn’t related to him by blood.
The book is releasing April 26, 2022, so pre-order this read to hear more of these stories.
Chelsea Vowel is Métis, and her work surrounds language, gender, Métis self-determination, and resurgence (read more about Vowel). Vowel is an author of Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, & Inuit Issues in Canada, a podcast co-host with Molly Swain for Métis in Space, co-founder of the Métis in Space Land Trust, and she works at the Faculty of Native Studies at the UofA as a Cree language instructor.
To hear more from Vowel, check out her blog.
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots | Purchase Hench
Working away at a corporate job can make one question their morals. Anna knows working for bad people isn’t the best thing, but she needs money, and you take what you can get in this world. Despite her mundane days, something new pops up, and life flips upside-down.
After encountering a “hero,” Anna is badly injured and gets laid off. Filled with anger, Anna turns to the internet, where she finds that her experience isn’t the only negative hero encounter out there. So, Anna collects data and makes an interesting discovery: the difference between good and evil lies in marketing.
The glory of the internet and social media means Anna can control the appearance of videos and highlight the injustice. Anna’s luck turns, and she’s employed by one of the worst villains.
Natalie Zina Walschots surrounds herself with science fiction and fantasy whenever she’s free: Bloodborne, polyamorous fairytales, horror games, and D&D (learn more about Zina). From science fiction reviews to long-form journalism pieces, she touches on various topics. Walschots is a freelance writer and community manager who has written two books of poetry (Thumbscrews and DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains).