Posts Tagged ‘Hayden Trenholm’

49th Parallels – Hayden Trenholm [Ed.] (2017)

October 21, 2018

With all due respect to Robert J. Sawyer – who’s literature I adore as some of my reviews will attest – there is a lot more Canadian science fiction out there that needs to be recognized. I read a few superhero/comic centric anthologies the last few years including Masked Mosaic and one of the annual Tesseracts collections which have always been Canadian focused, Tesseracts 19 – Superhero Universe all of which whetted my appetite for more.

So when Bundoran Press held the book Launch of 49th Parallels at last year’s Can-Con convention, I was more than eager to pick up my copy directly from editor Hayden Trenholm, and meet many of the contributors as they read select passages.

It’s taken me quite some time to get to it in my read pile but I was not disappointed.

This collection presents an eclectic mix of stories that not only present the expected future visions of this country, but a plethora of alternate realities that employ historical hooks to really bring the stories home.

The last entry Northstar by Dave Steinman was easily my favorite as it presents a history of how the hallowed Avro Arrow program should have gone. The fate of the program, the one time Canada truly dominated the skies, still rankles me to this day and so giving a glance at what should have been – damn you Diefenbaker! – was soothing even if only briefly.

Brandon Crilly’s, The Last Best Defence also spins a tale around another dark side of our history with a story in which Louis Riel’s rebellion is sidelined for an alien invasion. The notion that cooperation is key is one that our political forefathers ignored, an injustice that has yet to be fully rectified.

I have to admit that it was with both great anticipation and slight trepidation that I read Tyler Goodier’s  Five Days of Summer. You see Tyler is a friend and this being first first published piece I was afraid it may not be as polished a story as one coming from more experienced writers. But I can honestly say that this story of Caucasian adventurers doggedly visiting a native settlement despite imminent doom from viral contagion really hit me. While the tinges of horror were certainly gratifying and to my tastes the fact that he managed to pull off a love story in that setting was quite remarkable.

Those who know me well are quite aware of my interest in rocketry so it should not come as a surprise that I also enjoyed Shoot for the Stars by Andrew P. Blaber. I was well aware of the true and somewhat dark history of Gerald Bull’s dream of launching satellites and people into space via a giant cannon. But what if this dream came to fruition on our sesquicentennial?

And what would a Canadian collection be without at least one story featuring snow? You’ll find lots of it in Virginia O’Dine‘s The Selfish Bastards We Were, a post-apocalyptic Canada set amid 20ft snowdrifts.

Here’s  quick roundup of the other treats to be found in 49th Parallels, but if you’ve got a minute you may want to check out a fun little Instagram challenge that many of the contributors participated in which they snapped pictures of the book with various Canadian locales in the background.


Liz Westbrook-TrenholmOrder

An alternate WWII story that blends secret research with immigration naysayers.


Claude LalumièreThe Treaty of Empress Park

Consider the contrasting stance of negotiators of alternate reality Canadian governments at treaty signing.


Kate Heartfield Not Valid for Spain

Robots fighting fascists in Generalisimo Francisco Franco’s Spain .


Melissa Yuan-InnesYou, Robot

Robot takeover in medicine with a not-so-subtle message for anti-vaxers.


Eileen Gunnel-LeeThe Cicada Year

What is our greatest enemy, climate change or terrorism?


Caitlin Demaris-McKennaWhere the Water Meets the Land

Nice robot ethics story touching on conservation issues with a Forest Service rescuer as the protagonist.


M.L.D. CurelasHarvesting Moonshine

Philanthropic female scientists in a tale of secret Canadian agents thwarting US nuclear bombs.


David F. SchultzTrue North

Pleasant story about survival featuring an Inuit and a white partner, drones and igloos who have to weigh orders against what is right.


Chris Patrick CarolanThe Rankin File

Halifax victorian wartime steampunk mystery regarding secret plans for a perpetual energy “Eternity Engine”.


Krista WallaceTo Serve and Protect

Hi-tech suicide prevention officer has to deal with a jumper on Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Bridge.


Cathy SmithA New Genome

The downfall of organic cattle ranching as a result of climate change and over zealous activists that don’t realize shutting down the industry can mean result in the extinction of the very animals they are trying to ‘save’. Vat grown beef. Good story from the point of an old rancher.


Maverick SmithLooking Back, Looking Ahead

A look at Canada during it’s bicentennial celebrations where climate change has set in but life is good with the country’s enshrined human rights.


Glen Cadigan51-49

An alternate reality tale where the country of Labrador is in a bit of conundrum and must weigh the past in order to decide it’s future.


Fiona MooreMorning in the Republic of America

Forging international relationships where Canada is the Republic of America.


Alexandra Renwick – As Mistress Wishes

Post apocalyptic steampunk in a future after gender wars told from the point of view of …  a dog.