I’m Jaclyn, I’m Saskatchewan born and raised, and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. I have an English degree from the University of Saskatchewan and now I’m working through the end of my MFA in Writing—so, I like to read and write. I mostly inhabit the fantasy genre, but I’m trying to branch out.
I’ll start off by saying what smarter people than me have already said: speculative fiction takes us into new territory. Whether it’s yesterday or three million years from now, in our own world or another one entirely, speculative fiction considers something impossible or not-yet possible. But well-written speculative fiction should make me believe it is possible, here and now.
For that, I’m looking for strong characters.
Sure, a real challenge of writing spec fic, especially in shorter pieces, is creating this believable new world without losing the reader’s attention. But a story’s concept could be stunning, its worldbuilding masterful, and it will still fall flat if its characters don’t resonate.
If I can believe that these characters are real—if they have personality and motivation, and actions that coincide with such—then I’ll believe almost anything thrown at them. And I want to believe in those impossible worlds and situations, because I want to see what these characters are made of.
My writing generally starts with a “what if” situation, and I guess, in a nutshell, that’s what speculative fiction means to me. What if the terrible, the fantastic, the impossible collides with the mundane? What if an ordinary individual interacts with the extraordinary?
Hi there, my name is Simon and I’m from Germany, which used to be the land of poets and thinkers and is now the country of cars and beer. I came to Canada in 2016 for my MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan and decided to stay. So here I am.
First off, I hate the term Speculative Fiction (isn’t the word fiction implying speculation anyway? Asking for a friend) but what can you do. To me, SpecFic includes everything with a fantastic element. Alternative history? Check. Fantasy? Check. SciFi? Check. Magical realism? Check. Horror? Mostly check.
Personally, I love everything horror – especially King, Barker, Herbert – and a lot of classic Science Fiction by the likes of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, or Isaac Asimov. Those genres have a tendency to produce longer works and stories, which I attribute to the fact that they require a certain amount of buildup or world-building to achieve their goal. The shorter the story, the more universal and familiar the initial situation has to be in my opinion.
Why does this matter? As an editor for antilang., I’m not necessarily looking for an original genius – though if you can deliver the next archetype villain, that’s great. But you don’t need to create the next creature for Stephenie Meyer to ruin. I prefer a well-written, engaging, classic story over a messy but original one any day of the week. Effect is king, especially in horror. Scare me. Knock my socks off. Make me smile (in a sadistic, maniacal way) and go: that was awesome!
I guess that’s it. Here’s my hand. Now take me to the land of your imagination, no matter how weird or dark it is. Just a heads up: like a lizard that dismembers its own tail, I can let go of my hand. So if you turn around and I’m not there anymore, you lost me. But that won’t happen. Not with you. Right?
We don’t have time for new year, new me because we’re too busy with the new ALP!
Over the course of an amazing year establishing antilang. and putting together our first three issues, we noticed contributors tend to gravitate toward certain themes and genres. So, to encourage good short writing in these areas while giving our issues more cohesion and nuance, we’ve decided that our next three issues (antilang. no. 4-6) will be themed. We’re hoping to invite guest editors to help out with each issue (we already have two on board for no. 4—stay tuned for the big reveal!) and lend broader and more diverse perspectives to our team.
“But what are the themes?” you ask. Without further adieu, here’s the plan:
A note on soundbite: our audio publication will be open for general submissions during the same windows as antilang. Contributors are welcome to send audio submissions that match antilang.’s themed issues but we’re happy to hear byte-sized readings on other topics as well.
Rosalind Goldsmith lives in Toronto and began writing short fiction several years ago. She has written radio plays for CBC and a play for the Blyth Theatre Festival. Her stories have appeared in the Quilliad, the Danforth Review, Flash Fiction, Thrice Fiction, Pop Shot UK, Litro UK, and filling Station.
Read the rest of our last antilang. no. 3 preview here (pages 69-72).
Frances Boyle’s books are Light-carved Passages (poetry) and Tower (a novella). Her poems and short stories have appeared in literary magazines ranging from long-established to brand new projects. Visit www.francesboyle.com.
Finish reading her poem “Beam” here (pages 16-17) and check out her other two poems, “Choler” and “Unrehearsed,” also in antilang. no. 3!
Christopher Brown is pursuing his PhD a city of magpies. In 2018, he was selected for the RBC Taylor Prize’s inaugural Emerging Writers program in non-fiction. His most recent work can be found in The Feathertale Review and The Lamp.
To read the rest of this resonantly millennial dating woes tale, click here (pages 10-11)
Tasnuva Hayden is an emerging Canadian writer of Bengali descent, residing in Calgary, Alberta. She studied creative writing, linguistics, and engineering at the University of Calgary. Her creative writing has appeared in NōD Magazine, J’aipur Journal, chapbooks, and anthologies. She is also the Fiction Editor at filling Station—Canada’s experimental literary magazine.
Lose yourself in the ethereal images in Tasnuva’s story, continued here (pages 59-61).
Emma Tilley has a BA in Creative Writing from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C. Her debut chapbook will be published by Rahlia’s Ghost Press in 2019. She has this epistolary story and a flash fiction in antilang. no. 3.
We have a confession– this piece made our editors cry the first time we read it. So, find some tissues and continue reading it here (pages 45-47)