On Speculative Forms

We’ve been talking a lot about genre as we gear up to open our themed issue of antilang. – Succinct Speculations – for submissions. But what about form? “SpecFic” is a bit of a misnomer – it suggests that speculative writing is always fiction, and that’s obviously not true.

Speculative writing is no alien to poetry. In fact, Canada’s “magazine of the fantastic,” On Spec, devotes an entire section to the form. Antilangers (as we fondly call our past contributors) Amy LeBlanc & Taylor Skaalrud have employed the gothic and the supernatural into their poetry submissions for our flash writing contests on Patreon. And Erin Emily Ann Vance has published her wonderful witchy poems with us in antilang. no. 1 & 2 and many other mags.

Another form that synchronizes splendidly with speculative writing is comics, such as Crash & Burn by Calgary-based creators Finn Lucullan & Kate Larking. And there’s always the obvious examples of superhero comics. We haven’t received any comics submissions for any of our previous issues, but we’d really love to see some this time around as the form facilitates a blending of genres, styles, and artistic/literary modes.

portrait-of-max-ernst-1939.jpg!large
Leonora Carrington’s “Portrait of Max Ernst” (1939), a visual embodiment of SpecNF (Fair Use, wikiart.org)

But what of creative non-fiction? Is there such a thing as speculative non-fic? We feel that yes, there is, and furthermore there are multiple ways one could achieve this apparent paradox. A few years back, Edmonton-based novelist and short story writer Jacqueline Baker wrote The Broken Hours, a literary ghost story about the finals days of horror icon / huge racist H.P. Lovecraft’s life. While the book is marketed as a novel, it is deeply research-based and draws heavily from Lovecraft’s personal letters found in archives. It becomes a sort of biography blended with historical fiction and supernatural horror; plus, Jacqueline told us at a recent conference that she loves the idea of speculative non-fiction, so there!

Another style of SpecNF can be found in Numenera, a table-top role-playing game by Monte Cook Games. This narrative-driven science-fantasy RPG is set in the distant future, and most of the core rulebook Discovery reads more like a very interesting encyclopedia than an instruction manual. While non-fiction suggests that the writing’s topic should be ‘real’ (whatever that means), we feel that SpecNF is as much about style and presentation. Besides, who’s to say these worlds aren’t real, floating over or alongside our own, or that they won’t become real, some day?

antilang. Preview: Rosalind Goldsmith’s “The One About-“

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.

goldsmith preview

Read the rest of our last antilang. no. 3 preview here (pages 69-72).

antilang. Preview: Christopher Brown’s “Tinder Darling”

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.

brown preview

To read the rest of this resonantly millennial dating woes tale, click here (pages 10-11)

antilang. Preview: Trevor Moran’s “The Boy Who Brought the Rain”

Trevor Moran is a thirty-year-old writer from Cork, who writes wide-reaching articles about mental health and depression.

moran preview

This is one of the longest pieces in antilang. no. 3, but it’s worth the extra pages. We love how Kroetschian this story feels. Read the rest here (pages 73-80)

antilang. Preview: Tasnuva Hayden’s “Low Tide”

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.

hayden preview

Lose yourself in the ethereal images in Tasnuva’s story, continued here (pages 59-61).

antilang. Preview: Emma Tilley’s “The Cysterhood”

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.

tilley preview

 

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)

antilang. Preview: Kitty Hardy’s “Elope”

Kitty Hardy writes from the solitude of Alberta’s boreal forest. This is her first fiction publication, though her poems have appeared in NōD Magazine and From the Other Side. Kitty also runs the fabulous Kitty’s Bohemian Boutique, an online store for upcycled clothing and accessories (check it out– there’s free shipping on now!)

hardy preview

If you’re in the mood for an upcycled fairy tale, then find the full story here (pages 55-58)!

New Work from 32 Contributors!

We’re so excited to launch our latest issues of antilang. and soundbite! Check out some amazing short work from established and emerging writers across Canada and beyond.

Read antilang. no. 3 and listen to soundbite vol. 2 and tell us what you think!

November Contest Winner: Fernando’s “Mind the Gap”!

Mind the Gap

you say of things that behave in unexpected (unexplainable) ways that they are haunting (haunted).
but to haunt is to occupy a place you are not supposed to be, to exist when you should not.
a sense of uneasiness, the gap between the expected and the unexpected, the wanted and the scorned, the comforting and the scaring.
that’s where you find us.

it’s a place like the gap between the train and the platform when you need to take that single step to enter the train and you hesitate.
“Mind the gap!” the speakers would blare in London bellow, and like that gap, a haunting feeds on — and draws out — the irrational.
we revel when we are not paid attention to.
like tripping into a train, a good haunting best happens when you’re looking elsewhere.

And now i must excuse myself, and, while i appreciate your offer, i must refuse.
you invited me here.
you opened the doors and let me in.
you showed me around.

i am wanted here.
i am expected.
i can’t haunt you.

so, good tidings to you.
someday, we will catch up.
your unesteemed interlopers.