Canadian Voices in Science Fiction

This year, 2017 Canada marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Basically it is the 150th anniversary of Canada and it is being promoted by the Canadian government as Canada 150.

But as we celebrate our history, I wanted to know about Canadian’s ideas of the future. I asked several friends, colleagues and experts if there was a distinctive Canadian “voice” in Science Fiction and Fantasy writing. And, if there is, which writers exemplify that distinctive voice? Or are there just good writers who happen to be Canadian? Does our “Canadian-ness” bring something unique to speculative fiction? The responses I received were quite illuminating. Here are a few examples:


“…where we would be had it not been for the debacle that was the Avro Arrow Project. Maybe we would have been first on the moon and already on our way to Mars because we spent our money as a leader in the space race and didn’t waste our best and brightest by fighting mindless wars and wasting our money with military spending?”

Blogger/Educator, Red Deer, Alberta


“I guess Atwood (“I DON’T write Science Fiction!”) and Robert Sawyer would be the first two who come to mind.”

Writer, Toronto, Ontario


“Back in the 1970s fans regularly debated whether there was such a thing as Canadian SF. Many considered Spider Robinson and William Gibson disqualified because they were born and raised in the USA, for instance. Today Canada has more SF&F genre writers then I am able to keep track of. They keep popping out of the woodwork. Never mind mainstream authors, Canadian independent publishers are publishing hundreds of Canadian authors and, yes, very much featuring not one, but multiple Canadian viewpoints.”

Writer, Editor of Polar Borealis Magazine, Vancouver, British Columbia

“The debate about whether there’s a distinctive Canadian voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy has raged for decades. In the 1980s and early 1990s, minor writers and wannabes often claimed that it was their ineffable Canadian voice that was keeping them from being published internationally, and since, at that time, there was next-to-no domestic Canadian publishing, well, the voice issue explained their lack of success north of the forty-ninth parallel, too.

But then writers who embraced their Canadianism started to emerge on the scene, particularly Tanya Huff, Terence M. Green, and myself. We were selling to top US markets with flagrantly Canadian stories. Nor did we pull our polite Canadian punches when submitting south of the border.

There was never any pushback against Canadian settings, but we did fight to maintain our Canadian sensibility.”

Hugo, Nebula and John W, Campbell Memorial Award winning writer, Mississauga, Ontario.

There’s a lot more from Durham, Cameron and Sawyer on this topic and from others as well. Plus the full scan of the amazing Northern Stars cover art my Nick Jainschigg. And it is all FREE!. Just download the first issue of DARK WORLDS QUARTERLY here or click on the CURRENT ISSUE button at the top of the page for your FREE downloadable pdf.