Dave Duncan, 1933-2018

The leading story on the Table of Contents for On Spec Vol. 1 No 1. tells it all.

“Boy at Heart”, a work of short fiction by Dave Duncan.

His bio note in that issue said:

DAVE DUNCAN lives in Calgary, Alberta. He is the author of the fantasy novels, Shadow, A Rose-Red City, and the epic and quirky Seventh Sword Trilogy. He reports that, for a change of pace, his next two books, West of January, to be released in August, and Strings, due out early next year, are both science fiction. “Boy at Heart” is his first published short story. 

Dave’s prolific writing career began after he retired from his first career as a petroleum geologist. He worked tirelessly, even after suffering some mild strokes in recent years, and more than 60 books bear his name on their covers.

When we were thinking of starting On Spec, we put out a call to our fellow members of Canada’s SF community, asking them to take a chance on this upstart magazine by sending us a story to publish. Dave could have graciously declined the request. He was already widely-known as a novelist, not a short fiction writer. But he sent us a story, nonetheless. We will always be grateful for his trust.

Since Dave’s tragic death, many of his fellow writers have written of their long friendship and professional association with Dave. He was a regular guest at regional SF conventions; he was always happy to give of his time and knowledge; he was always ready to help a writer who needed advice. Dave was probably one of the most generous souls we’ve ever known.

Fare thee well, Dave. You were a fine man to call our own.

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On Spec Issue # 108 Reviewed

Take a look at the new review on Britain’s SF Crowsnest by Eamonn Murphy.

Also, here’s a reminder that SF Crowsnest is an awesome compendium of all things geeky. We can’t say enough good things about them. After you’ve read the review of our issue, stick around a while and explore SF Crowsnest!

On Spec # 108

In case you missed it, Issue #108 , Volume 29 No 1 is now available in both print and digital formats.  You can order your print copy by contacting us at onspecmag(at)gmail.com, or using the links on the Subscribe page of the web site.

Digital copies of this issue and others are available from Weightless Books, and this is a reminder that you can also set up a subscription there, and get your new copies sent to you automatically.

In this issue, you’ll find the first work of published fiction from our former editor, Robin S. Carson, plus an essay on writing  “Dark” fiction by Calgary author Sarah Johnson. A.J. Wells gives us an interesting discussion on the use of  “tragedy porn” in The Last Jedi.

New fiction comes to you from Timothy Reynolds, Sean Robinson, Allison Floyd, Marcelle Dubé, David Versace, Chris Kuriata, and Lisa Carreiro.  Poetry from Mark McCutcheon.

Editorial by Barb Galler-Smith on the dilemmas we may face as readers, when our idols prove to be more flawed than we are perhaps comfortable with.

Cat McDonald and Roberta Laurie bring us their interviews with cover artist, Bill Tracer, and featured author, Tim Reynolds.

Do not go gentle…

The editors and staff at On Spec are heartbroken to learn that Harlan Ellison passed away this morning. Our condolences go out to his family and to his many loyal friends. He will be missed and mourned by generations of readers and writers who have admired him, learned from him, and on occasion, even fought with him.

Congrats to Eileen Bell!

We just received the wonderful news that former On Spec editor, now murder mystery author Eileen Bell (writing as E.C. Bell) is this year’s winner of the annual Bony Blithe –  The Bloody Words Light Mystery Award!

Her book, “Dying on Second“, is the 4th in the continuing series of Edmonton-based mysteries, featuring the amateur sleuth and “speaker to departed spirits”, Marie Jenner. If you aren’t intrigued yet, you should be. And she’s working on Book 5, so you have some catching up to do!

Editors and the slush pile

At the moment, the editors of On Spec are busy reading the 500 + stories that were sent in during our open submissions period. Some will be short-listed for further discussion, and many will not be. The process is lengthy, because we’re all doing this in our spare time. It goes without saying that we appreciate the patience of writers who trust us with their work.

If you are new to this business, you need to know that writers have to develop a thick skin, and forge ahead in spite of the setbacks. This article by editor, Barb Galler-Smith might shed some light on the life of a magazine editor, valiantly trying to find the right stories for the reading audience.

On Spec Editors & Young Writers

On Spec editors and friends will be participating at Sci-Fi City: An Evening of Networking with On-Spec and Co., presented by the Writers Guild of Alberta in conjunction with the Edmonton branch of the Canadian Authors Association.

The event takes place Monday, April 30, and details are available here. It’s aimed at young writers 18-30, and we will be available for Q&A, mixing and mingling in an informal setting at the Almanac.

We can give advice about networking opportunities, and best ways of presenting your work to a prospective publisher, or how to get started on the self-publishing journey.

RSVP is requested for this Facebook event, so we hope to see lots of young writers there.

The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic

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