All posts by Brent

Gallery Walk

It’s finally here, gentle readers: the On Spec Contributor Gallery! Take a walk through the gallery and see all the wonderful writers, artists, and poets who have contributed to our twenty-five year history, as well as current contributors.

As well as the gallery, every week we’ll pick a contributor at random to feature here in the blog. We’ll give you a little more detailed look at what they’re up to, maybe even a short interview. So stay tuned for that.

If you are a past or present contributor to On Spec, please send us a picture of yourself, preferably holding your issue(s) of On Spec, along with a short bit about what you’re up to now. Include a link to your site if you have one. Pics and bios can be sent to onspec@onspec.ca.

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In Memoriam: Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett, 1948 – 2015

Yesterday the sad news broke about the death of beloved author Terry Pratchett, at age 66. On Spec wishes to extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Pratchett’s friends, family, and colleagues.

Terry Pratchett is perhaps best well-known for his series of Discworld novels, encompassing one of the most unique settings in fantasy literature, with a cast of characters to match. More than that, Mr. Pratchett used his world to turn a critical eye on our own. His work was skilfully rendered satire, drawing our attention to some unfortunate facet of society.

I’ll leave you with my favourite passage from Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms, by my favourite character, Sam Vimes. Best speed, Mr. Pratchett; I hope you’ve found your Discworld after all.

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.

Locus’ Obituary for Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman’s Article, “Terry Pratchett isn’t jolly. He’s angry.”

 

In Memoriam: Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

Yesterday morning, the world became a little less bright with the passing of beloved actor, director, and artist, Leonard Nimoy. Or, as I and many thought of him (with his encouragement), Honorary Grandpa Leonard.

I speak for the entire On Spec team when I say our hearts and thoughts go out to his friends and family, and we join millions of fans world-wide in sharing this loss.

There are going to be many, many tributes to Leonard Nimoy in the next little while, by people who knew him better and are much more qualified to speak to his impact on the world. And if I’m honest, I’m still processing the loss and can’t really think of what to say myself.

So I will simply say, from everyone here at On Spec: Live long and prosper, Grandpa Leonard. You’ve returned to the stars.

On Spec at Pure Spec

On Spec is a continuing sponsor of local sci-fi festival Pure Spec. As such, we were part of the festivities this past weekend and I have to say, a good time was had by all. We were especially happy to spend

Author GoH David Gerrold took time out from his Pure Spec duties to visit with Diane at the On Spec booth.
Author GoH David Gerrold took time out from his Pure Spec duties to visit with Diane at the On Spec booth.

time with Author Guest of Honour David Gerrold, who took time out of his tireless panel schedule to stop by the booth to say hello.

We’ll have other Pure Spec highlights soon, but we thought we’d post some tidbits for you now.

Geo Takach and David talk screenwriting at the Pure Spec Festival.
Geo Takach and David talk screenwriting at the Pure Spec Festival.
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Our Constantine at Pure Spec getting ready for his Mythology panels.

 

On Spec Can-Con Readings

If you were at Can-Con this year you might have attended a reading by four of our authors, as they read their On Spec pieces for an adoring crowd. If you didn’t make it to Can-Con or that reading, you’re in luck! Thanks to Rob and Geek TV over at Geek Inked Magazine you can watch each of the authors read their work. You could even grab your copy of On Spec and read along. (Don’t have a copy, you say? Let me help you…)

Thank-you to Agnes Cadieux, Kate Heartfield, Anita Dolman, and Mike Rimar for getting together on this reading and exposing On Spec to an appreciative audience. Thank-you as well to Can-Con for putting us on the program, the support is much appreciated.

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 1 with Agnes Cadieux

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 2 with Kate Heartfield

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 3 with Anita Dolman

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 4 with Mike Rimar

Thank-you for the Aurora Award!

Imagine my surprise and joy to learn that On Spec has won this year’s Aurora Award for Best Related Work! The sheer diversity of the category makes any voter’s decision tough, and we at On Spec are deeply moved by the support we’ve been receiving from our readers, authors and fans.

I mentioned diversity–every work in this category speaks to the amazing array of books, stories, and magazines being produced by our fellow Canadians. How things have changed in the twenty-five years since On Spec started! I am so proud to call many of the nominees my friends and all of them my colleagues.

And I especially thank the hard-working folks on the On Spec team. They are my extended family. Group hug, everyone!

Diane Walton, Managing Editor

All Submissions Now Open!

After a slight delay caused by bad dilithium, all submissions are now open for On Spec. You have your choice of submitting to the ‘Punk’ Issue, making a regular short story submission, or submitting poetry. Deadline for all short story submissions is October 31, 2014; poetry submissions are open year round.

As always, read the Submission Guidelines and follow them wholly.

As a final note: we have a small staff of dedicated volunteers managing our various social media. We can’t be everywhere all the time, and we can easily miss stuff. I feel like we really shouldn’t have to say this, but please do not make business enquiries through the Comments section of this site, or through Twitter and Facebook. If you want to know something about On Spec and our practices, please direct your queries to onspec@onspec.ca. That is the fastest way to get a response, and ensures we don’t have any important questions going astray.

What are you waiting for, get those submissions in!

Calling All Contributors!

As you can see by looking around, we have a new website under construction. We’re in the midst of building frenzy at the moment, always looking for the next thing to add to the site. One of the features we’d love to add is a Contributor’s Gallery, a visual history of the many wonderfully talented writers, poets, and artists On Spec has had the honour to feature over the years.

So this is our call to all past contributors: Send a photo of yourself, holding a copy of On Spec Magazine (preferably the copy or copies you were in), along with about 50-75 words telling us what you’re up to these days (including a link to your current site), to onspec@onspec.ca. Please title the email ‘Contributor Gallery’. With your permission, we’ll post your picture and blurb in the Gallery, so everyone can marvel at the many people who have helped On Spec become one of Canada’s finest SF magazines.

To show you how easy it is, Cory Doctorow sent us this little beauty:

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See how easy it is? No matter when you contributed or what you contributed, we want your photo! Please send it today.

An Anthology 25 Years in the Making

In cooperation with Tyche Books, On Spec Magazine has published Casserole Diplomacy and Other Stories: An On Spec 25th Anniversary Retrospective. You can read the official announcement on the Tyche Books site here, along with a commentary on our recent loss of Canada Council funding.

We are very proud of this anthology. We feel it represents some of the very best stories and authors showcased in On Spec over the last twenty-five years. If you’re a fan of On Spec, or just a fan of good science fiction, you should definitely find your way to a copy. Just click on the picture in this post, or in the sidebar, to go to the order page.

If you get a copy, please come back and tell us what you think! We’d love to hear from you.