As 2014 comes to an end, it is time to reflect on the highs and lows of the past year, and to look ahead to a fresh year, with so many possibilities. I’m pleased to report that we have achieved some form of financial stability in spite of the drastic cut to our 2015 grant funding, and we are grateful to those sustaining patrons who sent us money, and to those who continue to donate. With careful management, we can get through the coming year. And remember how easy it is to donate through Patreon and show your support.
We want to continue to bring our readers even more challenging and interesting fiction, art and poetry, and to show the world that Canadian writers thrive. Speaking of the world, please support us by subscribing to the digital version of On Spec, and do let your friends and family in countries outside Canada know just how easy it is to be reading On Spec within a few seconds.
In the coming months, we’ll be making further enhancements to the website, and adding new and engaging content. If you are interested in volunteering for On Spec, we hope to have a new database set up, so prospective volunteers can send us their information, and we can put them to good use. We will also be looking at new stories to develop for the On Spec Teacher Toolkit Series. If you know a teacher, let them know about our comprehensive teaching aid for “Space Monkeys”, a story that appeared on the pages of On Spec. Other projects will be announced as the year progresses.
We’ll be at several conventions and book events in the coming months, and as always, we look forward to meeting with our authors, artists and readers. Also be sure to look for our friends and colleagues with Tyche Books, and buy a copy of the On Spec 25 year anthology.
My deepest thanks to all my On Spec family–editors, staff, proofreaders, designers– and to all the creative artists who have placed their work in our hands over the years. I wish you all success and good fortune in the coming year.
The editors and staff of On Spec are gratified by the show of encouragement from our readers and friends in the months since we learned of our current financial difficulties. The good news is that, for now, we are on an even keel, and we’ve been able to reduce spending and increase savings in a few strategic areas, without sacrificing the quality of our magazine or its contents.
On Spec will continue to publish.
Grants are never assured, and we have been fortunate until now. But grants are not enough. It’s the ongoing support of our readers that keeps us going. So at this time of the year, when you are looking at your holiday shopping list, please consider a gift of a subscription to On Spec for the readers in your family or in your circle of friends.
You can buy a paper subscription, or a digital one, and it really is a gift that continues to give pleasure to everyone who reads it.
Monthly contributions to our Patreon sustainability campaign will always be most welcome.
On Spec loves it when one of its authors gets this kind of recognition. Tyler Keevil has won the $10,000 Journay Prize for his story, “Sealskin”, published in The New Orphic Review.
Tyler’s story, ‘Canine Court’,was published in Volume 24, #2 of On Spec Summer 2012, and his haunting tale, ‘Masque of the Red Clown’ was in our Spring 2008 issue. If you are interested in seeing “Canine Court”, you can buy a digital version of the issue at Weightless Books.
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
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.
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.
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!
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 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 email@example.com. 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
See how easy it is? No matter when you contributed or what you contributed, we want your photo! Please send it today.
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.