Friday, March 09, 2018

Excellence for What?

Very pleased to have a chapter in the just-released Routledge collection, Global Perspectives on Teaching Excellence entitled "Excellence for what? Policy Development and the Discourse of the Purpose of Higher Education." The collection is basically a reaction to recent legislation in the UK that attempted to measure and mandate teaching excellence in higher education. My wife and I wrote a critique using my discourse analysis model of the purpose of higher education applied to the new legislation to suggest that the government's definition of 'excellence' might be somewhat problematic from the perspective of students and learning.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

The Luck of Charles Harcourt

My 1989 short story, "The Luck of Charles Harcourt", has been reprinted in the current issue (#5) of Polar Borealis (above left). The timing pleases me greatly because the story originally appeared in the very first issue of On Spec magazine, and my second story in On Spec (above right) came out just last month (January, 2018) in #106 Vol. 28 (3), pp. 88-105 (see post from January 11). So there is an opportunity to compare first and last, as it were.

I must confess that reading my story from nearly thirty years ago makes me wince a little bit at the now obvious sexism, and it seems strange to read about people lining up at the bank tellers instead of using the ATM, and that there were no cell phones yet. I was tempted to update the story, but editor Graeme Cameron argued that "every story is a time capsule, capturing the context of the time it was written. Which is why I don't believe fiction should ever be reprinted with alterations designed to appease changing tastes and views. Let the past speak with the authentic voice of the past, I say."

It's an intriguing issue. Lorina and I left Hargreaves' stories as they were when Five Rivers reprinted North by 2000+ because they were authentically awesome, though the future he predicted for 2000 was not quite the one we got. In my preface, I told readers to just read the stories as if they took place in a parallel universe where American and Canada had merged (to take just one example of what hadn't gone the ways Hargreaves had predicted in the 1960s) but some readers did indeed complain about the anachronisms. Though it should be noted how many things Hargreaves got right, and therefore went unnoticed.... On the other hand, we updated Leslie Gadallah's books to take out the long explanations of the Internet, because we actually had the Internet by the time we reprinted her books. Perhaps the most interesting issue I've had as an editor with anachronisms is an author who wanted to disguise that the story was based on their own life by setting it in modern day, but then the action didn't make any sense, because much of the storyline depended on the confusion arising from characters not being able to reach each other, which just can't happen that way in an era of smartphones.

Anyway, pleased with to have the two stories out at once. Waiting to see if any of the five currently under consideration get picked up.

Note that although Polar Borealis is a paying market showcasing new and established Canadian authors, it is available free to subscribers: Download Now

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Greetings at Joe Mahoney Book Launch

I wasn't able to be present in person at the launch of Joe Mahoney's novel, A Time and A Place in Toronto, so Joe asked me to send him a brief video to bring greetings. The two minute nine second video of me gives one a sense of what I'm like as an acquisition and developmental editor.

[I shared this video previously on my EssentialEdits.ca/SFeditor.ca blog, but I'm still learning how to use Youtube, so am trying out the feature where the embedded video skips the first minute and five seconds, and actually starts where me. But I can't figure out how to show the frame from where the video starts, rather than a picture of Lorina Stephens, my boss at Five Rivers Publishing, who brings greetings from the press to start the video. (Click here if you'd like to hear Lorina.]

Thursday, January 11, 2018

On Spec Magazine

Pleased to have my story, "Sermon on the Mount" in the current issue (#106) of On Spec magazine.

This is my second fiction entry in On Spec; my first was in the very first issue of the magazine, August, 1989. It's taken me 105 issues to make a second fiction sale to these folks. Tough audience! (Well, I have had a couple of guest editorial spots in the magazine in between.)

By complete coincidence, that first story, "The Luck of Charles Harcourt", is being reprinted in the forthcoming/current issue of Polar Borealis magazine. I'll post about that when it happens.