“I am Canadian” is a primer for "Canadian Science Fiction: Taking Over the World, Nicely,” a longer talk that Julie will present on Saturday, 23 October 2010, at the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium.
“I am Canadian” comes, not from the beer rant commercials (though I do enjoy those), but from my good friend Don Bassie who has done so much online and off to promote the creations of us Canadian SF folk. Even made us buttons. I’ve mine right here. It says, “I am Canadian SF!”
Of course, being Canadian, I couldn’t possibly use the full thing as my title even for this blog. Wouldn’t feel right. I mean, I’m not the only one … nor is SF all I am … it’s such a struggle for us, isn’t it, to toot our own horns?
Well, we should.
::imagine me standing on a busy street corner with megaphone:: I Love Science Fiction!
I read it, watch it, daydream in it. I love how it opens my mind and shows me possibilities. I love the way it lets me build (or destroy) entire planets and visit futures that may or may not ever exist.
Science fiction rewards imagination and critical thought, exactly what we need to ride the waves of change. You there. All of you. Read it!
Not that I’d do that. The megaphone thing.
Being Canadian, I’m more likely to nod knowingly at someone on the bus, or in a bookstore, who has their hands wrapped around a science fiction book. Behold, a kindred spirit! (Which is getting harder to do, by the way, now that people e-read. How can you spot a kindred spirit that way? Don’t mind me, I’m leaning over your shoulder to peer at the header on your screen?)
As for Canadian science fiction? Our science fiction stories are second to none. Everyone should read them! Why are they great? Perhaps it’s our near-obsession with bad weather, since we do live where being outside could kill us. (Or make us deliriously content. We’re complex that way.) Then there’s our perspective on society, which we fully expect to be complicated, clunky, and subject to compromise, though ultimately reasonable if you don’t poke it too much.
Above all, I believe it’s because Canadian science fiction reflects how we view our place on this planet. We aren’t alone and we don’t want to be. We care, we connect, but we don’t tell others what to do. We worry when anyone suggests we lead by example, because we know we haven’t got it right yet, whatever it is, though we’re trying. Our stories are messy and challenging. Our characters are flawed and utterly human. Our ideas?
Oh, those are as big as our backyard.