Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

1983 in Review: The Canadian SF Year

by Rob - December 16th, 2023.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

Forty years to the day after I wrote it, here’s the first thing I ever wrote in WordStar. This was published in The Bakka Bookie Sheet, the newsletter of Bakka, Toronto’s science-fiction specialty bookstore, and it provides an interesting snapshot of the state of Canadian science-fiction and fantasy publishing four decades ago:

1983 in Review: The Canadian SF Year

by Robert J. Sawyer

In September, Bakka published an amusing chapbook entitled Toronto’s Fantastic Street Names by John Robert Colombo.

Houghton-Mifflin published The Celestial Steam Locomotive, first volume of Michael Coney’s “The Song of Earth” trilogy, in November. Coney makes his home in Sidney, B.C.

Charles de Lint of Ottawa is well-known for his excellent semi-prozine Dragonfields, of which the fourth number appeared in 1983. But he has also taken the book-publishing world by storm, selling his first, second, and third novels this year: The Riddle of the Wren and Moonheart to Ace and The Harp of the Grey Rose to Starblaze.

Augustine Funnel of Lyndhurst, Ontario, wrote “Viewpoint: A Stroll to the Stars” in the August IAsfm.

Another fine collection by Phyllis Gotlieb, Son of the Morning and Other Stories, was released by Ace in December.

Terence M. Green made his first appearance in IAsfm with “Susie Q2” in August. He sold another story to F&SF. He reviewed Pauline Gedge’s Stargate and Spider Robinson’s Mindkiller in the February Books in Canada. Once again, Terry was an invited reader at the Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Florida.

Collector R. S. Hadji had annotated horror bibliographies in the June, August, and October issues of Twilight Zone.

Tanya Huff sold script outlines to a TV series in development stage called “Captain Lonestar. “ Her fantasy story “Claus Clause” was a runner-up in the annual CBC Radio Drama Competition.

David Kesterton, author of The Darkling, and Robert J. Sawyer both joined the Science Fiction Writers of America this year, bringing the total Canadian membership of that organization to 18.

Tsunami by Crawford Kilian of Vancouver was published by Douglas & McIntyre.

That brilliant novel Courtship Rite continued to garner honours for Donald Kingsbury. It was a nominee for the Hugo and Locus named it best first novel of the year. Kingsbury was flown to Balticon 17 in April to accept the Compton N. Crook memorial award. Forbidden Planet bookstore announced Don as winner of their first annual Saturn Award in the Best New Writer category.

Toronto doctor Edward Llewellyn’s third DAW Books novel, Prelude to Chaos, appeared in February.

Spider Robinson’s “Melancholy Elephants” won the Best Short Story Hugo. He signed autographs at Bakka in November.

In June, CBC-TV produced a version of University of Waterloo alumnus Thomas J. Ryan’s 1977 novel The Adolescence of P-1. The show, with screenplay by Barrie Wexler, will be broadcast in 1984 as part of the “For the Record” anthology series.

Montrealer Charles R. Saunders sold an Imaro sequel entitled The Quest for Cush to DAW.

Robert J. Sawyer’s article on semi-prozines was in the Fall Canadian Author & Bookman. His story “The Contest” was optioned by Bar Harbour films and his script “Earthfall” won an honourable mention in the annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. His mini-interview with Don Kingsbury appeared in February’s Books in Canada and he sold a long Kingsbury interview to Science Fiction Review.

Expatriate Canuck A. E. van Vogt completed a third Null-A book, which so far has only sold in French to a publisher in France. DAW Books published his Computerworld in November.

Andrew Weiner continued his prolific publishing of excellent stories: “One More Time” in the Doubleday anthology Chrysalis 10, “On the Ship” in the May F&SF, “Takeover Bid” in the June Twilight Zone, and “Invaders” in the October IAsfm.

McGill University’s Science-Fiction Studies produced issues on 19th century SF and SF in the non-print media. Bill Mark’s Vortex had four issues in 1983. A semi-prozine called Moonscape appeared, edited by Mogens Brondum of Swan River, Manitoba.

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