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Terence M. Green

by Robert J. Sawyer

Copyright © 1993 [with updates in 2014] by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved

Green, Terence M(ichael), born in Canada on 2 February 1947

Green, a high-school English teacher in his native Toronto, had his first SF story, "Japanese Tea," published in the Australian anthology Alien Worlds in 1978. His first sale to the U.S. was "Till Death Do Us Part" in the December 1981 Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; he's had three other stories in that magazine since, plus three in Asimov's (including a collaboration with Andrew Weiner in the June 1988 issue). Green is a soft SF writer; his work is thoughtful, introspective, and character-driven, and most often explores family relationships.

Green's first novel, Barking Dogs (1988), expanding his brilliant short story of the same name from the May 1984 F&SF, was a tale of vigilantism and psychological breakdown in a future Toronto, in which perfect, portable lie detectors — barking dogs — change both interpersonal relationships and criminal justice. The 1992 Canadian anthology Ark of Ice contains a sequel novelette entitled "Blue Limbo." [Later expanded to novel length and published by Tor as Blue Limbo in 1997.]

Green's second novel, Children of the Rainbow (to date published only in Canada by McClelland & Stewart, 1992), displaced a variety of characters through time. Green combined the Mutiny on the Bounty story, the anti-nuclear protests of Greenpeace, and an Incan religious revival into a highly literate narrative full of wry commentaries on the present day. [Revised edition as Sailing Time's Ocean published by Robert J. Sawyer Books in 2006.]

Ten of his stories were collected in The Woman Who Is the Midnight Wind (1987) from Canada's Pottersfield Press. Notable stories include "Ashland, Kentucky" (first published in Asimov's, November 1985, and arguably Green's finest work), which tells of a son's search for his dying mother's brother who had disappeared decades ago; "Legacy" (reprinted from F&SF, March 1985), in which a murdered man's mind is kept alive long enough to identify his killer; and the original short version of "Barking Dogs." ["Ashland, Kentucky," expanded to novel length and published by Tor as Shadow of Ashland in 1996; followed by sequel novels A Witness to Life in 1999 and St. Patrick's Bed in 2001, also from Tor.]

A personal comment from Robert J. Sawyer on June 28, 2015:

I'm known for the flagrant and frequent Canadian settings in my own fiction, and there are those who say I was a pioneer in doing that, especially in the speculative-fiction arena. Well, I may indeed have been an early adopter, but I had at least a glimmering that it might be successful, despite all the naysayers who proclaimed you could never sell a book to an American publisher if it was set in Canada.

See, in 1988, the year I was writing my first novel, Toronto schoolteacher Terence M. Green had his own first book come out: Barking Dogs, a gritty science-fiction drama about a near-future Toronto in which perfect portable lie detectors let a rogue cop play judge, jury, and executioner to the perps who were slipping through the cracks in the legal system. Green reveled in his Canadian setting, and his book, published by the major New York house St. Martin's Press, was warmly embraced on both sides of the border.

Barking Dogs and its sequel, Blue Limbo, are available again in both print and ebook editions from Arc Manor, an innovative new American publisher, under their Phoenix Pick imprint. They're still cracking good reads, and they paved the way for myself, Nalo Hopkinson, Hayden Trenholm, and every other Canadian writer setting our SF in this country; indeed, Toronto's proven such a terrific setting for SF that even American writers, such as Daryl Gregory in last year's Afterparty (Tor Books), are setting works here.

More Good Reading

Encyclopedia Galactica entries on:

Interview with Terence M. Green (1992)

Interview with Terence M. Green (1988)

Three short-short Canadian SF Stories by Terence M. Green, Robert J. Sawyer, and Andrew Weiner, introduced by John Robert Colombo

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