cover art by Mike Linkovich
It’s been a long and bumpy journey, with weather harsh and roadmaps faulty, but here we are. This is existence and it is sublime. This is AE – The Canadian Science Fiction Review. This is the new professional market for the fantastic, the prophetic, the speculative and the strange. This is a grand experiment in more ways than one. And this is all for you. Come on in.
Though this is our grand opening, AE is not without history. Playing the events of our collective life in reverse, we wind through heart-rending fundraising drives, blizzards of email, awesome outpourings of support from both friends and strangers back to a simple rooftop pact in rural Ontario in the late summer of 2009. But that is not where this story really begins. That goes back all the way to July 1939 when Astounding Science Fiction hit the news-stands and kicked off the Golden Age of Science Fiction. The cover story was “Black Destroyer” by a young Canadian author named A.E. van Vogt.
It is just one in an endless list of Canada’s defining contributions to culture at large. Though it may pain our humble hearts and pragmatic natures to do so, we must admit: We are a nation of creatives.
In literature, television, music and film there is one common refrain: “I didn’t know they were Canadian.” It’s no wonder. We have become adept at subterfuge, chameleons of stage, screen and page. The world wants Neuromancer and Crazy Horse and Avatar, but don’t go and plaster maple leafs all over it okay?
But Canadian artists are at their best when they can drop the charade. When they need not repackage their experience and vision and understanding for a notionally generic audience.
Canadian themes are rich and varied and so much more than simply American themes with a bit more snow, a bit more hockey and a few altered diphthongs. The strongest of those themes — First Nations issues, the garrison mentality, multiculturalism, the insignificance of mankind in such a vast world — translate effortlessly to science fiction. Matthew Moore’s “Touch the Sky, They Say,” which appears in this issue, is just one example (though a tremendous one) of the power of Canadian themes in genre fiction.
As for the future, it is cryptic and brilliant and terrifying. As it should be. AE launches today as a webzine, broken up into quarterly issues and featuring new content every Monday. In time, we hope to bring you even more frequent updates with even more fantastic stories. We hope to expand to other digital media and then to print publication. Whether or not we can do these things will depend on the strength and devotion of our audience. You can support AE by helping to spread the word. You can support AE directly. You can support AE just by reading, by commenting on the stories that delight or frustrate you, by letting us know you like what we’re doing.
Or you can support AE by sending us your stories. For the present, we are accepting stories only from Canadian authors, but it will not always be so. AE is not a magazine only of the overtly Canadian. You will find, in time, science fiction of all flavours and provenances within our digital covers. The future belongs to everyone. And now, because AE uses a Creative Commons license, so do these stories.
D.F. McCourt, Editor
Helen Michaud, Editorial Director
Adam Lonero, Art Director