After a little investigation, I realized that dozens, if not hundreds, of my all-time favorite reads have come from Canadian writers. Here is just a sampling:
Set in 1972, this vampire novel begins in the guise of a relatively conventional fiction narrative following three broken – and broke – characters on a trek from Toronto to Parr’s Landing, a little mining town in “the middle of nowhere” on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Ontario. Rowe's debut novel was my #1 vampire fiction release of 2011 and I called it "a dark masterpiece that virtually burns the pages with a bloody incandescence."
I'm a big fan of Pyper – he has written some unforgettable thrillers like The Wildfire Season and Lost Girls – but The Killing Circle was just a flawless novel. "Powered by an ingeniously nonlinear storyline, a narrative tone thick with dread, and unusual imagery throughout (a disassembled corpse is described as a 'human anthology' and the killer turns 'people into fractions'), this is easily Pyper’s most ambitious – and absorbing – work to date. In a word: Extraordinary."
This was just an excellent collection of SF stories. Here is part of my review, which I wrote back in '05: "Gravity Wells is the first short story collection by James Alan Gardner (Expendable, Vigilant, et. al.), one of Canada’s premier science fiction writers. From a centuries-old vampire in search of grace to time traveling executioners to scythe-wielding Reaper with a conscience, this 14-story collection is first-rate speculative fiction... [science] fiction fans stateside can add James Alan Gardner’s Gravity Wells to the list of precious exports from the Great White North."
I just love Linda L. Richards – and this was one of my favorites from her.
"Imagine Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade in high heels and a sensible skirt and you’ve got a pretty good sense of the protagonist in Linda L. Richards’ latest mystery, Death Was the Other Woman..."
"Any reader who enjoys innovative, stylish and sometimes thematically disturbing works of fiction – i.e.: dark literary fiction – needs to experience People Live Still in Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess. It’s a black-hearted little masterwork of a horror story that will surely haunt readers’ subconscious long after reading..."
This guy is a master at penning historical fantasies (The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Last Light of the Sun, et. al.) but Ysabel, a departure of sorts for Kay, was particularly memorable for me. "Blending historical fantasy and psychological thriller with a paranormal-powered coming-of-age tale, Ysabel will not only appeal to adult fantasy readers but also adolescents who have enjoyed authors that feature teen protagonists like J.K. Rowling and Christopher Paolini..."
To this day, Tides is still one of the coolest science fiction novels I've read. "On a water-rich planet with distant major landmasses, two markedly different species of intelligent beings have evolved separately without any knowledge of the other’s existence. But when one courageous explorer gives up everything and sets sail for the other side of the world, he not only puts his own life in jeopardy but also the safety of his entire race..."
Awesome title – even better book.... "Faust’s debut novel, The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, is a hip literary feast for aficionados of science fiction pop culture. Packed with references to cheesy sci-fi movies, comic books and TV shows, this delightfully original novel revolves around two young slackers living together in Edmonton – Hamza Senesert and Ulysses 'Yehat' Gerbles – a dishwasher and a video store clerk, who, in their spare time, perform chivalrous acts like enlightening neighborhood children, inventing ingenious gadgets, and saving the world from Evil..."
Released in 2004, this is still my favorite Czerneda novel. "Survival marks a milestone for Canadian science fiction writer Julie E. Czerneda: Not only is it the first book in her Species Imperative trilogy -- which examines the impact of alien species' innate biological drives in a universe where humankind coexists with dozens of sentient races -- it is her very first hardcover release... Plain and simple: This is Czerneda's best work to date."
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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