Information and links to Canadian fiction resources supplied by Rick Sutcliffe's Arjay Enterprises.
Canadian fiction tends to be stereotyped by Canadians much as they stereotype themselves--self absorbed yet self-effacing, capitalist socialists, peace loving yet first class warriors, in a love-hate relationship with the government, the CBC, and their fellow citizens, proud of being Canadian, yet not sure what that means except that it isn't American, obsessed with living next door to and being influenced by an imperialist culture, yet clustering close to the U.S. border for as if for comfort and identity, in short uniquely Canadian, yet quite Americanized. Like all sweeping generalizations, these are simultaneously both true and base canards. If nothing else, Canadians are the quintessential dualists, readily assenting to contradictory notions while phlegmatically carrying on with life.
If Canadian culture lives by slogans, it is not the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" espoused by neighbours to the south, but "peace, order, and good government", altogether different concepts that in part explain both culture and system of government. Perhaps to these three one could once have added "tolerance", though the term has been redefined in recent years from benign acceptance of differences to an aggressive demand for radical equality of values. These issues also play out in Canadian fiction, making it sound strange to the more individualistic Americans. For instance, the (albeit short lived) wild west never existed in Canada, and it has never had a gun-oriented culture, so neither appear in Canadian literature.
Canadian authors often seek out American publishers for their mainstream fiction, and Canadian ones for what they term "literary works." Whatever this might mean for Canadian fiction sales, it exacerbates its duality. Like the Irish did for centuries, Canadian writers specialize in lost causes, whimsicality, ill-expressed longings, quaint rural scenes, and hopes for a better day. Perhaps this is a consequence of living next door to a superpower. Perhaps it is an artifact of Ireland's influence on Canada, for many Canadians trace their heritage to that troubled land.
Fiction set in Canada does have a larger than life stage, though. The vastness and beauty of the country are difficult to capture on the literary canvas, even for the most skilled wordsmith. It is a place whose very nature appears to abet the making of legends, a place where the land itself, much less its people, are often stranger than fiction, more than the sum of their parts, inscrutable, raw, gargantuan. Perhaps this contributes to the somewhat introspective tone of typical Canadian fiction.
Rick Sutcliffe's fiction is Canadian because he is, and because a few of the scenes take place in Canada (Calgary, Vancouver, and environs) or in the same geographic area on alternate worlds (on Hibernia, part of thinly-populated Irish North America). The reflection called for in these stories is upon issues, not on the nature of national self identity. That is, you won't find the stereotypical Canadian themes here to a great extent, as there shouldn't be in fiction that can stand on its own. But if you wish, call it Canadian Christian SF, eh?
Rick Sutcliffe's Christian Celtic (Irish-Canadian) SF is alternate history and soft science fiction, but not fantasy, chiliastic nor quixotic. It is set among several alternate worlds linked by a medium called the timestream, and involves the characters in ethical decision making.
The first series, The Interregnum, takes place largely on Ortho Earth, also called Greater Hibernia, and covers the period 1941-2001, during which there was a ban on the throne and the High King's family, and a corrupt oligarchy of nobles ruled.
Volume I, The Peace, published as an electronic book, won an award nomination, was a best seller with its first publisher and received very positive reviews, particularly from Analog magazine's Tom Easton. It was republished by Writers Exchange ePublishing in December 2002.
Volume II, The Friends, is also available in electronic book form and in paper from Booksurge. It was published by Writers Exchange ePublishing in June 2003 and was named the best Science Fiction novel of the year with an EPPIE 2004 award.
Volume III, The Exile was published by Writers Exchange ePublishing in July 2003, and was an EPPIE 2004 finalist for Science Fiction. It is available in both electronic book and paper form.
Volume IV, The General, was published by Writers Exchange ePublishing in March 2006 and is available from them and their retailers in a variety of formats.
Volume V, The Nexus, was published by Writers Exchange ePublishing in April 2006 and is available from them and their retailers in a variety of formats.
Volume VI, The Builder, is scheduled for late 2006 or 2007
Volume VII, The Throne, will be the final installment in the series.
All of Rick Sutcliffe's books can be purchased via links here.
(A considerable portion of the action in The Peace and The Exile takes place in Tirdia's Canada.)
Be sure to visit Canadian eAuthors
for information and links to other Canadian electronically published authors and electronic publishers.