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Friday, July 26, 2013


I ASKED DIANE WALTON, our Managing Editor and one of On Spec's founding members, to write a guest post about our upcoming anthology. In 2014, we’ll be celebrating our 25th year of contributing to the speculative fiction scene in Canada. We've been promoting SF and encouraging writers for a quarter of a century! Will there be a party? I think so. Will there be cake? Most definitely! And we hope that when we finally do launch the anthology, you’ll join us. 

On Spec’s First 25 Years by Diane Walton:

It doesn’t seem that long since we were putting together our On Spec: The First 5 Years anthology, and handing it over to Tesseract Books for publication (copies of the anthology can still be purchased from Edge Publishing at this link). At the time we thought we could do this every five years, but something always managed to distract us from that lofty goal. Then, when we saw that magic number '25' looming, Jen reminded me that maybe we should think about celebrating our achievement.
We'd chatted amongst ourselves about maybe publishing an e-book, but the project sat on the back burner for years. Then one weekend last fall, we found ourselves sharing a dealer table with Margaret Curelas, Acquisitions Editor of Tyche Books. Tyche is a new kid on the block . It has a business model we admire, and some production and circulation ideas we shamelessly plan to steal. 

Margaret made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. 

So now, we face the daunting task of reading through 25 years’ worth of  issues—I can’t even begin to calculate how many stories that comes to—and selecting fifty or so Tales of the Fantastic that best represent our magical journey from that silly plan hatched over a bottle of wine in Marianne’s living room, to where we are now. 

I am having a blast! I’ve been sitting in my loft office for the past few weekends, pulling one issue after the other from the shelf, admiring the stunning cover art, gazing at the Table of Contents, reading the openings of stories I’d forgotten we had, smiling when I recognized a story I haven’t seen in fifteen years or more, and then writing down the most memorable title or titles from each issue. I also keep notes to indicate if we know where the author is in the universe (sadly a couple of my favourite writers have passed on; I doubt if we’ll be able to contact their estates), and if they are easy to find. 

When Tyche announced the contract had been signed with On Spec for the new anthology, we asked them to mention to authors with whom we've lost touch, to drop us a line with their current contact information (two of them already have, and I found another through the powers of Google). 

Once we editors have compiled our long wish lists, we’ll get together and compare notes to decide which stories we ultimately want. Then we’ll write to the authors to give them a heads-up in order to determine their level of interest in having their story in the anthology. Tyche will handle the contracts and we’ll compile the manuscripts. At the moment, the logistics boggle my mind, but I’m sure we will prevail. 

All in all, this is a very exciting project and one I look forward to, because it will bring so many excellent Tales of the Fantastic to a new audience. It’s like attending a class reunion and seeing old friends. And we’ll be sure to drink a toast to the ones who have left us along the way. 

(Thanks, Diane. I couldn't have said it better.)

Next Post: The ABC's of How NOT to Write Speculative Fiction - 'A' is also for...Can You Spot the Error?

Stay tuned.


  1. Great news. I just picked up On Spec: The First Five Years from a used bookstore yesterday, and I was wondering if there were any further On Spec anthologies.

  2. Sounds like it will be a fantastic read! I don't envy you the selection process. Looking forward to seeing it when it comes out.

  3. Thanks, David. Hi, Michal - no other On Spec anthologies other than the one you bought, although we had the best of intentions. That's why we're working on this upcoming one. And as Diane will attest, these will be hard choices to make because we've published so many wonderful stories over the years written by amazingly talented writers.

  4. Very pleased to see the anthology, which I have been calling for the last couple of years. Slightly pissed that Diane went with another publisher after giving me a hundred reasons why it couldn't be done when I proposed it... :-) but at least it's Tyche Books, who are very good and will do a decent job of it. (Good on Margaret for having excellent acquisition instincts. Darn it, I knew I should have volunteered to sit table at that convention.) I hope the anthology is a huge success and that it encourages people to subscribe to the magazine, and to look up other work by the included authors.