29 January 2020

Published in the Age of Unravelling

Can it be? Not four weeks into the New Year and already a new Canadian Notes & Queries? A theme issue – "Writing in the Age of Unravelling" – it makes for some uncomfortable reading. Catherine Bush contributes an essay on representations of the climate crisis in fiction. Jacky Sawatzky writes on her memorial to the endangered giraffe. Jennifer Ilse Black and Waubgeshig Rice are interviewed. Andrew Forbes presents a cli-fi primer.

Credit goes to Guest Editors Patricia Robertson and Sharon English.

The issue's Dusty Bookcase concerns Hotter Than Hell, the 1974 Kiss album produced by Kenny Kenner and Richie Wise.

I jest. It's about the 2005 dystopian novel of the same title.

Political animals will remember Hotter Than Hell as the small press book the newly-elected Harper Conservatives made famous by silencing its author, government scientist Mark Tushington.

What intrigued me is that for all the coverage – The Globe & MailThe New York Times, The Scientist, et al – no one appeared to have taken the time to read the damn thing.

Well, I've read it. And now you don't have to.

Here's a typical passage:
The Eighteenth Guard (Pennsylvania) and Eighth Guard (New York) divisions, supported by the 1st Marine and 57th Urban brigades were attacking, The First Guard Division was being badly defeated in every sector. The 28th and 29th regiments were quickly pushed out of Abany and up the length of the Mohawk Valley. It was only then that we retreated into Utica that my forces could hold. Because of the inactivity of the IV Corps, I took a supreme gamble and withdrew elements of the 6th Armored Brigade from covering Montreal.
You're welcome.

Other contributors include:
Madhur Anand
Peter Anson
Nicholas Bradley
Yuan Changming
Stephen Fowler
Lise Gaston
Roger Greenwald
Mahak Jain
Joanna Lilley
JF Martel
David Mason
Catherine Owen
Roz Spafford
Erika Thorkelson
RM Vaughan
Mary Lou Zeitown
The issue also features the annual Book Review supplement.

Thirty-two pages of goodness, provided by:
Michel Basilières
Steven W. Beattie
Jeff Bursey
Andreae Callahan
Laura Cameron
Paige Cooper
Trevor Corkum
André Forget
Monique Giroux
James Granger
Brett Josef Grubisic
Katia Grubisic
Stephen Henighan
Dancy Mason
Rohan Maitzen
Rod Moody-Corbet
Rudrapriya Rathore
Patricia Robertson
Matthew D. Rodrigues
Mark Sampson
Jonathan Valelly
Derek Webster
Bruce Whiteman
Apparently, there's a sequel to Hotter Than Hell.

I'll leave it to others to explore.

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