And Now, From Science Weekly





Good morning, I’m Sybil Sanderson.

We here at ‘Science Weekly’ are pleased to report a new development in the world of space. A shake-up has been reported in the Canadian government that may have an impact on that country’s contribution to space exploration.

Minister of Space, Jonathon Erikson died last week after being shot in his bed. His body was discovered by his wife. His post has been filled by his Deputy Minister, Anika Lavalle, who was only recently promoted to the deputy position from advisor. Investigators are still trying to piece together the evidence that may lead to an arrest of Minister Erikson’s murderer. It is with great curiosity that we turn our attention now to the newly minted Minister Lavalle. Who is she? How did a virtual unknown rise to such an important position? We were able to ask these questions, and more, of the Minister herself in a brief interview granted just this morning.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today, Minister Lavalle.


My pleasure.


You must have an enormous amount of work waiting for you, so I’ll get right to it. How does one go from an advisory position to Deputy Minister of Space?


In my former position, I apparently caught the attention of our Prime Minister Cohen. He asked that I advise him on various occasions, after which he appointed Deputy Minister of Space. It’s a great honor.


I can imagine. Has the mandate of the Ministry of Space changed at all since your promotion?


Yes, it has, Sybil. The Prime Minister has tasked my office with establishing the preliminary steps to building a research station on the Moon. Then we’ll work to meet the criteria that will allow us to build a multi-national research station there. While no country can claim the planet, only politics stands in the way of working together. That said, it is our wish that Canada take a larger role in exploring space. Research, asteroid mining and launching exploratory craft from the Moon is all a part of that plan.


Will Canada still play a technological support role on the International Space Station?


Yes, we will. The Government of Canada wants to expand our role in exploring space, not reduce it. We want to be a leader out among the stars. We are putting plans into place that will enable many more Canadian citizens to be a bigger part of that. We expect to see more job creation come from this new mandate, as well as current contract extensions. Residual economic developments are expected to boost the overall health of our economy as well. Obviously, I can’t go into a great number of details, though.


It will be fascinating to see how it all unfolds. Thank you for sharing a small part of your vision with us, Minister Lavalle.


Thank you for having me, Sybil.


So, there you have it, folks, Canada gets a new Minister of Space, and a new purpose out among the stars! Stayed tuned for Ryan Rutledge’s report on the repairs to the Hadron Collider…


You Have An Interesting Name, Coriander Wolf


I wanted to take a couple of minutes today to tell you about two women that are about to go off on an incredible adventure across space and wondrous worlds. But before they can save an expedition lost on a world that is not Earth…they have to meet, right?

You’ve heard me talk about Cori and Devi, and how they’ve been tasked by the Canadian government to find and retrieve a ground-breaking expedition. You’ve seen little snippets that I’ve posted here. But how did they come together?

“If It’s Easy” is an inexpensive short story that recounts how Devi and Coriander met in the most unlikely of places, Northern Ontario. It’s sweet, charming and a reminder of how easily our hearts can fall for the right person. You can find it at iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Overdrive, Kobo, Scribd, Tolino, Amazon, and 24Symbols.

I hope you enjoy it. I hope they charm you as much as they did me. I’d love to hear what you thought. Please drop me a line in the comments below!

Happy reading!



Why Dystopias?


I was talking to someone the other day about my newest project (yes, I’m a writing multi-tasker), a dystopian novel, and they asked me an interesting question.


“Why, what?” Was my oh-so-intelligent response.

“Why write dystopian? What the hell is it, really? Isn’t it all depressing and bleak?”

Those questions were rather revealing and interesting at the same time.


Dystopian fiction has been characterized thusly,

‘Dystopian literature is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world.’ The term dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, squalor or oppression and the theme is most commonly used in science fiction and speculative fiction genres.The most popular definition of dystopian literature is that it is anti-Utopian.’


I’m not sure I agree with all of that.


These days, the dystopian genre has more facets than it did in George Orwell’s day. A number of authors have taken it in directions uniquely their own, thereby opening the genre for all kinds of interpretation. Dystopian fiction is no longer just about Big Brother, oppression, and totalitarianism. These days it can be about a facet of life after some radical planet-changing event. Dys usually denotes something bad, so right off, we know we aren’t headed for a romance story.

But even that presumption can be turned on its ear because more and more, we can read dystopian fiction that includes romance.

I think a more accurate description of the genre might be ‘a genre of fictional writing used to explore a world that the reader would consider worse off than his or her own, socially, politically or environmentally.’


Sure, there are heavy elements, and I have read a few where I came away depressed and worried about the future.

But not all dystopian novels and short stories are like that. I’ve read many where I was left with hope for the future. I’ve read some, where the main characters fell in love and forged a new life together in their radically-changed world.

See? Lots more options than what Orwell had to work with in his day.


As for the first part of that question, I write it because I’m fascinated by it. I’ve been a fan of dystopian literature for over twenty years, and it’s been interesting watching the genre grow and stretch its boundaries. Once, it was the domain of white men focused on doom and gloom. Now, some of the best dystopian novels and short stories include women of colour, lesbians just trying to survive in a radical world, self-affirming A.I, rabbits looking for a new home…and the list goes on. We’re not in post-war Kansas anymore, Dear Reader.


For me, the dystopian genre offers a new way to look at the world. What it can be, what it looks like to some people, and where we’re going if we aren’t careful. Advisory, cautious, revelatory, and hopefully entertaining.


But the greatest reason for me to write dystopian fiction can be summed up by this quote,


“Write the book you want to read, the one you cannot find.” Carol Shields  



A Descent of Colours


I know, I’m a tease. I like to use my blog as a testing ground, a sounding-field for bits of fiction I’m working on. It’s interesting to see who comments, who hits ‘like’, and who doesn’t. Sometimes, it’s just about getting it out of my system and seeing how the words look.

Kind of like the person who throws cooked spaghetti at the wall to see if it will stick, and declare it done if it doesn’t slide off.

At any rate, here’s a bit that just flowed from somewhere. Try it on.

Tell me if it moved you or made you yawn. Could you see the colours?



Walker turned away from the cob barn and let the others herd the sheep and chickens into their new home. He turned toward the lake. The sun had just begun its descent and slid toward the horizon, saying its daily farewells in a chorus of yellows and oranges. The water picked up the colors and replied in an echo so intense that Walker found himself unable to tear his eyes away. The sunset was doubled, mirrored, and for just a minute, Walker was able to forget about the pandemic, forget for just a moment about all of the people who couldn’t see the colors he did. He forgot that the little community of Eden might be one of the last communities in the province. For just a minute he didn’t have to think about survival or security or keeping animals alive so they could feed him.
There was only the sun, and himself.