Alternate Plainshas been reviewed by Joanne Kelly in the Winnipeg Free Press. She gave the anthology a thumbs-up:
The 12 stories will give you, in most cases, the creeps and a few good jump frights, while also offering some challenging and thought-provoking visions of life on the Prairies — now and in the future.
My story, “Summertime in the Void”, got a specific mention, which makes me happy.
Stories such as Summertime in the Void are great book-club fodder¹.
In it, Patrick Johanneson creates a post-apocalyptic vision where almost all of humanity transcends to the afterlife, but God has left a few people behind: 4,229,000 people, to be exact. When the main character demands to know why, God tells him: “Your mind, John. It’s misshapen. Its scent is wrong. It’s coloured outside the lines… your thoughts, your emotions, are too far divergent from the rest of the people. You live too far outside the norm.”
You can get Alternate Plains at finer bookstores everywhere, including McNally Robinson, and apparently there’s a copy in Coles in the Brandon Shopper’s Mall (at least there was last time I checked online).
¹ In that vein, for anyone who’s already read the story, I have a couple book-club questions to ponder:
Is “Saul” spelled correctly? Why or why not?
How long does the action in the story actually last?
It was quite a show last night. The aurora covered the northern sky, east to west, and reached up overhead. For about 15 minutes around 11:15pm, it looked like the videos you see that are shot up in the north: bright, sharp, and frenetic.
The image at the top is a panorama, 6 photos, stretching just about 180° from west to east.
Some of the photos in the gallery below were taken literally 2–5 seconds apart.
It was the best show I’ve seen in decades, and here’s to more active shows in the months and years to come.
Nerdy details: all images were 11mm, f/2.8. Exposure times varied between 1 and 5 seconds. ISO was either 1600 or 3200.
A young woman has vanished. Her neighbour Maite is looking for her because she’s not willing to feed her cat forever. A possibly CIA-funded gangster, El Elvis, is looking for her too, for somewhat darker reasons.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a mystery novel, a slow-burn noir set in Mexico City in the 1970s. It’s funny, tragic, startling, and violent. It’s full of comics and Elvis and unrest. It’s terrifying at times, sad at other times, and full of characters you root for and against, even if you’re not really sure you’d want to meet them.
I thought it was great, and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.