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Summary: On Spec, 2011 - The Elephant Forgets
Summary: On Spec, 2011
Summary: On Spec, 2011

On Spec is a quarterly magazine based in Canada that has now been running for a very impressive 86 issues (over 23 years -- I suppose a couple of years had less than four issues.) This year they published 32 pieces of fiction: 2 novelettes and 30 short stories (three of them short-shorts), for about 140,000 words total. There were also a few poems, and some interviews and other non-fiction. (All these numbers are consistent with the magazine's history -- its format has remained very steady over time.) The managing editor is Diane L. Walton, and the fiction editors are Walton, Robin S. Carson, Barb Galler-Smith, Ann Marston, Cat McDonald, and Susan MacGregor.

(I'll note that the Winter 2010 issue is included in these counts, as I have done for years. I didn't see it until well into 2011, and I'm not sure if that's because the post between the US and Canada is very slow (which it is, I must note, quite unexpectedly so); or if they purposely give the issue a 2010 date because that's when winter started, even if the issue might not appear until 2011.)

Stories I quite liked this year included two from Kate Riedel: "The Guardians" (Spring), about a girl and her mysterious friend, and how their lives entangle; and "The Man Who Loved His Work" (Winter 2010), about a lonely park ranger, and his literalized love for his work, with a mystery about a long dead woman behind it all. I also enjoyed two from Summer: Geoffrey W. Cole's "On the Many Uses of Cedar", a harrowing but ultimately hopeful story of a woman reliving the same day over and over, trying to undo the damage caused by her husband hitting her; and Priya Sharma's "The Fox Maiden", about a girl of mysterious ancestry trying to avoid marriage to a crude hunter. Other fine work came from Steve Vernon, Allan Weiss, H. S. Donnelly, Scott H. Andrews, and Sharma again.

I counted 8 SF stories out of 32 (25%), less than in the past couple of years though perhaps in line with the 'zine history. Also, 10 of 32 stories were by women: 32%, perhaps a bit low for On Spec.

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