I finally had a chance to read the other stories in the Imaginarium 2012 anthology, the one that reprinted my story “The Kiss of the Blood-Red Pomegranate” from Aoife’s Kiss. There are a lot of great stories in here! I think my favorite was Madeline Ashby’s “The Education of Junior Number 12″, about androids who fall in love with humans (although that simple description fails to convey the wonderful characterizations, and the thoughtful portrayal of the sort of effect this might have on human relationships).
I also loved Geoffrey W. Cole’s “On the Many Uses of Cedar”, a story reminiscent of Groundhog Day in which the reader’s sense of who the villain is shifts from the easy assumption implied by the opening; Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer’s “Laikas 1″, about a woman inexplicably followed by a growing pack of feral dogs; Gemma Files’s “Signal to Noise”, about an ex-CIA agent who seems to be sending messages to his former boss from beyond the grave; Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “A Puddle of Blood”, a very unusual vampire romance; Derek Kunsken’s “To Live and Die in Gibbontown”, with its intelligent macaques, bonobos, and gibbons in an apparently post-human world; and Ada Hoffmann’s creepy “Centipede Girl”.
Imaginarium also includes poetry, and while I don’t know poetry well enough to feel I can speak intelligently about it, I especially liked Peter Chiykowski’s “The Cinder Girl” and Carolyn Clink’s “10 Things to Know About Staplers” (although I’m not sure the latter is actually a poem; I’m not sure what to call it, really).
Imaginarium 2012 is the first installment in what is expected to be an annual anthology of the best Canadian speculative fiction and poetry (“speculative” being an umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy, and horror). For those of you who, like me, grew up in Canada, don’t worry: it isn’t all slow, meditative work about the bleakness of the vast Canadian landscape. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) There are stories in the anthology set in the Canadian wilderness, while others take place in South America, Africa, Europe, or the Middle East. According to the anthology editors, Canadian speculative fiction simply means “speculative fiction written by Canadians”; if there was any other measure of “Canadian-ness” used to select stories, I couldn’t see evidence of it here.
Imaginarium is still available, either directly from the publisher, or from any of the major online retailers.