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9 Canadian Speculative Fiction Books You Need to Read. Now.

July 5, 2018

Image Description: Banner that reads, "9 Speculative Fiction Books You Need to Read Now" over a background of tiled book covers. The Word On The Street logo sits in the corner.

1. Son of a Trickster – Eden Robinson

Image Description: Book cover for Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. The book title and author name are on top of a background of dark gray and blue feathers with what looks like possibly snow falling in front of them.

Son of a Trickster is a coming of age story set in a small town in British Columbia about Jared, a teenaged boy who can’t seem to stay out of trouble and who often has to take care of his hotheaded mother. On top of a talking raven, seeing animal spirits, and his grandmother’s insistence that he’s not fully human. The sequel, Trickster Drift is scheduled to be released in October of this year.


2. Brown Girl in the Ring – Nalo Hopkinson

Image Description: The book cover for Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. The book cover has the author name and book title over a cover showing an African-style illustration of a woman's face, and the faces of figures in the background. Above the woman's face is a monstrous figure .

This classic Canadian novel was first published in 1998 but it inspired a movie prequel called Brown Girl Begins released last year. Set in a future Toronto, Brown Girl in the Ring follows heroine Ti-Jeanne as she begins her journey into motherhood just as she’s also pulled into a political body harvesting plot. It combines Caribbean folklore, magical realism, and a gritty dystopian setting for a riveting read.


3. “Hacker’s Faire” – Rati Mehrotra

Rati Mehrotra published her debut novel, Markswoman earlier this year, but you can get a taste of her writing through her story “Hacker’s Faire” read aloud on the podcast Cast of Wonders. The short story follows a father trying to fix his daughter’s robot cat at the ominous Hacker’s Faire.


4. The Back of the Turtle – Thomas King

Image Description: Book cover for The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King; it has an illustration of a body of water near some rocky cliffs. We can see the back of presumably a woman standing in the water.

Thomas King is one of Canada’s awarded and notable authors and The Back of the Turtle marks his return to literary fiction. It takes place in the aftermath of an environmental disaster incited by brilliant scientist Gabriel. As he struggles with his role in the catastrophe at Smoke River, he is pulled into the lives of the survivors who are struggling in their own way.


5. Weave a Circle Round – Kari Maaren

Image Description: Book cover for Weave a Circle Round for Kari Maaren. It has an upside down image of the top of a house and a black sky.

Kari Maaren debuts as a novelist with Weave a Circle Round, A YA novel which follows a 14 year old Freddy struggling with bullies, her mother’s remarriage, and new stepbrother. That is until a couple of strangers move into the house down the street. Weave a Circle Round is a tale of time travel, mythology, and imagination.


6. The Bone Mother – David Demchuk

Image Description: Book cover for The Bone Mother by David Demchuk. It has the image of an orange orb floating above the hand of a figure with an obscured face among dark clouds.

Boy Eating

Released in 2017, The Bone Mother is set in three villages along the Ukrainian/Romanian border. In his first novel, David Demchuk paints the portraits of five Eastern European mythical creatures on their last night before the war with the Night Police who want to rid the world of them.


7. Neuromancer – William Gibson

Image Description: The book cover for Neuromancer by William Gibson. It is black and blue with the face of a person wearing a mechanical visor super imposed over metal structures.

William Gibson is credited as being the author to coin the phrase cyberspace. Neuromancer is a classic sci-fi novel that delves into the cyberpunk subgenre. It is said to have inspired works like The Matrix, and was awarded the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Philip K. Dick award after it was published in 1984.


8. Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach – Kelly Robson

Image Description: Book cover for Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson. Beneath the title and author name is an image of presumably a woman with tentacles for legs standing in a body of water.

Kelly Robson takes on environmental disasters and time travelling in this sci-fi novella, and her first book. Minh is part of the generation that is the first reclaim the surface after humanity is driven underground after an ecological disaster. Now Minh has the chance to use time travel to help restore the Earth’s river ecosystems to their former glory.


9. The Tiger Flu – Larissa Lai

Image Description: Book cover for The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai. It is an illustration of a tiger in front of green foliage in the middle of a fragmented circular pattern.

This fall, we’ll be seeing new stories and books added to Canada’s speculative landscape, and The Tiger Flu is one to look for. Available for a fall release, Larissa Lai has written a cyberpunk thriller about a pandemic that ravages the world and the regenerating women who are the key to everyone’s survival.