State of the Ark
In this collection of science fiction stories, a diverse array of Canadian authors including Spider Robinson, Elisabeth Vonarburg, Robert Sawyer, Terri Favro, and Jeremy Hull explore worlds of the future, where humans look and act differently – or perhaps they just look different and act the same as humans always have. They interact with alien beings, and they must learn to live with the other creatures that inhabit Earth. Sometimes funny, often poignant, frequently ingenious, and always thought-provoking, these works spark questions and challenge our ideas about how the future might look – and how creatures of every kind and species will live in it.
In the opening story, “Star Light, Star Bright,” by Robert Sawyer, a translator of ancient documents discovers children can see things in the sky that are not visible to him. What does this mean for their society, rebuilding after a long-ago war reduced humans to a primitive state? In “Hammerhead,” John Park’s protagonist, “tangled in the other branches” of his lives, must replay a horrific scenario in his head over and over to get at the uncomfortable truth, to find “the different here” that will help him in his “journeying.”
Julie Czerneda offers one possibility of what may happen when a grieving couple?s application to adopt a pet takes a surprising turn in “Foster Earth.” Spider Robinson?s parentless character has to choose between being threatened or thrilled when the colony he joins “jumps off the edge of the Solar System” in “Who is Joel Johnston?” And in the final story of the collection, a Nova Scotian rebel of the future hopes that humankind?s survival depends on a past event that almost no one noticed.
Evocative and engaging, these stories, told with vibrant engagement with “otherness” of one kind or another, offer readers the opportunity to be both entertained and enlightened.
State of the Ark is the long-awaited follow-up anthology to the 1992 landmark Canadian science fiction collection Ark of Ice.
The Untimely Resurrection of John Alexander MacNeil
John Alexander MacNeil is back with another astonishing adventure. The ninety-year-old still lives alone on the blessed isle of Cape Breton. He still sometimes makes tea for his wife, who died decades ago. He accepts his lonely life, ignoring the world changing around him. But one night, he feels his heart stop. After willing himself back to life with sheer stubbornness, John Alex finds Death himself sitting at his kitchen table, perplexed and intrigued by his victim?s recovery. What follows is a tale on the edge of reality, full of love, doubt and the inexplicable details of an extraordinary life. Keeping what wits he has about him, John Alex needs to muster all the wisdom and courage he has to protect those around him from the dangers of an ever-changing world and the grim reaper he has come to know.
In his 103rd book, acclaimed author of The Unlikely Redemption of John Alexander MacNeil takes the reader through another beautiful adventure about time and love. Lesley Choyce tackles topics like dementia, elder sexuality and assisted dying with humour and grace.
"Choyce is a passionate and careful advocate for the Atlantic Canadian short story. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable and comprehensive collection of short stories, showing the breadth and depth of Atlantic Canadian authors, while also celebrating the traditional tropes of the regional literature. Choyce opens the collection with a story by Alistair MacLeod, “The Tuning of Perfection,” a story from 1983, and one I had read before, but enjoyed even more this time. An old man, isolated from the world in his remote house, is a Gaelic speaker. When a TV crew comes looking for some Gaelic singers to greet the Royal Family, he and his family are invited – but the lack of care for Gaelic and the length of the songs and stories leads him to back out. My short description of course does not do justice to the brilliance of MacLeod’s story, but it gives you a sense of the complicated little worlds inside each of these stories." ~Alison Manley: The Miramichi Reader
"If you enjoy armchair escape and travel writing like that of Monisha Rajesh or Tony Hawks with a Brysn-esque view of the world, that being a fascination with all things British by someone from elsewhere, this book makes an enjoyable, satisfying read. It won't change the world. But of course that's not its objective. It's one traeler's take o experiencing some new places and things alongside othersall too familiar, witnessed with an open mind, unending wit, and an ease of descriptive, winsome wordplay. So remember to buckle up, keep the care on the left, and enjoy this welcoming ride. " ~Bill Arnott: The Miramichi Reader
". . . Broken Man on a Halifax Pier is a five-star read, and I am adding it to the 2020 longlist in the Fiction category for “The Very Best!” Book Awards." Read the full review by James Fisher for The Miramichi Reader here.
"Choyce has crafted an impressive novel about the power of the sea, the power of community and the power of memory. And he also happens to have told a fine love story." Read the full review by Douglas Gibson for Atlantic Books Today here.
Lesley Choyce is a novelist and poet living at Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia. He is the author of 99 books for adults, teens and children. He teaches in the English Department and Transition Year Program at Dalhousie University. He is a year-round surfer and founding member of the 1990s spoken word rock band, The SurfPoets. Choyce also runs Pottersfield Press, a small literary publishing house and hosted the national TV show, Off The Page, for many years. His books have been translated into Spanish, French, German and Danish and he has been awarded the Dartmouth Book Award and the Ann Connor Brimer Award.
READ LESLEY'S BIBLIOGRAPHY
LESLEY IS THE RECIPIENT OF THE 2022 ATLANTIC LEGACY AWARD
READ LESLEY'S RECENT ARTICLE: Neil Peart was my friend and I was his first book publisher
READ A RECENT INTERVIEW WITH LESLEY: Keeping It "100": Teaching Fellow Lesley Choyce Publishes His 100th Book
Choyce has a feeling for the young and dispossessed, for the terrible angst of adolescence and the rituals of rebellion.
The Globe and Mail
Nova Scotia's answer to the Renaissance man.
Peter Gzowski CBC Radio