2016: Claude turns fifty

At the start of 2016 I was living in Vancouver, where I’d been staying on and off since October 2012, but halfway through this year I moved to Ottawa, where I am now ensconced for the duration. Alexandra and I bought a house here – in the Sandy Hill neighbourhood – where we’ve started hosting salons and other events. We even have a fledgling Twitter account for our new residence (@27Timberhouse), which is a historical building called Timberhouse.

I participated in readings and launches in both Vancouver and Ottawa.

reading from “Less than Katherine” at the Railway Club

In Vancouver, I helped launch the Exile Editions anthology Playground of Lost Toys at the now-defunct Railway Club, reading an excerpt from “Less than Katherine,” and I performed “The Beginning of Time” and “Our Love” from my 2013 Infinity Plus collection Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes at the North Vancouver City Library, at a group reading organized by my new publisher, Guernica Editions.

In Ottawa, with my co-editor Mark Shainblum and a handful of our contributors, we launched our 2016 Edge anthology Superhero Universe (Tesseracts Nineteen) at Library and Archives Canada, aptly enough in the context of its Alter Ego exhibit on Canadian superheroes. I could not have imagined a better venue for this event. The anthology includes new superhero work by a whole slew of fantastic Canadian writers: John Bell, P.E. Bolivar, Kevin Cockle, Evelyn Deshane, Marcelle Dubé, Chadwick Ginther, Patrick T. Goddard, Kim Goldberg, Geoff Hart, Sacha A. Howells, Arun Jiwa, D.K. Latta, Michael Matheson, Bernard E. Mireault, Luke Murphy, Brent Nichols, David Perlmutter, Mary Pletsch & Dylan Blacquiere, Jennifer Rahn, Corey Redekop, Alex C. Renwick, Jason Sharp, Bevan Thomas, Leigh Wallace, and A.C. Wise.

I had two new stories appear in 2016, both SF: “The Quantocorticoid Effect” in Albedo One #46 and “The Patchwork Procedure” at Beneath Ceaseless Skies #206. The latter is the beginning of a new mosaic work, tentatively called The Second Global War. More episodes are coming soon.

It was good year for reprints and translations.

Older stories of mine were anthologized in two volumes of Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy series: “The Object of Worship” (2007) in Dystopia Utopia Short Stories and “Less than Katherine” (2015) in Murder Mayhem Short Stories. My Mediterranean Lost Myth “The Dance of the Hippacotora” (2010) was reprinted twice: in Barcelona Tales (NewCon Press) and in Fae Visions of the Mediterranean (Future Fire); the latter volume also republished my Venera Dreams episode “Xandra’s Brine” (2013). Two stories – “Diptych” and “Our Love” – culled from my 2013 collection Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes appeared online for a limited time at Tabulit.

Nokturni (Serbian)The biggest news in terms of translations was the publication of the Serbian edition of Nocturnes and Nocturnes, under the title Nokturni. The Serbian text was by Nataša Miljković, and the translation was the debut title of new publisher Partizanska knjiga, which released the book in collaboration with Književna radionica Rašić. Prior to the publication of Nokturni, one story from it appeared on the Serbian website E-Novine: “Tedova kolekcija” (AKA “Ted’s Collection,” 2010). Partizanska knjiga also produced a video – in Serbian – of my story “Earth (Nephesh)” (2006, from the story cycle “The Four Elements”) under the title Klod Lalumijer: Četiri elementa: Zemlja (Nephesh).

The aforementioned Fae Visions of the Mediterranean was a multilingual project; in addition to the reprints mentioned above, it also included Arrate Hidalgo‘s Spanish translation of “The Dance of the Hippacotora” as “El baile de la Hipacotora.” “This Is the Ice Age” (2006) received its fourth translation, this time in Hungarian by Viktor Kotun in Galaktika #319, as “Itt a jégkorszak.”

In spring I stopped briefly in New York City to attend the memorial for my much missed and mourned friend David Hartwell hosted by Tor Books.

performing "Diptych" on the opening night of Kikinda Short 11

performing “Diptych” on the opening night of Kikinda Short 11

I travelled three times to Europe in 2016, partly in celebration of my fiftieth year. The first time in February for Carnavale in Italy (Verona and Venice); my itinerary also included Cologne, Milan, and Paris. I never see Venice enough (this was my fourth visit to this magical city); and I was enchanted by Cologne, which I explored for the first time.

The second trip was built around my June/July appearance at Serbia’s international short-story festival, Kikinda Short 11: The New Deal, during which I performed stories from Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes: “Diptych” in Kikinda and Zrenjanin and “She Watches Him Swim” in Belgrade. As part of the festival, Beopolis bookshop in Belgrade held a signing for the recently released Nokturni. My itinerary for that trip also included Düsseldorf, Budapest, Timișoara, Bucharest (where I was hosted by the inimitable Roberto Quaglia), and London.

with Roberto Quaglia at Eurocon 2016 in Barcelona

with Roberto Quaglia at Eurocon 2016 in Barcelona

It was an epic voyage, in which I got to make many new friends from around the world and also reconnected with many European friends I see all too rarely. I was especially happy to revisit two of my favourite cities – Budapest and London – and Timișoara proved to be a charming new destination.

The third trip, in autumn, was built around Eurocon 2016 in Barcelona, where I helped launch Barcelona Tales and performed “The Dance of the Hippacotora”; and I participated in the panel on Mediterranean SF. The Spanish part of my trip also included La Herradura (where I enjoyed the generous hospitality of Annette & Garry Kilworth), Málaga, Madrid, and Figueres.

performing "The Dance of the Hippacotora" at Eurocon 2016 in Barcelona

performing “The Dance of the Hippacotora” at Eurocon 2016 in Barcelona

Before flying back home I stopped in Belgium, staying in Brussels (where I was warmly welcomed by Pierre Mejlak), with day trips to Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent. This was another epic journey, which also allowed me to reconnect with a huge number of European friends and colleagues, and also meet many new ones. Barcelona is a serious contender for my favourite place in the world, so it was intensely satisfying to spend a significant amount of time there. It was my first time in Belgium, and the country completely seduced and intrigued me, especially Brussels and Ghent. I hope to return one day.

I was asked to write the foreword for a book by one of my favourite writers. I was honoured to provide “An Introspective Perspective: Reflections on the Short Fiction of Garry Kilworth” to the milestone collection The Best Short Stories of Garry Kilworth, published by Infinity Plus.

Looking forward to 2017: my fourth book, Venera Dreams, will be an early autumn release from Guernica Editions.

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