On Spec loses its Canada Council funding

On Spec Fall 2011 cover_0

This is a hard blow for the Canadian genre scene. On Spec, Canada’s leading sci-fi and fantasy magazine, has been denied funding by the Canada Council. The Canada Council said the jury assessing On Spec’s application called the quality of writing low and added there were production problems, including copy editing, layout and proofreading. So the jury really didn’t like it.

Some context for non-Canadian readers: Most Canadian journals are operated with the assistance of the Canada Council and/or other funding agencies. The ones that don’t have some sort of government support are backed by corporate subsidies or philanthropists. There are very few Canadian publications — or publishers, even — who can make it on their own without any help.

I don’t know if On Spec is going to survive this hit or not. One way or another, this is going to have a huge negative effect on the Canadian sci-fi and fantasy scene. I only hope this is an off year for On Spec.

It’s a blow to me on a personal level, too. On Spec was my first professional publication, and it made an enormous difference to me as a writer. Seeing a story of mine in the pages of On Spec meant I could actually do this writer thing and that people I didn’t know were interested in reading my writing. It was an enormous boost to my confidence, and we all know writers need that sometimes.

On Spec is looking at alternative models of support. Here’s what managing editor Diane Walton suggests:


  1. Buy a subscription! Buy one for yourself, your friends and family, your school, your library—anyone you think would enjoy reading good Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.

  2. If you don’t want a print subscription, then you can purchase a digital version of On Spec. Weightless Books also has a bunch of excellent back issues available at a lower cost.

  3. Tell more people about On Spec. Word-of-mouth is still our best form of advertising.

  4. Send us a donation or gift, by cheque, to On Spec, PO Box 4727, Edmonton, AB T6E 5G6, or through our PayPal account (onspec(at) interbaun.com), or other means. Feel free to contact us at onspec(at)onspec.ca for information on how you can help.

  5. In lieu of a one-time donation, sign up at our Patreon page to commit to a sustaining monthly donation. Patreon helps support artists and creators, and it allows for crowd-sourcing for amountsas little as $1 or $2 monthly. That’s less than the change that falls under the seat cushions of your sofa.

And, of course, feel free to contact the Canada Council at info@canadacouncil.ca.


Let’s hope next year brings better news.



Have you read…?

Boy Eating

The Mona Lisa Sacrifice

The first book in the Cross series, featuring the enigmatic character of Cross, the man who woke up in Christ’s body after Christ left the earth to wherever it was he went. Written under the alias Peter Roman. Because, you know, Christ, Romans….

Click here for more details.

About Peter Darbyshire (Roman)

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Posted on August 4, 2014, in Shrapnel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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