Opuntia

This is the work of a highly precise and dedicated mind. Let me lay this system on you. Every issue has a decimal after it. Speirs explains that .1 issues are review zines, .2 issues are indexes, and .5 issues are perzines (personal zine?). No issue can be bigger than 16 pages, so if he has too much material of one type, he splits it up into two issues of the same number, an A issue and a B issue. Got all that? If that isn’t enough, the zine’s main focuses is Canadian fanhistory, which I take to mean Canadian politics since he goes on to mention that, but otherwise I’m ignorant to this term. Methodology aside, I’ve got a review-type zine (.1) and it is good. Speirs takes the opportunity to comment in detail on particular ideas in specific publications from all over the world that get him going. Not only does he comment extensively, his comments are often successful rebuttals or genuine attempts to inform a bleary issue. He then goes on to review Canadian books in even more detail. His choices are eccentric and informed and his reviews are generally miniature essays that provide valuable insight into various aspects of Canadian culture. Among the reviews in this issue are Out Of This World, an anthology of Canadian speculative fiction, a biography of Louis Riel published by HarperCollins and The Republic of Nothing by Leslie Choyce. I was a bit let down by the Choyce review which starts out talking about the genre of Canadian literature he calls the “separatist novel”. Unfortunately, rather than taking the matter up and applying it to the book, he then gives us a basic plot analysis. Well there’s always next time and there will be a next time given Speirs admirable, if frightening, attention to precision publishing.

zine / main creator: Dale Speirs / $3 / Box 6830, Calgary, AB, T2P 2E7

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