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Dorsey, Candas Jane

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Editor.

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(1952-    ) Canadian author, arts journalist and social worker, author of three early volumes of poetry; married to Timothy J Anderson. Dorsey began publishing work of genre interest with "Columbus Hits the Shoreline Rag" (in Getting Here, anth 1977, ed Rudy Weibe); her terse, complex stories, assembled primarily in Machine Sex ... And Other Stories (coll 1988), Vanilla and Other Stories (2000) and Ice and Other Stories (coll 2018), polemically re-use and rework sf and fantasy tropes from a Feminist perspective, engaging most memorably, and fascinatedly, in the title story of the first volume, "(Learning About) Machine Sex", with the phallocentrism of much Cyberpunk. The protagonist of the tale, a Computer-design prodigy and occasional hooker, debuted in her first novel, the undistinguished Hardwired Angel (1987) with Nora Abercrombie (1960-    ). Dorsey has edited or co-edited several anthologies of considerable importance to the appreciation of sf in Canada: Tesseracts3 (anth 1990) with Gerry Truscott (1955-    ), New Canadian Speculative Fiction (anth 1994), Tesseracts8 (anth 1999) with John Clute and Land/Space: An Anthology of Prairie Speculative Fiction (anth 2003) with Judy McCrosky. She has also been involved in various capacities with the Vancouver then Edmonton Small Press network/association consisting of Porcépic Books and Tesseract Books, which publish much sf.

Dorsey's first solo novel, Black Wine (1996), is intriguingly set on a moderately Earth-like planet suffused by a congeries of cultures, some interacting, some seemingly achronically disjunct from what may be the central venues of the complex narratives, which exfoliate into an argued presentation of the varieties of human interactions. Her second solo novel, A Paradigm of Earth (2001), begins as a First Contact of some implausibility – twelve Aliens are deposited in a state of induced infancy into the care of various countries of Earth, including Canada – and continues as a kind of family romance, similar to some scenes in the previous tale, as the alien learns about the protagonist's sexually complex extended family; how the Canadian government comes to deposit its alien in a such an environment (however much we might wish this to happen) is left unargued. Both novels demonstrate Dorsey's strengths and weaknesses: powerful convictions, strongly expressed; but a tendency to allow her plots to justify, too easily, the arguments presented. [RK/JC]

Candas Jane Dorsey

born Edmonton, Alberta: 16 November 1952



works as editor


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