One of the challenges inherent to working in the realm of speculative fiction is finding new ways to explore standard genre tropes. After decades upon decades of sci-fi storytelling, it can be difficult to find interesting takes on ideas that appear to be more or less creatively exhausted.

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For 27-year-old Blair McMillan of Guelph, Ontario, his girlfriend, Morgan, and their two young boys, life is simpler these days - and McMillan says he has his young son to thank for it.   

On a beautiful spring day last April, Blair asked his 5-year old son, Trey, to join him outside for some playtime in the sunshine. 'He said, No, daddy.  I want to play on the iPad,'' said McMillan. 'I started to realize how times had changed and how different it is now. When I was a kid, me and all of my friends lived outside.'  

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:23

The power of parallels The Beautiful Land'

Time travel tale an engaging read

Since 2008, has held a contest for aspiring writers called the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Winners are selected from amongst thousands of entries; they are awarded contracts and their books are published.

Alan Averill was the 2012 winner. His book, 'The Beautiful Land' (Ace Trade, $15), offers an interesting take on the concept of time travel. There's also a love story, plenty of horror and a liberal dose of humor thrown in for good measure.

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From the very earliest days of the science fiction genre, authors have been exploring the implications of moving back and forth in time. 

Author Sean Ferrell offers his own take on the genre in his newest novel 'Man in the Empty Suit' (Soho Press, $24.95). Rather than attack the concept of time travel on a macro level, Ferrell instead chooses to share a story on the micro level; it's the tale of one man the inventor of the time machine.

Our unnamed narrator is the first man to achieve time travel. However, after untold time spent traveling from the distant past to the future and back again, the outside world has begun to lose some of its appeal. So every year, he spends his birthday partying with himself.

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