The past two days in Toronto have been taken up largely by work. However, this morning I did get out to Bakka-Phoenix Books to see what I could pick up. These days, of course, even small presses like mine can get international distribution of a sort. Certainly I have no trouble getting books by the major American publishers in the UK. But there is always something from a Canadian small press that is worth taking a look at.
In all I picked up three anthologies: The Humanity of Monsters from ChiZine (because it has some really great writers in it); Playground of Lost Toys from Exile (because it is a cool concept and it has a Candas Jane Dorsey story in it); and License Expired from ChiDunnit, the crime & thriller imprint of ChiZine (because it is illegal to sell it in the UK).
Once upon a time, dear readers, there was a thing called the Berne Convention. Under it, all of the countries of the world agreed that copyright had a term of 50 years, and all was right in publishing. Then a wicked witch called Disney and her evil buddies whispered in the ear of various governments as said, “sirs, this cannot stand. If copyright is limited to 50 years then everyone will be able to make Mickey Mouse cartoons and poor Disney will grow old and starve.” Some governments were taken in by this pleading, and extended the term of copyright to 75 years. Others laughed it off and said that Disney should agree to grow old just like every other person that is really a corporation.
And so it was that in the snowy land of Canada authors long dead found their work going out of copyright. Doubtless they are spinning in their graves right now at the thought. One such writer is a British chap called Flemming who wrote a bunch of novels about a spy called Bond, James Bond. As of 2015, anyone in Canada could write a James Bond story and sell it; but only in Canada.
Consequently I am now the proud possessor of a book, edited by the fabulous team of Madeline Ashby & David Nickle, that cannot be sold in the UK because it is in breach of copyright. I feel properly piratical. Aarrrhhh!
Licence Expired includes stories by Charlie Stross, Jeff Ford, Laird Barron, Claude Lalumière, Karl Schroeder, AM Dellamonica and several others. The Stross story does not feature Bob Howard or tentacled monsters. I guess I’d better get on and read it, in case it vanishes in a puff of legal fairy dust on entering UK airspace.