Liminality & SpecFic: Welcome to The Spectatorial

“I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

Hello Speculators!

Classes start in less than twenty-four hours and we at The Spectatorial are excited to see that we have been officially added to the ULife list as a University of Toronto organization! We are thrilled to be launching the school year with a blossoming new journal.

Illustration for The Spectatorial by Maybelle Leung

In academic settings, speculative fiction is rarely not sloughed to the side. For many students, this has been a big disappointment. My first year self started her English degree with two loves: victorian literature and all things speculative. Victorian was easy to find at UofT; specfic, not so much, and that’s a shame. I love the liminality of speculative fiction; it’s so obviously untrue, but it’s also so much more than untrue. But that liminality also hurts speculative fiction. Academic learning is so often about the categorization of thought that the liminality of speculative fiction has yet to be given full ingratiation into university education. Science Fiction and Fantasy need their own classes. Just like graphic novels, speculative fiction has yet to be considered plain old “literature” — instead it is queered off from the norm, placed on the edges of discourses despite its roots.

The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, the Odyssey — these are the works that are the forefathers of specfic. Immersive fantasy, intrusion fantasy, epic journeys: modern (and past) speculative fiction is rich with mythology, whether that mythology is literal or social. We at The Spectatorial want to celebrate that mythology; we want to celebrate all forms of liminality. The spaces between and the spaces on edges. We want to celebrate prose and poetry and graphic fiction and academic essays and fantasy and science fiction and romance — the smart ones, the witty ones, the just plain brilliant ones.

And we are so excited to have you here as we do.

– Kerrie, EIC of The Spectatorial


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