As if

As If is a collection of stories that, as its title suggests, points at an indubitable truth: all literature is speculative. Goulden's, however, extends past the boundaries of conventional fiction into areas traditionally occupied by fantasy and magic realism. These stories rail against the industrial and digital mechanisms of our age and, in the great fabulist tradition, call upon its characters to take action, to reach beyond the repetitive anxiety of being a cog in the wheel of mechanical environmental destruction.

Sound too ethereal and abstract? It isn't. These stories are grounded in the physical reality of Vancouver and the Prairies of Canada, and they are grounded in the people who live there, whose successes and failures are kick-started by abrupt changes in their physical world. How the characters react to those challenges initiates a multitude of potential results. As if.

Some say that writing is a tool to tell ourselves stories about who and why we think we are. The characters in As If encounter physical laws that challenge conventional mindsets, and they create reality models whose assumptions don't always play out in expected ways. They are then compelled to revise their understanding of themselves and their world.

Forced evolution? Maybe.

These stories invite the reader to look down the highway, see what might be coming, and see what they might be able to do.

Praise for As If:
"From the little lies in 'Joy' to sud- den loss in 'As If,' to Mr. Jimmy in 'The Painted Hand,' Goulden looks at all the ways one's world can collapse. Each story works to steal the floor out from under its protagonist, with little or no warning, giving the overall impression that there's no such thing as sure footing in this world." (BC Bookworld)

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