Joël Champetier (1957-2015)

Contributed by Jean-Louis Trudel

After a hard fight with acute leukemia, diagnosed after the Boréal convention in May 2014, Joël Champetier passed away early Saturday morning, May 30, in a palliative care unit in Saint-Tite, Québec, a few kilometres away from his home in Saint-Séverin de Proulxville.  He was 57 years old.  

A long-time member of SF Canada, Joël Champetier was the author of eight novels, seven young adult books, and nearly thirty short stories.  In terms of genre, his works ranged from science fiction to fantasy and horror, often combining great humanity with understated originality in tone and approach.  His novels included the science fiction adventure La Taupe et le Dragon, published by Tor in English translation in 1999 as The Dragon’s Eye, the suspenseful La Mémoire du lac [The Lake’s Memory], the off-beat fantasy opus Les Sources de la magie [The Sources of Magic], and the horror thriller La Peau blanche, which inspired the identically-named feature-length movie La Peau blanche (also known as White Skin and Cannibal in English markets, winner of a Toronto International Film Festival award in 2004), for which Champetier also authored the screenplay.

A guest of honour at the World Fantasy Convention in 2001, he won multiple awards as a writer (seven Prix Boréal, two Aurora Awards, and two Prix Jacques-Brossard, formerly known as the Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois).  He won quite a few more as the editor for many years of Solaris, one of the world’s oldest active SF magazines (founded in 1974).


(A picture of Joël Champetier in 2008, at Readercon 19, a Boston-area convention.  His strange taste in head covering may or may not be a deliberate artefact of the photographer’s fancy, but the shirt reflected his own taste for colourful clothing.)

Born in Québec’s Abitibi region in 1957, Joël Champetier worked for a few years for his father’s company in the field of electrochemistry before devoting himself to a full-time writing career after publishing his first story in 1981.  He went on to publish more stories as well as novels and a collection of his short fiction, Cœur de fer [Heart of Iron].  He co-edited the anthology Escales sur Solaris (1995) to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Solaris magazine.  In 2014, in spite of his deteriorating health, he helped to oversee the publication of the fortieth-anniversary issue of Solaris, which included a story of his own, “Pour son œil seulement” [For His Eye Only],  that earned him his last Prix Boréal only three weeks before his passing.  He lived in Montréal, Ville-Marie, and Gallix before moving to the village of Saint-Séverin, near Shawinigan, almost twenty years ago.  He was married to Valérie Bédard, MD.  To many in Québec, he was an inspiration as a writer, as an editor, and as a friend. 

SF Canada Awards $1000 to Tanya Huff

JLTrudelTSHuff2013AJean-Louis Trudel presents Tanya Huff with a ceremonial cheque.
(Photo by Jonathan Crowe)

The Aurora Award for Best Novel, accompanied by the SF Canada Award of $1000, was given to Tanya Huff in Ottawa on October 6, 2013 for her fantasy novel The Silvered, published by DAW Books. Born in Nova Scotia but now living in rural Ontario with her wife Fiona Patton, Tanya Huff is one of Canada’s most important and best loved fantasy authors. Since her first professional sale to Amazing Stories in 1985, she has published over thirty books and a number of short stories. Her “Blood Books” series was adapted as the television series Blood Ties in 2007. Her award-winning novel features magicians and shapeshifting werewolves united against a steampunk empire, and has been well received by readers and critics alike.

The 2013 Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature played host to the 33rd national Canadian convention of science fiction and fantasy, also known as Canvention. Ten other Aurora Awards were announced. The fantasy adventure Under My Skin (in the “Wildlings” series) by Charles de Lint won the Aurora Award for Best YA Novel. Published in On Spec, the fantasy tale “The Walker of the Shifting Borderland” by Douglas Smith won the award for best short fiction. David Clink’s poem “A sea monster tells his story” in The Literary Review of Canada won for Best Poem or Song. The webcomic Weregeek by Alina Pete won the Aurora for best graphic novel while the award for best related work went to the anthology Blood and Water edited by Hayden Trenholm for Bundoran Press. Finally, Erik Mohr received the Aurora Award for Best Artist, honouring his covers for ChiZine Publications. The remaining Aurora Awards went to fans contributing to the speculative fiction community across Canada, and the Aurora-Boréal awards for works in French were given out earlier this year in Montreal.

SF Canada Awards $500 to Ariane Gélinas


Jean-Louis Trudel of SF Canada hands Ariane Gélinas, the winner of the Aurora-Boréal Award for best novel, a presentation cheque for $500. / Au nom de SF Canada, Jean-Louis Trudel remet à Ariane Gélinas, la lauréate du Prix Aurora-Boréal du meilleur roman, un chèque de 500 $.

Montréal, 10 mai 2013 — Dans le cadre du trentième congrès Boréal, les prix Aurora/Boréal ont été décernés le 5 mai 2013 à Montréal.  Parrainés par SFSF Boréal Inc. et l’Association canadienne de la science-fiction et du fantastique, ces prix récompensaient les œuvres produites en français par des Canadiens en 2012 dans les genres de l’imaginaire (science-fiction, fantastique, fantasy) à l’issue d’un vote ouvert à tous les amateurs de ces genres.

Le prix Aurora-Boréal du meilleur roman a été décerné à Ariane Gélinas pour son roman Transtaïga, le premier volume d’un ouvrage intitulé Les villages assoupis que publient les éditions du Marchand de feuilles.   La lauréate a également reçu un prix en argent de 500 $ remis par SF Canada, l’association nationale des créateurs professionnels de la science-fiction et du fantastique.

Le prix Aurora-Boréal de la meilleure nouvelle a été décerné à Geneviève Blouin pour le récit Le Chasseur, publié par les éditions des Six Brumes sous la forme d’une plaquette.

Le prix Aurora-Boréal du meilleur ouvrage connexe a été remis à la revue Solaris, la plus ancienne au Canada dans son genre.  Le prix a été accepté par Joël Champetier, le rédacteur en chef de Solaris.

Le prix Boréal de la création artistique/audiovisuelle a été remis à Ève Chabot pour ses illustrations parues dans la revue Brins d’éternité.  Le prix Boréal de la fanédition a d’ailleurs été remis à Brins d’éternité, qui a amorcé en 2012 une transition qui l’a fait passer de fanzine en début d’année à revue professionnelle en fin d’année.  Enfin, le prix Boréal de la création sur place a été accordé à deux auteurs qui ont complété en une heure une nouvelle digne de mention.  Dans la catégorie des auteurs professionnels, Geneviève Blouin a obtenu le prix pour sa nouvelle « Trou noir de mémoire ».  Dans la catégorie des auteurs montants, Dave Côté l’a obtenu pour sa nouvelle « Brouillard ».

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Montréal, 10 May 2013 — The Aurora/Boréal Awards were announced in Montréal on May 5, 2013, as part of the 30th Boréal convention.  Sponsored by SFSF Boréal Inc. and the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, they recognize the best works produced in French by Canadians in 2012 in the speculative genres as determined by a vote open to all who wish to take part.

The Aurora-Boréal Award for best novel was given to Ariane Gélinas for her novel Transtaïga, the first volume of a larger work, Les villages assoupis [The Sleeping Villages], published by Marchand de feuilles.  She also received a $500 prize provided by SF Canada, Canada’s national association of speculative fiction professionals.

The Aurora-Boréal Award for best short fiction went to Geneviève Blouin for her novella Le Chasseur [The Hunter], published by Six Brumes as a standalone book.

The Aurora-Boréal Award for best related work was given to Solaris, the oldest genre magazine in Canada.  The award was accepted by Joël Champetier, the magazine’s editor in chief.

The Boréal award for artistic and audiovisual achievement went to Ève Chabot for her illustrations in the magazine Brins d’éternité.  Indeed, the Boréal award for best fan publication was given to Brins d’éternité, which began the year 2012 as a fanzine and upgraded to professional status by the end of the year.  Finally, the Boréal award for the one-hour writing contest at the convention was shared between Geneviève Blouin for her short story “Trou noir de mémoire” [Memory Black Hole], in the professional author category, and Dave Côté for his short story “Brouillard” [Mist], in the rising author category.