Professional (Fiction and Creative Nonfiction)

Notes Toward Nine Stories of the Future

Short Story. New Trail Magazine, Winter 2015.
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The University Bubble

Personal essay. Avenue Edmonton, October 2015.
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Boundary Problems

Short story collection. Freehand Books, 2014
Winner: Alberta Book of the Year, Trade Fiction (2015)
Finalist: Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Award (2015)
Shortlisted: William L. Crawford Fantasy Award (2015)
Longlisted: Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (2014),
Alberta Readers’ Choice Award (2015)

Each of Greg Bechtel’s stories is a perfect little puzzle-box: one marvels at their perfect geometries while anticipating that dazzling moment where every piece slots flush. These finely crafted, emotionally resonant tales will stay with me for a long, long time.

Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City and Rust and Bone

He knows exactly how much to withhold, how much to leave unexplained or implicit. . . . Bechtel displays a refreshing willingness to experiment with aspects of narratology, lending his collection a surface unfamiliarity that resembles the literary equivalent of quantum mechanics.

Steven W. Beattie The National Post

. . . adept and thought provoking . . . Bechtel can write; his interconnections of characters and themes are expertly accomplished.

Jay Smith Alberta Views

Full information on Boundary Problems

The Mysterious East (Fredericton, NB)

Short story. The Fiddlehead, 2011

Nanabush Negotiations: Brantford Ontario

Novel excerpt. Tesseracts Eleven (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2007)

The Concept of a Photon

Creative nonfiction. Prairie Fire (2007)
2nd Prize, Prairie Fire Creative Non-fiction Contest (2006)
Nominations: National Magazine Award, Western Magazine Award

Stan Dragland, “Judge’s Notes” (excerpted):
…I had less trouble picking out the five entries described below than I did in ranking them. They are all so good in very different ways that ranking doesn’t make sense…I found myself liking best pieces written in the style and form organically answerable to content. This is to place the most stress on the creative in the creative non-fiction designation. I did like a number of more conventional pieces, but I was deeply drawn to work of heat-generating originality, work that involved and challenged me as a reader. My five choices do that beautifully. In my heart, I hold them equal.

. . .

The Concept of a Photon
This is a very impressive story with two parallel strands. In one of these, a series titled “Interlude,” the narrator describes the evolution, over four years of university, of his knowledge of physics, from the Newtonian to “non-linearity, chaos or complexity.” As his knowledge expands, his theoretical grasp of reality loosens. In the other narrative strand, he delineates his relationship (across a wide divide of intelligence, class, ethics and determination) with a fellow “student,” Bruce, who turns out to be both more and less than he seems. Every now and then the two narratives touch, as in a sentence like this: “This allows me to feel simultaneously generous and superior, both particle and wave.” Both narratives are beautifully clear, the difficult physics concepts accessibly expressed and the life story told with stylistic verve and directness. What has Bruce been all about, and what caused his disappearance from the narrator’s life? Guesses are made, but there are too many variables. So life and physics meet again. This piece has the feel of a story, more than most of the others I read. It’s impressively constructed (it opens with an epigraph from Erwin Schrödinger and returns to the theorist at the end), smart and down-to-earth at the same time. The narrator graces the movement of his intellectual and personal life with wit and humour, and yet manages to convey the sense of mystery at the heart of both theory and experience.

Junk Mail

Short story, Prairie Fire (2005)
2nd Prize, Prairie Fire Fiction Contest (2004)

Caroline Adderson, “Judge’s Notes”:
Last year when Prairie Fire contacted me about judging this contest, my reaction was, “Finally!” Finally my opinion, so often shouted at the radio during prize-giving season, was going to count. Wonderful! Or so I thought. Andris Taskans sent me twenty stories, all of which I carefully read (no skimming!). Of those twenty, I chose eight, which were, in my opinion, worthy of a second, doubly careful read. By then I’d realized how difficult the job was going to be. How to compare a group of stories? How is one to be deemed “better” than the other? What would my criterion be? Each of those eight stories affected me in a different way. Is it “better” to be moved or intrigued? How to decide if the ingenious “Junk Mail” is “better” than the thematically rich “The Killing Past”? Which tastes better, a kumquat or a Golden Delicious? I managed to reduce my list to four deserving stories and over the next few days I actually placed each of the remaining stories in the winning position while I deliberated and agonized. Finally I settled on what would be my ultimate criterion: which story, upon second reading, offered me new insights? Which story was smarter than I first thought? While I still loved “The Killing Past” and the runner-up “The Story of Time” on second reading, I loved them just as much. “Throwing Cotton” and “Junk mail” impressed me more. They offered me, the reader, a prize: delight.

Blackbird Shuffle (The Major Arcana)

Short story. Prairie Fire (2004)
Nominations: Journey Prize, National Magazine Award, Western Magazine Award
Reprinted in Tesseracts Ten (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2006)
Reprinted in Qwerty Decade (Icehouse Press/Qwerty Books, 2006)

There are some unusual story forms and narratives that make this collection intriguing, particularly Greg Bechtel’s ‘Blackbird Shuffle,’ an inventive combination of First Nations and Tarot mythology told in a way that commands the reader’s attention.

Tim Blackmore, Canadian Literature
 (full review)

Among the following stories, the best and most interesting entries tend to be the ones which stroll farthest from classical science fiction territory. ‘Blackbird Shuffle,’ by Greg Bechtel, for example, is a symbolist fantasy set in contemporary times that perfectly blends stylistic experiment and suspense.

Jakob Schmidt, SF Site 
(full review)

Tesseracts Ten, edited by Robert Charles Wilson and Edo Van Belkom (Edge), has a bit of horror, with notable dark tales by Sarah Totton, Greg Bechtel, and Rhea Rose.

Ellen Datlow, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2007)

Walking Dogs

Short Story. On Spec, 1999