Canadian Content

Up beyond the Wall in the wilds of Canada, we have strict rules. 35% of all content must be Canadian. That includes literature, so we have our own Canadian canon. Stories about dogs, snow, prairies, and crap weather mostly. Now Adam Brady, a cunning soul decided to test our literary knowledge by claiming to have built a Canadian Literature Premise Generator, mimicking tales that have stood tall in our history.

It is a trick.

I maintain that these are real, genuine stories, and I can even determine which Canadian author wrote them. Observe.


That one’s obviously the work of celebrated writer Margaret Laurence, author of the Stone Angel. Really, there’s no question. It’s bleak, there’s orphans, you’re good to go.


If it details the nitty-gritty bits of mundane Canadian life, from wolf studies to salvage tugboats, it’s by Farley Mowat.


A woman, a plan, a journey, and a companion? It has to be Lucy Maude Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, which is basically the only reason anyone lives on Prince Edward Island.


A couple in love and crap weather to go with crap marriages? I see you Hugh MacLennan. I see you and both your solitudes.


Sport, youths, and Canadian culture are essentially the literary property of Hockey Sweater author Roch Carrier. If anyone in my country tries to write about that, we owe his estate a dollar. For the Americans, that’s about seventy cents.


They say know thyself and write what you know, and the man who does both is Leonard Cohen. It’s too bad we never got to read his final work, Space Cohen and the Sex Vixens.


Arch-queen of Canada, feared by all Prime Ministers and guardian of our legacy of speculative fiction, a down home time travel tale is 100% Margaret Atwood.


If you invoke theatre, sorrow, and making ends meet in front of a mirror in Canada, Robertson Davies appears behind you and tells you about the Fifth Business.


Personable students are the domain of children’s lit author Gordon Korman. This is the secret third Bugs Potter book.


W. O. Mitchell knows sheep, preachers, and mystery, and I know this is one of his.


This picture book, the lost prequel to Murmel Murmel Murmel, can only be found on cassette, and it’s read aloud by the author, Robert Munsch.


Canada’s master of talking animals, Kenneth Oppel is responsible for this one. Not only will you cry, you’ll learn exactly what it means to say it’s a dog’s life.


You don’t have to tell me twice that this is the work of Quebecois writer Mordecai Richler. Hell, it’s basically just the plot of Barney’s Version.


Ever since Jane Urquhart seized the multigenerational Canadian sorrow heavyweight belt back in 2001, no one’s dared step to her.

As you can see, this isn’t a font of random words for Canuck hilarity, it’s a treasure trove of lost Canadian gems. Every premise a real novel hidden away in the dusty libraries of McGill University.

Oh, except this one:


That’s a Stan Rogers song.

Jim Tigwell

A survivor of two philosophy degrees, Jim Tigwell spends his days solving interesting problems in software. By night he can be found at poetry slams and whatever art opening has the strangest cheese selection. Host of the biweekly Concept Crucible podcast and occasional blogger, Jim is also a juggler, musician, magician, and maker of digital things. You can find his music and videos at Woot Suit Riot, a channel that doubles as a home for wayward and timid creators. Observe his antics there, or heckle directly on Twitter @ConceptCrucible. If the software and internet game doesn’t pan out, he’s determined to be a great Canadian vampire hunter.

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