• THE WITCH’S DIARY

    Rebecca BraeTyche Books, 2020ISBN: 978-1-989407-21-9300 pages$14.95 USD The Witch’s Diary is a rollicking and fraught tale of a fresh-out-of-school witch, Hester Digitalis Wishbone, as she searches for work to pay off her student loans from her education at Grimoire College and gain Adept Accreditation. Her troubles only begin with when she loses her job thanks to an incident involving a burning prosthetic nose during her placement as a village hag That is not the only obstacle in her path, she must find a way to recover her recently lost magic (thanks to an incident involving fermented ghoul eyeballs, her favourite tavern, and half a phoenix) and deal with her exceedingly…

  • THE ANNUAL MIGRATION OF CLOUDS

    Premee MohamedECW Press, 2021168 pagesISBN: 978-1-77041-593-5$19.95 Reviewed by Christine Walker Premee Mohamed’s The Annual Migration of Clouds is a speculative novella that foreshadows post-apocalyptic Alberta, a place where climate change has ravaged the province and a mysterious intergenerational parasite called Cadastrulamyces fungi (Cad for short) can control the host’s body and mind. Cad is “semi-sapient… scribbling across my skin and the skin of my ancestors in crayon colours, turquoise, viridian, cerulean, pine.” The book cover features Cad as a vine-like being that takes over its host, controlling muscles and movements that force the body to do things it normally wouldn’t. Gradually, it also takes over the mind and controls cognitive…

  • TO KNOW YOU’RE ALIVE

    Dakota McFadzeanConundrum Press, 2020204pgsISBN: 978-1-77262-049-8$20.00 Reviewed by Brendan Wanderer Written and drawn by Dakota McFadzean between 2013 and 2020, To Know You’re Alive is a collection of graphic works printed in a combination of pink and black ink on white paper, allowing the medium to take on the characteristic look and feel of the ‘funny pages’ of a local newspaper. A splash of colour adds beautiful elegance to McFadzean’s simple art while delving into complex ideas with an often-chilling subtext. This unease invites the reader to question what they take for granted to be safe or familiar. McFadzean’s work is not only unique in how it presents its subject matter,…

  • LAST TIDE

    Andy ZulianiNeWest Press, 2021238 PagesISBN: 978-1-77439-034-4$21.95 Reviewed by Kirsten Dayne Last Tide, Andy Zuliani’s debut novel, is a dark exploration of how people come together in the midst of crises—both natural and man-made. The book is split into three parts: “Reformatting,” “Fifteen Feet,” and “Death and Surfing.” Although it is literary fiction, it bears a resemblance to disaster science fiction. Despite this, Last Tide is so frighteningly possible, readers may soon forget these origins; just because it hasn’t yet happened doesn’t mean it won’t. Last Tide follows four narrators as they navigate various disasters of differing levels of severity on a small island in the Pacific Northwest: a car crash,…

  • DAYS BY MOONLIGHT

    André AlexisCoach House Books, 2019224 pages9781552453797$19.95 Days by Moonlight follows botanist Alfred “Alfie” Homer as driver and research assistant to his parent’s friend Professor Bruno, a biographer searching for the mysterious poet John Skennen. The publisher’s website describes it as “Gulliver’s Travels meets The Underground Railroad: a road trip through the countryside – and the psyche.” Alfie is ever hopeful and constantly surprised as they encounter towns where Black residents speak only in sign language or that hold Indigenous Parades; it is a land of werewolves and witches.  Days by Moonlight is a Dantesque journey taken when the sun is setting and makes us question what is real. As Alfie and Bruno…

  • THE LIST OF LAST CHANCES

    Christina MyersCaitlin Press, 2021215 pgs.ISBN-13: 978-1-773860596$22.95 Reviewed by Tammi Carto Ruthie is 38 years old when she catches her boyfriend having sex on their couch with “Flower Shop Girl.” On Valentine’s day, no less. Cue the downward spiral. Ruthie lands single and unemployed on her best friend Jules’ couch. She sinks into a darkness fuelled by anger and betrayal until one day Jules forces her to answer an ad placed by the son of an elderly woman looking for someone to drive his mother from PEI to his house in BC. Ruthie considers loosening her grip on the wine bottle and abandoning her pajamas and lumpy couch, but protests. “I…

  • THE PUMP

    Sydney Warner BroomanInvisible Publishing, 2021128 PagesISBN 978-1-988784-79-3$20.95 Reviewed by Chris (Seabacola) Beaton The Pump is an unnerving linked story collection that is a tour of its titular town in crisis: beavers are eating people and there’s something in the water warping people’s bodies, minds, and souls. Nature is the root of this disaster, but is it truly to blame? A trigger warning feels appropriate for this book as its morbid tales can make one feel both uncomfortable and weak at the knees. The Pump is full of secrets and lore, unraveling as each story spirals further into despair. The idea of being trapped is a common theme, whether it’s on…

  • Beer & Burger Auction event raised $1500.00 for the magazine! Thanks everyone!

    Big Thanks to the following Portal 2019-2020 Silent Auction donations!  We raised $1500.00! Black & Blue Tattoo Black Goose Inn Blackbird Resin Brechin Lanes Chop Hair Bar and Day Spa Coach and Horses  Coal City Cycles Fig Love Clothing Co.  Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant Mambo Gourmet Pizza The Medicine Garden Oceanscape Ralph Gustafson Chapbooks That 50s Barber Shop The Pantry Restaurant The Port Theatre SIS Propane Sunstone Pottery Serenity Salon Shear Agony Hair Salon Sheep Sinner Shoppers Drug Mart Starbucks Starfish Soap Company VIU Bookstore Romela Bocancea Alexander Clifton Ridley  Cindy Entesary Tara Qua Portal Team thanks all Silent Auction donations!

  • Meet the Editors

    Kiara Fiction Editor What are you studying? I am majoring in creative writing with a minor in psychology and loving both! My focus streams under the creative writing umbrella are fiction, poetry, and publishing. Some of my favorite courses have been genre fiction with Susan Juby and free verse poetry with Sonnet L’Abbe. Abnormal psychology is one of my main interests in the psych field. What do you like to write? Fiction! I like to dabble in a little bit of everything – romance, realism, Y/A, fantasy, and more! I want to publish long-form works, but the short story form is growing on me. I also enjoy writing poetry –…