The world we know is coming to an end. How will we connect in the strange and frightening one that’s coming to take its place?
What We See in the Smoke twists the genres of realism and science fiction to tell the future history of Toronto, a story that stretches from this millennium to the next. The novel leaps across the boundaries of time and space, as present and future Torontonians search for meaning, connection, and love in a city that grows more beautiful and frightening as its familiar characteristics fade away.
A musician is caught in an endless time loop unable to reach those he loves, two broke and desperate men plan a heist of a cannibal auction, a detective with sinister proclivities hunts for a criminal who is stealing dreams, and a college student searches for his brother in the hours before a nuclear war. All of these and more lead to a world where only rich cyborgs or the homeless remain, where teleportation has made crime impossible, and where city-sized spaceships are maintained by strange creatures while planet Earth itself is left behind.
Ben Berman Ghan spins a web of these lives and many more, blending the familiar with the surreal until both give way to the story of ordinary people in extraordinary times.
Ben Berman Ghan is the author of several books, including the fix-up novel What We See in the Smoke, and the novella Visitation Seeds.
He has served as an editor on such journals as The Spectatorial, The Hart House Review, The White Wall Review, and Terse Journal. He is currently a prose editor for the Wrong Publishing Chapbook series.
His fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in such venues as Clarkesworld Magazine, The Temz Review, Strange Horizons, and Abyss and Apex.
Ben received his HBA from The University of Toronto, and his MA from The Toronto Metropolitan University. He is now a PhD student in English Literature and Creative Writing at the university of Calgary. His next book, The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits, is forthcoming with Wolsak and Wynn for Spring 2024.
He can be found @inkstainedwretch or inkstainedwreck.ca