The University of Ottawa Press is very pleased to announce its new speculative fiction imprint, Cangrande.

The imprint will include books of “science-based fiction,” novels which draw heavily on current scientific research. In the tradition of Francis Bacon, Mary Shelley, and Aldous Huxley, Cangrande books will emphasize the social and ethical challenges technological innovation poses to human existence, and explore the utopian vision of the future promised by science and materialism.

“We are very excited about this new imprint,” says UOP Marketing Manager Jessica Clark. “It signals an important shift in our publishing program towards trade books. We also feel that Cangrande’s editorial mandate fits perfectly within our scholarly list. Though these books use the novel form to dramatize scientific progress and the ethical issues that it raises, at their heart, these books are based on the most important scientific research happening today. And the scientists and philosophers who are writing these novels deserve to have their books respected both as literary and scientific creations.”

The inaugural Cangrande title, already available, is Hera, or Empathy by William Leiss, the first book of the Herasaga, a three-book cycle about a group of sisters who were genetically engineered to have increased cognitive abilities. Leiss, noted risk management expert and scientist, will also act as the director of the imprint for the next three years.

He believes that the speculative fiction genre creates important social dialogue: “With each passing day, new discoveries in the natural sciences are perceived by citizens as increasingly important for everyday life. Many of these discoveries also raise social and ethical issues that deserve wide and protracted discussion. The genre of science-based fiction provides a new opportunity for the public to learn about these issues and to become engaged in thinking about them.”

Book two of the Herasaga, The Priesthood of Science, will be released in the summer of 2008.