Douglas Smith

David Leyes, Toronto

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Douglas Smith is a multi-award-winning author described by Library Journal as "one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction."

His latest work is the YA urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga (The Hollow Boys, The Crystal Key, and The Lost Expedition). His other books include the urban fantasy novel, The Wolf at the End of the World; the collections, Chimerascope and Impossibilia; and the writer's guide Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction.

Published in 27 languages, Doug is a 3-time winner of Canada's Aurora Award and has been a finalist for the Astounding Award, CBC's Bookies Award, Canada's juried Sunburst Award, and France's juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane.

His website is

"The man is Sturgeon good. Zelazny good. I don't give those up easy." —Spider Robinson, Hugo and Nebula Awards winner

"A great storyteller with a gifted and individual voice." —Charles de Lint, World Fantasy Award winner

"His stories are a treasure trove of riches that will touch your heart while making you think." —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Awards winner

"Stories you can't forget, even years later." —Julie Czerneda, multi-award-winning author and editor



BY Douglas Smith • POSTED ON March 11, 2023

Smith’s YA Dream Rider Saga continues as its eponymous superhero protagonist faces even bigger challenges in this fantasy novel.

Will Dreycott is the wealthy 17-year-old superhero/hooded vigilante called the Dream Rider, who has the ability to travel through people’s dreams. His most recent victory saw him save the world and defeat a villainous duo alongside his new girlfriend, Case, and her brother, Fader. The trio now live together in Will’s luxurious tower (a building the rich teen has outfitted for his own purposes) in Toronto, but there is trouble in paradise: Will still yearns to find his parents, who disappeared mysteriously eight years earlier while on an expedition in Peru, and to learn the truth behind his astral powers and his severe agoraphobia. Case and Fader also hope to find their mother, who likewise disappeared years before. Meanwhile, the siblings’ own strange superhuman abilities start to malfunction as Case’s inner Voice, which warns her of danger, starts to multiply, and Fader’s ability to “fade out” makes him disappear from people’s sight—and from their memories. Further complicating matters, a cult of warring sisters schemes to obtain a mysterious crystal key by any means necessary as, in the background, a sinister figure plots away. The author’s sequel to the excellent The Hollow Boys (2022) ups the ante for adventure and suspense and continues to deftly fuse superhero and fantasy tropes. The trio of protagonists have relatable inner struggles and compelling story arcs that work well both independently and when woven into the overarching storyline of Will’s parents’ fateful expedition. Smith excels at strong action sequences, worldbuilding (introducing engaging new characters and the concept of the multiverse), and humorous dialogue: “Home Boy, ever notice your explanations don’t, you know, explain? Anything. At all.” There is plenty here to entice readers to return for the grand finale.

A fun and engrossing superhero sequel.

Pub Date: March 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781928048336

Page count: 384pp

Publisher: Spiral Path Books

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023



BY Douglas Smith • POSTED ON Oct. 9, 2022

In Smith’s fantasy series starter, a teenage superhero faces the gravest peril of his young life when two near-immortal figures start kidnapping young boys off the streets.

Seventeen-year-old billionaire graphic novelist Will Dreycott’s biggest secret is that when he sleeps, he becomes the Dream Rider—a masked vigilante whose ability to enter the world of other people’s dreams allows him to help solve crimes by feeding the information he collects to journalist Harry Lyle, who passes it on to the police. While awake, Will is a mild-mannered, successful creative artist, effectively trapped inside his tower in Toronto due to agoraphobia that began when his parents went missing eight years ago. After Harry asks for his help to investigate the disappearance of a number of houseless boys, Will meets Case, a 16-year-old girl whose younger brother, Fader, has been kidnapped. Case is desperate for help to save her sibling, and although she doesn’t trust the cops, she feels a connection with Will. As the pair start to fall for each other, they tangle with the fabled witch Morrigan and her lover, Marell, who have dark plans for the boys they’ve abducted and who possess powers that the Dream Rider fears he can’t face. Smith’s introduction to the Dream Rider Saga is a multilayered fantasy that pays homage to familiar superhero tropes—including the Batman-esque orphaned, rich vigilante—while adding a nice dose of magic and mystery to the mix. The story is character-driven and richly developed, highlighting Will’s fears of facing his enemies alone (“He was the only person left to stop a crazed super villain. And he didn’t have the slightest clue what to do”), Case’s ongoing struggle to avoid vulnerability, and the villainous Morrigan’s inner conflict. Other characters display uncanny powers like Will’s, and the mystery surrounding Will’s parents’ disappearance provides tantalizing information for future installments.

A fun supernatural tale with well-developed characters and a touch of romance.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2022

ISBN: 9781928048329

Page count: 381pp

Publisher: Spiral Path Publications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

Awards, Press & Interests



Spirit Dance: Aurora Award, 2001

Scream Angel: Aurora Award, 2004

The Walker of the Shifting Borderland: Aurora Award, 2013

The Hollow Boys review, 2022

The Hollow Boys review, 2022

The Hollow Boys review, 2022

The Wolf at the End of the World review, 2013

Chimerascope review, 2010

Chimerascope review, 2010


Scream Angel


Think of human emotion as a geography, with peaks of pleasure and valleys of pain. Imagine a drug that flips the valleys and makes them peaks, too. You react now to an event based not on the pleasure or pain that it brings, but solely on the intensity of the emotion created. Pain brings pleasure, grief gives joy, horror renders ecstasy.

Now give this drug to a soldier. Tell them to kill. Not in the historically acceptable murder of war, but in a systematic corporate strategy—of xenocide. They will kill. And they will revel in it.

Welcome to the world of Scream.

Jason Trelayne is a Screamer, a soldier forced to take part in the enslavement or death of entire races. But Trelayne falls in love with Philomela, a Scream Angel, an alien who produces the addictive drug.

Does he love her for her beauty, for the drug she gives him, from guilt for what he has done to her people? And does she love truly him as she swears? Or is he simply her only hope for freedom, for her and her entire race? Forced to choose between freedom and love, what will they do?

"…the book's most skillfully crafted story…a multi-layered tale about a circus that features a pair of 'angels' who have the ability to produce a drug that produces pleasure based on intensity of emotion. Factor in that the owner of the circus is in love with one of the angels as well as addicted to the drug she produces, and the story quickly becomes one that holds the reader's attention until the very end." —SpecFicWorld

"Smith describes a disturbingly plausible military application for the narcotic … The basic concept behind the drug strikes me as one of those rare ideas that seems at once so perfect and so natural that someone must have come up with it before; but if someone has, I haven't heard about it, and regardless Smith exploits the potential of the idea extraordinarily well here." —Strange Horizons

"…remind[ed] me of the reasons I love the author's writing: his characterisation, attention to detail and recurring themes of love, faith and redemption." —SF Crowsnest Reviews

"A visceral work […] a true pearl of the fantastic literature. Breath-taking." —Café de Ontem

"The story has so many layers that I'm still sorting them out. And like an onion, I'm not sure if I'll ever find the final layer." —Tangent Online

"A dark and powerful story with a first line that sets the tone for what is to come: 'They stopped beating Trelayne when they saw that he enjoyed it.' (A++)" —Fantasy Book Critic

"Scream Angel was especially horrifying and compelling, and I wound up re-reading it again after I had finished the book." —Fluidity of Time

Published: June 15, 2003
ISBN: 9781928048107

Spirit Dance


A Heroka story and prequel to the novel, The Wolf at the End of the World

The Heroka are an ancient race of shape shifters, drawing their powers and vitality from their animal totems.

Gwyn Blaidd, a Heroka of the wolf totem, has been a recluse ever since a deadly battle years ago with the Tainchel, the covert government agency that hunts the Heroka—a battle that cost him the only woman he ever loved.

But when Gwyn is asked by the head of the Heroka to stop an old friend from killing a powerful logging baron, it begins a chain of events that will force Gwyn to again confront the Tainchel—and his own dark past.

"A vivid and wonderfully written tale about Native Canadian spirits, in the vein of Thomas King." —Challenging Destiny

"The characters are intriguing and the story beguiling. I would like to read more about these characters." —SF Crowsnest Book Reviews

"An [example of] the author’s ability to place the possible and impossible side by side to excellent effect in an action packed story." —Hellnotes

"An adventurous tale that's propelled by character drama ... If this was a Hollywood movie, this would be your blockbuster film, complete with adrenaline-pumping action, expensive special effects, and even a sex scene or two to lure in a mainstream audience." —Bibliophile Stalker

"Draws on North American Indian myths, particularly the idea of shapeshifters... Smith once more creates a credible and sympathetic protagonist, Gwyn Blaidd, [who] returns to his old stomping ground to help out some fellow shapeshifters who have become embroiled in a conflict with a large logging concern." —The Fix

Published: June 1, 1998
ISBN: 9781928048114

The Crystal Key (The Dream Rider Saga, Book 2)

Will Dreycott is the Dream Rider, the agoraphobic teenage superhero who can walk in our dreams but never in the streets of his city. Case is his girlfriend, a survivor of those streets who hears voices. Fader is her brother, who is very good at disappearing. Together, they defeated a body swapper and a witch to save the world (The Hollow Boys).

Now, Case battles guilt over living sheltered in Will's tower home while her street friends still struggle. Blaming his affliction for Case's sadness, Will searches for a way to live a normal life with the girl he loves—a way to go outside.

But his efforts draw the attention of dark forces. Sinister figures hunt Will in Dream. Intruders scour the vast warehouse of antiquities "acquired" by Will's missing parents. And a masked swordswoman attacks Will, demanding "the Crystal Key" before disappearing into thin air.

Are they all searching for the same thing? Something from Will's parents' shady past? For the swordswoman leaves behind a flowery scent, Will's only memory from the lost expedition eight years ago that gave him powers in Dream but cost him his parents and his freedom.

A trail of dark secrets leads Will, Case, and Fader to a mysterious world. Trapped between warring cults willing to kill for the Crystal Key, the three friends must master strange new powers that grow stronger and wilder the closer they draw to the truth.

This time it's not just the fate of the world at stake…but the multiverse.

Indiana Jones meets Teen Titans in The Dream Rider Saga, a fast-paced urban fantasy trilogy from "one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction" (Library Journal).

Praise for The Dream Rider Saga:

"A must-read story for YA fantasy fans." —Blueink Review (starred review)

"Inventive, engaging, and boundless fun." —The Ottawa Review of Books

"Fast-paced and entertaining." —SF Crowsnest

"A fun supernatural tale with well-developed characters and a touch of romance." —Kirkus Reviews

Published: March 15, 2023
ISBN: 9781928048282, 9781928048299

The Lost Expedition (The Dream Rider Saga, Book 3)

The thrilling conclusion to The Dream Rider Saga

Will is the Dream Rider, the superhero who can walk in our dreams but never in the streets of his city. Case is his girlfriend, a survivor of those streets who hears voices that warn her of danger. Fader, her brother, is very good at disappearing.

In The Hollow Boys, they defeated a body swapper and a witch to save the world. In The Crystal Key, they battled warring cults to protect an ancient artifact tied to Will's affliction.

The Chakana. The Crystal Key. But the key to what? To finding answers, they hope, to the questions that rule their lives.

What gave them their strange astral powers? What caused Will's crippling agoraphobia? Can he be cured? What were their parents searching for in the jungles of Peru eight years ago? Are they still alive?

At the center of every question is the Chakana. What is the mysterious relic? Why will people kill to possess it? What hold does it have on Will?

As creatures from Incan myths hunt the three friends, another attack on the Chakana threatens Will's life. To save him and solve the mystery of the lost expedition, only one option remains.

Return to Peru. With the Chakana.

There, they will find friends and foes, both old and new. And behind it all, an unseen enemy moving them like pieces on a board.

To win this deadly game, the three friends must master new powers to defeat the most dangerous adversary they've ever faced. A god.

At stake this time? Every life, every world, every universe. Everything.

Indiana Jones meets Teen Titans in The Dream Rider Saga, a fast-paced urban fantasy trilogy from “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction” (Library Journal).

Praise for The Dream Rider Saga:

"A must read for all YA fantasy fans" —BlueInk Review (starred review)

"Inventive, engaging, and boundless fun" —The Ottawa Review of Books

"Fast-paced and entertaining." —SF Crowsnest

"A fun supernatural tale with well-developed characters and a touch of romance." —Kirkus Reviews

The Walker of the Shifting Borderland


The Walker is a child of the two Realms of the Continuum, a prince of Order and of Chaos—and a rebel against both. When he falls in love with an ephemeral, a mortal woman who is the key to the balance between the Realms, he triggers a struggle for her life—and the fate of her universe.

"A very different sort of tale. ... A cosmic story of gods which seems to be inspired by the works of Michael Moorcock, and I think he would not be ashamed of it. —SF Crowsnest Reviews

"A tale of epic love when a mortal gets caught between a battle of the gods. Smith reminds us that we have the potential to change the world around us and that self-sacrifice can be a means of making the world around us better." —Speculating Canada

Published: June 30, 2012
ISBN: 9781928048190

The Wolf at the End of the World

A shapeshifter hero battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a murder that could mean the end of the world.

The debut novel from the multi-award winning author that Library Journal describes as "one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction."

"I can’t remember the last time I read a book that spoke to me, so eloquently, and so deeply, on so many levels. ... I’ll be rereading it in the future because it’s that sort of book. Richly layered and deeply resonant. An old friend, from the first time you read it." —Charles de Lint, World Fantasy Award winner

The Heroka walk among us. Unseen, unknown. Shapeshifters. Human in appearance but with power over their animal totems.

Gwyn Blaidd is a Heroka of the wolf totem. Once he led his people in a deadly war against the Tainchel, the shadowy agency that hunts his kind. Now he lives alone in his wilderness home, wolves his only companions.

But when an Ojibwe girl is brutally killed in Gwyn's old hometown, suspicion falls on his former lover. To save her, Gwyn must return, to battle not only the Tainchel, but even darker forces: ancient spirits fighting to enter our world…

And rule it.

Cree and Ojibwe legends mix with current day environmental conflict that keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to its explosive conclusion in this fast-paced urban fantasy from "one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction" (Library Journal).

"An immersive and enjoyable reading experience. Readers will delight in learning more about Native American mythology, which is skillfully woven throughout the story. Smith's novel is both well paced and deftly plotted—leaving readers curious about what comes next for the Heroka in the modern world." —Publishers Weekly

"5 out of 5 stars. This book is excellent. The writing is tight and flows easily. Not too dissimilar to Charles de Lint. Smith is a wunderkind." —Cody Deserranno, Librarian
Published: Oct. 12, 2013
ISBN: 9780991800742, 9780991800735
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