Can-Con 2017

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This weekend was Can-Con. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you’ll know that we’re big fans.

It’s a fantastic convention for two reasons. The first being how attentive and open the organizers are and the second because of everyone who participates.

I spent more time chatting in the dealer’s room than attending panels this year. There are a few panels I wish I had been able to attend, but was either too burnt out or doing something else.

Highlights from Can-Con 2017

Waiting to sign books. Picture from Lesley Donaldson‏

  • The Ottawa Writers community being awesome as usual
  • Listening to Steven Erikson being interview by Black Gate
  • My first signing session (didn’t sign anything but I was sitting next to S. M. Carrière, Steven Erikson, and Robert Sawyer, so I was in fantastic company.)
  • Watching S. M. Carrière geek out about Steven Erikson
  • The Renaissance reading that had a whole lot of people in it.
  • Getting to Pitch Everdome to Kim-Mei Kirtland
  • Having Kim-Mei Kirtland like my pitch for Everdome
  • The Asexuality panel which was so full I had to tuck myself into a corner. It was really interesting and illuminating.
  • The look of pure joy on an audience member when they learnt that Keladry (the Protector of the Small, not the Baby Dragon) was confirmed by Tamora Pierce to be Asexual.
  • Watching Keladry walking around smiling at everyone
  • Learning that Tanya Huff really likes our coffee
  • Meeting people that I’ve only ever interacted with online

Conclusion

Can-Con, for me, is about basking in the love this community has for genre writing and stories. I’m still a fledgling author and I never feel like anyone is judging. They are supportive, loving, and so kind.

 

Thank you to everyone who was there!

Éric

Recommendation Tuesday – Can-Con

Hello,

I’ve been alternating between excited and terrified for this weekend. It’s the second year I’ll be attending CAN-CON: The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature. Last year was amazing and I had a lot of fun.

It’s a calm and relaxed atmosphere with professional and wonderful people.

I’m nervous for the silly reason that I’m going alone this time. My wife will be selling her awesome stuff at Geek Market, across town. It’s at times like these that I realize how much I rely on her to break the ice and be the sociable one.

cancon-logo-history-333x390

Panels

The best part of Can-Con, other than the people, are the panels. I’m particularly excited for:

RPGs: The Game’s the Thing – Writing RPGs: Ever wanted to write a module and have it published? Come hear about the experiences of our panelists who have done just that! Geoff Gander (m), Alice Black, Timothy Carter

Space Opera: It’s History and Its Place Today

Multimedia fandom: Joy Odjick, graphic novelist and TV producer, Gina Frietag of Cellar Door Film Festival, costumer and interactive gamer Alice Black and S.M. Carriere of Silver Stag Entertainment discuss expressions of fandom in other media.

Opportunities for Self-Publishing and Hybrid Models for Authors: Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations, Kobo

And of course: Special Live Filming of the “Nights of the Round Table” by Silver Stag Entertainment. S.M. Carrière and others will discuss Calculating God by Robert Sawyer. See my review of the book from 2012.

That’s just a few panels that look awesome, there are a lot more.

If you’re in Ottawa and love reading Science Fiction or Fantasy get a ticket and come by.

What panels at Can-Con are you most excited for?

 

Éric

Quickies: Book Reviews for Aurora Prize Awards – Best Adult Novel

I have to admit I didn’t get a chance to finish all the books in this category. There are even 2 that I didn’t have a chance to read at all. I feel terribly guilty about it.

I’ll have to do better next year and look for the books before the voters pack comes out.

Destiny’s Fall by Marie Bilodeau

Characters: 4/5

Writing Style: 3/5

Story: 3/5

Fun: 2/5

Overall: I found this book really easy to read. The characters were well rounded and interesting and the world was fascinating. Having not read the first on the series was a huge handicap however.

60%

Healer’s Sword: Part 7 of the Okal Rel Saga by Lynda Williams

Characters: 4/5

Writing Style: 3/5

Story: 3/5

Fun: 4/5

Overall: Having not read the first 6 books in this series wasn’t much of a problem. The characters and the world are introduced clearly and quickly. I had the feeling that I was missing some history but not much. The characters were fascinating and I can’t wait to read the whole series.

70%

The Silvered by Tanya Huff

Characters: 4/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 4/5

Fun: 5/5

Overall: If you enjoy fantasy, steampunk, or reading you’ll love this book. Everything from the characters to the world are perfectly put together. It took me a chapter or two to fully grasp what was going on but from there on I couldn’t put it down.

85%

Triggers by Robert Sayer

Characters: 3/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Story: 5/5

Fun: 4/5

Overall: This was a fantastic concept and flowed beautifully. Sawyer is a master, whose genius is overwhelming for an aspiring writer. He weaves lives and stories beautifully. This is a perfect meld between a political thriller and a science fiction.

80%

Calculating God – Book Review

Calculating Gob by Robert Sawyer has an interesting premise. Aliens believe that Earth’s fossils could help find proof of God.

Robert Sawyer is a Canadian Science Fiction Writer and Futurist. You might have seen the name when you watched Flashforward on ABC a few years ago. He wrote the book, of the same name, that the show was based on.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Sawyer after he gave a talk at the Museum of Science and Tech in Ottawa. He’s an engaging speaker, which that comes through in his writing. There are science facts and ideas that could have been dull but he managed to parse them out and make then interesting.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my post here.

Characters

Sawyer’s characters are always interesting. They always feel well rounded and real. This book isn’t an exception. Each character is believable and likeable, even the aliens. The only exception is the villains they felt like an afterthought. It felt a little shoehorned in and they were a bit boring.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

Sawyer has a unique writing style that is understandable and educational. He makes even controversial or heavy subjects interesting. Unlike some hard sci-fi authors, I don’t get the urge to look up every fact to see what he means. He explains it that someone with my limited science background would understand.

He has a wonderful way of combining dialogue and facts. I find it makes a reader feel like they are having a discussion with the characters.

I give it a 5 out of 5.

Story

Most of the time I feel that the discussion in his books, doesn’t overwhelm the story. In this case, despite the strong characters and the great premise, I find that the story felt like a vehicle for the philosophy and science rather than a counterpart.

I give the story a 3 out of 5

Fun

The story was bare bones but the character interactions were highly entertaining. Lines like, “Take me to a Palaeontologist.” Make the book enjoyable.

Another rare and wonderful thing about this book was its lack of judgement. Whenever a book discusses God, I expect to get a lot of defending for one point of view. Sawyer never pushes one point of view over the other. It was unbiased, interesting, and informative.

It’s not the first book by Sawyer I’d recommend friends to read but it’s certainly a lot of fun for those who are interested in the philosophy.

I give it a 3 out of 5 for fun

Overall

Final score is 75%