Prose & Cons: Can*Con 2016, Sunday

Sunday is the last day of the Con, and it ends early so people can travel home. We actually arranged a Monday flight, so I had a short day, but a cluster of commitments.

I had a Blue Pencil with Ed Willett, and showed him a story I’m working on. I’ve already had two critiques through Odyssey’s online forum, so I used this brief face-to-face opportunity to discuss fixes rather than flaws.

Then a session with Susan Forest, who is with the Science Fiction Writers of America, a professional association. I don’t meet their membership prerequisites yet, but she was very helpful and friendly.

After that, I moderated a panel: Amazing Books in the Sub-Genres of SF. I got interested in sub-genres when I realized how hard it was to pigeonhole my own novel. My panellists were:

  • Amal El-Mohtar, a respected, professional and sought-after book reviewer.
  • Jonathan Crowe. His fanzine, Ecdysis, was short-listed for an Aurora this year.
  • Leah Bobet, who wrote an Aurora winner and works at Bakka Phoenix Books.
  • Lisa Toohey from Myth Hawkers Travelling Bookstore.

They seemed to agree that sub-genres are just a way to talk about which books you like, and what you like about them. The panel moved from that general discussion into some specific recommendations of genre-blurring books which I was too busy to write down. A volunteer from the audience did, but I forgot to take a picture. Perhaps I was a little excited. Then, without much urging from me, the panel talked about books that fit squarely into a sub-genre, but drew their admiration for taking an original approach, twisting the tropes. If anyone reading this has a picture of that list of books, I want it.

I needed a break after that, so I had a beer with Kate Heartfield. Her reading was on at the same time as my panel, so I had to miss it. She lives in Ottawa now, but she went to high school at the opposite end of Winnipeg from me, so we’re practically neighbours from a different time and place. I went with her to her choice for last panel, Guest of Honour Tanya Huff and Special Guest Charles de Lint talk about fantasy and writing. An easygoing chat that was a lovely way to end the con. Afterwards, I got Tanya to autograph one of those books of hers that I won in the raffle.

Wouldn’t you know it, the very next story I came to in Clockwork Canada was Kate Heartfield’s “The Seven O’Clock Man.” That woman has a sinister imagination hidden behind her cheerful face.

Came home with a small stack of business cards and a large stack of books, so it was a productive con and a good time.

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