Can-Con highlights, 2014 edition

Can-Con, here in Ottawa, is my home convention. It’s a family reunion. And, as a small con focused on the literary side of SFF fandom, it offers many chances for good conversations.

Last year I stayed with my family in the hotel. Although my partner and I switched off on child care duty, having my small child around was equal parts awesome (fleeting sights of him racing through the dealers’ room in his Batman costume) and distracting. This year I was solo, which meant I went home earlier than I might have if my family were there in the hotel, but it also meant I could sit in the bar and chat with friends between things.

I got to interview Jo Walton, with my friend Derek Newman-Stille. Derek will be putting the audio up on Speculating Canada; I’ll link here. As a journalist, I am trained to never ask anyone how anything felt, so I cringed to hear myself ask Jo how it felt to win the Hugo for Among Others. But much to my delight, she gave a detailed, interesting and inspiring answer.

I also had a great time with Jo on the last panel of the weekend, on homage, imitation and plagiarism. And the two other members of that panel were my friends and editors Sean Moreland and Ranylt Richildis. So much smart in one room!

Ranylt and I were also on a panel about law in the Middle Ages in Europe, along with old friend Matthew Johnson and new friend Ariella Elema.

I was so gratified by my first panel of the weekend, the “So This is Your First Con” panel in which seasoned con-goers Peter Atwood (who happens to be a founder of my writing group, but who’s been out of the country during the time I joined), writer pal Nicole Lavigne, Alice Black and I gave advice to first time convention-goers. It’s so heartening to talk to people just getting involved in this community.

And later that night, I was one of the writers published in On Spec who read excerpts from our work in that magazine, with Anita Dolman (another old writing buddy of mine), Agnes Cadieux (a friend and member of my writing group) and Mike Rimar, whom I had a great time with at last year’s Aurora Awards banquet and was happy to see again this year.

See what I meant about the reunion? As always, there were many friends I barely had time to wave at in the halls, but there were also a few conversations with people I have long wanted to get to know better. And I got to sit in the audience for a few great panels too: notably one on experimental language with Sandra Kasturi, Ranylt Richildis, Sean Moreland and Yves Menard; and a panel on what publicists do, with Beverly Bambury and Marie Bilodeau.

I’m happily exhausted. And I got a bit of writing in, on a short story I’ve been wrestling into shape.

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