Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update to Fort Edmonton, WWC, Fringe. . .

I have been asked to tell at Rosie's Bar and Grill (near Whyte Ave) for the 'Taste of the Festival' story cafe on September 1st. The stories run between 7 and 9 pm, but I recommend coming early to get a table and order some food. There is a cover charge of $6. MaryAnn Lippiatt and Serena Kaba will also be telling, plus there will either be one more teller or an open mike spot.

At the festival, the set I'm in will be at 1pm on Sunday. The story I'm telling, on both occasions, is 'The Fate of the Children of Lir,' one of the classic sorrowful tales of Ireland.

I don't think I will write another post about When Words Collide after all. I covered the top things I wanted to mention in the last post, and am not sure quite how to choose amongst what remains. I could write a long list of all the people it was great to see, but that wouldn't exactly be exciting to read! I did finish reading the three stories I mentioned from T15, and still feel really good about recommending them. (I have at least once before mentioned something I was really enjoying as I read it, and then come to a part I really wouldn't recommend. . .) I haven't read the other stories in the anthology yet, though. Instead I re-read 'The Stainless Steel Rat' after finding out that the book is 50 this year. It was one of the first science fiction books I ever owned, and is still a fun read, although I have a bit of a different perspective on it now.

I also spent a day at the Fringe Theatre Festival yesterday. I caught two really fun one-man shows, and got a chance to visit with Kirby Liknes, who is working there as a technician, and who wrote some lovely poetry for the Whittaker competition this year. She is also a fiction writer, although I haven't had a chance to read her work in that area yet. On Saturday night, I'm going to see ';(semicolon) the Musical.' I've already seen quite a few other shows by the talented young people who put this one together, but judging by the reviews they are getting, it sounds like they have really outdone themselves.

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Words Collided

I just spent the weekend at the 'When Words Collide' convention in Calgary. I had a wonderful time: caught up with many old friends and met a lot of new and interesting people. It was a very adult sort of con: not a costume in sight, which was quite a contrast to being at Animethon here in Edmonton the previous weekend. (I went to that one with my husband and our kids: Dinosaur, Kankuro, Nameless Akatsuki, and Major Armstrong.) But just because there were no massive games of Red Rover, doesn't mean that we didn't have a lot of fun. I would heartily recommend the convention to anyone thinking of attending next year.

I am going to jot down a few highlights, but I am sure I will miss a lot. . .

I was on a panel on 'Technology, Biology, and Liberty' with Alison Sinclair and Lynda Williams. I feel as though we hardly scratched the topic, but it was certainly interesting, and clear that we had some very astute people joining us in the audience. If anybody who saw the panel happens to check in here, and is curious to know more about the Donna McMahon books that Alison and I talked about, check out . I found both books excellent, although there were some parts (especially in the second) that were pretty hard to read. Of course I admitted to being a big sissy about that sort of thing in my other panel, which was on 'Writing Difficult Scenes.' Lynda was also on that panel, as were Barb Galler-Smith, Susan MacGregor, and Lauren Hawkeye.

Tesseracts 15 is out, and no less than 5 of the authors were at the convention, as well as Susan MacGregor, who is one of the co-editors. I am looking forward to finding out how their stories end, after hearing the beginning sections read. Although this is an anthology of stories for young adults, it looks to be a great read for not-so-young adults as well. Cat McDonald makes a strong mark with her first story sale, dropping the reader right into a magical realm where the bonds of hatred between people appear as physical chains, and strange beings walk along them. Robert Runte does a delightful job of speaking in the voice of a teenage girl, describing how she met aliens in her school hockey rink. (You missed out if you did not hear this live.) The young werewolves of Nicole Luiken's story really captured my heart. Susan talked about how many of the stories in the book dealt with real issues and feelings that young people have through fantasy and science fiction, and Nicole's is very much this sort of story. It seems to me that, where young readers (in particular) might be turned off a realistic story by little things that don't fit the way they see themselves, a fantasy story can get past those prejudices and encourage reflection on the real heart of a problem.

The team (well, 3/4 of) that won those Aurora awards for Women of the Apocalypse is embarking on a new venture: a series of ebooks set in a shared world, with a new one released every two months. The first part includes work by Eileen Bell, Billie Milholland, and Ryan T. McFadden, and can be downloaded from their website: . Randy McCharles has been asked to contribute to the next one. The group did not read from their work, but shared the premise, which looks to be dark, gritty, and imaginative.

All right, that's enough for one post!