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 http://www.drownedcitypress.com/ . 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: www.the10thcircle.com . 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!