Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Can-Con 2014

Like GenreCon, Can-Con is an out-of-Toronto sci-fi convention that I want to keep as a regular part of my life. Two years ago I attended, back when I was still pushing The Cupid War, and I regret not being able to go last year (same weekend as my first GenreCon).

This time around, the con was held at the Sheraton, a much bigger and more convenient hotel in downtown Ottawa (as opposed to being out past Bell’s Corners). The Sheraton had a lot more available space, meaning bigger panel rooms and a larger dealer’s room.

My panel schedule involved some interesting and creative stuff. Unfortunately I missed my very first one on Friday night – my bus was over an hour late getting into the city. Saturday morning onwards, however, I had no trouble at all.

Here’s what I was up to:


10 AM – 11AM
The Economics of Self-Publishing: Kevin Johns (m), S.M. Carriere, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Tim Carter

12PM – 1PM
The Whedonverse: from Buffy to Firefly to the Avengers:
Derek Newman-Stille (m), Timothy Carter, Kevin Johns

7PM – 8PM
Email spam: Can a narrative be created? Silliness may ensue.
Rebecca Simkin (m), Timothy Carter, S.M. Carriere, Geoff Gander, Max Turner


12PM – 1 PM
No More Sparkly Vampires! Scary Monsters in Fiction:
Derek Newman-Stille (m), Mike Rymar, Timothy Carter, Caroline Frechette, Kevin Johns

1PM – 2PM
Talking about your Sonic Wrench and Other Tricks for Flushing Out the Nerds Who Are Hiding As Muggles:
M. Bilodeau (m), S.M. Carriere, Erik Buchanan, Timothy Carter, Mark Shainblum

I did three panels with S.M. Carriere, a novelist and party animal like myself. She's the one who, during my last Can-Con visit, said "I'm stealing this from you. This looks awesome!" to her friend The Blurry Fan, who was reading Evil at the time. Speaking of The Blurry Fan, I ran into her once more in the dealer's room, next to S.M.'s table. Good times.

I still have my spam stories. It was an interesting writing exercise – each of us interpreted the directive in our own way. I found I couldn’t come up with a narrative and then work the spam into and around it – I chopped my spam up and put the sentences back together in a new and (hopefully) funny way, figuring out where I was going with it as I went along.

Sadly, I no longer have Optimus Plane, my entry into the paper airplane contest. Run by Marie Bilodieu and her terrifying minions, it was just as fantastically fun as 2012’s. And my plane went a lot further, too! Before a terrifying minion crushed it under her foot. I won a prize, and my cats have enjoyed playing with it. Marie really knows how to put on a good show.

No, I mean she really, really knows – I went to her reading Saturday night, and she demonstrated her storytelling talents with a tale of tragic love. It was a moving experience I shall not soon forget.

The final day’s panels were No More Sparkly Vampires and Talking About Your Sonic Wrench. Sparkly vampires was about the de-fanging of monsters that used to be, well, monsters. As an example, vampires used to be bloodsucking fiends of terror before certain authors turned them into brooding romantic leads. Good fun, and we all had plenty to say.

Marie hosted Sonic Wrench, a panel about discovering whether or not someone is a closeted geek. The audience tossed out names from genre media properties, and each panelist had to come up with a way to subtly bring up said media property through casual conversation. Many laughs ensued, and some of them were actually mine! I like it when I’m actually funny (as opposed to just trying to be).

The con ended, I said my goodbyes, and added a few more people to my Facebook friends list. My parents picked me up, and we had some quality time together before I headed back to Toronto the next day.

Can't wait for next year!

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