Another Can-Con—Ottawa’s local and original SF convention—has come and gone. Without a doubt, Can-Con is going places. Relaunched three years ago at a Travelodge, this year’s event took place in a swanky downtown suite hotel.
Friday I got to the hotel later than I’d planned, but had enough time to check in at the ChiZine Publications‘ table before moderating the “Marketing 101 for Writers” panel with Caroline Frechette, Jean-Louis Trudel and Linda Poitevin. It was a blast and a great way to begin.
Despite wanting to head to the opening cermonies, I went upstairs to chow down on room service while helping to set up for the popularly-demanded ChiZine Publications’ room party.
The party lived up to its demand. I read a bit of “The Pack“, which originally appeared on AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review and was re-printed in Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. (Photo of me reading.)  But the party got shut down by security sometime in the evening. We quieted down, but a few of us carried on. I left around 1:30 in the morning, but was back up around 8:00.
I caught most of the “How to Pitch Your Book” panel, then went into the “Going Viral: Infection and Disease in Speculative Fiction” panel at 11. This panel was a lot of fun, successfully bridging real world facts with the truth-bending necessary to fiction.
At noon, I read from my short story collection Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark, took some time at the ChiZine Publications table, and then moderated the “Horror Reading: What is scaring the $#@% out  of you?” panel with my buddies Brett Savory and Sean Moreland.
After the panel, I took some time away to have lunch with my con-widow wife at the Royal Oak.
After some more time at the CZP table, I caught the end of the “Cripping the Light Fantastic” panel before sitting on the “Horror Elements of Future Technologies” panel. Then I attended readings by Sandra Kasturi and S.M. Carriere.
Then it was off to dinner with Brett Savory, Sandra Kasturi, CZP Managing Editor Kelsi Morris, Chadwick Ginther and my wife. We went to Som Tum and nearly killed ourselves laughing at the #AddaWordRuinaMovie hashtag. Then it was back to the hotel for the Bundoran room party… which got shutdown by security. So a troop of us headed down to the Royal Oak. Finding it packed for a hockey game, we opted to sit outside and brave the cold weather and threat of rain.
Sunday morning was rough, but gave me the highlight of the convention: presenting the Aurora Award for Best Graphic Novel. It was an honour to represent Can-Con, Ottawa and the CSFFA in presenting in a category I greatly admire. My friend Marie Bilodeau also presented, giving an amusing speech for Best Poem/Song.
The entire Aurora ceremony was well-run by MC Hayden Trenholm, who  kept things moving without making it feel rushed. What’s better, he won Best Related Work for his anthology Blood and Water, CZP cover artist Erik Mohr won for Best Artist, and ChiSeries Toronto musician Kari Maaren won for Best Filk.
And though I didn’t win for my short story “Delta Pi” I’m thrilled for my friend Douglas Smith who won with “The Walker of the Shifting Borderland”. And Robert J. Sawyer’s presentation was excellent in stressing how short fiction is its own writing medium, not the junior leagues of novel writers.
After the ceremony, I caught the second half of the “Mystery Plot Form” panel and then helped pack up the ChiZine Publications table. And then, alas, it was over.
Hats off to Derek Künsken for a masterful job with the programming. There was so much to chose from. There are way to many people to name here with whom I chatted, laughed and got caught up. There is a such a deep, rich specfic community here in Ottawa and I am so glad to be a part of it.