I haven’t been as diligent (or as prompt) with my convention roundups as I used to be, and I still have my C4 roundup on deck (and I should really be writing my NaNoWriMo novel) but I wanted to make sure I talked about Can*Con.
What a great convention!
The 2017 Can*Con was my first time back since I attended in 2013 for the Prix Aurora Awards. The convention has grown noticeably since then. I always love an excuse to get to Ottawa, because it’s a gorgeous city, and I have family and lots of friends there that I don’t get to see nearly often enough.
Saturday was my big day for programming. I heard that a lot from a number of the out-of-towners. I don’t know if it was purposefully done by the programming team, but it does mean you can build your schedule without having to worry about whether a panelist has a late flight in or an early flight out. Given Can*Con’s attention to detail in every other regard, I’m going to assume that the decision wasn’t an accident.
On the On Spec Panel (L-R, Me, Brandon Crilley, Leah Bobet, Susan Forest, Diane Walton, Hayden Trenholm). Photo courtesy of Andy Taylor.
I didn’t get a picture of the Stories of the Northmen panel, unfortunately, but we had a great crowd–honestly way more than I was expecting. K.W. Ramsey, Una Verdandi, and Kate Heartfield shared the panel, and Kate did a great job as moderator. We had a pretty lively discussion, a few disagreements that highlighted while we all enjoyed the topic we’ve consumed it in different ways.
I’ve mostly gotten out of the habit of attending panels that I’m not speaking on, using that time instead to catch up with friends or network. Can*Con was different. I remembered a high level of discourse from my first time attending, and looking at the panel descriptions and who was speaking on them I felt assured that this year would only be better. And it was.
First off, most presenters at Can*Con only appear on a couple of panels, and this cuts down on the “I don’t know what I’m doing here” confessions from panelists. The moderators know their topics, and every panel had a moderator. This attention to detail seems vanishingly common, and I can’t stress how much it improves a paneling experience for me (unless a moderator is there to turn the conversation to their own books, but Can*Con seems to have avoided that with their careful curation).
I had to grab a seat on the floor for the stellar Epic Fantasy panel with Kim-Mei Kirkland, Michelle Sagara, Steven Erikson, Sheila Gilbert, Violet Malan, and Fiona Patton. It’s been a while since I’ve read epic fantasy, and some of the insights I garnered gave me an ephiphany for how to rewrite an old sword & sorcery first draft that wasn’t working. It also made me realize I probably need to step away from urban fantasy for a while as I have two existing series in that subgenre, and while I was editing a third, motivation to continue with it was thin on the ground.
The Post-Apocalypse and First Nations Perspective panel was fantastic. Brandon Crilly (centre) did a great job of moderating, but to tell the truth, there weren’t many lulls in the conversation between Jay Odjig and Waubgeshig Rice.
Also, Julie Czerneda is awesome. But you probably know that. Not only did Julie give me a killer blurb for Too Far Gone, she went out of her way to ensure that I was introduced to people she felt I should get to know. So thanks for making me feel at home, Julie!
Also, a big thank you to Derek Künsken, Marie Bilodeau, and all the staff and volunteers for putting on an amazing weekend. I had way too many fine conversations and interactions to list, and I’m planning on returning to Can*Con in 2018. This convention is just too good to miss.