Ad Astra

Back from one convention, off to another: Ad Astra, in Toronto this time. It is at the Toronto Don Valley Hotel and Suites – a venue remarkably similar to the Toronto Crown Plaza Hotel, where it was held last year. Both hotels are located in the same physical space, at 1250 Eglinton Avenue East. The only difference, really, is the name.

The convention takes place next weekend – starting April 9, that is. Unlike the World Horror Convention, just past, on this one I’ve got lots of programming.

Here’s my schedule:

Fri 8:00 PM
Ballr. East
Critiquing Groups
Being a good writer does not necessarily make you a good editor/critiquer. What skills, strategies and techniques are needed to set up a critiquing group and provide constructive criticism of a story?
Matt Moore (m), David Nickle, Suzanne Church, Megan Crewe, Lorne Kates

Fri 9:00 PM
Crowne Room
Reading: David Nickle, Peter Watts
David Nickle, Peter Watts

Sat 11:00 AM
Ballr. Centre
ChiZine Publications Panel
Beginning as the print off-shoot of Chiaroscuro, in less than two years, ChiZine Publications has grown into a small but influential player in independent genre publishing. CZP staff and authors discuss and answer questions about its growth in a bad time for publishing, the future of genre publishing, why a small press might be a better option for beginning writers, and how they have fun doing it.
Brett Alexander Savory, Sandra Kasturi, Matt Moore Gemma Files, David Nickle, Claude Lalumiere, Douglas Smith, Helen Marshall, Laura Marshall, Erik Mohr, Bob Boyczuk

Sat 1:00 PM
Salon 243
Monster as Political Statement
Zombies and body snatchers and communism, Frankenstein and the enlightenment, vampires and Victorian morality, the role of women and sexuality. When is a walking corpse just a walking corpse and when does it have a greater message?
Nancy Kilpatrick, David Nickle, Tim Liebe,  Thea Munster

Sat 4:00 PM
Ballr. East
Autograph Session (to 5:30)

Sun 11:00 AM
Salon 243
Genre Crossing
Can cross-over books ever be the best in either field? Will an SF novel ever win an Edgar? Do crossovers get a bigger audience (all SF plus all mystery fans) or a smaller one (only mystery fans who like SF)?
 Stephanie Bedwell-Grime,  David Nickle, James Allan Gardner, Kelley Armstrong

Sun 2:00 PM
Ballr. Centre
Dueling Openings
Aspiring short fiction writers (audience participation required!) take turns reading the opening lines of their published stories, and the audience chooses which opening(s) they like best. Authors discuss what makes a good opening, why they’re important
Douglas Smith (m), Claude Lalumiere, David Nickle, Robert Boyczuk

Sun 3:00 PM
Ballr. Centre
Laughing in the Face of Death
There’s more crossover than you’d expect between horror and humour. You can find black comedy, horror franchises becoming self-parodies, and intentional and unintentional humour in horror; why does it work? Why do we laugh at horrifying things?
David Nickle, Sandra Kasturi,  Aaron Allston, Gavin Stephens

I’m also doing something at noon on Sunday, interviewing Doug Smith about his movie. But that’s all I know about that.

4 thoughts on “Ad Astra”

  1. I had a great time at Ad Astra, and was glad to make some of your readings/discussions.

    Sorry that we popped into your last panel and popped out again. We realized we'd gotten the wrong room. (Oops.)

    I look forward to reading Monstrous Affections. See you (presumably) at Polaris!

  2. Ad Astra was a great con, & "Monster as Poltical Statement" & "Laughing in the Face of Death" absolutely rocked! The ideas flying around the room (Where are the gay werewolves? Zombies as punks? Groucho Marx as the Devil in the Exorcist – what the****?) were amazing. You were a GREAT moderator, always keeping things moving. Thanks for a splendid time.

  3. Hey Beverly – it's really okay that you popped in and out of the panel. I apologize for yelling "Run, run!" after you. It seemed appropriate for the horror-as-comedy theme of the panel, but – like horror-as-comedy – not really very nice. I'll do better at Polaris.

    And Brent Francis: Thank you so much! I'm glad you had a good time at those panels; we had a good crew in each of them, and that makes all the difference.

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