I was very fortunate to be able to attend the full three days of Can-Con (in Ottawa) this past weekend (September 9-11). I’m going to summarize the con with commentary.
I’ll start with Friday.
There were four workshops offered on Friday, prior to the official opening of Can-Con and I attended two of them (commentary follows).
As as aside, I want to mention the two workshops that I did not attend. The first was about creating underwater worlds and taught by Nina Munteanu. This was an appealing topic for me, but I did do a workshop last year with Nina on integrating different ecosytems into your stories and this was a bit too similar (although I’m sure there was additional awesome things discussed this year).
The other workshop was by Derek Newman-Stille on developing mythic worlds. This also sounded appealing (honestly, it was amazing that I decided on anything), but I had also taken a workshop with Derek last year (on using input from all senses in your writing) and, really, space technology trumps just about anything for me.
Get Plot with Julie Czerneda
I’ve done a fair number of writing classes and workshops and such in the past (recent and far). This one on plot was very good. I liked that Julie had us work in groups for the exercises (which she jumped right into). As writers, so much of what we do is solitary and individual. It was good to push that boundary and have to listen to other people’s ideas (and the people at my table were great). Julie followed up on the exercises with generalized comments on possible problems as demonstrated in what we developed in the group work. She’s very good at this and I learned a good deal.
I learned a good deal from this workshop, particularly about satellites and the various subsystems that comprise them. There was a lot of great information, particularly terminology and basic aspects to things hanging around in space and Eric is very engaging as a presenter.
The second part of the workshop was about researching space technology. Given my own library/research background, I didn’t expect to get much out of this and I didn’t really. There were a few particular sources mentioned that should prove useful, but otherwise it was a bit I could have presented myself (which is not a criticism of Gillian at all, she was good and thorough).
Friday evening I went to two panels. The first was on SARS, Ebola, and Zika with a panel of Dr Blaquière, Dr Belilovsky, Agnes Cadieux, Dr Melissa Yuan-Innes, and Dr Alison Sinclair with Pippa Wysong moderating. There was an interesting and wide-ranging discussion not restricted to the diseases in the title. The different professional experiences of the panelists contributed to the depth of discussion and there was an interesting back and forth around how to disseminate information without causing panic in the public.
The other Friday night panel I went to was Archeology: Indiana Jones vs Real Life with Katrina Guy and S.M. Carriere, and Lesley Donaldson moderating. All three were very enthusiastic, very knowledgeable, and very engaged with the topic. This was a great panel. There were a lot of ‘what not to do’s and some intriguing asides that have added considerably to my “things to look up when I have a chance” list. (Lesley Donaldson has a great blog post summarizing the panel.)