Finally getting back to this (my comments on Friday are here). On Saturday, I went to six panels. It was a long day, but so worth it!
First off on Saturday morning was a panel called Brave New Baby with Anatoly Belilovski, Angela Stone, Lesley Donaldson, Julie Czerneda, and moderated by Hayden Trenholm on the topic of new and emerging medical treatments, procedures, etc surrounding reproduction, birth, and the early years. The conversation wandered a bit from that specific area, which was totally fine because it was so interesting and so well informed. I particularly am interested in the ideas around what happens when you design (or whatever) the ‘perfect baby’ but it isn’t what they want later and the issues surrounding pre- and post-natal consent. Next, I went to a panel on Bundoran Press‘ political science fiction with Agnes Cadieux, Brent Nichols, Andrew Barton, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, and Mike Rimar. The panel looked particularly at Bundoran’s anthologies Strange Bedfellows (which has an overtly political focus), Second Contacts, Blood and Water, and Lazarus Risen. There was a great discussion around the political as the struggles of ordinary people against injustice and how no story is truly apolitical and how story in SF should be built from not only ‘what if?’ but also ‘should we?’
In the afternoon, I started by going to Locally-Sourced: Drawing on Local History with Amal El-Mohtar, Dominik Parisien, and Mary Pletsch with Kate Heartfield moderating. I chose this one partly out of interest in the topic and partly because I follow both Amal and Kate on Twitter and they are awesome people. (I’ve also heard Kate speak before, although it was in the context of women participating in public discourse while she was at the Ottawa Citizen). This panel went mostly in the direction of horror, given the interests of the panellists. But also, when you’re mining a specific area for stories, I think there’s a lot of scope for the weird or bizarre or unknown, the unsolved (often unsolvable) mysteries. The discussion was broad and there was an interesting diversion around the issue of using the stories of living people and the ethics around that.
Next was a presentation by Pippa Wysong called Parachuting into Labs Across Canada. Pippa is a science journalist and gave a slideshow on different labs she has been to across the country and the varied things that they are working on. There were definitely some story ideas in some of the research (my favourite was the dairy cow research being done at the University of Saskatchewan which if very bovine-led).
Then there was the presentation “Law & Order vs CSI: A Reality Check on Police Procedures for Authors” with RCMP Sgt Pat Poitevin. I cannot say enough good things about this. Pat was amazing. He has a lot of experience (34 years in the RCMP) and is married to a writer (Linda Poitevin), so he brings the perfect combination of things. He walked through the basics of police procedures and investigation, while making comments about how some fiction (particularly on television) does it wrong. Although I was familiar with a lot of what he said (being the mystery fiction fan that I am), there were some great small details that I was not.
And finally on Saturday, I went to the panel “Beyond the Coming Out Story: New Queer Narratives in Speculative Fiction,” moderated by the awesome Derek Newman-Stille with Caroline Frechette, ‘Nathan Burgoine, and Talia Johnson. There were some interesting points raised, although the conversation went kind of far afield. And as a lesbian, I felt a bit out of the conversation — which is fine, there was discussion of bi-erasure and trans and asexual issues that were all good.