Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 67: A Discussion About The Queer Coll(i/u)sions Conference with Cait P. Jones

In this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, Cait P. Jones and I discuss the Queer Coll(i/u)sions conference we co-organized.

You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below.


This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.




A Love Leter to Can Con

A Love Letter to Can ConBy Derek Newman-Stille

One of the things being talked about in academic circles currently is the issue of the “all male panel”, which happens far too often. I often expect academic conferences to be ahead of a lot of public conferences, but was increadibly excited when I heard Can Con planners talking about the issue of the all male panel earlier this year and was even more excited when I arrived and saw that it was already in practice. In all of the panels I attended and presented in there were panelists who identified as male and female. This is yet another reminder of the welcoming environment that Can Con strives each year to create. 
For those of you who don’t know, Can Con is an annual speculative fiction conference held in the Ottawa region with a particular focus on literary SF. I have attended Can Con for a number of years and have seen it grow in numbers. A growth in numbers always evokes an anxious response from me because I worry that the sense of camaraderie and family will be lost as the numbers increase, but Can Con consistently excites me because even as the numbers grow, the welcoming environment grows with those numbers as more people are invited into this familial environment. There is no ubiquity that comes with the growth, but rather Can Con makes sure to invite the individual to express themselves in diverse ways. 
I think part of what makes Can Con so welcoming (especially of diversity) is the excitement by the organizers to create panels that explore the diversity of people creating Canadian Spec Fic, reading it, and being represented in its pages. Can Con organizers make sure to have exciting panels on representations of disability, neurodiversity, sexuality, gender diversity, ethnicity, and a range of identities as part of their planning and they consistently are able to attract exciting panelists who are writing these SF representations of identities, are people who identify with these identities, and people who are invested in exploring what these identities mean. But the really exciting part is the reactions of the audience to the panels on identities because these panels are consistently packed and the audience questions are insightful…. and I think this is part of that culture of diversity inspired by the Can Con organizers. It filters through into the audience and whereas at other conferences where there is the one token “here are the people who aren’t talking about the white, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical, male” panel the audience is often not as geared toward excitement about the exploration of identities, because of the plethora of panels on diverse identities at Can Con and because of the welcoming and encouraging support of the organizers, Can Con tends to have more positive and excited audience responses to diversity. 
Why do I write a love letter to Can Con? Because there is a certain environment to the conference that allows me to feel refreshed, inspired, and excited after every conference. I often throw myself on as many panels as possible because I love to participate in Can Con, but I don’t feel exhausted after the conference as one would expect from all the work put into it. Instead, I feel energized, excited, and inspired to do some writing, reading, and (most importantly) fan boying about Speculative Fiction. I have been watching the various love letters to Can Con come rolling in through Facebook, Twitter, and through my email inbox and I think that I can say that this sense of camaraderie is shared by others who attend the conference and that they are experiencing the bittersweet combination of excitement and mourning that comes with having a great time and realising that we all have to wait another year for this exciting experience.

If you haven’t checked out Can Con, you can find out more about it by visiting http://www.can-con.org and I hope to see you all there.

Can Con October 4-6th in Ottawa

As many of you know, Speculating Canada has made the short list for a Prix Aurora Award. The awards will be announced this year at Can Con http://www.can-con.org/ in Ottawa on the weekend of October 4-6th. So, if there is any way that you can get out to Ottawa, you will have a great time and it would be great to meet those of you that I haven’t met yet and have a chance to talk again to those of you that I have met at other conferences and conventions. This will also be a great place for you to meet some of the award winning authors from this year’s Prix Aurora Awards.

If you haven’t been to Can Con before, it is a Conference On Canadian Content In Speculative Arts And Literature. It is a blend of a fan convention, a meeting of authors, and an academic conference. It has something of interest to everyone and is a great opportunity for people to engage in a wide variety of different ways with the SF community.

There will be discussion panels, author readings, book launch parties, and general fun (and of course, opportunities to really express your love of Speculative Fiction with like-minded people).

I am fortunate enough to be on 4 different panels this year:

Spirit Possession in Speculative Fiction

Speculative Fiction Poetry

Cripping the Light Fantastic: Disability in Canadian SF

Let’s Get Fantastic: LGBTQ and Queer Speculative Fiction

(The latter two were proposed by me).

I hope that many of you are able to attend the conference and have a chance to talk about Canadian Speculative Fiction in person. Check out Can Con at http://www.can-con.org/ .

Check out how many of your favourite authors and academics will be around for you to talk to!

Report from the 2013 Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy

By Derek Newman-Stille

The term “Academic Conference” often intimidates the general public. To many people “Academic” has come to be synonymous with “inaccessible language”, “boring discourse”, and “pomposity”, but the Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy’s real potency is the focus of the conference on accessibility to an interested public. Organiser Allan Weiss wants the conference to be open to the pubic and the conference’s position in the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy means that it is in a more public space. The conference brings researchers, authors, and fans together in discussions about Canadian SF.

As you have probably noticed from my posts, I really enjoy opportunities to bridge the gap between people engaging with Canadian SF in different ways. The ACCSSF conference is all about bridging the gap between those interested in Canadian SF and inviting everyone into the discussion.

Speakers engaged in discourse about the richness complexity of Canadian SF and perspectives on Canadian SF. From genre questions to French Canadian science fiction metal music, from place and identity to mythic themes, this conference raised questions and excited attendees to incredible discussions. As often happens at academic conferences, some of the richest places for examining ideas happened between sessions around the tea pot and after sessions at dinner and the pub. It is exciting and heartening to know that there are so many people excited about Canadian SF and interested in looking beyond the surface of their favorite novels.

Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy – June 7-8

As many of you who have been following Speculating Canada know, I like to support research in Canadian Science Fiction, particularly when it is directed toward public access and public discussions. I have given papers at the Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (ACCSFF) for the past few years and have enjoyed it both for the amazing quality of the papers given, but also for the public focus and dedication to making the conference accessible to the public. I hope many of you who are in the Toronto area or able to travel to the Toronto area will join me there for exciting discussions about Canadian Spec Fic.

I have included a forwarded message from ACCSFF for those who are interested:

“The 2013 Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy will be held June 7-8, 2013, at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy. Author Keynote Address speaker will be Tanya Huff, author of numerous novels including the Blood series of dark-fantasy mysteries; our Scholar Guest Speaker will be Robert Runte, one of the pioneers in the study of Canadian SF

For information on how to register, please visit their website at http://www.yorku.ca/accsff and go to the Events page”