Ad Astra History - 2016

April 29 - May 1st, 2016


Guests of Honour

Tom Doherty Publisher Tom Doherty
JackWhyte2015 Author Jack Whyte
Sandra Kasturi Publisher / Editor Sandra Kasturi
Brett Savory Publisher / Editor Brett Savory
Catherine Asaro Author / Musician Catherine Asaro

Welcome back to returning past Guests of Honour:

Author: Ed Greenwood
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
Scholar: Peter Halasz
Author: Peter Watts
Author: Don Hutchison

Special Media Guests

Doctor Holocaust (Masquerade Host)

Planned panels for Ad Astra 2016


Panelists Panelist Biographies

Creating Art on Commission

So someone has asked you to create a piece of art for them. and they’ve even said they’ll pay. How much do you charge them? How do you sell yourself as a commission artist, and what are the pros and cons of offering to create work on commission?

Diversity in Comics

This year, it seemed that the major comics publishers all moved to be more inclusive and diverse in the series and characters that they offered their readers. Marvel transitioned to an All-New All-Different Avengers with an emphasis on the different, while DC tried to promote DC You, an initiative to promote the wide range of characters in their stories. Why is it important for comics to embrace new readers and different perspectives? What do you think of their efforts so far?

Expressing Your Geekiness in Song

Fandom love can be expressed in a lot of ways, including art and writing. But creating geeky music comes with its own sets of challenges and joys. This panel is a place to celebrate geeky music and musicians and talk about the best ways to translate the passion you have for the things you love into song.

Getting Started in Webcomics

This is an opportunity to hear a variety of webcomic artists share how they got started, and to inspire you to think about what it takes to jump into the world of webcomics as a creator. What are the important things to consider? How do you set your website up, market yourself and find an audience?

Selling Your Art at Conventions and Festivals

So you’ve finally finished a beautiful set of paintings. Or maybe you’ve been selling your fan art on commission and want to think bigger with prints. Maybe you want to do commissions for money, or you fancraft and have an Etsy store and want to sell in person. You’ve got wares, and you’re ready to sell them and think that a convention or festival is your best bet. How do you do this? What’s the etiquette? How do you market yourself? Should you participate in an art show or just book a table? And is what you’re selling even allowed? In this panel, learn the dos and don’ts of being an artist on the convention or festival circuit.

Thinking Outside the Superhero Box

As a medium, comics have long been associated with capes and cowls. But why? In their early days, there were many great horror, romance and mystery comics available. And today, a wide variety of comics publishers offer fantastic science fiction and fantasy comics that tell an enormous range of stories, some of which (like Saga, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, or The Walking Dead) have been hugely successful. The form has also been used to tell dramatic, difficult stories in the case of comics like Maus or Persepolis. So why do superheroes still dominate the medium and represent comics in the public consciousness? This is a panel to discuss the history of comics and share recommendations to those who are looking for non-superhero comics and who are interested in the medium as a whole.

Visual Worldbuilding and Narrative

The world of webcomics and graphic novels have very different requirements related to how you build your world and construct your narrative. So, how do you create narrative and build a world without text? Hear artists share their knowledge and tips.

Webcomics You’ll Love

Do you love webcomics? This panel is a place for you to recommend the webcomics you love, and hear great recommendations for webcomics you might love from others!

Alternate Universes in Fanfiction

One of the most fun tropes in fanfiction is the Alternate Universe - the place where the rules and universe of the main canon can get broken down, transformed, bent out of shape and put back together again in new configurations. What are your favourite AUs? In this panel, we’ll discuss the most common AUs in fanfiction, from A/B/O to coffee shop - how to write them, why to write them and when they go very wrong or very right.

Crowdfunding Strategies

So you want to fund your film, book, game or invention? Come to this panel and hear the tricks, tips, downfalls and reality of making your next level maneuver in crowdfunding. Learn about the different platforms, styles and methods to help you gain maximum success.

Fanfiction as a Unique Culture

If you’re not a fanfiction writer, then you may find jumping into the fanfiction community daunting. What is an OTP? What are the different alternate universe tropes and types, and what are their rules? What is the etiquette of a kink meme? There are so many aspects of fanfiction culture that are insular and well-known to those who are a part of it but that outsiders just won’t get. Stop feeling like a noob and learn what you need to know at this panel.

Mental Health in Fandom

Fandom and mental health problems can in some cases be connected - the thing that draws a person into the world of fantasy and science fiction can be feelings of alienation, depression or disconnection. And sometimes, fans just also happen to suffer difficulties that make participating in fandom and pursuing their creative passions a struggle. This panel is for fans to share their own stories of mental health and to discuss ways to cope, ways to be compassionate, and the struggles we all share.

Online Social Networks and Communities Explained

New to social media? Familiar with Twitter, but have no clue about Facebook? Curious about why all the kids these days have fled to Snapchat or Tumblr? How do you navigate 4chan and what’s a reddit subthread? And what the heck is a Vine? This panel is a place to learn about the wide variety of popular social networking sites and online communities that exist and discuss their impact on how we communicate, their purpose and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Podcasting Your Passion

It’s a new medium that’s only just now beginning to really attract mainstream attention and sponsorship opportunities. But how exactly do you start a podcast? Hear from the hosts of Droids Canada, The Faculty of Horror, The OTPodcast and more as they share their stories of turning their geeky passions into podcasts.

Star Trek: The First Fandom

These days it’s easy to forget that there’s one science fiction and fantasy property that you can trace the entirety of fandom - convention culture, fanfiction, message boards and online discussion, and celebrity worship, among other things - back to. It’s Star Trek, which is this year celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. What was it about Star Trek that drew fans into it’s orbit in a way that no other science fiction or fantasy universe had before? Why has Star Trek seemed to have lost it’s centrality to fan communities even as fandom itself has begun to dominate mainstream media and lifestyles? Let’s talk about and celebrate Star Trek and it’s place in fandom history.

The Best Fic You Ever Read

Fandom tends to celebrate and glorify the worst of the worst in the world of fanfiction, but what about those fics that blow your mind because they’re so well written, so deep, so intense? This is a panel to share your fic recs with others and talk about the fics that kept you up all night glued to your screen, or that destroyed you emotionally, or that made you realize what fanfiction could be. Bring your favourites to share and hear from others.

The Influence of Fanfiction Tropes and Practices on Mainstream Fiction

Fifty Shades of Gray began its life as fanfiction. The hugely popular book series After originated in One Direction fandom. Wattpad now helps fanfiction authors to prepare work to be published, and more and more publishers appear to be mining the world of fanfiction for the next big author. But what does this mean for mainstream fiction? Which tropes of fanfiction have burst into the public consciousness, and does the influence go both ways? This is a panel to discuss the impact of fanfiction in recent years on the mainstream and the ways in which mainstream recognition and acknowledgement is changing the dynamics of the fanfiction community.

The Rise of Kink in Fanfiction and Fandom

The success and popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey illustrated something that fanfiction writers and readers and many in fandom knew for a long time - Kink is in. In the last several decades, there has been a steady rise in how sex positive, kinky and explicit certain areas of fandom have become. Why is this? Is it a good or bad thing? What will happen now that this emphasis on sexual exploration and adventurousness is beginning to find its way into the mainstream?

The Value of Fanfiction

While some authors detest fanfiction and many on the outside of it seem intent of focusing on it’s stranger elements, those who love fanfiction know that it’s much more than just a place for crossovers, erotica and amateur writing. From alternative universe fiction built on careful and thoughtful worldbuilding, to imaginative sex-positive and female-centric erotica, to re-imaginings of popular stories featuring gender and race-swapped characters whose experiences took a different path, fanfiction can be a place for transformative works that transcend their original source material. This is a panel to celebrate fanfiction at its best and most wonderful.

YouTube and Viral Video Creation and Culture

This year YouTube announced that it was moving towards the model of being a paid service. As a community and culture, YouTube stars have become celebrities in their own right, and new YouTube channels pop up daily. But how do you harness the power of YouTube and make it work for you? Are there other video services that have different advantages or disadvantages to consider, and exactly how do you get heard in the din of so many other content creators? Learn more in this panel!

Are Intelligent Machines an Existential threat to Humanity?

Elon Musk thinks so, as do Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking. Still, the tech seems to be a long way away. In this panel, we’ll look at the technical issues that may mean that the threat of a robopocalypse is really empty.

Bio-Technology and Transhumanism

Vernor Vinge wrote about the technological singularity: “Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” The Transhuman debate is alive and well with lively discussion on techno-utopia, life-extension, super-intelligence, immortality, and virtual bodies. Recent films such as Lucy, Transcendence, Elysium, Ex Machina and others touch on the debate. Ray Kurzweil extols a Transhumanist future of immortals free of disease—perhaps even of biology. And what about those who may be left behind? Join the debate. Will you be a MOSH?

Libraries in the 21st Century

Libraries are more than just books these days. Sure you may know about thinks like ebooks but what about emagazines and streaming video? Find out how libraries are changing and their role in the new century and what they may have to offer you.

Mars: Why Do We Want to Go There?

Mars has been an inspiration for popular culture for a long time. But why? What is it about the Red Planet that has captured our imagination for so long? This is a panel to talk about upcoming Mars-related news, what we’ve been able to learn so far, and to compare the most popular imaginings of Mars with the realities we may face as we continue to explore the idea of a Mars expedition.

The Impact of Social Networks and Online Communities on Human Experience

Between the Arab Spring, the “year of outrage,” and the heating up of the culture wars politically and within fandom, the last few years have been a tumultuous time. At the heart of this conflict has been the ubiquity of social networks and media, and the ease with which we can communicate publicly what would have previously been very intimate opinions. For some, the online world represents a utopian globalization in which everyone has access to a wealth of opinions, ideas and information. For others, the online world has only divided, creating separate bubbles of opinion and thought that have led to the growth of hate organizations, public shaming and anger, doxxing and the proliferation of junk science and faulty arguments. How have social networks and online communities impacted human experience? Have they made us, effectively, telepathic? And what might the impact of this be on humanity going forward?

This Ain’t Utopia Planitia: Believable Starship Designs

Media properties like Star Trek or Star Wars tell us that space travel is easy, and that starships act like boats or planes. This is a terrible, terrible lie. There’s a lot more to spaceflight than common media depictions show, and there’s a lot of mileage you can get by knowing some of the principles behind realistic spacecraft design.

What Can Your DNA Tell You?

So companies like 23andMe now offer average Canadians the ability to better understand their own genetic information, to learn something about themselves from their DNA. But how is this useful? Healthcare professionals have expressed concerns about decisions people could make based on risks of diseases or illnesses that lie in their genetic information. Others are fascinated by what it can tell us about family lineages and history. This panel is a place to discuss the implications of what our DNA can teach us and the value in knowing, and the things that this technology might offer us in the future.

When Technobabble Goes Wrong

So you’re watching a perfectly good TV show or reading a great book, when suddenly you encounter something that jolts you out of the story: terrible technobabble. Maybe it’s just nonsensical or maybe it’s junk science in an otherwise brilliant work. But it stops you cold. In this panel, hear our panellists favourite examples of the ridiculous, terrible and ludicrous from throughout pop culture, and share your own.

Book Signings, Conventions and Festivals: Navigating Opportunity as a Self-Published Author

Looking for new opportunities to promote yourself as a self-published author? This panel is all about the opportunities available to new authors at book signings, conventions and festivals. How do you reach out to organizers and make opportunities happen for yourself? And what do you do with that opportunity once you have it? This panel is a place for you to get advice, tips and tricks from those who have done it to navigate interacting with potential readers at in-person events and best promote yourself and build your reputation the right way.

E-Books or Traditional Printing: Evaluating Your Self-Publishing Options

This panel is an opportunity to hear self-published authors provide advice and discuss the differences between self-publishing an e-book vs. a traditional printed book. What are the costs involved? What are the advantages and disadvantages to each method? This panel is a must for anyone considering self-publishing.

Exploring Hybrid Publishing

This panel would help define what ‘hybrid’ publishing means/entails and then delve into how any author can benefit from participating in it. It would look at examples of who and what has been done successfully both on a large and smaller scale so that authors have something tangible to walk away with as well as goals to reach for.

Judging a Self-Published Book By Its Cover

One of the most important considerations for any self-published author is who to engage as a cover artist and the look of the book cover. This panel is all about what to consider when engaging a cover artist and how to ensure that your book cover is appealing to readers and best represents your writing.

Marketing and Promoting Your Self-Published Novel

Whether it’s in person or online, one of the biggest challenges for a self-published author is learning to market and promote yourself in a way that best represents both you and your writing. In this panel, a variety of self-published authors will share their success stories and provide you with the tools and advice you need to avoid common missteps and put your best foot forward.

Networking and Social Media for the Self-Published Author

If you choose to self-publish, it’s up to you to find ways to connect to your readers and promote yourself. Networking using social media is one of the best ways to do that, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Who is your target audience, and where do you find them online? What is the difference between Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook vs. communities specifically for authors such as Goodreads. In this panel, learn from those who have done it which social networking sites to focus on, how to best utilize them and how to successfully network using social media.

Self-Publishing Mistakes Made So You Don’t Have To Make Them

In this panel, authors who have self-published will share their stories of their biggest mistakes, regrets or struggles so that others don’t have to make them. Because those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The Chuck Tingle Effect: Earning Respect as a Self-Published Author

While there are a wide variety of authors who self-publish along a spectrum from the terrible and niche to the wonderful and mass appeal, as a self-published author it can be hard to earn the same respect as your published peers. Authors like Chuck Tingle (purveyor of dinosaur erotica and the novel Pounded in the Butt By My Own Butt) certainly don’t do anything to change this view in the public’s eyes. So as a self-published author, how do you dispel the notion that self-publishing isn’t something to be taken seriously? And how do you help illustrate the value of self-publishing as a pursuit to people who make assumptions about it? This panel seeks to dispel common assumptions or ideas about self-publishing and give authors and panellists a place to share how they deal with issues raised by the way they choose to distribute their work.

The Decision to Self-Publish

It’s a basic question that all authors are faced with: do you seek out traditional publishing opportunities or do you dive into the world of self-publishing with the hopes of greater ownership and control over your own name and work. In this panel, hear several authors talk about their decision to self-publish or not and the things that they considered prior to making that decision.

The Relationship Between a Self-Publisher and Their Editor

If you’re considering self-publishing, it’s important to know how to find a good editor and how to build the right relationship with them to ensure that the work you publish is your best work. In this panel, real editors will share tips for seeking an editor, discuss what you can expect related to pricing, and will talk about the importance and value of a good editor the final product.

The Trials and Tribulations of Writing About Time Travel

It’s a great big ball of wibbly wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff. How do you keep your beginning, middle, and end of your book straight when your characters don’t! In this panel, our authors will discuss and provide tips on keeping the timelines straight!

Appreciating Great Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy

From Gogol to Bulgakov to Strugatsky to Oldi to new names, Russian language science fiction, fantasy and weird fiction is gaining recognition in the Western fandom. In this panel, we’ll talk about works that are relatively well-known and still unrevealed and untranslated; issues in translation and marketing; recent translations; different treatment of common themes in Western and Russian language works; and we’ll share recommended reading.

Approaches to Building a Believable World

Do you like to create? Creating fictional properties can seem like an overwhelming task. Do you being from the small village or city and work your way out, or do you think of the grand schemes of the universe that govern your world and work your way all the way down to the very house your characters will start in? Learn a few tips on making your worlds make sense.

Cinematic Universes, Serialized Television and The Disappearance of the Beginning, Middle and End

Whether it’s novels that are conceived of from before the first page is written as the first in a series, cinematic universes with many moving parts, or television series designed to be binge-watched over days, it seems like we are in a new era where a story with a clear beginning, middle and end seems quaint or simplistic. Why have audiences embraced franchises, worldbuilding and more complex narratives? What does this mean for the mediums of film, television and novels? Why has this shift occurred? This panel explores audience expectations and desires related to the scope of the stories we tell and what this means for the future.

Crafting a Believable Alternate History

Some authors borrow from history, others outright reimagine it, rewriting historical figures and scenarios in unexpected ways. Are there certain considerations to take when reimagining recent history over ancient history? What are some of the challenges of working with historical events with which the reader may (or may not) be familiar?

Cropsey, Slender Man, and the Angels of Mons: the Roots of Religion and Folklore

Fantasy and even SF have been influenced by folklore and legend, and the processes that generate monsters and heroes have not stopped. From Cargo Cults to wartime angels, from Urban Legends manifesting as reality to Internet creations inspiring killers, we look at the ongoing processes of mythmaking and how they might inspire and influence contemporary writers.

Crossing the Gender Divide

Are there certain types of stories that appeal to men only? Or that appeal to women only? Why is this, and should it be the case? This panel is about how to tell stories that transcend socialized gender appeal and the importance of creating “guy” stories that women can find role models in inspiration in, but also “girl” stories that men can similarly embrace. It’s also an opportunity to explore why those concepts exist to begin with and the ways in which we encourage them or discourage them through storytelling and media.

Diverse SFF, Islamophobia, and the ‘War of [the] Worlds’

World governments are lining up to intervene in Syria; the refugee crisis in the Middle East and North Africa has provoked a surge in Islamophobia in the West; and veterans and victims of the ‘war on terror’ are contending with life-changing injuries. This panel discusses the role SFF can play in disrupting the media myth of a ‘clash of civilizations’. Can SFF help challenge the way race and religion are used to demonize others and perpetuate geopolitical conflicts? When human rights concerns over disability, gender and sexual orientation are marshaled as arguments to go to war, can - or should - SFF reflect and re-frame these debates?

Do You Binge-Read?

Although the idea of “binging” on a story or TV show isn’t new, the age of Netflix has made watching multiple episodes of the same show at once really easy. How similar are our habits as readers instead of viewers?

Are you the kind of person who can read an entire series in one gulp, or do you prefer not to read too much of the same author at one time? How do different readers handle catching up with large series like “Game of Thrones” - do you anticipate reading large installments, or feel overwhelmed about trying to catch up? How do people’s different reading habits play out?

Food, Drink, and Cuisine in Speculative Fiction

One of speculative fiction’s most notable characteristics is its focus on worldbuilding. And an underappreciated, but important, aspect of worldbuilding is the food that characters eat and drink.

Have you ever read of a fictional meal and thought “Wow, I really want to try that”? What can food, drink, and cooking tell us about a character, or about the society that character lives in? How do issues like food security and food scarcity play into dystopian fiction? This panel will look at this topic and how it affects other aspects of speculative fiction worldbuilding, like trade, war, relationships, and more.

Give Them A Laugh

Popular fiction didn’t become popular by being depressing. That’s why humour is such an important element to a narrative, and why authors want readers laughing in the right places. In this panel, we will discuss not only the different types of humour that work well in a story, but also the most effective ways to incorporate humour on the written page.

Handicapping the Hugos

The Hugo nominations are out so what nominees have you read and which ones would you recommend? What items of fiction were overlooked?

How to Creatively Collaborate

Sometimes as a writer or artist, the best thing you can do is find the perfect collaborators. This could mean finding the right artist to create your book cover or illustrate your novel, it could mean finding a supportive web designer to help you with your online presence, or it could even mean working with musicians, animators or filmmakers to create works that transition between mediums. What is the difference between creating independently and true collaboration? How do you work with others to communicate a singular vision?

How To Go Beyond Getting Started and Get Something Finished

Are you the kind of person who has a million ideas, but no motivation to see any of them through to completion? What does it take to see a creative project all the way through? In this panel, authors and artists share their stories of being demotivated and distracted and talk about how they made it to the light at the end of the tunnel.

How to Outline and Plan Your Story

Anyone who writes science fiction or fantasy can tell you that it involves a lot of worldbuilding, and often tricky plotting (think time travel stories or alternate histories!). So what is the best approach to outlining? Is outlining even necessary, and why? Hear from authors about the tools and guidelines they use when outlining a story and how important it is to their process.

How to Terrify People

While a lot of attention gets paid to how to tell a story that moves people emotionally or makes them laugh, knowing how to scare the living daylights out of your audience is just as tricky a skill. In this panel, we break down the stories that have terrified people the most and think about why and how that effect was achieved.

Loving the Villain

So many stories feature great heroes, but there’s something really compelling about a story with a great villain. But what makes a great villain? And what happens when the story you’re enjoying has a villain so maniacally fun that you find yourself loving them more than the protagonist. Why are some characters so easy to love to hate? In this panel, the panellists break down some of the great villains of their favourite stories and talk about why that villain drew them in, how their battle against the hero informs the story itself and makes it better, and turn that discussion into real tips for how writers can create better villains.

Loving What Happens vs. Loving Who It Happens To

In the world of science fiction and fantasy, as with all fictional worlds, there are some stories that are about things happening to people, and other stories that are about people happening to things. Which do you prefer? How do you create a world and characters who are compelling and interesting, but also balance that against a complex plot with momentum and action? This is a panel about figuring out what the balance should be and how to achieve it.

Modern Anxieties and Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes

Zombies. Outbreaks. Warfare. Environmental cataclysm. Sometimes all of the above. In recent years, post-apocalypses have become all the rage. But why? Why are we so interested as a culture in exploring the end of Western civilization in the 21st century? How do the post-apocalypses we create reflect real fears and anxieties in our own time? In this panel, we’ll explore the link between post-apocalyptic fiction and worlds and modern events.

NaNoWriMo 101

Are you interested in participating in the challenge of National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo? In this panel, learn from people who have done it and build your self-confidence to finally dive in, and get tips on then taking your finished project to the next level.

Police Procedure: Busting the Myths & Misconceptions

Ever wondered how much of what you see of police procedure in the movies and on television is accurate? Plausible? Or even possible? How long does it really take to run a murder investigation? Or to get results back on fingerprints or DNA? What are the rules and restrictions regarding high-speed car chases? If you’re writing police procedure of any kind into your stories—or if you’re just curious—answers to these questions and more can be yours in this panel featuring RCMP Sgt. Pat Poitevin.

Recommended Non-Fiction for the Science Fiction or Fantasy Writer

Even the best fictional story needs to have some fundamental truths at its core. And sometimes truth is even stranger than fiction, and it can provide a fiction writer with ideas. So this panel is a place to hear recommendations for amazing and foundational works of non-fiction that have formed the basis of the works, research or thought processes of fiction writers.

The Dos and Don’ts of Writing Erotica

If you read erotica, you know that there is a very fine line between something that is incredibly sexy and incredibly disgusting or painful to read. Erotica done well can be a joy, but poorly written erotica can be so bad it’s celebrated for its terribleness. So what are the secrets to great erotica writing? What are the common errors to avoid, and which stylistic choices can tip erotica from being simply bad to being a joke?

The Influence of Shakespeare on SF/F

In our modern era or reboots and reimaginings, it’s hard to remember that one author was really the patriarch of that idea - William Shakespeare. This panel examines his influence on science fiction and fantasy and his continued influence on the stories we tell in our modern culture.

The Medium is the Message: Plays, Screenplays, Novels and Other Media

As a writer, you may have considered writing that novel. But what about that screenplay? That play? That board game? That web series? How can you make a living as a writer or create that great work of art while thinking outside the box of simply words on a page? This panel is about transitioning between various mediums to create the universe that lives in your mind, some of which you maybe never even considered, and how to approach each one differently.

The Rise of Environmental Fiction

The rise of environmental fiction, both in literature and film, has spawned several sub-genres such as climate fiction, eco-thrillers, eco-mystery, eco-punk, and eco-romance. Is eco-fiction part of science fiction? In Barbara Kingsolver’s 2012 novel Flight Behavior, climate change plays a major role in a story about people’s beliefs and actions. Environmental catastrophe plays a major role in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam and Ian McEwan’s Solar. Is eco-fiction simply a new fad or does it reflect a cultural awakening to current environmental issues? What role does eco-fiction play in storytelling and defining ourselves. Who are its readers and why? Should eco-fiction educate? How can an eco-fiction writer prevent it from becoming polemic?

The Stars Not My Destination?

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora ranks most prominently among recent SF works suggesting we may never leave our solar system or, at least, if we do, we may find no place suited for human habitation. Is this trend pessimistic or just realistic? Does it mark the end of starfaring SF, or the dawn of a new direction?

The Year in SF/F Literature

This panel is a place for you to share the best speculative novels you read in 2015 and learn what others were reading.

Northern Frights!

This panel is a celebration of the groundbreaking Canadian horror anthology edited by Don Hutchison.

Appreciating Weird Fiction

From its roots via writers like Ambrose Bierce and Robert W. Chambers through the works of HP Lovecraft and into today, this panel is an opportunity to define and understand the genre of “weird” fiction. What is it? How has it been influential, and what is its value?

May Contain Graphic Violence

It’s a common warning seen by television or movie viewers, and the message there is clear. But when reading the written word, what exactly is graphic violence? Is it an explicit description of blood and gore? Can violence be disturbing or graphic even when not explicit? As a reader, what makes violence impactful or encourages it to linger in your mind well after the book is closed? In this panel, hear a variety of authors discuss how they communicate violence to their readers and their thoughts on its impact.

True Crime, Fictional Story

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, and many incredible fictional stories have benefited from a basis in strange yet tragic facts. True Crime is itself a popular genre of writing, but fictional stories based on true crime have long been a staple on bookshelves, television screens and in movie theatres. This panel is an opportunity to hear authors and storytellers discuss their fascination with true crime and the ways in which it has impacted their work, and share details of how to walk the fine line between respectful and distasteful when using real crimes as inspiration.

The People of Camelot

Retellings of the legends of Arthur have been and are a staple of fantasy writing. What are some of the best reworkings of the Matter of Britain? Who writes a medieval setting, and who goes back to Celtic Britain? Which characters are most loved?

Welcome to Hellmaw

Hellmaw is the exciting universe created by Ed Greenwood about a race of daemons who live among us. In this panel, you’ll have the opportunity to hear Hellmaw creator Ed Greenwood, as well as Hellmaw authors Marie Bilodeau, Erica Mallat and Suzanne Church, and artist Kristie Courtnell, talk about the unique challenge of building that world and participating in such a collaborative adventure.

1966: The Year of Science Fiction on TV

Fifty years ago there were only three TV networks in the USA and two more in Canada. Yet, in addition to Star Trek an overwhelming amount of television back then was science fiction or closely related. Why was this? What were some of the outstanding shows? Which good ones have been forgotten?

2015 in Spies, Secret Services and British Intelligence

This year saw the release of Skyfall, but it also saw a renewed interest in classic old-school stories about spies with the release of The Man From UNCLE and Kingsman: Secret Service. They seem to be having a moment. Let’s discuss all three of them together - which one was your favourite and why? What do they say about our current cultural love of the spy as a hero or villain, and what’s next for the franchises?

Comic Book Cinemaverses: DC vs Marvel

DC and Marvel are both building Movie and TV ‘verses, and their approaches recall the earlier days of each company. Marvel emphasizes continuity and, as much as possible, keeping everything in one universe. They even appear to be undercutting some characters not under the Disney umbrella. DC creates various universes that do not all cross over, which typifies the approach their comics took prior to the mid-1960s, when many of their characters only sporadically crossed over (some not at all) and events in one comic had no impact on events in the other. What drives the differing approaches? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Deadpool: A New Kind of Hero

After years of waiting, fans of Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth finally got their long-awaited movie with Ryan Reynolds, and it even got to be R-Rated. What did you think of Deadpool? Why is he so popular, and what do you want to see next for him onscreen.

Does Diversity Sell?

This year, some of the biggest success stories in film and television disproved the notion that audiences cannot relate to a non-white, non-male protagonist or set of characters. Fast and Furious, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the new Avengers movie all gave us strong female protagonists and a more diverse cast of characters and succeeded enormously. On the flip side, many movies criticized for whitewashing or homogenizing roles that should have gone to minorities, such as Exodus, Stonewall and Peter Pan, flopped. With an all-female Ghostbusters coming in 2016 and more diverse movies and television shows on the way, is diversity a selling point? Are there financial incentives to telling more diverse stories from a variety of perspectives, and is it then right to specifically avoid casting white male actors in roles that previously would have favoured them?

Ex Machina: The Greatest Scientific Event in the History of Man

Ex Machina brought intelligence back to big-screen SF, and the firestorm of debate has yet to settle. Far more has been generated about the questions the film raises about gender (and even race) than those it raises about AI, with the film called both “a feminist parable” with an “advanced” take on gender, and movie made “by men, for men” with a “serious fembot problem” and “flawed gender depictions.”

Game of Thrones: TV vs. Books

The latest season of the Game of Thrones television series is upon full of spoilers of the upcoming books. How do fans of the books feel now that the spoiler shoe is on the other foot? What are people most looking forward to in the new season and/or the next book?

Gateways to Science Fiction and Fantasy

What draws writers, and readers, to science fiction and fantasy in the first place? For some it’s their childhood reading tastes; for others, it might be RPGs, a movie, a tv show, or a specific book or author encountered as a teen or adult. Does how you came to the genre affect what you expect of it?

Joss Whedon: Feminist?

Following the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon took quite a beating on Twitter and in the press for missing the mark with his characterization of Black Widow. But did he miss the mark? He claims that he has been held to a higher standard than others because of his stated feminism, but is that true? This panel is a chance to talk about the Black Widow controversy, but also the feminist aspects of Whedon’s other works and his personal beliefs. Why have we held Joss Whedon up as a standard of feminism in Hollywood and SF/F? Is this problematic? Why or why not?

Princess Leia: Slave, Princess, Action Hero or All of the Above?

With the return of Leia in The Force Awakens, conversation surrounding her role in the Star Wars franchise intensified. Is the concept of slave leia in Return of the Jedi empowering because she overcomes her captor? Or does the fact that she was put on display for the male gaze undermine that idea? Was Leia an assertive, strong female character, or simply a damsel in distress? Does it matter that she was the only female character in the original trilogy, and what is her place now that other female characters surround her as a contrast? This is a chance to discuss both the good and bad aspects of Leia as an important female character in SF/F, who she was in the original trilogy and who she is now in the new films.

Sherlock Goes Victorian

In December, we finally got a new episode of Sherlock, and it took us all the way back to the Victoria era! What did you think of it, and what do you hope to see from Sherlock going forward? A panel to discuss and speculate.

Star Trek’s Return to the Television

CBS has announced a new series for 2017. We will speculate on what we’d like to see in a new series. Should it be the Worf series that has long been rumoured? Should it incorporate the new timelines of the JJ Abrams movies, or should it disregard them? How would you like to see Star Trek return to television?

Star Wars: The Fandom Awakens

We can’t not talk about it. It’s been an overwhelmingly dominant force in pop culture for nearly 40 years, and in 2015 was bigger than ever. What did you think of The Force Awakens? And where will the Star Wars franchise go from here?

The Legacy of Steven Moffatt’s Doctor Who

It was announced this year that Steven Moffat will be leaving Doctor Who by 2018, and that Chris Chibnall will be taking over. So let’s look back on the legacy of the sometimes controversial creator who gave us the adventure of the 11th and 12th Doctor.

The Magicians: From Page to TV Screens

Already renewed for a second season, the SyFy series based on Lev Grossman’s The Magicians arrived this year and delighted fans of the books. Our panellists talk about the transition from page to screen and share their thoughts on the series.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe on the Small Screen

Daredevil, and Jessica Jones have joined the pantheon of Marvel television shows. We discuss Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, and all the Netflix series.

The Place of Nostalgia in the Stories We Tell

Our culture currently seems fixated on reboots and remakes, and nostalgia for older stories. Is this a good or bad thing? Does it matter that the new Star Wars movie in many ways retold A New Hope, or is it acceptable to take the older story and put a new spin on it, update it for the 21st century and make it more progressive? Is a new Ghostbusters or Batman movie necessary or should we be making room for original stories? And is the culture of nostalgia and recycling actually not a new trend, but instead simply the way we have always told stories?

The Politics of The Hunger Games

Now that the Hunger Games movies have all been released, it’s an excellent time to look back on the impact of the book trilogy and movies on popular culture, specifically the ways in which their politics and philosophy have resonated with fans. How much do we in the Western World resemble The Capitol? Did the Hunger Games-mania sometimes cause cognitive dissonance in it’s advertising vs. it’s political message? Why was the casting of Rue so shocking to some, and how does it relate to contemporary civil rights movements? Let’s delve into some of the more interesting questions that the series and the response to it posed.

The Return of Outlander

This Spring saw the return of Outlander! What did you think of the new season of the show?

We Destroy the Things You Love II

Last year we learned how the Browncoats were bad guys, and how the Empire got a bad rep. We explored the Federation as a military authoritarian state and demolished your favourite comic heroes. What will we destroy this year? That’s up to you.

We Want to Believe: The Return of the X-Files

Mulder and Scully are back? But why are they back? What have they been up to in the last 20 years, and how do fans feel about it? Some might argue that the return of the show is an example of nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, while others herald its return as necessary in our current paranoid post-9/11 world. Our panellists will share their thoughts on the show’s return.

Will We Reach a Superhero Tipping Point?

Steven Spielberg was quoted this year as believing that the Superhero genre will eventually go the way of the Western and fade from public consciousness. Others raced to ring the death knell for the genre, even as the number of superheroes in the pages of comics and on TV and movie screens only seemed to explode. So is there a tipping point for public love of superhero stories? How can superhero fatigue be avoided, and what will it mean for the MCU and DCU? Or do superhero stories have staying power?

The Labyrinth of Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo Del Toro’s career is a love letter to all elements of dark fantasy. As a director, author, producer, and creator he is always exploring the nature of monsters and heroes,fairy tales, the nature of immortality, and other elements of the supernatural. Come explore the many twists and turns of his fantasy worlds with us.


This panel is a guide for all those who are considering submitting their short stories to magazines, anthologies or online publications. Which ones are out there? How do you find them, and once you do what is the submission process going to be like? What should you expect, and what will potential publishers expect from you? This is your opportunity to find out.

Common Writing Mistakes from an Editor’s Perspective

Whether it’s easy to correct grammatical errors or awkward sentence structure, or more complex issues related to characterization, plot or research, in this panel you’ll hear real editors share the most common mistakes that they see new or inexperienced writers make and tips on how to avoid them. They’ll tell you the things they encounter that have a simple fix, but also the things they encounter that are warning signs of larger problems.

Do Used Books Help or Hurt Authors and Publishers?

It’s an argument that’s crucial in our digital age - we all know why piracy hurts authors, but what’s the impact of used book sales? Used books can be more affordable for consumers, and as the big box bookstores close down in competition with Amazon and online retailers, used bookstores seem like they may be the last physical bookstores standing. But some readers may be hesitant to pick up a copy of their favourite book in a used book store if they don’t understand its impact or feel like that dollar isn’t finding its way to an author. In this panel, authors discuss the value of used books in the marketplace and the impact that they have on their own success.

Finding a Literary Agent

So you’ve got a manuscript that you love, have built a reputation within the writing community and are ready to put yourself out there. How do you get the attention of a literary agent? What are the dos and don’ts or getting their attention, and once you do, what can you expect from them?

Getting Your Novel Into Libraries and Bookstores

Every author enjoys that moment when they can see their own work on the library or bookstore shelf. But how do you get there? If you’re self-published or with an indie publisher, what’s the best path to getting bookstores to stock your books or libraries to shelve them? And from the perspective of a reader, how exactly do libraries and bookstores make those decisions?

How To Put Together an Anthology

So you’ve got a short story, and you know others with short stories, and you’ve decided you’d all like to contribute to an anthology. What next? What are your best options and resources? What is the value of an anthology vs. other formats? In this panel, hear from authors who have put together or been part of anthologies and learn what’s involved.

Reviews: How to Write Them and How to Read Them

There were over 3 million books published in North America in 2010 - how do you decide which ones to read? Once you’ve read all of the available books by your favourite authors, we mean. And all of the books recommended by your friends. RIGHT! REVIEWS! On this panel, we’ll discuss elements that make for a good review, from the prospective of readers and writers.

Setting Up Shop as an Indie Publisher

So you want to be an indie publisher. How do you bring other authors on board? How do you build your reputation within the literary community? In this panel, learn from those who have done it how to be a publishing entrepreneur, and get tips on start-up costs, marketing, and what it takes to get started.

Surviving as an Artist

So you want to make a living as an artist of some kind. That science degree isn’t doing it for you. Maybe everyone is telling you that you’re going to starve! Come to this panel and hear how some of the artists in literature, music and art have found a way to “make it” and find out what making a living as an artist or writer actually means to you.

When to Listen to Your Editor and When Not To

While editors can be an enormous help to an author, they’re also fallible and sometimes bring their own biases or perspectives to the relationship. So when is it appropriate to say “Thanks, but no thanks” to an editor? In this panel, editors share stories of things they were wrong about, and of what can happen when someone accepts all of their feedback without question, or none of it. What should the balance be, and how influential should they be in your creative process?

Work-Life Balance as an Artist

Is it possible to continue writing after children enter your life? This panel discusses work-life balance ideas and the differences between men and women in their pursuit of writing careers.

Writing from the Boondocks

Writing is a solitary art, and yet it has also become one where contacts and word of mouth matter far more than they used to. When you live far from a major centre and from other writers in your genre, how to do you make connections and form those vital networks that both help you advance and keep you sane? How do you keep up on what’s going on, both good and bad, in the business as well as the artistic side of the genre? Is the internet enough?

Understanding the Young Millennial Reader

News headlines seem confused about the habits of the millennial reader - generally agreed to be anyone from young teenagers to those in their early 30’s. Are they abandoning the printed word in droves, distracted by 140 character Tweets, image-based memes and endless hyperlinks to click on? Or are they reading more than ever, empowered by the easy accessibility and affordability of ebooks, audiobooks, fanfiction and longform online journalism? And, most importantly for a writer, how do you capture their attention? This panel seeks to explore the minds, attitudes and reading habits of millennials and help writers better understand exactly how to reach them.

Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Fifth Edition has been out for a year now, we look in on how 5e is faring. Discuss the SRD and what it means for third party publishing.

Tabletop Games You May Never Have Heard Of

Are you bored of playing Monopoly and Risk over and over? A fan of RPGs but unsure what the best party games are? Curious about which games are best for specific numbers or types of people? This panel is a great opportunity to learn about and share recommendations for tabletop games from those in the know!

Boob Windows, Non-Costumes and The Influence of the Male Gaze in SF/F Costuming

As a woman, many cosplayers are faced with a challenging decision: Do you embrace the hypersexualized or scantily clad costumes so common in science fiction and fantasy for women and wear them proudly, or do you seek out other alternatives such as gender crossplay and adapted costumes that don’t leave you feeling exposed? Why are so many costumes in SF/F such a challenge for women to begin with, how is this standard being challenged currently, and how do you navigate the male gaze in SF/F cosplay?

Cosplay 101

Just getting started as a cosplayer? This is a place to learn the basics.

Cosplay as a Business

So you’re sunk a lot of money into your cosplay hobby, but now you’re wondering if there’s a way that it could make money for you? Cosplay is increasingly being seen as a profession and there are an increasing number of opportunities to turn it into your living. So how do you do it? How do you turn your hobby into your day job? Find out in this panel.

Cosplay on a Budget

As anyone who has ever built a Stormtrooper armor or an elaborate Disney Princess cosplay can tell you, cosplaying can quickly get very expensive. So how do you manage the costs? Hear from cosplayers who have done it and get tips and tricks on making sure that your cosplay doesn’t break your bank account.

Cosplaying For Groups

There’s nothing more fun at a convention or costume party than seeing an enormous group of people who have all come together in themed costumes. But what are the challenges involved in cosplaying in a large group? What are the most common group costumes, and which ones are overdone or never done and should be? This panel is all about the joys and stresses of cosplaying with others.

Creating Costume Armor with Foam

If you’ve cosplayed with fabric or in marathon thrift store shopping sessions, you may be curious or have questions about how some cosplayers make beautiful, wearable armor. In this panel, you’ll hear how it’s done from those who have done it.

Diversity and Equality in Cosplaying

What are some important considerations to take into account when cosplaying to recognize diversity and equality? In recent years, cross-race or gender costuming has become more common, but it can have many pitfalls. Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes that lead to problematic cosplaying and be respectful, but also how to think outside the box in ways that challenge notions of traditional cosplay.

Confirmed participating panelists for 2016

Note: Our Goh’s and the Returning GoH’s will also be taking part in panels.

A.A. Jankiewicz  Gabby Schaeffer  Madeline Ashby
Aaron Lenk   Gemma Files Marcy Italiano
Abby Egerter  Gerald Brandt  Marie Bilodeau
Adrienne Kress Giasone Italiano  Matt Bin
Alexandra West Gillian Clinton Matt Cahill
Alisse Lee Goldenburg   Gregory Wilson  Matt Mayr
Alyx Dellamonica   Hayden Trenholm  Matt Moore
Anatoly Belilovski   Highlander II Max Turner
Andrea Subissati Ian Keeling Michael Rowe
Andrew Barton Ira Nayman  Mike Rimar 
Annette Mocek J.M. Frey  Mike Tamburro 
Arlene F. Marks  James Alan Gardner MJ Moores 
BatMark and Robin   James Bambury  Naomi Foyle
Beverly Bambury  Jane Ann McLachlan  Nicole Lavigne 
Brandon Draga  JD Deluzio  Nina Munteanu 
Catherine Fitzsimmons    Jeff Beeler Rio Youers 
Cathy Hird  Jen Frankel Rob Howell 
Chadwick Ginther  Jennifer Jaquith Robert Boyczuk 
Charlotte Ashley JF Garrard Robert J. Wiersema
Christina Vasilevski  Joanne Kasunic  Ryan McFadden 
Costi Gurgu Karen Dales Sarah Remy 
D.L. Narrol  Kari Maaren  Sarah WaterRaven 
David Clink  Karina Sumner-Smith Sephera Giron 
David Neil Lee Kate Heartfield  Sgt. Pat Poiteven 
David Nickle  Kate Story Simon McNeil 
Daven Brown Katie Mayo  Stephanie Bedwell-Grime 
Deanna Laver  Kelly Robson  Stephen B. Pearl 
Derwin Mak  Kraken Not Stirred  Stephen Kotowych 
Dominik Parisien  Kristie Courtnell  Suzanne Church 
Douglas Smith Lady Di  Thomas Gofton 
Eric Choi  Leah Bobet  Timothy Carter 
Erica Mallet Linda Poitevin  Todd Clark 
Erik Buchanan Liz Hirst  Todd Puhl 
Evelyn Baker    Vanessa Ricci-Thode 


A.A. Jankiewicz

A.A. Jankiewicz (known to most as Agnes) hails from the city of Pickering, Ontario. Her debut novel ‘Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds’ was published as part of her thesis project at Durham College as part of the Contemporary Media Design Program. Prior to that, she graduated from York University with a BFA in Film Theory, Historiography and Criticism. When she’s not busy plotting the next great adventure, writing, doodling, tinkering in the Adobe suite programs or mellowing out with her friends, she enjoys walks with her four-legged companion Meesha. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Q-16 series.

Aaron Lenk

Aaron Plants is a Canadian comic artist and writer and has been since he could first pick up a book. His work has been called big words like “existential” and “introspective,” but if asked, Aaron would say he’s just trying to write interesting stories.

Currently Aaron is writing and drawing “The Last Giant,” a new fantasy comic about lonely giants, petty heroes, and ambitious wizards in a dying age. It was recently featured on the comics website Tapastic. He also plays far too many video games and plans over-ambitious Dungeons and Dragons campaigns on the weekends.

Aaron is the author and illustrator of the complete series “Dave’s Wurld,” a comic about childish beings ruling an empty universe. He also plays the artist for pop-culture themed webcomics “Is It Canon?” and “Anarchy Plants,” which have received millions of views on Reddit and Imgur.

Abby Egerter

Abby Egerter is a freelance editor who works with both fiction and non-fiction texts. She particularly likes working with speculative fiction because it often highlights the social, political, and philosophical issues of the real world.

The rise of self-publishing has left many aspiring authors in the dark about the editing process, so Abby uses her knowledge and experience to help them better understand the work required to prepare a manuscript for publication. She finds few things as satisfying as seeing her clients become stronger writers and successful authors.

Adrienne Kress

Adrienne Kress is a Toronto-born actor and author of the internationally published and award winning children’s novels Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate, as well as YA novels, The Friday Society and Outcast. Her latest, Hatter Madigan: Ghost in the Hatbox, a collaboration with NY Times bestselling author Frank Beddor (set in the same world as his Looking Glass Wars trilogy) just released and the first book in her new middle grade series, The Explorers Club (optioned by Disney for film), comes out Spring 2017. She is also a contributor to the non-fiction anthology The Secret Loves of Geek Girls.

Alexandra West

Alisse Lee Goldenburg

Alisse Lee Goldenberg is an award winning author of Horror, Young Adult Paranormal Romance, and Young Adult Fantasy fiction. She is currently working on two series: The Sitnalta Series (published by Pandamoon Publishing) and The Hadariah Chronicles (published by Prizm Books). She has her Bachelors of Education and a Fine Arts degree, and has studied fantasy and folk lore since she was a child. Alisse lives in Toronto with her husband Brian, their triplets Joseph, Phillip, and Hailey, and their rambunctious Goldendoodle Sebastian.

Alyx Dellamonica

A. M. Dellamonica’s first novel, Indigo Springs, won the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her fourth, A Daughter of No Nation, is the sequel of Lambda Award finalist Child of a Hidden Sea. You can find her short stories at, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed and in print magazines and anthologies. Dellamonica moved to Toronto, Canada in 2013, where she writes, studies yoga and takes thousands of digital photographs. She is a graduate of Clarion West and teaches writing at the University of Toronto and through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Anatoly Belilovski

Anatoly Belilovsky was born in a city that changes owners every 20 years or so and is currently a few years overdue; he is bilingual in English and Russian, and practices pediatrics in an area of New York where English is the 4th most common language. He is a member of SFWA and Codex Writers with over 30 original and 5 translated speculative fiction stories published in markets such as F&SF, Year’s Best #34 edited by Gardner Dozois, NATURE, UFO I, Ideomancer, and many others.

Andrea Subissati

Tackling all things horror with a slash of analysis and research, horror journalists and occasional academics Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West are your hosts for brain plumping discussions on all things that go bump in the night. Produced independently in Toronto, Ontario The Faculty of Horror is your best source for classic and contemporary horror film discussions that will haunt the libraries of your mind!

Andrew Barton

Andrew Barton is a Toronto author who is not any kind of scientist or engineer, but tries to write hard-ish science fiction regardless. He’s been a slush reader for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine since 2008, and his stories have appeared in Analog, On Spec, Perihelion, and the Bundoran Press anthologies STRANGE BEDFELLOWS and SECOND CONTACTS. Contact him on Twitter at @ActsofAndrewB, assuming Twitter has not made a mockery of causality by the time you read this.

Twitter: @ActsofAndrewB

Annette Mocek

Arlene F. Marks

Born and raised in Toronto, Arlene F. Marks began writing at the age of 6, and she can’t seem to stop. Most recently, she is the author of two literacy programs for the classroom, as well as From First Word to Last: The Craft of Writing Popular Fiction (2013), and three published novels: No Pain, No Gaine (2015), The Accidental God (a 2015 nominee for the Leacock Medal for Humour), and The Genius Asylum (2016), the first of a series of science fiction novels set at the turn of the 25th century. She is currently working on two Hellmaw novels, both liberally laced with humour.

BatMark and Robin

BatMark and Robin have been cosplaying together for 2 years, while overall BatMark has cosplayed for 4 years and Robin for 3. Based out of Belleville, Ontario, they spend their free time crafting and creating for upcoming conventions. Robin is a Journeyman level costumer in the Masquerade circuit, having previously won Best in Show at Burlington Toy Con and Best in Journeyman at Reversed Polarity. BatMark has mastered working with EVA foam in creating armor based on DBZ and Saint Seiya. Together they form the perfect combination of sewing skills and armor/prop crafting. Upcoming costume plans include Jareth and Sarah of the ‘Labyrinth’, Seiya and Athena of ‘Saint Seiya’ and Bombshell Joker and Harley based on Ant Lucia’s Artwork.

Beverly Bambury

Beverly Bambury is a publicist and DIY publicity coach for authors and comic creators.

Brandon Draga

Brandon Draga was born in 1986, just outside Toronto, Ontario. His love of all things fantasy began at an early age with games like The Legend of Zelda, Heroquest, and Dungeons and Dragons. This affinity for the arcane and archaic led to his studying history at York University from 2005 to 2011. In late 2012, he began writing a D&D campaign setting that would lay the groundwork for the world of Olhean, the setting for his “Four Kingdoms Saga” novel series, compared by critics to the works of Terry Brooks, Michael J. Sullivan, and R.A. Salvatore. Brandon has also proven that SF/F can be made accessible at any age, writing the lauded picture book “Dragon in the Doghouse”. Brandon still lives just outside Toronto, and when he is not writing enjoys skateboarding, playing guitar, and playing tabletop games.

Cameron Currie

self-published science fiction & fantasy author, lives with his two autistic children in a hidden bunker in Ontario. He has self-published two novels: A Human Number and Shiv, and is midway through publishing his third, Depends on the Strength of the Yes. He is in the process of writing his fourth book(no title as yet) and fifth, Starship Rumplestiltskin. He also paints his own cover art, shepherds additional children, and in his expansive spare time, researches conspiracy theories on the internet and makes his own fashionable tin foil hats.

Catherine Fitzsimmons

After working for a number of evil empires, Catherine decided to forgo things like a salary and regular human interaction to start a business. She lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, daughter, and a grey tabby who is far more interested in playing catch than landing on his feet. Catherine is the author of Aurius, Halcyon, and Enduring Chaos, and the owner of Brain Lag Publishing, which you can find in the dealers room at Ad Astra.

Cathy Hird

Cathy Hird is a storyteller, a shepherd and a weaver. She published her first novel Moon of the Goddess, a YA fantasy set in ancient Greece, with Prizm Books in 2013. She writes short, a poetry and a weekly spirituality column for the online newsmagazine, Cathy tells stories that pull together the threads of ancient mythology and glimpses of wisdom to address modern questions. Cathy and her family run a sheep farm and she works with a United Church congregation near Toronto. Among Cathy’s favorite authors are Guy Gavriel Kay and, of course, J. R. R. Tolkien. She loves to read explorations of the Aruthurian legends and recently discovered Evan Currie’s Valkyrie series.

Chadwick Ginther

Chadwick Ginther is the Prix Aurora nominated author of the Norse mythology infused Thunder Road Trilogy (Ravenstone Books). The final volume, Too Far Gone, releases Fall 2015. His short fiction has appeared recently in Fungi, On Spec, and The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir. Alongside fellow author Samantha Beiko, Chadwick co-chairs and hosts the Winnipeg Chiaroscuro Reading Series, a series devoted to bringing quarterly readings from Canadian speculative fiction authors. He lives and writes in Winnipeg.

Charlotte Ashley

Charlotte Ashley is a writer, editor, critic & bookseller living in Toronto. She is also the Contest Administrator of the Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest. Her short fiction can be found in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Clockwork Canada, Kaleidotrope and elsewhere. She maintains a bookish blog at

Christina Vasilevski

Christina Vasilevski is a writer and editor. In addition to working with companies to write blog posts, web copy, and all that marketing jazz, she’s a former slush reader for the late-but-beloved spec-fic mag Electric Velocipede and now reads slush for Lightspeed. She also writes reviews of SF/fantasy/non-fiction books and varieties of tea online at She lives in Toronto with her husband, her mother, two cats, and a truly ridiculous amount of tea.

Costi Gurgu

Costi Gurgu was born in Constanta, the 2600-year-old Greek city on the Black Sea shore, and lives in Toronto with his wife, on the Ontario Lake shore. Large bodies of water help Costi glimpse into other realms. That and some Dacian magic. His fiction has appeared in Canada, the United States, England, Denmark, Hungary and Romania. He has sold three books and over fifty stories for which he has won twenty-four awards. His latest sales include the Danish anthology “Creatures of Glass and Light”, the DAW Books anthology “Ages of Wonder” edited by Julie Czerneda, the Wildside Press anthology “The Third Science Fiction Megapack”, EDGE’s anthology “Tesseracts 17”, “The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk” edited by Sean Wallace, and the anthologies “Dark Horizons” and “Street Magick” edited by Charles Zaglanis. He also just sold his novel “RecipeArium” to White Cat Publications.

D.L. Narrol

D.L. Narrol is the author of the steam punk novel series, Prehistoric Journey: The First Expeditions, Celtic Odyssey, Age of Chivalry ~ Book 3, and Arctic Quest– soon to be released. She is also the author of the stand-alone fantasy, When Beowulf Meets Kyla. All her work is published with Toronto fantasy publisher, Double Dragon. She incorporates her educated expertise of historic-fiction with her Masters degree in social Geography. Her graphic artist background shines throughout her work, by portraying a vivid and colourful depiction of mesmerizing characters, setting, and plot. She never writes about a place she hasn’t been to. Her readers often say how they visualize her books as a film or television series. She lives in greater Toronto with her husband and young son.

David Clink

David Clink is a poet, poker player, and punster. His poem, “A sea monster tells his story” won the 2013 Aurora Award for Best Poem/Song. David finished second in the Asimov’s Readers’ Awards - Poetry Category, 2007, for his poem, “Copyright Notice 2525.” He placed third in the 2014 Dwarf Stars competition. His poetry has appeared in Analog five times, and Asimov’s three times. He has two collections published by Tightrope Books: Eating Fruit Out of Season (2008) and Monster (2010). His third collection, Crouching Yak, Hidden Emu, was published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box in 2012. In 2014 Piquant Press launched David’s speculative poetry chapbook: If the World were to Stop Spinning.

David Neil Lee

David Neil Lee was born and raised in Mission, BC. Upon receiving his BA in English from UBC, he moved to Toronto where he worked for the jazz magazine Coda and, with his wife, Maureen Cochrane, ran the publishing house Nightwood Editions. He also studied double bass and worked actively in Toronto avant-garde theatre, dance, and multi-media performances, as well as touring internationally and recording with the Bill Smith Ensemble, Leo Smith, and Joe McPhee. He is the author of The Battle of the Five Spot: Ornette Coleman and the New York Jazz Field (Mercury Press, 2006) and Commander Zero (Tightrope Books, 2012). David Lee lives in Hamilton with his family.

David Nickle

David Nickle writes on diverse subjects, including the early American Eugenics movement and crypto-parasitology (Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism) Cold-War espionage and psychic phenomenon (Rasputin’s Bastards), and poltergeists and the modern marriage (The ‘Geisters). His short stories are collected in Monstrous Affections and Knife Fight and Other Struggles. He is a past winner of the Bram Stoker, Aurora, and Black Quill Awards. In 2015, he and his wife Madeline Ashby co-edited the Canadian-only Bond anthology Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond.

Daven Brown

Most well-known for his DREDD 2012 cosplay of Judge Brown. A passion that has tested many of his limits and taught him a lot about what it takes to be a cosplayer. Meeting some amazing folks along the way.

Daven has dabbled in many facets of pop culture. From collecting comics, far too much anime, cosplay, all the way to scripting, directing, producing, and editing his own fan-films. As well, designing and building costume components or supporting the online crafts-people of the world when deadlines approach. After engaging the convention community with a “year of DREDD”, attending several local events and raising awareness of the need for a sequel to the cult hit film. Year two has been a shift towards charity and a focus on encouraging donations with the Canadian Blood Services.

@Judge Brown Sector 519 Guelph, has been dispatched to your location.

Deanna Laver

Deanna Laver was born in Toronto in 1988, and putting crayons to everything she could find shortly after. She has been working as a freelance illustrator since 2013, working closely with the SF/F community. Her signature whimsical style, which draws influence as much from the works of Larry Elmore and Yoshitaka Amano as it does from those of Joy Ang and Sanjay Patel, is most easily spotted in the critically-praised picture book “Dragon in the Doghouse”, and the cover art for “The Four Kingdoms Saga” books by Brandon Draga. Deanna has also worked heavily in the tabletop gaming community as well, lending her talents to the tabletop RPGs “Drinking Quest” and “Haiku Warriors” from Wiseman Innovations. When not working on art for books and games, she likes to take time to enjoy reading and playing them.

Derwin Mak 

Derwin Mak lives in Toronto. His short story “Transubstantiation” won the Aurora Award for Best Short Form Work in English in 2006. He and Eric Choi co-edited The Dragon and the Stars (DAW Books, 2010), the first anthology of science fiction and fantasy by overseas Chinese. It won the 2011 Aurora Award for Best Related Work in English. His two novels are The Moon Under Her Feet and The Shrine of the Siren Stone, which are science fiction that deal with religious themes in Christianity, Shintoism, and Buddhism. He co-edited the Speculative Fiction Issue of Ricepaper with JF Garrard in 2014. Now he and Lucas Law are editing the anthology Where the Stars Rise.

Dominik Parisien

Dominik Parisien is an editor, poet, and writer who lives in Toronto. He is the coeditor, along with Navah Wolfe, of The Starlit Wood and several other forthcoming anthologies for Saga Press, and the editor of Clockwork Canada (Exile Editions). He was also an editorial assistant to Ann and Jeff VanderMeer for various projects, including Cheeky Frawg Books, Weird Tales, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, Sisters of the Revolution and The Bestiary. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, Shock Totem, Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, and other venues.

Douglas Smith

Described by Library Journal as “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction,” Douglas Smith has been published in over thirty countries and two dozen languages around the world. His book-length publications include the novel, The Wolf at the End of the World, the writer’s guide, Playing the Short Game, and three short story collections, Chimerascope, Impossibilia, and La Danse des Esprits. 
Doug has won the Aurora Award three times and has been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, the juried Sunburst Award, CBC’s Bookies Awards, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane.

Eric Choi

Eric Choi is an aerospace engineer and multiple award-winning writer and editor. He is currently a project manager at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Toronto working on the proposed QEYSSat (Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite) mission. Over the course of his aerospace engineering career, he has worked on a number of other space missions including the Phoenix Mars Lander, the Canadarm2 on the International Space Station, the RADARSAT-1 Earth-observation satellite and the MOPITT instrument on the Terra satellite. In 2009, he was one of the Top 40 finalists (out of 5,351 applicants) in the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut recruitment campaign. He was the creator and co-editor of two speculative fiction anthologies, Carbide Tipped Pens (Tor) with Ben Bova and The Dragon and the Stars (DAW) with Derwin Mak.

Erica Mallet

Erica lives in Ontario, Canada with an aging but inspirational feline, and a plethora of gaming books. With a background in video games, she has explored more worlds than she can easily recall, and has successfully managed to deploy dragons into a corporate culture through nothing more than creative storytelling in the boardroom. Having decided it was finally time to step out from behind the curtain, she is now venturing into the realms of fantasy, horror and romance, under her own name. When not furiously tapping on a keyboard, she can be found playing a variety of table top games, or actively volunteering in her community.

Erik Buchanan

Erik Buchanan is the author of the Magics Trilogy (Small Magics, Cold Magics and True Magics) published by Dragon Moon Press. He is also a fight director, an actor, a communications consultant, a ghostwriter, a black belt and a parent. In addition to his book, Erik has published short stories in two anthologies, and has written more than 300 articles on everything from consumer electronics to why to get the flu shot. He has acted on stage, TV and film, and has directed fights for more than 50 productions using everything from swords to bare hands to furniture. His home on the web is and he invites everyone to come visit.

Evelyn Baker

Gabby Schaeffer

Gemma Files

Formerly a film critic, teacher and screenwriter, award-winning horror author Gemma Files is best known for her Weird Western Hexslinger Series (A Book of Tongues, A Rope of Thorns and A Tree of Bones, all from ChiZine Publications). She has also published two collections of short fiction, two chapbooks of speculative poetry and a dark fantasy story-cycle. Her latest novel is Experimental Film.

Gerald Brandt

Gerald Brandt is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author. His short story Storm appeared in the 2013 Prix Aurora Award winning anthology Blood & Water. THE COURIER, his first novel, will be available March 1 from DAW. By day, he’s an IT professional and coding guru. In his limited spare time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, rock climbing, camping, and spending time with his family. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife Marnie, and his two sons Jared and Ryan.
Facebook as GeraldBrandt
Twitter @geraldbrandt

Giasone Italiano

Gillian Clinton

Gregory Wilson

Gregory A. Wilson is a published author of both speculative fiction and academic writing and Professor of English at St. John’s University in New York, where he teaches creative writing, fantasy fiction and other literature courses. His first novel, an epic fantasy entitled THE THIRD SIGN, was published in 2009; his second novel, ICARUS, is forthcoming from Silence in the Library Publishing as a graphic novel; and his third novel, GRAYSHADE, is forthcoming; he also has short stories in various anthologies. Finally, he is co-host of the critically acclaimed podcast Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans. He lives with his family in Riverdale, NY.

Hayden Trenholm

Hayden Trenholm’s stories have appeared in On Spec, TransVersions, Neo-Opsis, Challenging Destiny, Talebones, and on CBC radio.  In 2008, he won the Canadian Science Fiction Aurora Award, “Like Water in the Desert.”    He won a second Aurora in 2011 for his short story, “The Burden of Fire.” His three novels, Defining Diana, (Bundoran Press 2008), Steel Whispers, (2009) and Stealing Home, (2010) were nominated for Aurora Awards.   He won the 2013 Aurora Award for editing the anthology, Blood and Water. He is the managing editor of Bundoran Press and recently edited the anthology: Strange Bedfellows.

Highlander II

Ian Keeling

Ira Nayman

Ira Nayman is the creator of quantum chewing gum, now in grape or cherry, apple or spearmint and banana or bacon flavours. In an alternate universe, he is a humour writer who stumbled into speculative fiction about a decade ago and decided to stay for a while. He is the creator of the Alternate Reality News Service, which sends reporters into other dimensions and has them write about what they find there; it has been described as “a science fiction version of The Onion.” There are currently six books in that series. He has also written four novels in the multiverse series: the latest, It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should, will be published later in 2016 by Elsewhen Press. Les Pages aux Folles (, Ira’s Web site, has been updated weekly with political and social satire since 2002. Okay, yeah, it sounds like the Ira Nayman in the other universe is more fun, but they don’t have banana or bacon flavoured chewing gum - everything in the mutliverse is a trade-off!

J.M. Frey

J.M. is an actor, voice actor, and SF/F author, fanthropologist and professional geek. She’s appeared in podcasts, documentaries, and on television to discuss all things geeky through the lens of academia. She also has an addiction to scarves, Doctor Who, and tea, which may or may not all be related. Her life’s ambitions are to have stepped foot on every continent (only 3 left!), and to perform a duet with John Barrowman.

Her debut novel TRIPTYCH was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards, won the San Francisco Book Festival award for SF/F, was nominated for a 2011 CBC Bookie, was named one of The Advocate’s Best Overlooked Books of 2011, and garnered both a starred review and a place among the Best Books of 2011 from Publishers Weekly.

Her sophomore novel, an epic-length feminist meta-fantasy titled The Untold Tale, (book one of the Accidental Turn Series), debuts December 2015, followed by two more in 2016. The Skylark’s Song, book one of The Skylark’s Saga, a steampunk action novel about a girl vigilante and her mysterious rocketpack, will be published in summer 2017.

James Alan Gardner

James Bambury

James Bambury’s stories have appeared in Tesseracts 18, Daily Science Fiction, AE Science Fiction Review and other publications. His webcomic SpaceBox appears each week at He writes and teaches in Brampton, Ontario.

Jane Ann McLachlan

Jane Ann McLachlan is the Canadian author of two college textbooks on Professional Ethics, (Pearson/Prentice Hall) and a short story collection, Connections: Parables for Today, (Pandora Press). But speculative fiction is her first love, the genre she’s been reading all her life. Her first science fiction novel, Walls of Wind, an alien world novel, was published in January 2014, and her young adult science fiction novel, The Occasional Diamond Thief, was published as an ebook on Amazon in December, 2014 and in print in 2015 by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. She’s represented by Carrie Prostritto at Prospect Agency.

JD Deluzio

JD DeLuzio lives and works in southwestern Ontario. He has sold many works of short fiction and non-fiction, and work-shopped several original plays for youth theatre.

Jeff Beeler

Jen Frankel

Jen Frankel is the author of Undead Redhead, a collection of short stories called Feral Tales, and the “Blood & Magic” series about young heroine Maggie Stuart. The first two books in the series, The Last Rite and The Red Ring, deal with Maggie at ages 13 and 16 respectively. The third (and penultimate), Heaven & Hell, will feature Maggie at age 23, living in Montreal and still struggling with her powers.

Jennifer Jaquith

As the Content Editor at Morning Rain Publishing, Jennifer pays special attention to plot development, characterization, and continuity without losing the unique voice of the author. She understands the subtle nuances of language, the importance of dialogue, and the need for objectivity throughout the editing process. Jennifer lives with her husband, four boys, and the family pet, Panda. When she isn’t writing, reading, or editing she can be found at the gym, volunteering in the community, or hanging out with her dynamic family.

JF Garrard

JF Garrard lives in Toronto, Canada. She is the President of Dark Helix Press, an Indie publisher of Multicultural Fantasy, Science Fiction and Raw Non-Fiction. She is interested in increasing awareness of diversity issues and breaking down cultural stereotypes through her dark stories. Her novel, The Undead Sorceress, is a blend of Eastern and Western vampire mythologies. She was a guest co-editor and contributor of Designing Fate, a sci-fi story about killer children, for Ricepaper Magazine’s 19.3 Speculative Fiction issue. A germaphobe with a Nuclear Medicine background, you can find her at different Sci-Fi/Japanese Animation conventions throughout the year.

Joanne Kasunic

Joanne’s first passion is art. She is responsible for designing unique book covers that represent the stories within. Her skills as a digital artist give Morning Rain Publishing the edge of having an in-house graphic artist who works closely with authors. Her second love is writing, so she understands the importance of creating book covers that match the content, while providing an eye-catching, marketable product. In her spare time, Joanne helps run a fencing club, plays volleyball, sews, and indulges her artistic side with do-it-yourself projects and crafts.  She lives with her husband, two teenagers, and a handful of cats.

Karen Dales

Native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is the award author of The Chosen Chronicles, which include Changeling, Angel of Death, Shadow of Death and Thanatos.

When not working on the next installment of The Chosen Chronicles, she works as the Managing Editor for Dark Dragon Publishing, and teaches creative writing for the City of Toronto.

Karen, her son and husband are owned by four cats who allow their humans to continue to pay for and support thier cushy lifestyles in Toronto.

Kari Maaren

Kari Maaren is a wandering English instructor who has turned grumpiness into an art form.  She has a completed webcomic, West of Bathurst, and an active one, It Never Rains.  She writes geeky ukulele music about Batman, genre literature, and monsters, and in 2013, she won a Prix Aurora Award for doing so.  She has produced two CDs, the solo album Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off and the compilation (with Copy Red Leader) Pirate Elves in Space; she is working on a third album now. She also maintains a ridiculously active YouTube channel. Otherwise, she spends her time marking papers about irony and playing bad-tempered music on the accordion.

Karina Sumner-Smith

Karina Sumner-Smith is the author of the Towers Trilogy from Talos Press:Radiant (Sept 2014), Defiant (May 2015), and Towers Fall (Nov 2015). In addition to novel-length work, Karina has published a range of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories that have been nominated for the Nebula Award, reprinted in several Year’s Best anthologies, and translated into Spanish and Czech. She lives in Ontario near the shores of Lake Huron with her husband, a small dog, and a large cat.

Kate Heartfield

Kate Heartfield’s Shakespearean fantasy novella, The Course of True Love, is available now from Abaddon Books — part of the collection Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales from Shakespeare’s Fantasy World.

Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, Podcastle, Daily Science Fiction, GlitterShip, Crossed Genres, Lackington’s, Postscripts to Darkness, Waylines, Flash Fiction Online, On Spec, Black Treacle, Bizarrocast, Spellbound and elsewhere.

Kate Story

Kate Story is a writer and performer, and a Newfoundlander living in Ontario. Her first novel “Blasted” (Killick Press) received the Sunburst Award’s honourable mention (Canadian Literature of the Fantastic). She received the 2015 Ontario Arts Foundation’s K.M. Hunter Award for her work in theatre. Recent publications include short stories in “Carbide Tipped Pens” (Tor Books); “Gods, Memes, and Monsters,” (Stone Skin Press); “Playground of Lost Toys” (Exile); “Clockwork Canada” (Exile); and ChiZine Press’s “Imaginarium: Best Canadian Speculative Writing 2015.”

Katie Mayo

Kelly Robson 

spent most of her teenage years hanging out at the drugstore waiting for new issues of Asimov’s. She is a graduate of the Taos Toolbox writing workshop, where she studied with her heroes Connie Willis and Walter Jon Williams. Kelly’s first fiction sales appeared in 2015 at, Clarkesworld, and Asimov’s and in the anthologies New Canadian Noir, In the Shadow of the Towers, and Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond. She lives in Toronto with her wife, SF writer A.M. Dellamonica.

Twitter @kellyoyo

Kraken Not Stirred

Nerd music created by a monstrous sea creature and psionically beamed into the head of a pathetic human minion

Kristie Courtnell

Kristie St-Martin is a self-taught jewelry designer and eccentric extraordinaire. A lifelong geek and unbiased mother of the five best kids in the world, how she manages to get anything done is one of the great mysteries of our age. Her love of giving new life to discarded items and tinkering with electronic and mechanical repair, combined with her naturally outgoing and friendly demeanor, led her into repurposing and upcycling to create beautiful pieces of affordable, wearable art.

Lady Di

Leah Bobet

Leah Bobet is a novelist, editor, and bookseller with Bakka-Phoenix Books, Canada’s oldest science fiction bookstore. Her debut novel, Above, was short-listed for the Prix Aurora Award and the Andre Norton Award and commended by the CCBCs Best Books for Kids and Teens; her second, An Inheritance of Ashes, is a finalist for the Cybils Awards and an Ontario Library Association 2015 Best Bets selection. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple Year’s Best anthologies and as part of web serial Shadow Unit. Leah was a founding editor of long-running webzine Abyss & Apex and, for seven years, was the publisher and editor of Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, whose mission was to publish the best in emerging literary speculative fiction. She lives in downtown Toronto, where she cans her own preserves, builds text-based video games, and cooks basically everything.

Linda Poitevin

Linda Poitevin is a writer possessed of both a light side and a dark one. On the dark side, she’s the author of the Grigori Legacy, an urban fantasy series featuring a hard-as-nails cop caught up in the war between Heaven and Hell. In her lighter moments, she writes the sweet and funny Ever After contemporary romance series. And when she’s not plotting the world’s downfall or next great love story, she’s a wife, mom, friend, coffee snob, gardener, walker of a Giant Dog, minion to the Itty Bitty Kitty, and avid food preserver (you know, just in case that whole Zombie Apocalypse thing really happens)

Liz Hirst

Madeline Ashby

Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer and futurist living in Toronto. She is the author of the Machine Dynasty series from Angry Robot Books, as well as the forthcoming novel Company Town from Tor Books. She is also the co-editor of Licence Expired: The Un-authorized James Bond, from ChiZine Publications. She has also written science fiction prototypes for Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, the Atlantic Council, Nesta, and others. 

Twitter @MadelineAshby

Marcy Italiano

Marcy Italiano is a not-so-mild-mannered Library Clerk. She lives with her husband “G” and twin boys in Waterloo. She has published horror short stories and poetry, and was a part of the Johnny Gruesome songwriting team. Working with G once again, a new horror-themed CD should be ready later this year. She is the author of Pain Machine, Spirits and Death in Niagara, and Katrina and the Frenchman. If you see her around this weekend, feel free to ask her about other projects she has simmering.

Marie Bilodeau

Marie Bilodeau is the author of the space opera Destiny series, the epic fantasy series Heirs of a Broken Land and the serialized dark fantasy novel Nigh. She has been nominated four times for Canada’s most prestigious science-fiction literary award, the Aurora Award, for both her novels and her short stories.

Matt Bin

Matthew Bin is a writer and technology consultant from Oakville, Ontario. He parlayed jobs as a library page and an artilleryman into a pair of published books. Since then, a healthy mix of ego and altruism have led to national executive positions with the Canadian Authors Association and the Canadian Copyright Institute. In his spare time, he is the bassist and backup shouter in a punk band, a humanist wedding officiant, and a Canadian football journalist.

Matt Cahill

Matt Cahill’s debut novel, the literary thriller The Society of Experience was picked as one of the top must-reads by Harper’s Bazaar magazine. He has contributed essays to Ryeberg and Torontoist, and his short stories have appeared with Found Press and The Rusty Toque. Raised in Southern Ontario and Alberta, he currently lives and works in downtown Toronto.

Matt Mayr

Matt Mayr is a Toronto based novelist. His debut novel, Bad City, is available from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. Matt studied English Literature at York University and Creative Writing at the Humber School for Writers where he was mentored by authors Joan Barfoot and the late Paul Quarrington. Matt grew up in a small mining town in Northern Ontario and is an arborist by day.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a horror and science fiction writer who believes good speculative fiction can both thrill and make you think. His short fiction, poetry and columns have appeared in print, electronic and audio markets including On Spec, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Jamais Vu, Leading Edge, Cast Macabre, Torn Realities and the Tesseracts anthologies. He’s a three time Aurora Award nominee, Friends of the Merrill finalist, Communications Director for ChiZine Publications, and Co-Chair of the Ottawa Chiaroscuro Reading Series. Raised in small-town New England, a place rich with legends and ghost stories, he lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Max Turner

Michael Rowe

Michael Rowe is the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated novel Wild Fell and the Prix Aurora and Sunburst Award-nominated Enter, Night. An award-winning essayist and anthologist, he is the creator of Queer Fear and Queer Fear 2, which won the Lambda Literary Award, the Spectrum Award, and the Queer Horror Award. His first two novels were published by ChiZine Publications, and this summer, Wild Fell will be published in French by Editions Bragelonne in Paris. For 17 years, he was the first-tier Canadian correspondent for Fangoria. He lives in Toronto and is at work on his third novel, and a collection of short stories.

Mike Rimar

Mike Rimar is an Aurora award nominated author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He is also an associate publisher of Bundoran Press and co-editor of the anthology, Second Contacts.

Mike Tamburro

MJ Moores

MJ Moores is an avid reader and writer of speculative fiction. Her early career as a high school Drama & English teacher nourished her propensity to help others with their writing. MJ’s debut novel Time’s Tempest is the first book in The Chronicles of Xannia quartet, a sci-fi/fantasy crossover series; book three is due out fall 2016. In addition to her writing addiction, MJ gives workshops around her three non-fiction e-books (Publicizing Yourself: A Beginner’s Guide to Author Marketing, How to Publish Your Book: A Practical Guide to the Publishing World, & The Unofficial Goodreads Author Guide: How to Build Your Audience) and aims to provide a platform for new and emerging writers to build their author portfolio/credentials on her website Infinite Pathways. In her spare time, she edits freelance, participates in three different regional writing communities, and is co-director of Author Events with the WCYR.

Naomi Foyle

Naomi Foyle is the author of The Gaia Chronicles, a science fantasy quartet set in a post-fossil fuel Mesopotamia, of which Astra, the first volume, is now available in North America. Standalone cyberchiller Seoul Survivors will be released in Canada in August 2016, again from Quercus imprint Jo Fletcher Books. Also an award-winning poet and human rights activist, Naomi was born in London UK, grew up in Hong Kong, Liverpool, Saskatchewan and Toronto, and now lives in Brighton, England. This is not her first trip back to the city of her youthful excesses, and nor will it be her last! 

Nicole Lavigne

Nicole Lavigne writes fantasy and science-fiction in Ottawa, Ontario. Her short fiction recently appeared in Second Contacts by Bundoran Press, and she is now working on her first novel for The Ed Greenwood Group. She is also a professional oral storyteller, Editorial Assistant for Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine and Co-Chair for the Ottawa ChiSeries. The rest of the time she daylights as a (mostly) mild-mannered government employee.

Nina Munteanu

Nina Munteanu is a Canadian ecologist and internationally published novelist of science fiction and fantasy. In addition to eight published novels, Nina has written award-nominated short stories, articles and non-fiction books, which have been translated into several languages throughout the world. She is co-editor of Europa SF and writes for Amazing Stories and other ezines. Nina teaches writing at the University of Toronto and George Brown College. Her award-nominated textbook “The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now!” (Starfire World Syndicate) is used in colleges and universities throughout North America.

Rio Youers

Rio Youers is the British Fantasy Award–nominated author of End Times and Point Hollow. His short fiction has been published in many notable anthologies, and his novel, Westlake Soul, was nominated for Canada’s prestigious Sunburst Award. He has been favorably reviewed in such venues as Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and The National Post. His latest novel, Remember Me, will be released by MacMillan/Thomas Dunne Books in early 2017.

Rob Howell

Rob is a reformed medieval academic who draws upon those skills and resources for his stories and settings. He has also been an IT professional, a cook, and a soda jerk. Originally from Houston, Texas, he dutifully followed his parents as they went from there to Hillsboro, Texas, then to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and finally to Wichita, Kansas. Along the way, they discovered about the only way to keep Rob quiet was to give him a book. Unfortunately for them, it turned out he could read very quickly, so they had to give him lots of books. He latched onto the Hardy Boys series first, then about anything else he could reach. Without books, either he or his parents probably would not have survived. Possibly both. Rob has traveled extensively. Most recently, in 2012, he walked the majority of the Offa’s Dyke Trail along the border of Wales and England. Many experiences on the trail shaped his writing. One might say the Offa’s Dyke Trail led to Edward. He decided to write professionally when he discovered he was too educated for most jobs, and not quite educated enough for a few. Fortunately, he had always written and had always wanted to emulate Forester, Tolkien, Weber, Drake, Parker, Chandler, and Francis. Now he can.

Robert Boyczuk

Robert Boyczuk has published short stories in various magazines and anthologies. He also has four books out: a collection of his short work, Horror Story and Other Horror Stories, and three novels, Nexus: Ascension, The Book of Thomas and The Book of David (all from Chizine Publications). More fascinating details on Bob, and downloads of most of his published work, are available at…

Robert J. Wiersema

Robert J. Wiersema’s first novel, Before I Wake, was a bestseller 2006. It has been published in a dozen or so countries. He is also the author of a second novel, Bedtime Story, a novella, The World More Full of Weeping, and a strange memoir, Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen.

His latest novel, Black Feathers, was published in August, 2015. His first short story collection, Seven Crow Stories, is forthcoming.

Wiersema writes about books regularly for the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Vancouver Sun and other newspapers and magazines. His weekly Beyond the Bestseller column appears on CBC Radio’s All Points West.

Ryan McFadden

Ryan T. McFadden is fantasy and horror writer. His novella Ghost in the Machine won the 2014 Aurora Award for Short Fiction. His first novel Cursed: Black Swan was published in 2015 through Dragon Moon Press. Additional fiction can be found in numerous collections published by Bundoran Press, Absolute Xpress, Edge SF&F, and Dragon Moon Press. His motley past involved such dangerous work as database administration, ice cream flavouring (seriously, that’s a thing), hockey league administration, screen printing, web design, furniture building, and home renovations. He lives in London with his two beautiful, but sometimes diabolical daughters.

Sarah Remy

In 1994 Sarah Remy earned a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Pomona College in California. Since then she’s been employed as a receptionist at a high-powered brokerage firm in Santa Barbara, managed a boutique bookstore in Virginia, read television scripts for a small production company in LA, and worked as a teacher’s aide in Washington State. She writes fantasy for Harper Impulse, and speculative and LGBT fiction for her own imprint: Madison Place Press. She’s an equestrian, a Holmesian, a Hobbling, an X Files geek, a fic writer and reader, a champion of fan artists, and a staff member at the Organization for Transformative Works.

Sarah WaterRaven 

Sarah WaterRaven is the author of the Detective Docherty series. Like her detective, Sarah is cooky, absent minded, and often laughing at nonsense. An author and artist, Sarah spends most of her time writing, drawing, and sculpting. She works constantly at bringing her imagination to life. When she’s not working on her dreams, she’s touching base with nature. In fact, if you can’t find Sarah, it might be a good idea to check outside for her. A subtle, yet practiced, yeti call and some cookies should do the trick. She also loves dogs, especially puppies.

Sephera Giron 

Sgt. Pat Poiteven

Simon McNeil

Simon McNeil is the author of The Black Trillium, a story of revolution and martial arts set in the ruins of Toronto. This novel is published by Brain Lag Publishing.

He is an online marketing communications specialist with a major educational institution when not wandering the world looking for trouble. He is a life-long martial artist, has published several articles in Kung Fu Magazine and he’s probably a little bit too fond of kung fu movies.

He lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife who has happily laid out rules to prevent the sword-through-glass-lampshade incident from ever happening again. The Black Trillium is his first novel.

Stephanie Bedwell-Grime

Stephanie Bedwell-Grime loves writing about exotic locales, from tropical islands to distant worlds. She has over thirty published novels and novellas and has been both an Aurora Award and EPIC eBook Award finalist. Stephanie’s vampire novella “Ember” was a 2015 Evernight Readers’ Choice Award Nominee in the futuristic category.

Stephen B. Pearl

Stephen B. Pearl is a multiple published author whose works range across the speculative fiction field. His writings often incorporate real places and focus heavily on the logical consequences of the worlds he crafts. For more about Stephen and his works please visit his website at…

Stephen Kotowych

is a winner of a Writers of the Future Grand Prize; Spain’s Ictineu Award; and is a past finalist for the Prix Aurora Award. His stories have appeared in Interzone, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, numerous anthologies, and been translated into a dozen languages. His first collection of short stories, Seven Against Tomorrow, is available now. He enjoys guitar, tropical fish, and writing about himself in the third person.

Suzanne Church

Suzanne Church juggles her time between throwing her characters to the lions and chillin’ like a villain with her two sons. She writes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror because she enjoys them all and hates to play favorites. Her award-winning fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Cicada and On Spec, and in several anthologies including Urban Green Man and When the Hero Comes Home 2. Her collection of short fiction, “Elements” is available in print and pixels at bookstores, Amazon, and from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

Thomas Gofton

Initiating as an actor, Thomas produced the award-winning fantasy series “Mind’s Eye“, the acclaimed comedy “The Gamers: Natural One” and the sequel to The Gamers: Dorkness Rising “Hands of Fate”. Thomas created a Pathfinder supplement “Legacy of Mana” before being published in the Shadowrun anthology novel “A World of Shadows”. Delving into tabletop game design, Thomas created the Arthurian quest-adventure “Albion’s Legacy”, the Robin Hood co-operative “Sherwood’s Legacy” and the Jasco released “Mortal Kombat”, “Dragon Ball Z”, “Mega Man 2” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Thomas travels the world hosting screenings, design sessions and panels to creators, filmmakers and fans.

Timothy Carter

Todd Clark

Todd Clark is the current Director of the Toronto Steampunk Society, active member of both the Klingon Assault Group and the Klingon Justice League, lifelong fan of Science fiction, comics, games and movies. He can most often be found manning the TSS table or running a tea duel.

Todd Puhl

Droids Canada Podcast is a geeky pop culture show based out of the Niagara Region in Ontario Canada! This podcast, helmed by Mr. J, has been gaining popularity since its launch in 2012. With the help of his main co-host, the MountainMan, this many headed beast has become popularly due to it’s blunt, comedic and outrageous behavior that occurs on every episode! Their podcast typically revolves around current hot TV Shows such as the Walking Dead, Comic Book Movie reviews, the popular Doctor Who Dark Journey audioplay, and any geek related topic they can get their hands on! They also write movie/video/tv/tech reviews, stream gameplay on twitch and post unboxing/video game reviews on their website weekly! They are always look to cover new and exciting topics, so look up their website at! They are outrageous and off topic since 2012. Listener discretion is advised

Vanessa Ricci-Thode

Vanessa is a word sorceress — a fantasy author and fiction editor — who loves a good story. She’s a NaNoWriMo veteran and a bookish geek who loves dragons, superheroes, gardening, travel and good tequila.


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