If you were at Ad Astra last weekend, you probably recognize this little fella from the dealer's room. I presented him to a delighted Leo when I got home; when I have a chance I'll post a few more pictures of the Adventures of Sir Bear.
Ad Astra was only my second convention in twenty years and my first ever as a participant, so I decided to throw myself into it with five panels over two days. (Major thanks go out to Megan Jones and Alana Otis, who were much more accomodating than I had any right to expect of my last-minute request to participate.) I spent most of Friday downtown, picking up enough Chinese buns and empanadas to last me the weekend (I refuse to go to Toronto and eat hotel food.) To my joy, I also was able to replace my favourite hat, which I'd lost in a cab on my way back from Red Deer last fall! (Remember, ask for genuine Lanning hats, from Lanning Hats of Belleville, Ontario.)
Anyway -- Friday night was mostly for socializing, catching up with people I knew (including the entire membership of Ottawa writing group The East Block Irregulars) and meeting lots of new people. Saturday started bright and early with my first panel, "Superheroes in Science Fiction," where Rob St. Martin, Tony Pi and James Alan Gardner and I shared the stage and all got to act like total nerds. All good. Then it was off to find a microwave (for some reason the Con Suite was always closed at mealtimes) and then to my next panel, on Time Travel That Changes History -- a reunion of sorts with Tony Pi and James Alan Gardner, in which I got a few laughs by explaining the impossibility of time travel using an egg salad sandwich. Saturday's last panel as Mind and Body in SF; this, I have to say, was a real honour -- sitting next to Karl Schroeder and Peter Watts, as well as philosophy prof J. Keeping; Peter got chosen as moderator due to a poorly-timed bathroom break and wound acting as a very amusing Devil's Advocate, which was a good thing because we all pretty much agreed on most of the topics that came up. Then Saturday night and hanging out mostly with people I'd met Friday, such as Ryan McFadden and Helen and Laura Marshall (both of whom work for the great small press CZP.)
On Sunday I got to share a table with fellow Ottawa and Bundoran author Hayden Trenholm, along with Karl Schroeder again, to discuss Writing the Future -- both Hayden and Karl are heavily involved in issues of tech and culture in other aspects of their lives so it was a great discussion. Finally it was time for my last panel, Modern Mythology, which had very nearly more panelists than audience -- not because the audience was small but because there were about a half-dozen people up at the table -- and again, many interesting things were said and ideas shared. Then it was a sprint to the airport, a short time to drink cappuccino in the Porter lounge and back home to present Sir Bear!