Arts

Conference delves into contemporary science fiction and modern means of publishing

Andrea Bechard | Fulcrum Contributor

Illustration by Mathias McPhee

If you’re intrigued by mind-controlled robots, the galaxy’s final frontier, cosplay, comic books, anime, and of course, science fiction, Can-Con 2012 has you in mind.

The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature will take place from Sept. 21–23, with a theme of “the cutting edge of science fiction, horror, and fantasy.”

This year’s convention will be organized differently than in previous years, according to Can-Con publicist Elizabeth Buchan-Kimmerly.

“The conference has been around for about 20 years,” says Buchan-Kimmerly. “But what’s different about this year is that it will focus on introducing new talent.”

It will focus on the future of science fiction literature, art and film, featuring the unofficial slogan, “If it didn’t happen in the 21st century, it’s history!”

The conference will focus specifically on Canadian writers, editors, and publicists—those new and aspiring as well as those who are more established within the community. This year’s Can-Con will include book launches, story pitches, and the establishment of new streams of science and speculative fiction.

“There are two types of conventions,” Buchan-Kimmerly explains. “One is a fan convention like ours, which does not make money … and focuses more on panels and events. The other type is like Comic-Con, which is for profit and has cosplay competitions and such.”

The guests of honour—including author Hayden Trenholm and artist Tom Fowler, among others—will speak with aspiring authors, offer advice on how to get started in the business, and explain the publishing process, both its hardships and rewards.

The speakers will also provide information on self-publishing, and discuss which is the better route in today’s fast-paced technological world—seeking a publisher or doing it yourself. Many of the conference’s featured authors began writing in their early teens, and they have a vast amount of useful knowledge which could help kick-start a young writer’s literary journey.

“A student today is a professional tomorrow, and a lot of writers start out as teens,” says Buchan-Kimmerly. “We are looking to the past and seeing the future of writers; many start in their early teens, and age is never a drawback. As you get older, you get busier, and you have a lot more to think about, like kids and dogs and jobs, making creativity harder. This is something that is easier to encourage at a student’s age.”

The event will take place at the Best Western hotel in Kanata. Time machines don’t exist just yet, so next weekend is your only chance to head down to Can-Con 2012. Registration for the weekend-long conference will be half price for students, at $27.50 per person.