Ad Astra is a major science fiction and fantasy convention in the GTA, and it’s coming up this weekend, May 5th-7th. I missed it last year, but this year I’ll be there, and – for the first time ever – I’ll be a panelist, too.

Here are the panels I’ll be participating in.

Friday May 5

Exploring gender terminology in fantasy and science fiction:  We as humans use terms like man, woman, girl and boy when referring to others in writing. At what point however when applying these labels to science fiction or fantasy creatures do they become non-applicable? Is there a defined line where these terms can no longer be used? Does it have to do with how uncanny the species is to us?

Participants: A.A. Jankiewicz, Jane Ann McLachlan, Suzanne Church, Cathy Hird (and me)
When and where: 8:00 PM – Oakridges room

Saturday May 6

The Western: Why is it still a thing?  The American “frontier” has long since been closed. The myths of the West have long since been busted. Yet if the successes of Westworld, Logan, and the Magnificent Seven remake are any indication, there is still an appetite in the English-speaking world for the themes and motifs of the Western. This panel will explore why adaptations and homages to the Western continue to resonate in a post-colonial world.

Participants: Adam Shaftoe-Durrant, Anne Bishop, David Clink, Matt Moore (and me)
When and where: 11:00 AM – Richmond B room

Space Opera and New Directions:  The meaning of Space Opera has gone through many changes through the decades, and some would argue that Space Opera is the epic form of science fiction. New authors such as Ann Lackie, Aliette de Bodard and Yoon Ha Lee as infusing Space Opera with new voices. What new directions can we read in the tea leaves?

Participants: Derek Künsken, Jon Oliver (Note: although I’m not listed in the program schedule, I’ve been invited to take part by Derek Künsken, who is a lovely, bang-up person)
When and where: 1:00 PM – Richmond B room

There will be plenty of other panels there to check out, plus author readings, parties, and even the Tesla Tea Room. If you’ll be there later on this week, let me know. I’m sure we can find awesome stuff to chat about.