Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ad Astra - Part 1

Ad Astra is a volunteer run science fiction literary convention in Toronto.

Here are some of my notes from the weekend event.

Friday evening is when most of the attendees, vendors, panelists and guests of honour arrive for the weekend. The event runs from 6 pm on the Friday event through to around 5 pm on the Sunday and there are a lot of different things to see and do.

The Guests of Honour this year were:
Brandon Sanderson
Kristen Britain
S.M. Stirling
Eric Choi

My schedule was a little lighter this year but I also wanted a bit of time to relax and see some of the other activities and not just be going to panels like I did a couple of years. So now, here is what I did this weekend with my observations and such.

Friday evening
Book Launch - Brandon Draga
This was a book launch of an author that we have got to know through attending Ad Astra. This was the fourth and final book of a series and we had to go and make sure we got one of the first copies of the book. It is always great to go to a book launch and help support a Canadian author.

Meet and Greet
This is an event held in the ConSuite where the Guests of Honours and Returning Guests of Honours are all together and also a chance to meet and maybe talk with them. This year Brandon Sanderson was one of the more popular guests and when he walked into the ConSuite he realized just how busy it was so he decided to go out into the hall for a while. Because it was busy we also decided to go out in the hall to cool down and am ever happy we did. The result of going out into the hall was the ability to listen to Brandon answer questions and talk with a bunch of attendees. Sure the hall wasn't very wide but it a wonderful chance to be among a small group of people standing and listening to him talk. After about an hour Brandon actually made it into the ConSuite and continued to talk to a group of people in one of the small areas of the room. It was great to see how this went and he did spend the entire two hours of the meet and greet talking to people.

After the meet and greet was over we stayed in the ConSuite for a while and then headed back to our room to relax and prepare for a busy Saturday.

The Art of World Building
This was my first panel of the day and one of the reasons I wanted this panel was to hear Brandon Sanderson talk as well. I know that there had been a problem with the information that the book and the schedule have. The pull out schedule has one time and the program book has a different time. What ended up happening is Brandon Sanderson missed this talk because the time on his badge was 1 pm and the panel on the pull out was 12 pm. The panel was pretty good and there were five our panelists involved so it was pretty busy.

Guest of Honour Hour – Brandon Sanderson
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a Guest of Honour Hour but wanted to go to it as I wanted to enjoy listening to Brandon as I have heard him talk on a podcast (Writing Excuses) that we listen to. I knew this was going to be a popular session because even Art of World Building was extremely full and it was in biggest room that the convention had. We made sure that we got there in time to see part of the panel before this to ensure that we would get a seat. Once Brandon arrived we knew it was going to be a good time.

Brandon immediately apologized for the mix up about his schedule and offered that if the convention could find him a room he would do a short version of Art of World Building to make up for the mess up. That was really nice because it wasn’t his error but the convention that put the wrong time on his badge. It ended up that the person that was going to be setting up the large room for another evening for the evening which was also part of the convention gave up a half hour and that way Brandon was able to do both the Guest of Honour Hour as well as the other half an hour in the same room.

Brandon has a wonderful style of presenting and he did a part q&a’s then did a reading from one of his books and then finished up with some more questions. The second part which was the art of world building was also good because he was explaining how he builds his stories and it was great.

The time went extremely fast and I was then looking forward to the reading that Brandon was scheduled to do on Sunday afternoon.

Book Signing
The convention does offer a chance for the attendees to get books and other items signed by some of the Guest of Honours as well as other authors that are attending the convention. As soon as the extra time was over for Brandon we headed down to the signing room to ensure that we could get in line and as you can guess it the line up had already started to grow and that was about half an hour before the signings started. I stayed in line to ensure to get a couple of books signed by Brandon Sanderson. We also had a couple of books for Robert Sawyer to sign but he didn’t show up and that is when we figured out there might be a problem with more schedules. I did get the books signed by Brandon Sanderson and then it was off for a quick dinner and then onto more events.

Now to grab some food.  The remainder of Saturday and all of Sunday will be posted on May 15th.

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