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April 2003
© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Ad Astra XXII March 21-23, 2003
Photos and Captions by Asta Sinusas and B. Ross Ashley
Presented by: Ad Astra Convention Committee
Official Con Site:

Hotel: Colony Hotel, Toronto ON

Guest of Honor: David Brin / Guest of Honor Tanya Huff / Guest of Honor: Robert Gould / Guest of Honor: Brian Froud / Fan Guest of Honor: Ian B. Wilson / Special Guest: John Rose

Sometimes the Present Can Affect the Future

1) Under the CN tower and the Canada Life Building, protesters gather in front of the American Embassy. - AS

I have to admit, my time in Toronto was overshadowed by the protests of Canadians against the war. Walking down the street past a group of protesters on Friday night, I felt afraid. I had never experienced a dislike that emanated so viciously, unless one includes Premier Mike Harris. The whole weekend was colored with comments by several people who were aware of the demonstration at the American embassy, a few blocks away. My first stop on Friday was the World’s Biggest Bookstore, where the Guests of Honor had a signing, largely attended by more media than actual fans, but wonderful to get all our up-close shots in.

The Signing That Became A Media-Only Event

2) David Brin getting ready to sign and talk… 3) GoH Julie Czerneda being interviewed by Mark Askwith of Space TV -The Imagination Station while 4) GoH Tanya Huff is signing for a pair of young fans

5) Three writers, no waiting - from left, Rob Sawyer, Julie Czerneda, David Brin

6) GoH Robert Gould (l) and GoH Brian Froud (r) sit down with a few fen to talk about game design (we think). 7) Rob Sawyer and David Brin talking about Star Wars movies with fen. (Or are they answering deep questions posed by SFRevu?)

7) Julie Czerneda and Tanya Huff, discussing writerly stuff... cover flats! 8) David Brin talking with a young writer. Lots of good advice.9) Julie Czerneda and Ross Ashley, standing tall.

The Next Morning

10) David Brin and Julie Czerneda at the Education and SF panel. 11) Julie Czerneda and David Brin (again) at the launch party for Orbiter. 12) Isaac Szpindel partying away.

Ross got an early start in the morning and apparently there was lots of discussion about the role SF can play in science and language education. This was followed immediately after by the launch of Orbiter, third in a series of books intended to teach children about science through cool science fiction stories. Looking towards Worldcon, they’re collecting names… Meanwhile, the good folks from Space TV were telling the fans what to expect in the upcoming months, including a new award show in June called the Spacies, rewarding the best achievements in sci fi for the past year.

13) James Alan Gardner making an appearance at the Orbiter launch,14 Lyla Myklos and Mark Askwith from SPACE-TV and 15) a fan getting an autograph from Brian Froud (r) - AS

GoH Robert Gould held forth on the changes in film production, and that while the expensive high-end machines stay expensive, personal computing keeps raising the level of quality and ability of average people to make movies. He also spoke about his six years working on Dinotopia, and seeing a project from infancy to development and with the success of The Lord of the Rings how other fantasy projects with action can be done right. GoH David Brin in his speech spoke about a conformity movement, how we’re all deluded into thinking that we each as individuals are special and unique, and that it’s all a big smokescreen that allows those in control to lull the population. We admire a suspicion of authority, but we don’t, in Brin’s mind, live up to it. He also remarked on the fact that his non-fiction work was ten times the work, and a tenth of the pay, but where he gets most of his speaking engagements from. Aside from making a few jokes about his homeland of California, in which a different sort of reality exists, he commented on the Aliens movies, The Matrix and sequels in general.

The Day After That

16) Sephera Giron, Michael Rowe, and Don Hutchinson at a panel on the state of horror as art 17) Tanya Huff gives her GoH speech - AS

GoH Brian Froud talked about his art, and how in pursuing what he believed in, he became more successful. He waxed enthusiastic about a new fairy festival he’s involved in that’s fun for the whole family. At these events, the band Woodland plays as images of Froud’s work are projected overhead. Perhaps we’ll be seeing a new kind of convention as a result. One for literary science fiction, horror, media scifi… and one for fairies! He also talked about his work, and fake, real, and if the difference matters, his maturation as an artist, moving from one medium to another, and his influences, such as the pre-Raphaelites, among others. A wisp of sadness crept into his voice as he recognized his mortality, and that there wasn’t enough time in which to accomplish all the things he wanted. Tanya Huff’s GoH speech that was really unique. She began by listing all the things she liked and didn’t like, her favorite authors, becoming a full-time writer, but went on to discuss her books and reassure fans that more were coming. One of the interesting notes what the effect of geography on her stories, and how she really tried to consider that as a way to add flavor to her story, especially in such “exotic” locales as Canada. The halls were filled with a bunch of different groups, although the Crimson Knight Fleet of the Klingon Assault Group stood out. According to contact Krikor Ajemian,they’ll even help out at charity events – as long as they can come in costume. Also of note was The Gathering of the Fellowship – a one-time convention in Toronto, December 15-17, 2003 to celebrate the release of The Return of the King, along with all things Tolkien, including workshops on costuming, armor, the Elvish language, and much more. There were the usual goodies in the Dealer’s Room, including books and videos, as well as jewelry, toys and clothing (everything a fan needs to continue in pursuit of the genre.), and all told an interesting weekend, with unfortunately not a lot of photos to share.

sfr3d.gif (19860 bytes)© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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