Monthly Archives: January 2018

ConFusion 2018 in two weeks!

In two weeks I’ll be appearing at the fabulous ConFusion 2018 in Detroit. I’ve never been before but I am sure it’s fabulous because:

  • My friend Ness has been and vouches for its awesomeness
  • They let me have some panels

I’ll be appearing at the following events from the Literary Track:

10am Saturday: Pacifism in Speculative Fiction
Representations of pacifism in speculative fiction is often unsympathetic and/or unrealistic. It seems that the only way a character can be a pacifist and a hero is if they’re not a pacifist at all. Shepherd Book’s pacifism in Firefly dissolves into kneecapping bad guys as soon as the plot requires it, and Charles Xavier gets called a pacifist when he funds and trains a private army. Who are our favorite real pacifists in speculative fiction, and how can speculative fiction contend with the conflict of being a pacifist in a violent world without running for the easy conclusion that pacifism is naive, selfish, and unsustainable?
11am Sunday: Your Cake Is In Another Castle
Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass sends Alice into a chessboard-world where she’s told that if she crosses the entire board, she’ll be crowned queen. It’s not until she reaches this goal that she learns it’s not what she really needs: the goal of chess isn’t to promote a pawn; it’s to put the king in check. When does moving the goalposts on a character feel like a satisfying next step, and when does it break the compact with the reader?
These are great themes and I’m really looking forward to being part of them. If you’re coming to Detroit too, let me know!

Petition to reduce taxes on books

Back in 1990, I remember visiting a Coles and picking up a postcard about the new GST. The Mulroney government had promised to look into GST exemptions for books, same as the PST exemption in Ontario. But by the time they passed the new tax, this had fallen by the wayside. The book-buying world was paying PST on books.
Even after the HST was implemented in Ontario, books remain exempt from the PST portion. It’s time for the federal tax to be removed as well.
So here’s a petition to parliament to do just that. Books are vital to our culture, our society, the way we think, our very ideas. Let’s remove all the barriers we can between the written word and the minds of our citizens.