Saturday, September 26, 2015

Vote for "Mecha-Jesus" in the Aurora Awards

My story "Mecha-Jesus" is on the ballot for Best Short Fiction - English in the Aurora Awards. "Mecha-Jesus" is a story about a Japanese town that uses an android of Jesus as a tourist attraction. It was published in Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, edited by Liana Kerzner and Jerome Stueart.
You can vote in the Aurora Awards if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
If you are already a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA), "Mecha-Jesus" is in your voter's package. You can also read or download it free here online during the voting period:

Members of the CSFFA may vote in the Aurora Awards. It costs only $10 to join the CSFFA. To join the CSFFA and vote, or if you are already a member and wish to vote, go to:
The voting deadline is  Saturday, October 17th 2015 at midnight EDT. Read "Mecha-Jesus", and if you like it, please vote for it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The 10 People You Will Always See At Fan Expo (or Any Large Comic Con)

Fan Expo, Canada's largest exhibition for fans of media and gaming-based science fiction and fantasy, has come and gone for another year. If you've gone to Fan Expo or other major "comic cons" of its type for a few years, you will notice the same types of people over and over. Here, in no particular order, are ten people you will always see at Fan Expo.

1. The B-Actor

He will never walk the red carpet at Cannes or TIFF or Sundance, but at Fan Expo, he's treated like a superstar because geeks remember him from a TV show that was cancelled years ago. It's great that he has fans who remember him. He has given them some of their best geek memories; now they can repay him by honouring him (and by buying autographs and photo ops).

Alas, he's still petitioning his show's creators to revive the show thirty years later. He doesn't realize that if a reboot occurs, it'll have a new cast who is 30 years younger than him.

2. The Purist

The Purist is usually male, though rare exceptions exist. This is the guy who hates Johnny Storm being black in the 2015 Fantastic Four movie, is horrified that the Hulk will be Korean American, and condemns the Kamala Khan Miss Marvel as "political correctness" imposed by SJW's (Social Justice Warriors). He argues that all these changes are heresies against "canon". To him, fictional universes should remain unchanged forever, never to be re-interpreted, as immutable as Holy Scriptures.

Yet he'll be first in line to get an autograph from Katie Sakhoff, whom he thinks was great as Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica.

3. The White Guy with the Asian Fetish

He's here because many anime cosplayers are East Asian women, thanks to Toronto's multicultural society. He constantly talks about how much he loves "Asian" culture and "Asian" women as if China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines are all one homogenous society. He fantasizes about showing the Chinese girl how much he loves her culture by taking her out for kimchi and watching anime with her.

But despite how much he loves Asian women, he will NEVER vote for Olivia Chow.

4. The Jealous Cosplayer

This is usually a woman. The Jealous Cosplayer rants that Heroes of Cosplay doesn't portray "the community" accurately and that not everyone is a celebrity like Yaya Han and that the show's producers have ignored and insulted the majority of cosplayers. She sounds like she's criticizing a reality show for not being a documentary.

In reality, she's just jealous that she's not on it.

5. The Fake Geek Boy

This is the photographer who has no interest in science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, or games, yet he always comes to Fan Expo to take photographs of attractive female cosplayers. He thinks Fan Expo is better than the CHIN Bikini Contest because Fan Expo runs for four days, not just one afternoon. He's not interested in the costumes at all; he's just interested in what's inside the costume.

But although some men question a woman's "geek cred" at science fiction conventions, no one will challenge a Fake Geek Boy's geek cred because he is a man with a long telephoto lens.

6. The Male Photographer of Females Cosplayers Only

This person is NOT to be confused with the Fake Geek Boy (see #5). This photographer has extensive geek cred, for example, by knowing every version of the costumes of Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Psylocke, and other female characters. That's because he photographs only female cosplayers. If there's a cosplay pair that belongs together, for example, Little Mac and Zero Suit Samus, he'll ask the male to step aside and photograph only the female.

Guys, it's okay to take photographs of male cosplayers. Nobody is going to think you don't like girls.

7. The Browncoat

This is often a woman, though not always. She thinks Joss Whedon is the greatest writer and TV show producer ever. She gets angry if you say that Buffy is a poor role model for women because the vampire slayer always wants abusive relationships with handsome bad boys. She rationalizes the lack of Asian characters on Firefly as some sort of post-racial utopia. She doesn't realize that Firefly is a sci-fi version of the Lost Cause myth of the Confederate States of America. She seriously thinks Joss Whedon is a feminist.

Browncoats talks about Joss Whedon in the same way that evangelical Christians talk about Jesus. Both teams are smug in their superiority but preach for different gods.

8. The Bored Boyfriend

This is the guy who's always saying, "How long do we have to stay in line?", "What are we lining up for?", "Who cares about a photo op?", and "This stuff is all so stupid" to his girlfriend when they're in line. As he waits in line with her, he's thinking of how he can convert his girl away from this geeky stuff and make her normal, the perfect girlfriend who will serve beer and wings to him as he watches baseball.

He's upset because his girlfriend hasn't learned the first rule of relationships: girls are supposed accompany their guys and do things that interest the guys, but guys have no obligation to accompany their girls and do things that interest girls.

9. The Anti-Intellectual

This person is often male, though females exist but are not as outspoken. The Anti-Intellectual brags that he would rather watch science fiction than read it. If he reads anything, it's comics. There's nothing wrong with preferring movies, TV, and comics over novels and short stories. But the Anti-Intellectual brags about his disdain for books (except graphic novels) as if it makes him cool. He thinks he's a geek version of a hipster. Don’t bother talking to this guy about intersectionality in Nalo Hopkinson's stories. The most profound literary theme he can understand is that Bruce Wayne has psychological problems because Joker killed his parents.

Alas, the Anti-Intellectual is a symptom of how science fiction fandom has become like the general public. Remember, Toronto is the city that elected Rob Ford as Mayor.

10. The Blue Jays Fan

This person can be either male or female. He or she is not actually attending Fan Expo but passing by the convention centre on his/her way to the baseball game (There's ALWAYS a Blue Jays game on during Fan Expo).

The Blue Jays Fan often thinks that people who wear costumes are silly. He or she will make this judgement while wearing a baseball jersey with the name and number of a favourite player on its back.