Ghost in the Twitter Feed

This year the SpecFic Colloquium has changed location once again. It’s moved from Hart House, to The Gladstone, to The Round & this year was held at Innis Town Hall on the UoT campus. A short walk from St. George station it was easy to get to for us TTCers. the lecture hall was perfect for the presentations. But the corridor was very tight with the various book tables set along the windows.spec1602

As usual, once I’ve taken my coat off & am settled into my seat, I go through the Colloquium loot bag. This year’s was as good as last last years. In it were books to retail value just under $160.00:  Kathleen McConnell: Pain, Porn & Complicity: Women Heroes from Pygmalion to Twilight; Justin Cronin: The Passage; Diane Keating: The Crying Out; Nancy Kilpatrick ed: Expiration Date; Derek McCormick: The Haunted Hillbilly; Nathanial G. Moore: Wrong Bar; Peter Orullian: Trial of Intentions (a whopping 720 pages); Joe Rosenblatt: Snake City.spec1601

First presenter A.M. Dellamonica spoke on terraforming eco-fantasy – which in films & films often gives us gritty, overcast, polluted worlds that are like urban dust bowls as opposed to ones in which environmental issues are dealt productively. She’d liked to see more writing in which solutions are possible even if they aren’t ones that return us to a green paradise. It’s not as if an optimistic  possibility is less realistic than the apocalyptic dystopian angst that is usually depicted.

She was followed by Peter Chiykowski with “How to punch like a three-armed mutant” – which was not about writing realistic physical fight scenes but about using narrative to throw the reader off balance.  The audience loved his slide of Twilight fans’ comments on Bram Stoker’s Dracula: boring, difficult & clumsily written. spec1603After a stretch break, Michael Rowe spoke on “21st Century Ghosts” – supernatural fiction in the face of technological instant access to information. Disabling tech to make protagonists more vulnerable becomes cliche fast. ‘My battery is low, the web is down etc.’ Also how do writers create fear in the face of real horrors. What is scarier than the threat of Donald Trump? I love Michael notion that we are our own haunted houses.

He was followed by Peter Watts on “ScArt”  – he talked about the interface of art and science. I’ve heard Peter at past Colloquium’s & enjoy his articulate, funny & sexually charged p.o.v. I enjoyed the story of how an artist using plexiglass developed a form of the glass for his art that was better than that then used in science & this changed the scope & nature of underwater exploration.spec1605Lunch break let me loose on campus for a sunny thirty minutes. Took a few pics, enjoyed a band rehearsal and UoT eye-candy texting furiously on cellphones. Back from lunch I had time to swap out a few of my loot bag books, ones that I’d ready read. I’m still waiting for the loot bag with a single flash drive that holds a dozen books.

The afternoon kicked off with Andrew Pyper’s “What’s in the Trunk”’ a talk about plot, p.o.v & narrative impetus. His story within a story, very Twilight Zone, about the noise in a car trunk that when opened turned out to be the driver, the self – made me wonder abut the p.o.v of the self in the trunk? Does knowing what Rosebud (from Citizen Kane) is, solve the mystery of Kane? It is not a clue but a lens. He also talks about superheroes: which is the real identity – Superman or Clark Kent?spec1604

The day wrapped with keynote presenter Margaret Atwood’s walk though her past & the influence of pulp fiction on her creativity. Despite her success in SciFi her publisher still asks when she’s going to write another ‘real’ novel. This need to hold ‘real’ fiction above genre fiction was mentioned by other presenters. It was as if the emotional resonance of SpecFic wasn’t as authentic as that of literary fiction.

A thoroughly satisfying day that I was sorry to see come to an end but yet was glad to get home from. Innis proved to be a good spot for the day. Sandra Kasturi and Angela Keeley gave us a well organized, smoothy ran event once again. Washrooms, for me, easy to find & ultra modern too. A fine loot bag & the promise of Cory Doctorow next year resonated with me.


my superhero alter ego:-)


he had a shitty attitude

everyone knew that

even passing in the the street

strangers knew he had a shitty attitude

and he didn’t give a shit

if they didn’t like his shitty attitude

they could eat shit and die

for all he cared


for all they cared he was dead

he knew that

by the way they glanced so quickly

looking a way in dismay

acting as if he wasn’t even there

as if they could see though shit

they didn’t know jack shit

that much he knew


and so he didn’t care

if they shit in their shoes when he was near them

he chuckled at the thought

that he could loosen the bowels of any one

Shitman would be his super hero name


is it a bird

is a plane

no it’s Shitman

and they would crap their pants


that would fix all those mucky muck politicians

if he went to a big important speech

stood in front of them

as they spouted their bullshit to the nation

and glanced down at him

and shit their pants

right there on stage


he could see the look on the president

the prime minister the queen

as they found themselves in front of the world

all those cameras microphones reporters

unable to hold it in another minute

that panic as sphincter muscles relaxed

and they crapped their pants

as the smell was recognized


what a laugh that would be

as everyone pretended there was no shit

acted as if the mucky muck had not

just dumped a load in his pants

right their in front of everyone

as he waddled off stage

with that shit my pants walk

crap oozing down into his shoes


that would be so sweet

yea for Shitman


My past Colloquium posts:

2015: Up SpecFic Alleys

2014: Colloquium in the Round


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.