Tag Archives: sciences

Report on my Ad Astra 2019

The Ad Astra brings together fans and authors of science fiction & fantastic, both literary and mediatic in the north of Toronto. It’s a very user-friendly conference, which has left me with good memories.

Échofictions at the Ad Astra 2019

My house Échofictions had its vending table, which was successful. When people stop by themselves to look at the books and ask me questions, once in three, they leave with a book. Much better than my score at the big book fairs, where, on average, only 1 in 20 stop by my signing , because few readers come for the SF!

Michèle Laframboise devant son kiosque Échofictions

Michèle poses proudly in front of her stand, full of butterflies!

I launched the English version of my first SF novel, Clouds of Phoenix. Yes, the cover has changed, and the story has gained consistency. It’s the same story, but a little more detailed at 46,000 words! It is also the first full-length novel printed by Echofictions, whose full graphic design I realized.

2019-07-11CloudsPhoenix

Clouds of Phoenix, a novel by SF YA, 214 p.

Activities at Ad Astra

The nice surprises of the Ad Astra congress are the meetings with SF amateurs who did not know my books, and who discovered them. And to find fellow science fiction writers like Robert J. Sawyer, Julie Czerneda and Tania Huff presenting their latest Sf novels.

I have come to love this event; the sale tables are not expensive and the audience generous! I’ve offered a good choice of books translated into English.

Un Cosplay typique du Ad Astra

A typical Cosplay. Don’t ya love’em! I admire the cosplayers’ time and effort to make their costumes. The craftswoman Squid Creations behind the band does not look too scared!

Table de bijoux artisanaux

A craft table.

Mon voisin de kiosque au Ad Astra Zachry Wheeler

My stand neighbor, an independent writer, Zachri Wheeler, very well organized! We exchanged books. Note the announcement of the film in development, it is always useful.

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith (a Toronto-area author) reading an excerpt from his novel The Wolf at the End of the World. I had already bought his book Playing the Short Game, at another Ad Astra

2019-07-13 20.58.26 Allan Weiss Michele

Allan Weiss and Michèle. It’s been 16 years that we know each other! Allan is a specialist and author of SF. Bow ties are cool!

Some Ad Astra panels I attended

My husband and son kept the table while I was there.

2019-07-13 18.29.43RomanPasCher
How to publish without spending too much!

How to publish for not too expensive, led by Beverly Bambury (center, black dress). The gentleman on the right, well organized, rolled his cupboard full of books!

2019-07-13 20.40.30AnimauxFantasy
The animals in fantasy with Avi Silver (left), Catherine Fitzsimmons and Eli Hirst. How to treat the Other, how to show the animal companions of heroes, or when animals are heroes.

2019-07-13MiddleAges
How to make medieval stories fantasy or historical. The mistakes to avoid! With Cathy Hird and L. A. MacLachean.

Book Harvest

Mon mari achète des livres au Ad Astra 2019

My husband buys books, a lot of books. He hides his secret identity well under his glasses…

Two Dark Moons

Two Dark Moons

For my current reading, I discover a new author Avi Silver, who considers himself non-binary.

In Two Dark Moons, we follow a teenager of the Hmuns who live in caves in the altitudes of the Eiji world, because the soil of the jungle is traversed by disturbing reptilian predators. Sohmen falls by accident (his fall broken by many branches). About 200 pages is very short, and enjoyable reading, in addition to staging non-gendered characters.

The Wolf at the End of the World

The Wolf at the End of the World

My colleague Douglas Smith signed his first novel to me, The Wolf at the End of the World, which mixes Native American legends and espionage, not to mention the nature threatened by greed on the part of the rich. Among us are Herokas, magic humans who can change into animals. Obviously, the secret services consider them as threats … But a too-hungry Wendigo and lost loves of the past mix the cards.

Canadian Dreadful

Canadian Dreadful, Anthology by David Tocher

Canadian Dreadful is a fantasy horror anthology inspired by the dark aspects of our beautiful big Canada. Edited by David Tocher, it brings together Canadian authors including Nancy Kilpatrick. I would not have bought it, but two public readings by participating authors convinced me to taste it!

I have not read yet the other books bought by my husband, a staunch supporter of new indie authors!

2019-07-13 AdAstraTable650

The things I learned from Ad Astra:

1- Novels sell better than short books and comics. Clouds of Phoenix was my best seller, almost half of my sales!

2- Participate in the round tables next year. It allows a first contact with the public, rather than “cold calling” behind a sales table.

3- Bring a tablecloth! It was not supplied, so I used a big poster to hide the uneven wood.

4- The month of July was not ideal, with less attendance due to vacations. Daniel, one of the organizers, said that the Ad Astra 2020 would come back in mid-April, at the same time as the Quebec book fair, oops!

5- If you missed the Ad Astra, know that … I will return next year, with new books. In the meantime, have a look at Echofictions’ list of publications!

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Fog Bow

RunningInMist

Running at daybreak on August 11, I had the occasion to observe a strange meteorological phenomenon.

I was running on a small side road, making 3 km circuits. The morning mist floated above the hay fields, a large open space. Then the sun rose, and I had the wonderful surprise!  Continue reading

Political Musings : What Do I Want to Conserve?

Thinking about our values, and which ones do we want to conserve?

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Personal musings at the end of a long election  campaign.

What do I want to conserve?

Our environment, because without an hospitable planet, there’s no viable economy!

Social diversity as much as biological, guaranteeing humanity’s long-term survival.

Sciences and education, because we will need all the available heads to solve issues born from the past, to face the challenges ahead. (No, there are no piranhas in the St. Lawrence River, but other exotic creepers such as Asian carp threaten these places.)

Public support for the artists, magazines and cultural organizations, for without creativity, without imagination, where are we going?

I need a cultural diffuser as CBC-RadioCanada because no eventual “official organ of the Party” will replace it  A mari usque ad mare. (As a Franco-Ontarian, the CBC is our own French language buoy! )

I am a staunch conservative for human dignity, honesty, and the liberty for women to choose their own path in life.

I want to get back to what is, for me, the original meaning of the word “religion“, reli-connected + ion-all, “to connect all”: building bridges between people, multiplying loaves of bread instead of fences.

Dwarf Planet, Big Flaming Ice Heart!

PLuto surprised everyone with this heart-shaped geological  feature

(Pluto photographied by LORRI and Ralph instruments on the New Horizons, spacecraft)

Pluto is technically a  dwarf planet since 2006, but it changes nothing to the sense of wonder. Pluto surprised everyone with this heart-shaped geological feature!

Colors are boosted since only a small fraction of our sunlight reaches the Pluto system. The dwarf planet has known activity periods, and this 2000 km wide flaming heart maybe composed of nitrogen ice.

New satellites (Hydra, Nix since 2004,  Kerberos and Styx) added themselves to the larger Charon).

The sense of wonder of those pictures should not make us forget the long years of preparation by NASA astronomers and other teams, the nine-year voyage of the New Horizons craft, travelling more than 5 billions km in spirals to take advantage of the Jupiter sling-shot effect to boost acceleration.

Science, unlike movies where everything goes fast (problem detection,  hypothesis, analysis, solution finding), needs time. Reality is years of painstaking preparation for a few second of scintillating results.  Followed by more months and years of analysis, that may help us to learn more about the solar system origins. The freshly transmitted pictures show impressive mountains and canyons…

Fun at the Signing Table – The 2015 Leap Second !

This Minute Has 61 Seconds - the 2015 leap second To learn more about the 2015 Leap Second:

The International Earth Rotation Service and Reference Systems and the Paris observatory! Yes, it does have a nice SF-ish ring to its name!

The Leap Second home page.

More about Universal and  coordinated universal  time. International second

And for the “bug”, the network time protocol for clock synchronization between computer systems.

And to look up the time anywhere, (one of the atomic time websites!) and to look up in Eastern Time.

Happy July! 

Fun at the Signing Table – A Glass of Water

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A Glass of Water - how to explain the glooal climate change with a glass of water.

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The relation between our recent cold weather spells and global warming involves complex phenomena, the Gulf Stream current among them. For the more eager :

To better understand our irrealists expectations regarding science, conditioned by our “I-want-it-now!” culture: The Problem with Science: from Action Movies to the Real World!

For a innovative use of our fossil resources to mitigate the climate change, see une solution au casse-tête arctique.

To read about the projected effects of a Shutdown of thermohaline circulation, and here is a map of the thermohaline circulation.

For a more higher level paper, about the Gulf Stream, see this abstract of a paper published in 2015 by Jaime B. Palter, from the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences of McGill University: The Role of the Gulf Stream in European Climate (Annual Review of Marine Science Vol. 7: 113-137) 

The real demonstration will be given by the planet, as soon as the last ice and land glaciers will have melted.

Ignorants No More! About the ELA closing

Advance euthophication of a lake - photo by ELA

When you feel a dull pain in the chest, you go see your doctor, then you heed his or her advice. You don’t protest, saying: Balance my diet? Exercise? Well my fortune-teller says I can do as I please, so don’t bother me with your “facts”!

But what if a whole government chooses to follow the fortune-teller’s advice?  And if it closed  all the medicine faculties of Canada, listening to  the singsong voice of the fortune-teller… or the fortune makers?

The federal government has decided without consulting any scientific authority, to close the ELA, among other government-supported research programs in Canada.

The Experimental Lakes Area (map here), is a unique  whole-ecosystem research facility in northern Ontario. It is the fruit of forty years of research, and capital and human investment.

Like a tree, it has grown into a world -renowned scientific facility on freshwater ecology. It has served diligently to protect the public and the environment, putting in  light the role of phosphorus in the eutrophication of lakes (to know more about the subject, read The Algal Bowl, by Vallentyne and Schindler, 2008, or my account, here). 

Lac 226 : the flagrant demonstration of the phosphorus effect on freshwaters!

A few of the subjects tackled by research teams:

nutrient pollution and noxious algae (the photo here)
impacts of “acid rain” on lakes
recovery of lakes from acidification
impacts of reservoir flooding
sources of toxic mercury in fish
impacts of “climate change” on lakes
removal of nearshore vegetation
impacts of hormonal mimics
impacts of cage aquaculture

As I explained in an older post, the work of scientifics faces a huge perception challenge by the “I want simple answers NOW crowd.  Scientists toil endlessly to collect data, to accept errors, pursuing the course regardless of the difficulties. They strive to understand the natural processes and the impact of humans activities on our freshwaters and their myriad of lifes. 

Our blue resource - endangered by ignorance and willful blindness

The ELA is a collective book that must stay open for all to consult.

To build this 58-bead necklace of knowledge took years. The Experimental Lakes Area, nurtured by students, teachers, citizens, embodies the strong human desire to learn. 

We should create a movement called  Ignorant no More.

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— A few links

The Experimental Lakes Research Area website

A  sound reflection on government science, part one and part two

A witty article explaining some scientific expressions 

Fight to save Experimental Lakes Area runs its course (http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2013/01/02/fight-to-save-experimental-lakes-area-runs-its-course) Cet article suit les démarches de 

Attention Bryan Hayes: This water issue hasn’t gone away (https://www.sootoday.com/content/news/details.asp?c=51916)

List of federal MPS – find your own MP!

Save ELA: http://saveela.org/what-can-you-do-to-help/

Facebook group for ELA. https://www.facebook.com/groups/saveela/