By Alex Binkley
Fantasy and science fiction take us far from mundane reality into the far reaches of time and space, to new universes filled with unheard-of technology and strange, even magical beings. Two separate discussion panels at Prose in the Park highlight these genres where the imagination of the author can truly soar, transporting enthralled readers along for the ride!
The fantasy panel, “Imagine,” features prolific authors whose successful series keep their fans eager for the next installment. Charles de Lint has won many awards for his more than forty fantasy novels and stories, which have established him as one of the best-known writers in his genre. He is also a popular musician, and music often has a place in his stories. De Lint’s latest releases include the Wildings series Under My Skin and Over My Head and the just released Out of the World. As well, he has published the Best of Charles de Lint, a compilation of short stories he has penned over the years. While they fall into the category of modern fantasy, there is strong social commentary in many of them for anyone who thinks that this genre is just make-believe.
De Lint will be joined by Linda Poitevin, who has won many fans for the Grigori Legacy fantasy series as well for her Ever After romance novels, whose latest installment, Forever Grace, has just been released.
Also taking part is four-time Aurora Award nominee Marie Bilodeau, who has written space fantasies and a popular fantasy trilogy, Heirs of a Broken Land. Bilodeau recently has begun distributing chapters of her fantasy/horror novel Nigh in installments. Fans often comment on how few of her characters live to the end of the story!
Rounding out the panel is Jay Odjick, a writer, artist and television producer from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community. He is best known for his creation Kagagi, one of a growing number of First Nations superheroes created by First Nations writers and artists. Kagagi has been made into an animated television series, which is broadcast in both English and Algonquin.
Headlining the science-fiction panel, “Sci-Fi, High Five,” is Julie Czerneda, Czerneda published her first science-fiction work, A Thousand Words for Stranger, in 1997 and since then has garnered many awards for a string of science-fiction and fantasy novels. Julie is currently writing the concluding trilogy to The Clan Chronicles, the science-fiction series that began with her first novel.
Hayden Trenholm is both a well-known science-fiction and mystery author whose futuristic novels feature hard-boiled Police Superintendent Frank Steele tackling perplexing crimes. In addition, Trenholm is the publisher at Bundoran Press, which has a growing list of science-fiction novels on its list. In his spare time, he’s a policy advisory to the Senator from the Northwest Territories.
Lastly, as an emerging writer, I am grateful to also have been included as a panelist on “Sci-Fi, High Five” at Prose in the Park. Late this year, I will release my most recent book, A Biot’s Odyssey, the sequel to Humanity’s Saving Grace, which was published in 2013 by Loose Cannon Press.