I spent the weekend at Ad Astra science fiction convention in Toronto. I’m a veteran of the SF Con world, having attended my first one in 1979 when, if I remember correctly, Theodore Sturgeon was the guest of honour. In 1983 I went to my first World Con — in Baltimore — where I met Isaac Asimov, if only briefly. So yeah, I’m old. Which people kindly kept reminding me of all weekend which comments of: you look tired. And my, but you’re haggard.

Well, it’s been a busy winter and it was a busy Ad Astra too. I saw lots of old friends and made a few new ones. As usual these days I spent my time moving between the panels I’d been asked to participate on and the dealer’s room where I was selling books in my role as publisher of Bundoran Press. I managed to attend a couple of readings and made brief appearances at parties on both Friday and Saturday night. In bed by midnight both nights — which may well be the first time that has happened. So maybe I am tired. Or haggard.

Another sign that I may have become an ‘éminense grise‘ was that they put me on a panel on the relevance of classic SF, presumably because I was old enough to have read it on its original stone tablets. Still, I was sitting beside a young writer, Andrew Barton, who was reading classic SF because it gave him insights into identifying the prejudices and blind spots in his own writing. Made me think I might have a few blind spots, too.

I also got to talk about the emergence of James Bond into public domain (in Canada at least) 50 years after the death of Ian Fleming. I suspect I was the only panelist alive when Fleming was still writing. Do I start to detect a theme?

At least I wasn’t completely left behind — I did get to talk about emergent artificial intelligences and the future of the car — which makes me think that it could lead to a reboot of the classic TV show, My Mother the Car. You do remember that don’t you? It was on in the 60s. I think.

Hmm. Well maybe that does make me think it’s time to start on my spring rejuvenation program. I did come across a diet book the other day called: Lose 10 pounds and 10 years. Though given how haggard I feel — I may have to double down.

But that’s ten minutes.


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