Review of Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson


It’s been a while since I’ve been able to totally immerse myself in a novel. You know that feeling –sneaking minutes on the bus, in the toilet, in bed, in between work tasks– anything to get that next little hit of sweet narrative. As I’ve aged, fewer books can draw me in so completely. So it’s been a joy to ravenously consume the latest offering by Kim Stanley Robinson, an epic tale of interstellar travel.
Continue reading Review of Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

Suicide Squad: Why It Failed


This article contains spoilers for the movie Suicide Squad. Read at your own peril.

I don’t know anymore. I really don’t. I’m officially middle aged, and am thus, by definition, “out of touch”. This means that I will never again understand what the kids are into, and I will never again have my finger on the pulse of pop culture or on “what’s cool”— if indeed I ever did! The fact that I put quotation marks around “what’s cool” is a sure sign that I’m now an old fuddy-duddy, as is my unironic use of “fuddy-duddy.”

Continue reading Suicide Squad: Why It Failed

Ottawa Comiccon 2016 Edition – Day 1

T-Shirt of the Day - 1
T-Shirt of the Day – 1

People attend cons for a variety of reasons.  Personally, I enjoy soaking in the atmosphere of the entire site – it really is electric – costumes, exploring the exhibition area, commissioning a piece of art from one of the many artists in the artist’s alley and of course, having the opportunity to meet the people behind my favourite movie and television characters.  I have been waiting for a year, and the day is finally here!  I donned my special “T-Shirt of the Day”, hopped on the 97 and headed out to the EY Centre!

This year con organizers developed their own app – which worked really well.  I reviewed the schedule all week and had a pretty good idea what I hoped to do each day.

First Up – Celebrity Vehicles

This year, three celebrity vehicles were in attendance:

Delorean time board

Animation Screening

Next was a screening of the Canadian Animation Celebration sponsored by the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Did you know the OIF is the longest running animation festival in North America? The show was excellent!  Highlights included:

I’d recognize Richard Condie’s voice anywhere!

Panel 1 – John De Lancie and René Auberjonois

René Auberjonois
René Auberjonois
John de Lancie
John de Lancie

The first panel of the day followed: 50 Years of Star Trek Q&A with John De Lancie and René Auberjonois.  Both were gracious and good-natured with fans who for some reason asked the same question over and over again.

John De Lancie is known for portraying Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.  I was surprised to learn he had roles in Charmed, Torchwood, Breaking Bad, Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica (1979), Days of Our Lives, The Twilight Zone, Matlock and MacGyver, among others series.  As a voice actor he has appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, Assassin’s Creed (video game) and in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

René Auberjonois is known for portraying Chief of Security Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,  Col. West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) Clayton Endicott III on the comedy series Benson (1979), and as Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal.  Recently he appeared in The Librarians.  As a voice actor he has appeared in The Last Unicorn (1980)(The Skull),  Superfriends (Desaad), Little Mermaid (1989)(Louis) and the video game Skylanders: Superchargers (Pomfrey).

A short interview with the two actors at the con can be found here.

Geek Universe Concert with the OVMF

Montreal’s L’Orchestre à Vents de Musiques de Films closed Day 1 out with an excellent concert.  50 musicians under the direction of conductor and arranger Jocelyn Leblanc took the audience through the soundtracks of video games, movies and television.  The playlist included:

  • Skyrim
  • Halo
  • Star Fox
  • Zelda vs Final Fantasy
  • Contra
  • Rey’s Theme
  • Lando’s Theme (Bespin)


  • Doctor Who
  • I am the Doctor (11th Doctor)
  • All the Strange Strange Creatures (David Tennant)
  • Am I a Good Man? (Peter Capaldi)
  • Star Trek (new)
  • Our Shore (Fellowship of the Ring) Medely
  • Zelda a link to the past


  • Captain America – The First Avenger
  • Game of Thrones
  • Avengers

It was a wonderful way to wind up Day 1 of the Ottawa Comiccon – 2016 Edition.


Ottawa Comiccon 2016 Edition

Ottawa Comiccon is a popular culture convention held each May at Ottawa’s EY Centre.  Since 2012, it has been a forum where people of all ages can gather to share their passions for science fiction, horror, anime, video games, tabletop games and comic books.  Programs are wide ranging and consist of a variety of activities.  This year’s event included:

  • Celebrity Q & A, autograph, and photo sessions.
  • A performance by Montreal’s OVMF Orchestra.
  • Movie and documentary screenings.
  • Panels on everything from acting and costuming to cultural studies.
  • Improv, game shows and musical performances.
  • Board game beta-testing and tournaments.
  • An exhibition hall for artists, vendors and charity events.
  • Cosplay.

Why is this a thing?

Groot at Ottawa Comiccon

Simply put, it is a place where people go to be themselves.  (Even if “themselves” means dressing up as Groot).   It is a place for our inner child, and our children.  To borrow from Mikey Neumann, these things we like were built into incredibly impactful slices of our lives.  They remind us of the time we spent on the couch where we watched or read the very first thing that truly captured our imagination.  We are reminded of all the time spent running round the back yard pretending to be characters in films, TV shows, books, games or comics.  These things can surprise us and create in us such feelings, feelings that we carry with us in every moment of every day.

Why am I telling you this?

It was my cabbie.

Gordon Freeman at Ottawa Comiccon
Not unlike this – I wonder what my cabbie was thinking?

My wife left for a business trip Saturday evening.  I had to leave the con a little early to get home to see her off and put the boy to bed.  A cab seemed prudent, given the OC Transpo commute time.  I emerged from the building with several hundred people – half of whom were in costume of one kind or another.  There was a single cab sitting at the taxi-stand out front.  I climbed in with my backpack and con-bag, told him where we were headed and gratefully sat back in my seat.  As we pulled out of the EY Centre’s driveway the driver asks, “So, what is going on here?  Why is everyone dressed like this?”  I stammered my way through an explanation.  He had never heard of a pop-culture convention.  Judging from the look on his face, I’m doubtful my explanation made things any clearer.

A Day in the Life – Ottawa Comiccon 2016

Over the next few days I propose to share a little of my experience at this year’s con.  Maybe it will convince someone to attend one – at the very least I hope the photos are enjoyable!

Steampunk at Ottawa Comiccon

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Okay


(This is a spoiler-free review.)

Well this is awkward.

Earlier this week, I tweeted some not-so-nice things about Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder.  For instance:


The Z-man had disappointed me too many times. Sure, 300 was a lot of fun, and its visuals were innovative at the time, sort of like a comic book come to life. Then came Watchmen, which was remarkably faithful to the look of its source material…. but not its feel. Continue reading Batman v Superman: Dawn of Okay

The Flash and Agent Carter: Doing Dramatic Irony Right

Grant Gustin, the dude who plays "The Flash"
Grant Gustin, the dude who plays “The Flash”

I started writing this article on June 9, 2015, but lost focus. I didn’t finish it until Jan 1, 2016! By then, the new season of Flash was already halfway done, and the second season of Agent Carter was about to start. Whatever.

These past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of watching the complete first seasons of two new entries to the skiffy TV world: The Flash, based on the DC comics character of the same name, and Agent Carter of S.H.I.E.L.D., based on one of the more minor characters of the expanded Marvel comics universe. Continue reading The Flash and Agent Carter: Doing Dramatic Irony Right