This past weekend, I attended Keycon, the annual science fiction and fantasy convention held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  This year, it also hosted the Aurora Awards: Canada’s SF/F fan-voted awards.  Women of the Apocalypse (of which my story Dues Ex Machina is included) was up for two awards: Best Work English (Other), and Best Short (English) for Pawns Dreaming of Roses.

This was a big weekend for the Apocalyptic 4.  An Aurora would mean a lot – would expand our reach as a group and as individuals.  Perhaps enable us to take the next step.

First (and only) stop Friday night was the Basterds party (yes, that’s what they called it) and it was hosted by the Aurora nominees (Long Form English): Leslie Carmichael (Amulet of Amon-Ra),  Robert J Sawyer (Wake) , Barb Galler-Smith and Josh Langston (Druids),  Hayden Trentholm (Steel Whispers),  Edward Willett (Terra Insegura).

As usual, met lots of great people, or became reacquainted with others.

I had planned on being a good boy.  I really did.  I planned on not partaking in the parties.  Be professional.  Be professional.   And professional I was.  A professional who drinks too much wine.

I did, however, commit to redoing the Aurora Awards website (sorry, boys, I know you did your best, but it needs some help).

But then we got into the boxed wine.  Now, make no mistake.  It wasn’t just me.  There were others who thought wine from a box was a good idea.  And I have proof that you were there.  How?  Because they graciously signed the book I had just bought (Edward Willett’s book Marseguro…which I bought when Rob Sawyer put me on the spot by saying to the room ‘Ryan, you have a job, why don’t you buy a copy?’).  You see, they signed it because I had gone missing and left it behind.

The signatures:  ‘Drink much fool!’ (Virginia O’Dine), ‘Ryan Out’ (Susan MacGregor), ‘Not so Awesome’ (Barb Galler-Smith), and ‘Where’d you go?’ (Liz Trenholm).

All deeply touching sentiments and I’ll cherish them always.

Why was I missing?  Once again – boxed wine.  My body suddenly decided, on its own, that my night was done.

So I went and slept on my bathroom floor, of course.

It is made of tile.

Ceramic tile.

I slept that way for six hours.

Have you ever slept on a tile floor for six hours?  Be honest.  Because if you have, you know that the points of your hips are not meant for sleeping on said floors.  It felt (feels) like someone kicked me with steel-toed boots.

Maybe it was the drinking of wine from a box.  Or maybe it was the Jack Daniels that Hayden was spreading around.  Either way, the night ended in a spectacular flame out.  Last 5% of the night — not so good.  First 95% spectacular.