Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Galactic Party at the Lord Nelson Hotel!

Imagine a royal palace on an alien planet in a galaxy far far away…add hundreds of bizarre and wonderfully costumed aliens from all over the universe and you have Hal-Con at the Lord Nelson Hotel.

Hal-Con at the Lord Nelson Hotel was out of this world!

Toulouse and I attended Hal-Con last weekend, where I launched my latest SF thriller Angel of Chaos and gave several workshops. Hal-Con is the prime science fiction / fantasy / comic & gaming convention in Halifax; after an over-decade hiatus, it returned this year to a sell-out crowd of enthusiastic fans. Over 1,200 fans poured into the splendid lobby of this historic hotel on Halloween Friday and formed a moving sea of elaborately costumed SF and Fantasy characters beneath its sparkling chandeliers. Aliens, characters, and robots from Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Iron Man, and many more universes milled about, entertaining hotel guests in the elevators, hallways, lobbies and Victoria Arms restaurant pub all weekend.

Located near the historic waterfront of downtown Halifax, the Lord Nelson Hotel provided one of the coolest venues for an SF con that I have experienced (and I’ve been to many cons all over North America). This recently renovated 1928 building radiated a traditional elegance that, together with its friendly staff, embraced the joyful “other” of SF/Fantasy fandom with charming maritime hospitality. Named after England’s greatest naval hero, Horatio Nelson, it is Halifax’s most historic hotel and frequent host to royalty, politicians and celebrities from all over the world. Celebrity guests have included the Rolling Stones, Keith Urban, Anne Murray, Jerry Seinfeld, Ozzy Osbourne and Paul McCartney.

While I attended to my duties as a writer, Toulouse met up with old friends and made new ones. We met lots of cool people, including Ramona and her two sons, Sterling and Milan—both gifted writers and illustrators from Nova Scotia. We met at the Nova Scotia Writer’s Federation table, where I’d parked myself to sell my books, and ended up at the pub to discuss fascinating topics like the role of the artist and the goodness of green smoothies. Toulouse and I spoke with Walter Koenig (who writes a cool comic series these days) and Denise Crosby (they played Chekov and Tasha Yar in the original Star) Trek). Robert Maillet from Sherlock Holmes was also there. Nathan Fillion surprised attendees with a telephone appearance to defend Mal in the “Geeks versus Nerds Debate” for Han Solo versus Malcolm Reynolds. Special guests also included Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbet, P.J. Haarsma, Coner McCreery, Drakina Muse, Matthew LeDrew, Kenneth Tam, Ellen Curtis, David C. Rhind, and yours truly. You can read about Toulouse’s experience in his article, Hal-Con and the Classy Lord Nelson Hotel, on his blog, Toulouse LeTrek, the COOL Travel Cat.

The workshop I gave on Friday was on “the Hero’s Journey”, a lecture I often give for its value to writers in identifying story arc and integrating plot with theme and character. The next day, during the launch of Angel of Chaos, I spoke of the writer’s journey and invoked Joseph Campbell, who suggested that the artist is like a shaman, who keeps our myths alive—those ancient myths “designed to harmonize the mind and the body” and bring us “home”.

I described my own “hero’s journey” as a writer. Choosing to be an author is like choosing to fall in love. To “follow your bliss”. To follow your bliss is to follow your heart. And to follow your heart is to let the divine touch you and come to bliss. The artist interprets the divinity inherent in nature and in all unseen things. This is ultimately our role: to communicate myth for today: to yield to the flame of rapture and, like Prometheus, bring that flame to Earth, through story. That is true bliss. Sometimes we are painfully burned by it. This is the paradox of “bliss”, because the spirit of sacrifice lies at the core of true bliss. It’s just like falling in love.

Follow your bliss. Find where it is and don’t be afraid to follow it. Take the journey…with me…

We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world—Joseph Campbell

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

What a super event it looked, Nina. Would have loved to visit. Denise Crosby was a favourite as well.

SF Girl said...

Yes, it was, Jean-Luc. You would have felt at home there with so many Enterprisers there... :)

I think everyone went all out to show their appreciation to those who brought the con back after many years. Thank you so much for your devoted efforts, Jennifer and Amanda (Hal-Con Chairs) and all the other volunteers and sponsors who believed in this event. It was an overwhelming success.

Dave said...

It actually looks a like a heck-of-a-lot of fun. I wish I had been invited. Glad Dr Who hasn't been forgotten. You mentioned hero's journey - the best translation I have ever come across is Kal's at

SF Girl said...

Thanks, Dave, it was a lot of fun! And thanks for the link to Kal's site. Lots of good information and examples of the Hero's Journey. It had, I'm afraid a little too much annoying "buy me, buy me" laced through it. One resource that I highly recommend is Mary Henderson's "Star Wars: The Magic of Myth", which uses the movie to study use of the hero's journey myth in story.

I also cover the hero's journey in three posts here, which, incidentally are continually refered to by college instructors:

The Journey:


The Map:


Kamala said...

Nina, it sure looked like it was fun! I'm so glad you were a speaker! Congrats!

I love reading your work about following your bliss. Whether we call it bliss, or authenticity, or passion, or another name, it is pretty amazing, isn't it?

SF Girl said...

Yes, Kamala, it is amazing, isn't it? And purely wonderful. Speaking of following your bliss and becoming the person you are meant to be,the work you are doing to foster women's leadership in the world is commendable.

This quote on your site really resonated with me: "If God brought you to it, He will bring you through it."

Speaks miles.

Thanks, Kamala. This is her site:

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What a super event it looked, Nina. Would have loved to visit. Denise Crosby was a favourite as well. Thanks

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