Panels & Demos

Panels and demos have always been the heart and soul of the Pure Spec Festival, and this year is no exception. We’re in the process of putting together the schedule for this year, but we’ll post panel and demo descriptions as we confirm them. Once we have a schedule put together, you’ll be able to find it for download here.

And it’s not to late to add your own panel to the festival! While our focus is now on SF literature, we’re open to any nerdy idea you may have. Fill out our handy Panel Submission Form, and we’ll be in touch. Deadline for panel submissions is July 7, 2017.

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Demonstrations (Scroll down for Panels)

Get Hands On with Quidditch!

Quidditch is a mixed-gender game played at recreational and competitive levels, based off the magical version played in the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. It combines elements of handball, dodgeball, rugby, and flag football into a challenging and entertaining game that welcomes all ages, genders, abilities, and skill levels. Join the National Champions, the Edmonton Aurors Quidditch Club for an interactive demonstration of this nerdy new sport!

Kendo Panel and Demonstration

The Kita Kaze Budo Association brings together the Japanese Martial arts of Kendo, Naginata and Iaido in the city of Edmonton. These arts have a strong influence on many popular culture staples, from anime and manga to popular science fiction movies. They promote serious study of the arts first and foremost, while still taking the time to have a whole lot of fun while doing it. The Association will run both a panel discussing the various aspects of kendo, as well as a demonstration of the techniques and skills.

Parasol Dueling, A Genteel Demonstration
Photo by Clare Gibson

Ladies and Gentlemen! Join the Ladies of Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Dueling League to learn about the history and rules of this ancient and honourable Lady’s sport. Come and see the sport of Queen Victoria’s Ladies in Waiting, a sport of which Her Majesty was both a patron and accomplished practitioner. Parasol Dueling is safe and no contact. Bring a parasol, or borrow one of ours, and join in the fun! An elegant sport from an elegant time!



Author Reading: Changeling

Kendra grew up thinking she was human. Who wouldn’t? But then something that definitely isn’t human kills her mother right in front of her, and she convinces the man who saved her to take her on as an apprentice Fairy killer. It’s a good life, until she finds out that she’s not a human, she’s a Fairy. And not just any fairy, but the King’s younger sister, and heir to the throne. That was complicated enough, but now, ten years later, her former mentor, a Duke, has come to her with a proposition… The novel is due to be published in 2017. Presented by the author, Heather vonStackelberg.

Fictional Witches and Feminism

This panel takes a look at the portrayal of witch characters in popular media and examines these characters through a feminist lense. We will examine how witch characters in popular fiction have changed over the years and why, citing examples from television, movies, novels, animation, comics and video games. Presented by Vanessa Kirby and Cat McDonald.

Four Color Book Club – Live Edition!

Do you want to get into reading comic books but find the prospect of diving into decades’ worth of existing continuity a daunting one? Or are you a seasoned reader who wants to hear (hopefully) entertaining discussion on some of your favourite stories? Look no further than Four Color Book Club! Each episode your hosts, Jaden Hein and Clancy Morel, choose a story that functions as a good jumping-on point for the heroes of Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and beyond. We are happy to present, for the first time ever, a live episode of the show performed and recorded before the myriad crowds of Pure Speculation!

Overtime, the Musical

A musical version of Charles Stross’ novella, Overtime, featuring favourite Christmas Carol Tunes. Written and directed by Jennifer Kennedy.

A Rose By Any Other Name

How do writers choose the perfect name for their characters in science fiction and fantasy? The panel will discuss famous names of characters in science fiction and fantasy. Why do some names work and others don’t? Presented by Constantine Kaoukakis.

Zenna Henderson Examined

Join On Spec Magazine’s Diane Walton for an a look at the works of Hugo-nominated author Zenna Henderson. One of the few writers during the 1950s and 1960s writing science fiction from a female perspective, Henderson’s writing has had a huge impact on our modern SF landscape. In addition to the panel, there will be regular readings from her work on the Festival Open Mic throughout the day, so grab a coffee and give a listen!