First Pure Spec Guest of Honour Announcement: Minister Faust

Minister FaustAs promised, Speclians, I am pleased to announce the the Festival Guest of Honour for 2015 is the incomparable Minister Faust! Writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta; print and radio journalist; author of The Coyote Kings, The Alchemists of Kush, and the War & Mir series; wrote BioWare’s Gift of the Yeti game, and contributed to Mass Effect 2. I’m barely scratching the surface and his resume is impressive.

Minister Faust was Pure Spec’s very first GoH way back in 2005, so we are overjoyed he has agreed to join us and headline the Festival for 2015.

Check out Minister Faust’s site for more about our esteemed Festival Guest of Honour, and stay tuned for more announcements coming soon!

Pure Speculation Festival Society AGM

The Pure Spec AGM is this weekend! We’ve had to change the location and time, so please make sure to get the updated details below!

Sunday, January 18, 2:30 pm

Ramada Edmonton Conference Centre  11834 Kingsway Avenue

We will be meeting in the Aspen Room, which is accessible through the restaurant.

Any interested members, especially those with feedback on this year’s festival and ideas for next year, are encouraged to attend.

RSVP to our Facebook event here.

Happy New Year, Speculators!

Or, for those of you who were at the Time Traveller’s Ball: Happy New Year Again!

Thank you all for your support in 2014. We’re still getting our plans for 2015 rolling, but we do have one thing planned already: the Annual General Meeting at 2:00 pm on January 18, at the Strathcona Branch of the Edmonton Public Library. If you were at Pure Spec 2014, then you are a Pure Spec member, which means you can vote at the AGM. Attending the AGM is a great way to learn a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes at Pure Spec, to have your say in the elections of our board, and to get in on the planning action early. Plus, it’s fairly short, which is always nice in a meeting.

The Time Traveller’s Ball is Tonight!

Remember, Speculators, the Time Traveller’s Ball is tonight at 8:00 pm at Westwood Unitarian Congregation (11135 – 65 Ave NW). Advance tickets are still available for $20 if you hurry. Tickets at the door will be $25. Nerdy games and music have been prepared, the bar has been stocked, and finger foods will soon be on their way. Come have a geeky good time with us as we welcome 2015 a little early with the help of time travel. We hope to see you there!

A Story For Christmas Eve

Though we often save spooky stories for Hallowe’en now, the Victorians liked to tell ghost stories on Christmas Eve. In the spirit of that tradition, here’s a link to a science fiction story with a sort-of ghost by a former Pure Spec guest of honour: “Sleeper” by Jo Walton. Don’t worry that it might be too spooky for the holiday; like the spirits in Dickens’ famous Christmas ghost story, this spirit is not malicious.

If you like nerdy versions of holiday traditions that don’t seem to be quite when you expected them to be, you’ll be glad to hear that tickets are still available for the Time Traveller’s Ball on Saturday, December 27. We’ll be using a temporal portal to transport everyone to New Year’s Eve, so that we can all celebrate a little early. Of course, we’ll bring everyone back at the end of the party so that you can celebrate again at the expected time. Check out the Facebook event if you’d like to see who else might be there.

(For more about Christmas ghost stories, try this overview at, or this article with links to examples at The Paris Review.)

Festival thanks & upcoming events

The festival is now behind us for another year. Thank yous go out to:

  • our sponsors, On Spec Magazine and the Edmonton Arts Council, without whom we wouldn’t be able to invite the Guests of Honour we love so dearly;
  • our panelists/presenters, for being so generous with their time and expertise. We are so lucky to know so many talented, smart, funny, articulate, opinionated and/or passionate people;
  • our vendors, who seem to have formed a subcommunity of Vendor-Speculators among themselves and could probably organize themselves for future festivals;
  • our amazing entertainers: Brother Octopus, Vanessa Cardui, Make Out City, ~eclipse fusion~, and Liam Creswick, for rocking our socks off so much that we had to run barefoot in the snow on our way home;
  • our cadre of volunteer minions, who not only got their weekend passes reimbursed due to how many hours they worked, but also received a boat load of baked goods courtesy of Pure Spec’s Muffins4Minions / Karma Cupcakes program;
  • our special guests this year, who headlined our festival and made it pop like corn kernels in oil on a stove top: David Gerrold, Dan Riskin, Lucas Cochran, Amber Scott, Dave Gross;
  • you, our Speculators, for showing us how much you love us and our festival. Your smiling faces, your hugs, your photos, your social media posts, and all your kind words fill us with joy and show us just what it is we work for every year. Some of you are our biggest cheerleaders, even though we make you do a whole truckload of work behind the scene, and some of you are masochists who keep asking what ELSE you can do to help us out!

We love you all, and Pure Spec wouldn’t be what it is without you.

If you’d like to share feedback about the festival with us, please email or message us on Facebook.

But the festival isn’t the only thing Pure Spec does! If you’d like to ring in the new year twice, take advantage of the time vortex at our Time Traveller’s Ball on December 27. And on January 18, come to the Annual General Meeting to have your say in Pure Spec. If you were at the festival, you are a member of the Pure Speculation Festival Society and can vote at the AGM.

Late-breaking updates!

With the festival very nearly upon us—remember, Taste of Spec is tonight—here are some last-minute updates to all kinds of things.

  • The Family Programming page now has a schedule for the kids’ activity centre, plus links to all our Family Sunday panels all in one place.
  • The Gaming schedule is up!
  • The Charity Auction has new items from Metro Cinema and The Unknown Studio.
  • The panel schedule has been updated a whole bunch—the Arena panel has moved, the Listmakers panel has gained a description, there’s a new panel from the Saber Guild on Sunday morning, the NPR’s Star Wars reading has been cancelled, more tags have been added, and there’s been minor changes to the panelist lists for a few panels. Check out the schedule for all the details!

We can’t wait to see you at the festival. Hopefully we’ll see you at Taste of Spec at 7:00 tonight. Tickets to Taste of Spec are only $5 for advance weekend pass holders.

Charity Auction Spotlight: Gaming

Regular Pure Specians (Speculites?Speculons?) know that our annual silent auction in support of Crystal Kids has a bit of something for everyone. If you’re a gamer, this year’s auction is definitely something you want to check out. With the expansion of our Gaming stream, and not one but two Gaming Guests of Honour (Amber E. Scott and Dave Gross), we weren’t going to leave the auction out of the fun. And we know gamers are some of the most generous folks around, so we made sure there was something for them.

So for all you gamers out there, stop by the Crystal Kids Silent Auction table in the main dealer room and keep your eyes out for:

- signed books by both Amber and DaveDG CoversAS Covers

- individual seats at a special Charity Game on Sunday of Pure Spec, run by Amber E. Scott and Dave Gross (which usually sell out fast for all our gaming guests, so bid early and often!)

- a big BioWare package, with both Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, t-shirts, and books.

- an out-of-print Star Wars Duels set from HAsbro, for the Star Wars gamers out there (finally, a way to play out the Obi-Wan/Yoda grudge fight I’ve always wanted!)

The big news for gamers in this years auction, however, is the huge lot of classic Squad Leader games. If you are a fan of tabletop strategy games, this is not unlike the Holy Grail of gaming finds. The lot includes classic Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader, plus a metric butt-load of supplements and expansion sets. We don’t guarantee every last chit is there, because we don’t have that kind of time (if you’ve played any Avalon Hill game, you know what I’m talking about). But these games are in amazing condition for being over thirty years old, and are a must-have for any serious gamer’s collection. It’s one of the reasons this lot has such a high starting bid ($75), and a reserve price (A reserve in an auction means we won’t sell the item unless the reserve price is met).

So gamers and those with gamers in their life, don’t forget to stop by the Crystal Kids Silent Auction table and place your bids!

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