Tag Archives: panels

The Great NatCon Blog Post Round-Up

Because reading one blog post about a NatCon weekend is just not enough. The official website, with info about Ditmar and other award winners, is here. (Also, the opening ceremony video is online, too.)

Tansy has several posts about different aspects of the con: first there was discussion of the craft and the programme; then there was all that food (cocktails, cupcakes, trifle oh my!); and then the Night of the Squeaking Octopus (aka awards night).

Ben has a great post about being inspired about writing and about how awesome he found the fan community to be in general (awww).

DarkMatter Fanzine has a good round-up of the awards night, including some of the Kirstyn&Mondy banter that really set the mood.

Alisa also succumbed to the con-report-in-parts bug, beginning by smugly showing off the books she bought but also exclaiming over how social and fun the con was as a whole (this is a theme…). In part 2 she goes into great detail about the preparation for Twelfth Planet Press hour, which saw mountains of cupcakes consumed (a few even managed to be photographed), while the third post is mostly devoted to the podcast undertaken by nine of the Twelve Planets authors at Embiggen Books, as well as some crafty things (and annoying news about Kaaron Warren’s Through Splintered Walls). Kirstyn has posted said podcast over here, for your listening pleasure. (Other podcasts recorded at Continuum is episode 309 of Boxcutters, a debate that All SF TV is rubbish; Galactic Suburbia 61; and a Writer and the Critic ep that I’m sure will be up sometime soon…)

Terri, the whiz behind the cupcake extravaganza, has a short post about her experience at the Con wherein she coins the acronym WWTD (What Would Tehani Do?) to describe her method of how to sell Twelfth Planet Press books…  and then goes into even more detail about the creation of those cupcakes (the photo on the left, c/o Cat Sparks, is too good not to feature again). What an effort!

Mark, a NatCon newbie, blogged basically on a daily basis: Day 1 (panels! lots of panels!); Day 2 (more panels! including Galactic Suburbia!); awards (a list, and recounting the less than sterling start to the evening for Mondy…); Day 3 (more panels, and some time at the bar); and Day 4 (more panels, and generally being happy with the con). If you want a good feel for the programming at this con – which I thought was very good – this is a really good wrap of one person’s attendance.

Sean the Bookonaut, another NatCon newbie and one that many took great pleasure in meeting (not that we didn’t enjoy meeting Mark, too!), had quite the experience in getting home, but starts off with recounting Thursday… and then Friday, complete with discussion of panels and nude cyclists. ETA: And Saturday, now, too: panels, and Embiggen Books, and being a one-man audience to various people.

Jason managed to keep his con report to just one post, talking about launching his novella Salvage, going to the podcast and Embiggen Books, and the Ditmar/Chronos Awards as well.

Alan too kept his report to one post. He discusses panels he was on, including one on religion in world-building, and the experience of launching Felicity Dowker’s Bread and Circuses, among other things.

Ian, redoubtable awards-night co-MC, has a post that mostly focusses on his probably-not-food-poisoning experience pre-awards, and the glory of winning both a Chronos and a Ditmar (and well deserved too).

Russell discusses some highlights, which included doing a reading from his own fairy-tale retelling, and attending/being on various panels.

Sue mentions an orange scarf she started courtesy of the free yarn strewn around, as well as attending the launch of ASIM 56 and Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear, among other things.

Kathleen used the con as an opportunity for one of her awesome Dalek pictures – Lady Churchill’s Dalek Wristlet – as well as other snippets of drawing and crocheted octopi. Plus winning two awards.

Admittedly Flinthart’s post focusses primarily on the disaster that was his departure from Melbourne, and some food… but he looms large wherever he goes, so I think it counts.

Deb provides a reading list as a follow-up to a panel she was on (with Gillian Pollack, Trudi Canavan and Louise Cusack) called Writing Diverse Genders, Sexualities and Cultures. (She is also mentioned regarding the launch of Ishtar, a set of three novellas – one of which she wrote – which happened at Continuum.)

And, yes, I too wrote two posts about my experiences: one that was really all about my time on panels etc here, and another a bit more generally on the programming and craft and awards etc here.

ETA: Jo writes about her experience over here, complete with winning a Ditmar and talking about books so much her voice packed it in afterwards. Also, Gillian Polack-with-one-l has posted numerous thoughts: here, talking about racism and suchlike; on stereotypes; on being a critic.

**I’m sure there are other posts out there that I haven’t linked to – please feel free to comment with the links!

Con #2: the slightly less self-indulgent version

I forgot to mention in my last post that I also went to a panel called Crafts in Space, at which Tansy, Trudi Canavan and Lyn McConchie led a discussion about what sort of crafts might be done in space/while exploring and settling new planets; how they might be done and why and all that sort of stuff. The discussion itself was fascinating, with Lyn explaining that you can use a thing called a beehive to keep your yarn in one place while knitting and therefore it won’t go everywhere in zero G, and Trudi explaining that you could use a loom in zero G. Tansy raised the question of whether you would craft if you could only do it on the holodeck and therefore not actually produce something tangible – although I suggested you could have a gallery on the holodeck where you could at least see it – and we ran through the possible scenarios of what sort of native stuff might be used to craft with. There was a lot of lusting over 3D printers or fabricators: the idea of endless stash, a la the endless ammunition in The Matrix, had several people go glassy-eyed. Along with the discussion was the atmosphere. Lyn was doing this amazing shell-patterned crocheted rug, and she explained that she uses yarn from thrifted ‘jerseys’ (heh, she is a Kiwi) and she knits these rugs for various emergency services in her hometown; she also admitted that on one long-haul flight, she ended up teaching several people how to crochet because they were dazzled by her fingers as she sat watching TV. This led to some speculation about what would happen if spaceships ended up with craft specialities, and the outcome of a meeting between the yarn-dying ship and the sock-knitting ship… Then there was Trudi with this amazing i-cord device, which turned out to be an automatic French knitter which reaaally took me back to childhood; Tansy was sewing together Dr Who hexagonals for her quilt; and half the rest of us were knitting, crocheting, or doing other crafty things. It led Tansy to the inspired idea of Crafty Klatsches for the next con… only to discover that last year’s Continuum already had that idea. Our final conclusion seemed to be that when they’re filling the colony ships, the administrators ought not just look for people of reproductive age: they also need grandmas, or the colony will be screwed.

The con itself was well run, and I think the programming was generally very good. I was a bit sad that the launch of Ishtar clashed with our recording Galactic Suburbia, but I understand that there are time restraints. Also, I got my copy of Ishtar, and I got all three authors to sign it! So stoked! I’ve just started reading it so watch out for some Assyrian loving coming on soon. Anyway, the panels that I attended were generally nicely balanced in terms of the people on it – like the book blogging one had two professional bloggers (they get paid to blog at least part of the time), two personal bloggers (me and Sean, whom I finally got to meet), and our moderator seemed to fall kinda in the middle. I mentioned this to Julia, the head programmer, and she said it was more luck than design but I don’t think that entirely works; so I’ll say GO JULIA for good programming. I didn’t always want to go to the panels that were on, and I actually think that means it was well designed: a con that entirely suits me is going to be dead dull for Tansy, for a start! The hotel was ok…  I didn’t stay there so I have nothing to say on that side of things; people were disappointed about the bar closing at 11pm but presumably they had a restricted license that meant they had to.

I spent very little time with the guests, but they certainly seemed involved in the programming and con-life in general. Kelly Link hosted a session of Mafia today! – and I had an incidental chat with her about Game of Thrones, which was delightful.

Also, I said I wasn’t going to say much about the awards, but I do want to mention that The Writer and the Critic took out both the Chronos AND the Ditmar for Best Fan Production, and I was immensely pleased for them (I was sitting with the rest of Galactic Suburbia, and we gave them a standing ovation, but they didn’t notice). It was very well deserved indeed, and Mondy especially looked so stoked! Which was great because they were also hosting the awards ceremony, which may have been the greatest decision of the entire con. They have such great repartee – and this from a Mondy with food poisoning – that the entire thing ran smoothly and was as much entertainment as anything else. So, it was a highlight of the entire weekend. Also, The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood won Best Novel. I love you, fandom.

Continuum 8


My Con Experience, by Alex, aged… quite enough thanks.

It was Craftonomicon, the 51st National Australian Science Fiction Convention, this weekend, and the first weird bit about it was that I got there by taxi, and not by plane.

My con started properly on Friday afternoon with a panel on space opera with m1k3y and Jonathan Strahan that went remarkably well, not least because the former was an admirable moderator. I got to gush about a few books and discuss why I like it and what makes something space opera; Tansy thinks I am very harsh because I said generally it has to move outside of the solar system. I say: if it doesn’t, it’s hard to be grand enough to count.

Next I helped Terri and Alisa move a mountain of cupcakes in preparation for Twelfth Planet Press Hour, in honour of two new Twelve Planets books and Jason Nahrung’s Salvage, and TPP in general. The cupcakes were wolfed in minutes, although it is fair to say that people did usually stop for a moment to admire the artwork that Terri had made of them out of frosting and sugar. So very much sugar.

I think Friday ended with dinner, and… I forget. It was a while ago now. There was a great deal of talking. Actually that was kinda the theme of the whole con. The official theme was craft, and I got a number of inches completed on my scarf; the unofficial theme was Talk As Much As You Can. Me and my peeps managed this quite well  😀 .

Saturday I sat in on a panel called “Masters of Podcasting,” which has to be said in an echo chamber to get the full effect, featuring Alisa and Jonathan and Kirstyn and Terry. Tansy and I were very restrained and did not heckle. They said some quite interesting things, like podcasts being the lazy person’s fanzine to create (that’s Kirstyn’s view), which SO resonated. Then I was on a panel called Fans and Faith, with three Christians and a Jew; we made the Jewish boy, Mondy moderate, and a very fine job he did by asking provocative questions and pointing out that while we might not like the representations of Christians we find, at least there are a few – not so much with Jews, especially of the Orthodox persuasion, nor Muslims (Kameron Hurley makes a start in addressing this). It was a good discussion in all and only derailed towards the end by someone basically asserting that you can’t have faith and accept the scientific method, which he believes is essential to SF…

In the afternoon we did a Galactic Suburbia that lasted just ONE HOUR – show notes to come when the Silent Producer has recovered from the con. After that I travelled with Alisa and nine of her Planets (and a few other audience members) to Embiggen Books, which oh my it might have been better for me not to find. What a BEAUTIFUL bookshop! With a door hidden as a shelf and everything!! Mondy hosted the podcast that involved all nine Planet authors and Alisa talking about the project and their individual approaches to it, and it was a lot of fun to sit in the audience and listen to such a diverse range of women talk about their approaches to writing and to the project. Drinks and dinner followed, and I got home… later than Friday.

Sunday I made it in to the con in time to see half of the “Elizabethans are awesome” panel, and then wandered around and helped restock the Twelfth Planet table and generally mooched and chatted. My last panel to contribute to was one on book blogging and reviewing, which went ok. I scurried from that to the live recording of The Writer and the Critic, which was entertaining of course even though they did not especially like Crystal Singer, by Anne McCaffrey, which I adored in my teens.

The evening was taken up with dinner, trying to find out when power might be restored in Perth, and then frocking up because it was Awards Night! And I love awards. It was the Chronos (Victorian state) and Ditmar (national) awards night, with a couple of others thrown in – mostly lifetime achievement type things, plus the Norma K Hemming, for a book which addresses gender/class/disability issues. I won’t go into all of the winners – that would be a Galactic Suburbia job! – but I will proudly mention that I won two! I got the Best Fan Written Work for Tiptree, and a collection of her short stories, which thrilled me immensely. And then… then, they announced that Tehani and I won the William Atheling award for criticism for our conversational review series of the Miles Vorkosigan novels. This thrilled me absolutely to bits, and if there hadn’t been lots of people there I may even have had a tear in my eye. The rest of the night involved much talking and laughing and a midnight run for ice cream….

Monday was hard to get to, mostly because it was a public holiday and my tram never showed, so I ended up driving in so that I could catch Alisa, Terri and Jonathan before they winged their way back to Perth. I managed it, and then I went to a panel that was officially meant to be about whether women are equal to men in sf and fantasy, but ended up ranging over a variety of mostly interesting topics. After a spot of chatting and lunch I concluded my con with a panel on “The Awards Debacle”, which was sadly lacking in any controversy because the panelists all agreed with each other.

Now, I am tired, but not as tired as those who had to actually travel to get home; I am anticipating an early night before returning to the so-called real world. But this con has been a seriously awesome experience: lots of talking, lots of knitting, lots of talking. I met a couple of people I only know via the ether, which was great, and it was really wonderful to spend face to face time with the people I talk to so often but so rarely get to experience with body language! We all had ‘the con voice’ by Monday morning – dropping about an octave – partly from aircon, partly from late nights, partly from talking too much but only just enough.

And that’s my con-going for the year.

Galactic Suburbia 15: live show!

Live from Aussiecon4, speaking from the entirely unsuburban wasteland of downtown Melbourne, Alisa, Alex and Tansy faced an audience of real people, and managed to keep their chatter to a 50 minute podcast. SHOCK. Some awards news, Worldcon gossip, what we are reading and our pet topic: female heroes in SF & Fantasy. You can download it from here or get it on iTunes.


World Fantasy Nominations announced.
Sir Julius Vogel Awards.
European SF Society Awards.
Our favourite bits of Aussiecon4 so far.

What have we been reading/listening to?
Alex: Beastly Bride, ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling; Legends of Australian Fantasy, ed. Jonathan Strahan and Jack Dann; Secret Feminist Cabal, Helen Merrick;
Tansy: Shades of Milk & Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal; The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins; Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
Alisa: Death Most Definite, Trent Jamieson.

Pet Subject: Female heroes in SF/F

As ever, please send feedback to galacticsuburbia@gmail.com or to our Twitter account – @galacticsuburbs. We’d especially love to hear your response to our “live” episode, or your highlights from Aussiecon.

Over the next week we’ll be putting up a series of mini-eps from the convention, including our post-Ditmars round up, our post-Hugos round up, a omg-the-convention-is-over round up, and an interview between Alex and Phil & Kaja Foglio of Girl Genius fame. Was Jake Flinthart correct to accuse her of giggling? Find out!*

On a personal note (stolen from Tansy), thanks to everyone who came to the panel, or talked to us at the con about Galactic Suburbia. We were blown away by how many people have listened to us, bought books we recced, and wanted to say hi. Extra special mention to Celia, who apparently DID have an awesome Worldcon, and to the woman who recognised Alisa & me gossiping in the row behind her at the Hugos, because SHE KNEW WHAT OUR VOICES SOUNDED LIKE.

* the answer is yes

Aussiecon4: Day 5

By the last day of a con, everyone is starting to get a bit weary, and understandably so. There were a number of people who were particularly… weary… post-Hugos. Me, I was doing fine. So I completed my not-stalking of Alastair Reynolds by going to his book reading, and I’m glad I did because he chose a short story he’d written for Barclays Bank, on the issue of data security, which is unlikely to get much exposure elsewhere. The story was good, but seriously: can you imagine being asked to write an sf story for non-sf readers working in a bank on data security?? Tough gig . Oh, and that came after another little fangirl moment, when I was chatting to Jonathan and got to meet Garth Nix….

The only other panel I got to was the second half of one on maps in fantasy writing, with three writers who all do their own maps. One of them was David Cornish, whom I’d met a couple of days before, having interviewed him for both Snapshot ’07 and Snapshot ’10. The discussion was actually more interesting than I’d expected, about what to include and why, and the sheer number that these three, at least (Cornish, Ian Irvine, and Russell Blackford), produce for their own interests and the sake of the narrative which never then appear in a book. Reading list: The Selected Works of T.S Spivet (which I’ve been meaning to get for ages).

The rest of Monday involved helping Alisa, Terri, and Tehani pack up their section of the dealers’ room, with able assistance from Mitch and Rohan. After the bazillion boxes were loaded up and taken down to the loading bay, and picked up by the freight company, Alisa and I staggered back to Tansy and Finchy’s place with Trent in tow to debrief somewhat, after farewelling Tehani with hopes that she wouldn’t get done for excess baggage. And then I managed to get home not tooo late.

Bonus extra Aussiecon4 day
Although Monday was officially the end of Aussiecon4, Tansy and Alisa and I managed to draw it out for another few hours by catching up on the Tuesday to record some final, face-to-face Galactic Suburbia. So we did a Hugos round-up, like we did for the Ditmars; and then we did a worldcon wrap-up too. Our subscribers are going to be totally overwhelmed….

Aussiecon4: Day 4

Sunday was the biggest day for me in terms of panels I wanted to attend – and because it ended with the Hugos ceremony.

It began with a panel on far future sf, and was framed by Clarke’s so-called law, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. There were some completely different points of view on the panel, which was awesome (although it was made just a little less awesome by the fact that all five were men, and made me wonder: who are the women writing space opera/far future sf? I’m reading Marianne de Pierres’ Sentients of Orion series, and I know there are some women in New Space Opera 1&2, but… I must find more). There was discussion over whether the quote was a sociological comment, whether it becomes a false premise as soon as a culture has a notion of technology, and whether it’s a concept that just keeps getting pushed further and further out by the word ‘sufficiently’. Reading list: Matt Hughes, GD Nordley, Gene Wolf, Robert Reed. (Yes yes, Alastair Reynolds was on this panel; he said great things.)

From this panel there was rushing to a packed seminar room for a panel entitled The Case for a Female Dr Who. One bloke, four women; one anti, four in favour. Paul Cornell is totally up for it, and seemed particularly taken with the idea of Julia Sawalha. Me, I’d like Helen Mirren, or Judi Dench; I am less convinced than everyone else seemed to be by the idea of Emma Thompson. It essentially turned into a discussion of how rather than the why, because most people seemed very comfortable with the basic premise. I do think an older woman would be more interesting, in a whole range of ways, than a younger woman. Reading list: Chicks Dig Timelords. Also: serious Doctor Who Fans are just a tiny bit terrifying. But I didn’t learn my lesson, and also ended up at a panel reviewing the latest season. The panellists discussed what they liked, or didn’t; attitudes towards Matt Smith as the Doctor, and Amy, and River; whether the show is/should be for kids, adults, or ‘family’; and how annoying it is when the sonic screwdriver becomes a magic wand to get the script writer out of any tight spot….

I next attended a panel on the history of Australian women in sf, both in writing and fandom. Lucy Sussex talked a bit about the nineteenth century, then Helen Merrick skipped to the 50s and 60s, then Alisa talked about what she’s found about the last decade or two. Gina Goddard talked about the last thirty years in fandom, and it was a little depressing to hear that while some things have changed – there were kids at almost every panel I went to, and no one seemed to have a problem with that – still some things have not changed. Reading list: Helen Merrick and Tess Williams’ Women of other Worlds; Lucy Sussex generally, plus her edited She’s Fantastic (bought the next day!); Sylvia Kelso; Tess Williams. Also at this panel Tansy and I were inspired to get to Wiscon together sometime in the next 5-10 years, dragging Alisa with us….

The next bit of the afternoon was, if anything, more hectic. I’d been expecting to go off and have dinner by myself and come back for the Hugos, because most of the others had invites to various exclusive parties. But Tehani ended up not going to the Orbit party, so she told me to go in her stead, for which I was humbly grateful although sad for her! So I ducked off to the loos and frocked up (gotta take every opportunity); ditched stuff in the dealers’ room rather than carrying it around, then hared off to a panel on Big Dumb Objects in sf (um, yes, another Alastair Reynolds panel…). This is the sort of sf I really enjoy, tied as it so often is with space opera, and I was really pleased to hear the panellists talking about the character options that are available and interesting to explore when you use a BDO. Reading list: Niven; David Brin?; Ringworld; Riverworld?; Robert Reed, stories about the Great Ship; Pohl; Farmer, World of Tiers; Ken McLeod; Charles Sheffield; Chalker; Larry Gibbon?; Cordwainer Smith; The Wanderer. Again, all of these are male, which makes me even more determined to find the women writing similar sorts of things.

The evening’s entertainment started with a party sponsored by Orbit, which involved Hugo nominees and others swanning around, dolled up, drinking when they could reach the bar and eating a small quantity of food. Again, I got to meet some people, and had other famous people pointed out to me. But really, this was all in anticipation of the main event: the Hugos ceremony.

Terri, Alisa, and I got a good spot from which to watch the ceremony, and Alisa tweeted the entire thing – which led to her missing the cover of Horn flashing up as part of the 2009 wrap up (link), all of which was hugely exciting. Before that, though, the woman in front of us – listening to us gasbag excitedly – turned around and announced she recognised our voices from Galactic Suburbia! Hilarious. Anyway, Garth Nix was a great MC; the ceremony went smoothly, most of the acceptance speeches were short and made the winner look good; most of the winners were ones of which I approved (which is important, obviously). Highlights: Cheryl Morgan liveblogging as she walked up to the podium to accept the Hugo for Clarkesworld’s semiprozine win; Frederick Pohl winning, at 90, a Hugo for Best Fan Writer for his blog (to match Hugos for writing and editing, and his grandson’s Hugo too); Peter Watts accusing the audience of costing him $20 because he lost a bet by winning.

After the Hugos, we brought the party back to Tehani, who had balanced the books while following Alisa’s tweets; we sat around eating junk food for a few hours, just chewing the fat. It was, again, wonderful.

Aussiecon4: Day 3

I’d be lying, and everyone who was there would know I was lying, if I didn’t say that the most exciting thing about day 3 was getting to meet Alastair Reynolds. Minor fangirl moment. I got to chat about astronomy with him, as well as about his writing, and of course got his autograph. So that totally made my day week….

The first panel I went to was Tansy’s on the plight of female superheroes. Sadly, it was largely derailed by the bloke on the panel, who somehow hadn’t realised that a panel on that topic might be intended as a feminist critique of the institutionalised misogyny of the comic books industry, as well as other interesting topics. I’m not a comic book reader, although I might be if I thought there were better representations of women; even so this panel was disappointing.

Spent the next while in the dealers’ room, helping a bit but mostly hindering, and meeting more interesting people. Then I went to the Girl Genius radio play, which I’d been a leedle concerned about because all of the roles (except Agatha, played by Kaja, and some random ones played by Phil) were played by con attendees. But I should not have been concerned: they were, largely, excellent. It was hugely entertaining, there was some audience participation (GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!!!), and all in all it was a brilliant part of the con.

I rushed out of there to a panel on feminists writing fantasy, which had a really good range of women speaking: some young writers, and some older; some writing ‘traditional’ fantasy and some deliberately flouting traditions. They talked about female characters, sex scenes, male characters, and their own inspirations. Reading list: Delia Sherman, Alaya Johnson.

The evening’s entertainment was a low-key affair. Alisa and I accompanied Tansy back to her apartment to record a short (for us) Galactic Suburbia ep about the Ditmars. We left Tansy with her loving family and went down to Tehani&Terri’s apartment, for dinner and gossip and general relaxing. It was really really nice.

Aussiecon4: Day 2

Friday started with Alisa, Tansy and myself walking over to the con and getting our heads around how we could keep a Galactic Suburbia recording to 50 minutes, because we were scheduled to record LIVE as a panel. First time doing it together, and we get an audience! Talk about intimidating. There were about 40 people in the audience, most of whom we didn’t know, so that was simultaneously encouraging and terrifying. We did manage to keep to 50 minutes, mainly because we were ruthless about the news section. It was a lot of fun! And we had matching tshirts courtesy of Finchy. It’ll be up live in the next week or so, once our dear producer gets home, has some sleep, and gets it online.

Next I headed to a reading by Garth Nix, but he was reading a story I’d finished just a few days before and I couldn’t summon enthusiasm. So I ducked out and went to a book launch, which was good to finally put more faces to names.

All of this was a way of killing time before I could go and interview the Foglios, which I was more nervous about than the live recording. I had a chat to young Jake, who gave me some questions to add to my own, and then we waited around… for a while… until Phil came back and we were good to go. The sound quality won’t be great, because we did it in the dealers’ room, and Jake will tell anyone who asks that I giggled too much (I did), but it was a lot of fun to do. It too will be online in the next week or so, once I compress it and get it to the GS producer.

The panel I most enjoyed for the day was on the under-appreciated characters in Lord of the Rings – that is, those whom the narrative underrates. Essentially this boiled down to Eowyn, Sam, and Faramir. The panellists were all excellent, and it was very cool to see other people with the same love of the book as myself. There was a fascinating discussion about the differences between the books and films, and why some of the changes were made, which I really enjoyed – particularly around Faramir and Arwen.

The evening’s entertainment began with a party at Crown for Voyager’s 15th birthday. It was all very swish – Tansy, Alisa and I frocked up in a baby change room/parents’ room we found that had huge cubicles! – and there were ever-so-tasty purple drinks, and little food. Again with the meeting interesting people, hearing interesting news (HarperVoyager to be the international brand), and hanging out with great people. We didn’t stay all that long because we had to hie ourselves back to the con for the awarding of the Ditmars and other Aussie awards, including the inaugural Norma K Hemming Award (the Norma). Reading list: Gene Thieves, by Maria Quinn. Overall we were pleased by the winners, I think – perhaps especially Helen winning the William Atheling Award for criticism, for Cabal.

From the Ditmars we headed back to Terri&Tehani’s apartment, and proceeded to eat a fair bit of junk food, drink some evil mudslides with McD’s softserve icecream thanks to Terri, and make a fair bit of noise. I got to hang out with Rob, meet Trent and Scottish Liz, and generally be with some of my favourite people. It was great… and even when we were told, around midnight, that there were complaints about the noise, it continued to be great, just quieter.

Aussiecon4: Day 1 #2

I didn’t have the energy to blog electronically during the con. Instead, I kept paper notes (outrageous, I know)…

My Aussiecon4 actually started on the Wednesday, when I hosted a full contingent of Strahans, the Tansy/Finchy mob, Tehani+baby Max, Alisa, Kathryn, and Alan. Half of them arrived at my place from the airport, so apparently having food and beverages on hand was welcome! I rather suspect that the supermarket over my fence was a very large drawcard, too. At any rate it was a marvellous way to start the weekend’s madness, with the people I was most looking forward to seeing.

Thursday started fairly early, heading to the apartments where all but the Strahans were staying to help the crew get boxes into two taxis and thence to the dealers’ room. An early highlight was heading up the escalator as Mondy and Rob Shearman were heading down – so I turned around, obviously, to catch up with them. I hadn’t seen either since Swancon 08, and it was great to see both the first day. Another highlight was helping Alisa, Tehani, and Terri (whom I finally met) in the dealers room, when Tansy’s eldest made a friend to play hide-n-seek with… who turned out to be the daughter of the Girl Genius creators! Minor fangirl moment there.

I flashed my newbie credentials by heading to the opening ceremony, which I quite enjoyed. As I walked in Holst’s Jupiter was blaring, which was a good sign. Someone had put a fair amount of work into a quite awesome series of film clips, which was basically Mad Max with spectacular bits of other movies thrown in and some clever voice-overs. Perhaps my favourite contrast was Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Agent Smith, and his Priscilla character. However, if as the voice-over suggested we’re really relying on Mel Gibson-as-Mad Max to save us all, I think we’re in trouble.

Heading back to the dealers room, I noticed that the Foglios had not brought a whole lot of hardcopy Girl Genius books and they were going fast. Tansy egged me on until I finally went around and bought myself one, complete with personalised sketch of Maxim (I heart Jagerkin) and autographs. Good thing I got one when I did (and one for Alisa’s sailor too), since they sold out in two hours….

Aside from hanging around the Twelfth Planet Press table gossiping, I also went to a panel on motherhood in SF&fantasy. There was some very thorough discussion of representations of motherhood in those genres, both in book and film, especially about the lack of women who manage to do both mothering and adventuring. I particularly liked the discussion of the problematic nature of Ripley and Sarah Connor. Reading list from this panel: Gwyneth Jones, Life; Pat Murphy, The Wild Girls; Eye of the Beholder, by someone whose name I didn’t catch.

The evening’s entertainment started with a book launch for Helen Merrick’s book The Secret Feminist Cabal, which I promise I will get around to reviewing soon. I’d met Helen earlier in the day – another fangirl moment! – so it was great to see the number of people who turned up to congratulate her on such an important work on feminisms and fandom. Plus, she signed the book I’d been carting around all day. ☺

Dinner was with a bunch of people, including Jake Flinthart. At 10, Jake Flinthart is an even bigger fan of Girl Genius than me, so we had a lovely time arguing about our favourite characters and where the plot is heading. I did make everyone walk a little bit too far for dinner, although to be fair their hotels and the convention itself is at the crappy end of town when it comes to food.

Marvellous day! I met heaps of other people, put faces to names, and generally exhausted myself.

Aussiecon4: day 1 #1

Just a quick update before I head back in for an exciting second day at Aussiecon4.

My absolute highlights were two very exciting fangirl moments: firstly, I met Helen Merrick, author of the brilliant Secret Feminist Cabal which I really must get around to reviewing. The other came when a little girl introduced herself to a friend’s daughter, and that girl’s parents came along to check everything was ok. Those parents were Phil and Kaja Foglio, creators of Girl Genius! Whom I had emailed about interviewing and was nervous as all get out about introducing myself to! So that was great, and relaxed, and I’m really looking forward to interviewing them now.

I also had a couple of people mention that they knew me from Galactic Suburbia, which was… overwhelming…

Speaking of which, must be off – we’re recording a live episode this morning!