Showing posts with label Continuum 8. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Continuum 8. Show all posts

Jun 28, 2012

Continuum 8 There and Back Again (partie 4)

You can find the rest of my Continuum 8 posts here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

So Sunday morning I was organised and feeling moderately fresher.  There was no way I was going to be in a last minute rush to get to the Con.  So consequently I arrived there at 8.30 to a rather quiet bar.1 I wondered for a bit, disorientated, then discovered the wherewithal to check the program. 

I had turned up extra early.

So I walked to Lygon street for an early morning croissant and then meandered back to the Con.  I had by this stage largely decided to just pick panels at short notice.  Continuum 8 programing was so good that you could walk into almost any panel and not be disappointed at the discussion. first panel was Elizabethans are awesome, which had filled before most of the panellists arrived.  Grant Watson of Bad Film Diaries was moderating and also the only one in attendance from word go – and he did a sterling job of getting the audience warmed up. 

Dave Cake rocked up shortly after the start followed by Ian Nicholls with a story of being trapped in the elevator(his room was on level 1) and Gillian Polack, whose excuse of being late due to Melbourne trams was widely believed over Ian Nicholls’ excuse.  When the jeering from the crowd subsided2 a very interesting panel unfolded.  Dave relayed his speciality, Elizabethans and the Occult which had me rethinking about my perceptions voiced about magic and the church in this review.

I learned that the theatre district along with most of the brothels in Elizabethan London were located south of the river on land owned by the Bishop of Winchester making him a very rich and powerful man.

The Panel ran out of time just as we got to the bits about the growth of espionage in Elizabethan England, all in all it was very good.

5946127763_3121d3081f_zNext was We Want Your Brainz which was moderated by Peter Ball, one of my fave writers (unfortunately this meant he didn’t participate in answering the questions he posed). 

Now some may find the Zombie craze a bit mindless.  But this panel was one of the most intense and interesting that I attended.  It covered the modern history of the Zombie from its realistic voodoo roots to the more pop culture flesh eating horde.  The Epic of Gilgamesh even got a mention as an indicator of how far back our fascination with the walking dead goes.

There was much talk of which direction the genre could take.  Felicity Dowker had already made a foray into Zombie romance with one of her short stories.  I wish I had taken more notes or that Cons recorded some of the panels because this one was brimming with ideas and inspiration.

Next was the Guest of Honour speech handled in an interview format.  Alison Goodman in Conversation with Jason Nahrung.  Alison and Jason are good friends and this was evident in the relaxed and comfortable talk that took place.  I also became aware of Alison’s other less well known work  - her adult crime fiction novel, Killing the Rabbit which I simply must buy after hearing her talk about it.

After lunch came my one and only panel appearance Book Blogs & Reviewing, which went much more smoothly and less nervously than I thought it would.  I think we came across as a pretty diverse bunch and there was a good discussion on reviewing for friends or acquaintances which is hard to avoid in the Australian Speculative fiction scene.

I did have chuckle to myself when a member of the audience who is a reviewer for one of the major newspapers was heard to have remarked that nobody reads blogs any more.  I mean the audience obviously did and personally I can’t remember the last time I read a newspaper( so neener)- but I had well over 1000 blog feeds to read when I returned home from the Con.

It was no rest for the wicked though and  straight into The Writer & The Critic with Kirstyn McDermott, Ian Mond and guests, Kelly Link and Alison Goodman.  That particular panel was recorded here.

I believe then that a decision was made to go and grab a quick bite to eat before the Chronos and Ditmar awards.  I had a wonderful dinner with Mark Webb and David Golding at the same pizza restaurant that we had been to the Friday night.  The one thing that impresses me about Melbourne was really good customer service.

The Awards Ceremony was quite frankly a blast.  By far the most entertaining  I have watched/ participated in for awhile.  Nominated for two awards, an individual for Fan Writer and a group nomination for Galactic Chat, I was stoked just to have been involved (and to have received the coveted nomination pin).  The results of those awards can be found here

Congrats again to those who won.

My memory now eludes me as to what occurred next.  I am going to hazard a guess that I was in the bar where I managed to have two separate friendly theological discussions with people I know consider friends – you know who you are.

1.This is indicative of its importance as a location of free discussion not any latent alcoholism on my part

2. It was good hearted jeering.  I got the impression that Ian was well known to the con crowd.

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Jun 18, 2012

Continuum 8 There and Back Again (Troisième partie)

or part three if you prefer.

Day 2 of the convention dawned with a light drizzle.  My headache had departed along with any chance of getting breakfast before rushing off to the con. 

I managed to make it to the con just as Take the pebble from my hand, a panel on mentoring for writers was beginning.  It was both an interesting panel to listen to, featuring three mentors and one mentee, and packed with some good resources.

2012-06-09 10.19.50Next I attended the Masters of Podcasting (an interesting title considering that two of the panellists were female members of some of the most popular Australian specfic podcasts). 

Terry Frost of Paleo-Cinema podcast declared that fanzines were dead as a large part of Fandom.  Jonathan Strahan then went on to say that the podcast was the lazy persons(perhaps time challenged) fanzine. 

Much talk was had on the ease of production, distribution and consumption of podcasts i.e. Jonathan rolls out of bed conducts a structured ramble with Gary K Wolfe, uploads without editing and it’s done.  Listeners then download and listen to it while they exercise/drive/do chores – a process that takes a fraction of time for all parties concerned, compared to the production and consumption of fanzines.

Next was Fans & Faith which was “advertised” as Religion often frowns upon science fiction…how do the panellists reconcile their passion with their faith.  It turned out to be more about how panellists felt isolated or misleadingly portrayed by the science fiction community. Either way, as a an atheist it was interesting to observe. 

There were a couple of times I winced as comments were directed at atheists but for the most part it was good discussion – I attended in the spirit of understanding.  Ian Mond made some excellent points about the portrayal of Jewish and Islamic characters, the specifics of which elude me now. 

There was some heated discussion when an audience member raised a badly framed question about the scientific method being antithetical to religion.  He framed it badly and the panel was defensive, which was a pity because I think it gets to the crux of the matter.  How do the scientifically minded religious deal with doctrinal/dogmatic interference in science. 

The minister sitting on the panel seemed a bit blinded in her appreciation for the power religion held in chilling science when it’s ethically dubious, but not when it might hold up advances that are beneficial i.e. eugenics versus say birth control.

I wanted to ask the panel if they saw Christianity as a solid cohesive belief structure(it’s not in my experience - there are some 3000 Christian sects) and saw attacks or misrepresentations as an attack on all Christians or an attack on a particular type?  Is there a tendency to close ranks, in other words?

All in all though a good talk that got me thinking.

2012-06-09 14.49.54After introducing myself to the Ditmar Winning Ian Mond I hightailed it over to the Galactic Suburbia live podcast (mentioned here).

Wanting to support some of the new and old talent that had been published in Fablecroft’s Epilogue I arrived to a rather empty room to hear David McDonald, Steve Cameron, Jo Anderton and Dirk Flinthart read.  I was the only audience member so we adjourned to the Bar.  I still got all their signatures though.

2012-06-09 17.05.44From then on I was involved in helping Twelfth Planet Press carry stuff down to the Writer & The Critic recording at my friend Warren’s bookstore – Embiggen Books.  The result of which you can listen to here.

From then on it was a quick drink at The Moat followed by a Greek restaurant for dinner.

And somehow I ended up back at the Convention bar and had the good fortune to listen wide-eyed as Jonathan Strahan and Robin M Pen held an informal panel on Australian Sci-Fi with me as the only audience member.

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Jun 17, 2012

Continuum 8 There and Back Again (Parte the Seconde)

Part the first can be found here.

If you came here for the Nude Cyclists on Lygon street, I’ll get to that shortly.

Friday, the First convention day.

I awoke with the same headache that I had gone to bed with.  I had been nervous about leaving my clothes bag in the dorm room (hey Bonds are top quality underwear), but upon arising I noticed that my room mate had left his macbook pro on the bunk(seriously who backpacks with a macbook).  I decided then to worry no more about my tighty-whiteys.

I arrived early-ish and sat in the Bar1 seriously a vital spot at any convention.  My first panel was Splicing Genres with Jane Routley, Claire Corbett and Lisa Hannett and my impressions were that Australians are playing on the edge of genre quite well and as long as the author can get the mode right then something worthwhile and fresh is turned out.

Next up was Tales as old as time – a panel on fairy tales, where the wolf featured prominently as a topic of discussion.  There was also mention of the dark origins of many of our well known tales; sanitised first by the Grimms and then by Disney.  Also How our forebears made no distinction between tales for children and adults in their folk tales.

This flowed quite naturally into the Twelfth Planet Press Hour.  A celebration of TPP authors and the Press.  I met Alex Pierce for the first time and helped lighten the load of cupcakes she was distributing amongst the crowd.

The crowd was huge, I would have said about 60 odd at least.  Alisa Krasnostein stood on a chair to address the throng and all the Twelfth Planet Press authors in attendance had their photo taken.

12 planet authors

(photo: Cat Sparks)

After this, a group of us absconded to Lygon street.  Where after ordering our meals at one of the famous and really well priced Italian pizza joints we were treated to the wonderful sight of a large group of naked cyclists, Police Incident van in tow.

Sorry no pictures2 .  It was a cold night and I didn’t catch the cause they were riding for.

1. The was a lot of sitting in the bar.  It was the unofficial convention free form panel where many authors held court and chatted.There may have been some drinking…

2. I’ll let you imagine something akin to the Melbourne football team naked on bicycles

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Galactic Suburbia–Craftinomicon Edition

Yet another podcast I got to sit in on and watch live.  Now generally speaking watching a show that’s meant for audio consumption only is kind of weird.

I commend the Galactic Suburbians for pretty much doing their thang in front of a reasonably sized audience and not being at all put off.  If it had been me I’d have been tempted to play to the audience so to speak.

So without more of my rambling here is the episode:

or you can download it.

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Jun 14, 2012

Continuum 8–There and back again (Part 1)


Well I made it back…eventually.  The trip over and the convention went smoothly. The return, as anyone who follows me on Twitter will know, was something of an adventure.1

Day 1 – Whose idea was it to backpack it?

To be fair if I hadn’t chosen to stay at the backpackers I probably wouldn't have been able to go.  It was an experience and not  one that I want to repeat in a hurry - the backpacking, that is.

I arrived the day before the convention, not out of any desire to see Melbourne, lovely though the city is, but because going on the Thursday enabled me to get the cost of flights down to $23 + frequent flyer points.

Travellers Hint: If staying in the city catch the Skybus, $17 may sound a bit steep for a bus ride but the taxi is quite a bit more.

Fear of Myki Card Failure 2 meant that I decided to walk everywhere and so I walked the manageable distance from Southern Cross station to Nomad Backpackers in A’beckett Street.  I was accosted along the way by some English tourist roped into selling something and managed to practice some awareness tactics from my self protection training days.3

Upon arriving at Nomads I was pleasantly surprised by the reception decor - a mixture of funky lounge and bar, clean and professional. 

I was less impressed with the fact that the security locker they had mentioned on the website was a) the size of a shoebox b) was bring your own padlock.  That the wireless internet wasn’t complementary (though perhaps I was confused with the Convention Venue) was a bit of a downer too.

I had chosen an 8 berth suite and upon arriving in my room discovered it full and smelling of wet socks.  I sat on what looked like the only free bed and pondered my predicament – having to repack all my valuables into the bag that I would carry with me all the time. 

I would have to chance the possibility that there wasn’t a person around with a fetish for bonds underwear and leave my clothing case at the mercy of my room mates.

Upon pulling back the covers in an attempt to rest my eyes and rid myself of a troublesome headache, I discovered a dainty pile of nicely folded pink sleepwear. It appeared  Goldilocks was sleeping in my bed.  I traipsed downstairs (via the lift) and informed them that the Inn was full.

The receptionist ( who still strikes me as the splitting image of some Eastern European actress) investigated and I was shifted to another room.  Here I must comment on the exceptional customer service, not to be expected from hotel staff let alone backpackers working for a few extra quid.

My new room, a 6 berth suite was largely unoccupied apart from Stu an English backpacker with whom I shared my only conversation with room mates for the entire time I was there.

It was still quite early and leaving my Bonds behind I ventured out into the city, hoping to catch a viewing of Prometheus before heading up to the convention site to test the walking time.

The walk it turns out was more interesting than the movie.  For a good summary of Ridley Scott’s tribute to pissing on sci-fi go here.

On reaching the Rydges I found the bar, Cat Sparks, Jonathan Strahan, Kaaron Warren and Margo Lanagan, though it’s possible that I am conflating days and one or two of those people weren’t there yet - I was tired and may have had some Port.

Nonetheless I felt at home.  That is until the hotel began their ruthless emptying of the bar at 11pm, a trend that was, along with chronic understaffing, to continue for the whole of the convention.

I returned home to a darkened room.  Stu seemed to have found a companion for the evening and I flopped into bed pleased that the bar downstairs was quiet.  The paper thin pillow and the light from yonder building through conspired to give me a rather restless night.

Not to be outdone by Thursday, Friday offered up the start of the convention and a bevvy of Nude Cyclists braving Lygon Street.  But more of that later.

1. First the plane was delayed, then cancelled.  Another 4 planes left for Adelaide before they were able to fit me on one. My wife had already left the homestead for the 2.5 hour trip to come and collect me.  So in the end she ended up with a 5 hour wait and me 10 .  I began to gain an appreciation of Tom  Hanks’ character in The Terminal.  

2.Note this who evr runs the transport system.  Issues with your travel system are so wide spread that some travellers will forgo using it just to avoid the hassle

3. Sort of like Mindful ignoring or deflection of her manipulative attempts at emotional manipulation

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May 31, 2012

Continuum Update

continuum-8-logoYes. Still going.

My panel time has changed though and I can reveal the details and the other panellists with the assurances from the exhausted Continuum team that things will not change. 

Note the excellent gender balance achieved by the Continuum team.



Sue Bursztynski, – Blogger, author and visitor to this blog. You can find her blog here.

George Ivanoff, – Blogger, and  author.  He blogs here

Alexandra Pierce, – Blogger, podcaster,  reviewer and mild mannered teacher.  Alex is here, randomly.

Gillian Polack, – Blogger, author, academic, and chocolate fanatic can be found here. 

Sean Wright – Blogger, reviewer, podcaster and ne’er do well.  This is me of course



Book Blogs And Reviewing Sunday 14:00 until Sunday 15:00 (60 Minutes)

Blogging has meant an explosion in book reviewing and discussion, but what makes good reviews and blogs? What boxes does a book have to check to receive 5 stars?




The Lincoln Room


Now I know I am the big draw card but you should seriously check out some of the others*.  Continuum 8 is using some new software for scheduling.  So If you want to download a pdf program that is pretty much set in stone you can go here.

If you are after a particular personality I suggest you try this page which will give you their specific events so that you can then highlight  them on the printed out pdf.


*this is a joke, new readers.

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May 22, 2012

The Bookonaut is Continuum bound

continuum-8-logoI am not sure if I have announced on the blog that I am going to Continuum 8.

I did let it slip in a couple of places online but, hey it’s been a little busy with work (finally) and trying to keep up with everything that is going on in Speculative Fiction land.

I also wanted to wait until I had received notice of the panel I was invited to be on.

I will be participating in the Book Blogs and Reviewing panel running from 9 -10 am Saturday (tentative times, almost set in stone).  So if you are going to Continuum feel free to drop in and partake of the wisdom of a diverse range of panellists. 

The wonderful Continuum organisers are still organising so I will post the full details shortly.

[edit:  The panel times could be wrong.  The overworked staff at Continuum have informed me that a technical snafu caused the wrong times to be sent with the notification.  Will keep you posted]

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Apr 28, 2012

I will be discussing the Ditmar shortlist

but not today.  Some may have wondered if  my relative silence was as a result of a head injury after the fainting fit induced by being nominated for 2 Ditmars, it was thankfully not the case.  Though I did have a rather sleepless night which wasn’t  good considering Friday was my first day back at work.

But work is good, work means the likelihood of getting to Continuum 8 is greater.  So expect some sporadic quietness around these parts as I jump upon any paying work.

I do intend to do a post on each of the Ditmar Categories in the lead up to the event.  There’s some great people and product in that list and I have read a great deal of them in the past year, so feel invested in the awards already.  So tomorrow or the next day.

I am celebrating my wife's 39 and 12 months birthday this weekend which will also take up much of my time.

But before I go check out Trent Jamieson’s release details for the sequel to Roil(sadly not on the list despite my nominating efforts).

Trent Jamison talks Night’s Engines

NightsEngines-144dpi-198x300The Nightbound Land has been with me since around 1999 and since then I’ve been married, moved house several times, changed jobs, sold short stories and, eventually, novels. It’s one of those projects that I should have perhaps let go long before it sold, but I never could.

I’ve learnt almost everything I know about writing books by writing these. And, to be honest, delivering Night’s Engines put me in a bit of a spin at the end of 2011. There’s so many books I want to write, so many different things that I am working on, but when I delivered that book – my fifth in two years – it really felt like I’d pulled a big chunk of my heart out of my chest and dropped it on my desk. To say it was hard to get going on things again is an understatement. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t been writing, but there’s been a rather large element of aimlessness to it.

Read On….

Oh and expect a review of The Return Man by V.M. Zito and Westwood’s, The Courier's New Bicycle in the coming week.

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Apr 6, 2012

Continuum 8–Craft competition

c8_octaviusoctonariiContinuum 8 are running an SF Competition for members of the convention (including supporting members). 

Check out the details below.  It has a writing component for all those budding authors (especially those Queenslanders who might be fleeing the wrath of Campbell “Can do anything I damn well want to arts funding” Newman) and a non-writing section.

To celebrate Natcon 2012, Continuum 8 invites its members to get crafty in the Continuum 8 Science Fiction Competition. There are two categories – Written and Non-written – so you can showcase your skills no matter where your talents lie.

The competition is held in partnership with the Australian Science Fiction Foundation, who have generously funded prizes of $200 and $50, to be presented at the Chronos and Ditmar Awards Ceremony at Continuum 8. Winners will also receive publication in the convention souvenir handbook.

Entries close midnight on April 30.

Go here to get the competition and entry details.

oliver-twist-007I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.

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