Wow, it’s hard to believe that it has been almost two weeks since the Con! I haven’t had time to experience too much post con emo – I’ve been sent all over Victoria for work, hence the lateness of this report.
This Con was a bit of a different experience for me. I had an amazing time, but I didn’t spend quite as much time socialising as I normally would. Being on the Committee was really rewarding, and something I would love to do again, but it meant that I spent a lot of time doing behind the scenes things. Of course, it meant I spent way less money at the bar!
On Friday I did the usual welcome to convention going panel, Continuum 101 and then hung around to do a Meet and Greet for people who were new to the scene. Was quite nice, and I met a very interesting couple who had recently been to ComicCon and seemed to like the idea of a smaller, more welcoming convention. Hopefully they will return!
Then it was off to the Opening Ceremony, which featured a very cool video of different spec fic films, set to a catchy song by a local group. I am going to have to chase them up, I think. Apparently, the song is about Tram 86 – it’s called “Northcote So Hungover” and is by the Bedroom Philosopher. Steph gave us a great introduction to the Convention and we were off and running.
Cleverly, they had organised the Chronos Awards Ceremony to follow straight after. While it wasn’t a seamless transition, there was still a sizeable crowd. As usual, Mondy and Kirstyn did a great job of hosting, and it was perhaps the quickest awards ceremony I have ever been to! The winners were:
Best Long Fiction 2012
“Salvage” by Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
Best Short Fiction 2012
“The Mornington Ride” by Jason Nahrung in Epilogue, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
Best Fan Writer 2012
Best Fan Written Work 2012
Reviewing New Who series by David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely
Best Fan Artist 2012
Best Fan Artwork 2012
“The Entellechy” by Dick Jenssen, cover art for Interstellar Ramjet Scoop for ANZAPA 267 edited by Bill Wright
Best Fan Publication 2012
Viewing Clutter by George Ivanoff
Best Achievement 2012
Continuum 8: Craftonomicon (51st Australian National SF Convention) Program by Julia Svaganovic, Emma Hespa Mann, and Caitlin Noble
I was relieved that we beat No Award to take away the Chronos for Best Fan Written Work. I was really honoured to be able to accept it on behalf of Tehani and Tansy, it’s been a massive privilege working with them. I also was able to thank Lynne Thomas, Jo Anderton and Kathleen Jennings who have all contributed at different stages.And, what a lovely trophy!
However, I want it on record that I actually offered Tehani the trophy, but she said no!
The Snapshot lost in the Achievement category, but it was hard to be too disappointment given who we were up against – the Continuum 8 team did an amazing job and deserved to be recognised for a wonderful Con. Congratulations to all the winners!
Saturday did not get off to the best of starts, with some car trouble meaning I missed my first my first two panels! Very embarrassing, but by the sounds of things I was barely missed and they went off extremely well.
I spent a bit of time on the rego desk, and generally trying to be useful, plus squeezing in a bit of socialising. Sadly, I missed N.K. Jemisin’s amazing GoH speech, but you can read it here. Once you’ve done so (and trust me, you should), you will understand why everyone is tlaking about it, and why some troglodytes feel so threatened by it.
I went along to the book launch of George Ivanoff’s “Gamer’s Rebellion”. George is a great guy (and the coolest jacket of the weekend, which is saying something. It was painted in a TARDIS design) so I was delighted to see how many people turned up to support him as he officially achieved trilogy status. Narelle Harris was a wonderful launcher, too.
After dinner there was a bit of setup and then the Maskabolo. Because I am not much of dancer I volunteered to man the door and check IDs and field questions from bemused hotel patrons as to what was going on! There were some amazing costumes, from Margo Lanagan inspired selkies to the God of Thunder himself.
The DJ did a great job, and I was very jealous of his iPad mixing desk app – I wish I’d had that back in my community radio days! Every one seemed to be having a great deal of fun, and I did the wallflower thing and hung around until very late. While there wasn’t enough alcohol in the hotel to get me on the dance floor, I still enjoyed myself thoroughly.
I was pretty nervous on Sunday, as I had arranged to interview Nora (N.K. Jemisin) for Galactic Chat. I’d never used the equipment before, and this was my first interview for the podcast, so I was really worried that something would go wrong, or that I would stuff it up. But, everything went smoothly and any shortcomings as interviewer were more than compensated for by Nora being such a wonderful interviewee. You can hear it here.
With that out of the way, I could relax a bit and spent some time on the rego desk. Soon, it was time for the launch of Kirstyn McDermott’s new collection, “Caution: Contains Small Parts“. KIrstyn is one of Australia’s leading horror writers (Madigan Mine is one of my all time favourites), and if the excerpt is anything to go by this will be a very scary, and brilliant, collection!
Then it was off to my next panel, Deeper Than Swords. I knew it was going to be a good panel when our moderator, Darrren, turned up wearing chainmail. This was a tough one because everyone is scared of spoilers, which I think impacted the numbers. We ended up asking the audience where they were up, and deciding to limit discussion to anything up to the latest episode of the TV show. We still managed to have a great discussion, touching on topics like the difference between the books and shows, the changes that come about because of the difference in medium, and the way that the exposure from and success of the TV has changed the makeup of the fandom of the series.
I had initially asked be taken off a few panels because of the extra commitments from being on the committee, but I ended up back on one of them:
Zombies Go Mainstream
Panellists: Gareth Hodges, David McDonald, Adrian Melchiori, Darren Sanderson
Walking Dead, I Am Legend, World War Z… Much like superheroes, zombies have lurched, groaning, into the public eye. Where do they come from, what is their appeal today and whose brains will they seek out next? And what about their origins in Vodoun?
I’m really glad that I was part of this one! We had a really enthusiastic and interactive audience, some great panelists (and me), and a wide ranging and fascinating discussion. One of the things I found really interesting was the idea that the zombie is one of the few modern horror archetypes (along with giant radioactive monsters), with most being pre 1900s (the Werewolf, the Vampire, Frankenstein’s Monster). We talked about what these archetypes represent, and how the Zombie reflected the fear of becoming a faceless member of the crowd and losing identity. We also talked about why zombie stories might appeal to the genre crowd so much, and made a long list of recommended reading and viewing. The only thing I found difficult was that I have never had people listen quite so raptly to things I was saying, and it was disconcerting! lol
And, then, of course it was time for more socialising!
Monday I took some friends out to the airport, so I didn’t get to the Con until lunchtime and before I knew it, it was time for my final panel, Tolkien v Jackson.
I felt rather boringly under-dressed for this one. Richard and Kathryn sported steampunk hats that I immediately coveted, and Paul was a picture of sartorial elegance. And, their discussion was just as sparkling, ranging from the Bakshi adaptations to the madness (and excellence) of Nicol Williamson’s audio reading. There was some spirited debate about the merits of the Hobbit movie and whether it lived up to Peter Jackson’s LOTR movies. One of the highlights was when we got Lewis Morley (who was in the audience) talking about his experiences working on the movies. We should have had him on the panel!
I had another interview scheduled for the afternoon, but I think I will let you wait and see who. It’s going to be worth the wait!
The end of a Con is always a little melancholy, so after the Closing Ceremony the Committee, and a few others, retired to the bar for an unofficial Dead Dog Party and spent some time reflecting on what I think was a pretty successful Con.
There were so many positives to look back on. The Chair, Stephanie Lai, had a very clear vision for the Con and everyone bought into it. I think that everyone could see the really strong social justice theme that ran through the Con, and the programming team created a programme stream that reflected this. I was really proud to be associated with it, and to have played some small part in helping organise it.
As always, the choice of guests played a huge role in how the Con went. Both Nora and Paul were extremely accessible and involved, and went above and beyond in their roles as Guests of Honour. Nora’s speech helped set the tone for the whole event, and is still being talked about around the world. Add a great turnout of awesome people, a wonderful crowd, exceptional panelists and a huge range of panels and you ended up with an incredible convention.
There are few things they may have to be looked at in the future, mainly concerning the venue. The hotel staff were exceptional and did everything possible to make us feel welcome but I think this con was almost too big for it, with a lot of very packed rooms. But, next year is the Natcon and will be at a different hotel anyway.
All in all, another great Con. Next on my list – Worldcon!