It’s good to have a Halloween event and this year I’m lucky to be involved with a great one! On Friday the 28th October, from 6pm until 8pm, I’ll be at Carnes Hill Library talking about horror fiction and the gothic with amazing talents Margo Lanagan, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks and Tony Thompson. For anyone interested, Tony will be running a workshop beforehand too. All the details are on the image below (click for a bigger version).
So this is a book I’m really excited about and so proud to be in. Jack Dann is a legend in the field, someone who has been around and influential for decades. His own work as an author is stunning, and his work as an editor is globally lauded. He’s done a couple of “Dreaming” anthologies before (Dreaming Down Under and Dreaming Again, which you really should check out) so this is a bit like the third in an unofficial series. And check out that cover!
Here’s the official synopsis:
A celebration of Australia’s current Golden Age of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magical realism. Jack Dann—the multi-award-winning author and co-editor of the classic Dreaming Down-Under, the anthology that “has been credited with putting Australian writing on the international map” and the first Australian book to win a World Fantasy Award—has collected a wonderfully eclectic range of short fiction that showcases what our best fantasists are doing right now at this genre-bending moment in time.
I think this is going to be one of those books that gathers heaps of attention, and with the list of authors included, it really should. Honestly, I’m humbled to be among them. Here’s the full table of Contents (not in final order):
Welcome to the Golden Age: An Introduction of Sorts—Jack Dann
Sing, My Murdered Darlings—Sean Williams Falling Angel—Paul Brandon Martian Triptych—James Bradley Northerner’s Farewell—Rjurik Davidson Midnight In The Graffiti Tunnel—Terry Dowling A Right Pretty Mate—Lisa L. Hannett Eromon No More—Jason Nahrung Luv Story—Kim Westwood The Luminarium Tower—Sean McMullen Neither Time Nor Tears—Angela Slatter His Shining Day—Richard Harland The Liquid Palace—Adam Browne Heat Treatment—Venero Armanno Snowflakes All the Way Down—Rosaleen Love Served Cold—Alan Baxter The Dog Who’d Been Dead—Anna Tambour Fade To Grey—Janeen Webb All Those Superpowers and What Are They Good For?—Garth Nix Burnt Sugar—Kirstyn McDermott In Hornhead Wood—Kim Wilkins Moonshine—Simon Brown
See what I mean? What a book. It’ll be coming out initially in two special editions, an unsigned jacketed hardcover (ISBN 978-1-848639-68-3) and a limited edition of 200 slip-cased jacketed hardcovers signed by all the contributors (ISBN 978-1-786360-17-5). I’m guessing an ebook and paperback edition will be coming at some point after that. All the details can be found at the publisher site here, PS Publishing. It’s out next month, so watch this space. Full wrap cover below (click for large view).
So I was supposed to be appearing at Book Expo this weekend, but it was cancelled at the very last minute by the utterly incompetent organisers. It’s a huge blow to many authors and publishers, not to mention readers who had bought tickets, lots of whom have invested large sums of cash in travel, accommodation and so on. However, you can tell I’m angry and disappointed, so let’s just leave it at that. But there is some silver lining!
I was originally going as a guest, along with Greig Beck and Lee Murray, of Cohesion Press, who are publishing my new monster novel, Primordial, next year. It’s co-written with David Wood and I’m very proud of it. There were going to be early Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) for people to get at Book Expo. My other books would of course also have been available there and I was looking forward to meeting readers and signing books. Well, the awesome Geoff Brown of Cohesion Press has organised a last minute replacement event at Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney.
I’ll be there from 2pm to 5pm, with all my books, including some copies of Crow Shine and those ARCs of Primordial. Greig Beck will be there with his new monster thriller, Fathomless, and Lee Murray from NZ will be there to sign her novel, Into The Mist. As an added bonus, my mate Andrew McKiernan will also be there to sign copies of his collection, Last Year, When We Were Young.
It’s a huge mass signing event at the best SFF bookshop in town! So be there if you can.
I’m home from Conflux 12, my first as an official Guest of Honour, and what a wonderful con it was. I haven’t missed a Conflux in years, because it’s always great and has long been my favourite Aussie convention. So of course, to be the GoH there was a double treat. So much happened, I won’t be able to record it all, but here’s a bit of a run down on my experience of events.
The MC was the awesome Sean Williams, and the international guest was David Farland (he of the Runelords series and so much more, who you may also know as David Wolverton, the name he uses for his science fiction novels). The picture to the left there shows (left to right) Sean Williams, David Farland and myself, taken at the con banquet on the Saturday night. Both Sean and David were brilliant. I really enjoyed David’s interview, conducted by Tim Napper. David has been in the business for a long time and is a really heavy hitter (he’s the reason Harry Potter got as big as it did). His insights and experiences were fascinating.
There were numerous panels over the four days, covering a wide variety of topics. The theme of the con, based on the year in Chinese astrology, was Red Fire Monkey, so a lot of stuff was based around that. A lot of Asian-influenced SF was discussed, which is great because it’s a largely un-mined source of great fiction in the west.
One of the real high points for me was the launch of my first collection of short fiction, Crow Shine. The amazing and completely lovely Kaaron Warren was kind enough to launch for me and she said such great things about the book. I made some souvenir “moonshine” for the event that we all used to toast the launch and I sold a bunch of books. Hopefully people will enjoy the read. The book is officially released (in hardcover and ebook along with the paperback you see below) in November, so watch here and my social media for details as they come about. Here’s Kaaron and I right before things got under way.
Another high point for me was my Guest of Honour Q&A, with horror master Robert Hood interviewing me. It was a really interesting hour, where Rob’s questions had me interrogating myself and my ideas around horror and dark fiction quite deeply. I enjoyed it a lot. And when Rob opened the floor to questions, he insisted that anyone with a question take Eric the Monkey (a plushy toy monkey with an evil gleam in its eye) and try to hit me with it while I was answering. One shot got through, with Ian Nichols tossing a monkey with more velocity than I expected it capable of! I saw the shot coming and got a hand to it, but just deflected it into my own head due to the unexpected pace. The pic below shows me and Rob mid-discussion. That bastard monkey, Eric, is just out of shot to the left, waiting for his moment to shine.
And I think the other thing that really deserves a mention is the Sci Fi Tai Chi! As part of his MC duties, Sean Williams devised a new short form of “tai chi”. Most tai chi styles have moves with poetic and descriptive names, so Sean decided to develop a science fiction version, with each move referencing some SF or fantasy movement known to all fans. He taught a few moves at each significant con event, and I had the obliging Dave Versace video the final lesson from the closing ceremony, where Sean demonstrated the last three parts. I joined him in learning and demonstrating the “Sean Williams Sci Fi Tai Chi Form” and here it is on YouTube. For reference, the moves are:
Rimmer Salute Part 1 Jedi Mind Trick Vulcan Salute and Nerve Pinch Grab the Gungan’s Tongue and Bop Him on the Head Neo Shakes Off the Dust Marty McFly Checks His Watch Know Where Your Towel Is Venusian Aikido Get Away From Her You Bitch Slayer Strike Right Slayer Strike Left Thunderbird Walk I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing Rimmer Salute Part 2
So that’s my short wrap of Conflux 12. Already, I can’t wait for Conflux 13 next year. As ever, Cat Sparks was roving around all weekend with her camera and her full photoset of the con is on Flickr here. If you can ever get to Canberra in early October for a Conflux, you won’t regret it.
I’m still coming to terms with the idea that I can be a Guest of Honour at a convention, but it’s true. I’ll be the GoH at Conflux 12 in Canberra this weekend. It’ll be heaps of fun and there’s loads of good stuff happening. We’ll be launching my collection, Crow Shine, with the inestimable Kaaron Warren. The book isn’t officially published until November, so it’s a good chance to get your hands on an early copy.
I’ll be on a bunch of panels and doing my Write the Fight Right workshop too, along with plenty of other stuff. And there’ll also be a whole bunch of fun stuff that doesn’t involve me! The full program is on the con website here. And the rest of the time, of course, I’ll be in bar. So please come along and join in the fun. All the details are on the con website. Four days of SFF fun in Canberra. Can’t wait! Hope to see you there.