Continuum 8, NatCon 51 report

I have to be honest, this is going to be a fairly lame report. Don’t get me wrong, the con was awesome, the programming stream was excellent and huge fun was had by one and all. It’s just that my brain is jelly and there’s so much to do, but I did want to mention a few personal highlights.

As for my own involvement in things, I enjoyed all the panels I was on. The discussions about ebooks and the future of reading devices were both fascinating debates and I learned a lot along with taking part. The New Faiths For New Worlds panel, where we discussed religion in worldbuilding was perhaps my favourite of the panels I took part in. It was a really interesting exploration of how to get it right and what mistakes people make in weaving religion well into their cultural worldbuilding rather than simply slapping it on the side or rebadging our own religions and shoehorning them into the narrative. As a snapshot example, David Eddings (Belgariad) copped a lot of flack for fucking it up and George R R Martin (A Song Of Ice And Fire) got kudos for doing it well.

My workshop on writing fight scenes was very sparsely attended but good nonetheless, and I hope those who did attend got something from it. I have to admit that I was heinously hungover for that, but I don’t think it showed too much. I also had a fairly savage stomach bug, so the start of the con was hard work indeed, but thankfully I came good by Saturday and all was well.

I was on a reading panel with Kelly Link, Jenny Blackford and Tansy Rayner Roberts which was also good fun. I read last and it’s probably just as well, as the three before me all read things that were not nearly as dirty and grim and sweary as my stuff (I read an excerpt from The Darkest Shade Of Grey) and I think I kinda brought the tone down a bit. But I did get a lot of positive feedback from attendees afterwards, so that’s good. People like the dark stuff.

My other official duty was launching the debut collection by Melbourne writer and very good friend, Felicity Dowker. Her collection of short fiction, Bread & Circuses, which I’ve mentioned here before, is brilliant. It was my first time being the official launcher for a book, so I was a bit nervous about it, but I think it went very well. Jack Dann congratulated me on it afterwards, so I must have been doing something right if the launchmaster himself approved. Felicity gave a great reading and then sold and signed loads of books, so the event was definitely a very well-attended win.

In between all that I got to listen in on a variety of other excellent panels and readings – I was always doing something and kept missing things I wanted to see, which is the sign of a well programmed con.

The awards night was another highlight. Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond did an excellent job of MCing the whole thing and bringing it in under time. I’ll post a list of winners at the end of this post. I was nominated, but I didn’t win. I have no concerns about that, though, as I lost to Joanne Anderton, who is a lovely person and absolutely deserving of the win. I even told her she would win, as I was sure she would, but she wouldn’t believe me till it happened.

Otherwise there was much drinking, eating, talking, drinking, laughing and drinking. The usual con stuff. And, as always, it was all over too soon and I felt like I hardly had more than a few seconds with anyone. Well done to the Continuum committee for a superb event and here’s to the next one!

Following are all the Award winners, taken from the Continuum 8 site.

Congratulations to the all the winners of the Australian SF awards, presented Sunday evening.

The A Bertram Chandler Award: Richard Harland

The Norma K Hemming Award: AA Bell, for Hindsight, and Sara Douglass, for The Devil’s Diadem

The Peter McNamara Award: Bill Congreve

The Chronos Awards:

Best Long Fiction:
The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Paul Haines (Brimstone Press)

Best Short Fiction:
The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt, Paul Haines (in The Last Days of Kali Yuga)

Best Fan Writer:
Jason Nahrung

Best Fan Artist:
Rachel Holkner

Best Fan Written Work:
Tiptree, and a collection of her short stories, Alexandra Pierce (in Randomly Yours, Alex)

Best Fan Artwork:
Blue Locks, Rebecca Ing (Scape 2)

Best Fan Publication:
The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

Best Achievement:
Conquilt, Rachel Holkner and Jeanette Holkner (Continuum 7)

The Infinity Award, for overwhelming contribution to Australian SF: Merv Binns

The Ditmar Awards:

Best Novel
The Courier’s New Bicycle, Kim Westwood (HarperCollins)

Best Novella or Novelette
“The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt”, Paul Haines, in The Last Days of Kali Yuga (Brimstone Press)

Best Short Story
“The Patrician”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Collected Work
The Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines, edited by Angela Challis (Brimstone Press)

Best Artwork
“Finishing School”, Kathleen Jennings, in Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories (Candlewick Press)

Best Fan Writer
Robin Pen, for “The Ballad of the Unrequited Ditmar”

Best Fan Artist
Kathleen Jennings, for work in Errantry ( including “The Dalek Game”

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

Best New Talent
Joanne Anderton

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
Alexandra Pierce and Tehani Wessely, for reviews of Vorkosigan Saga, in Randomly Yours, Alex


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