Continuum 8 – Day 3 (Sunday)

A later start this morning meant a bit of a sleep in (for which I’m very grateful!). I started the day with a session titled Everyone Loves a Good Murder, chaired by Laura Wilkinson, who was joined on the panel by Kaaron Warren, Tor Roxburgh, Stephen Dedman and Lindy Cameron. The topic was the joining of crime/murder fiction with speculative fiction. People seemed a bit blurry eyed from the night before and generally the sessions seemed a bit less well attended – probably a sure sign that the Maskobalo Ball went well!

Some interesting comments on the history of the crime story, including the different expectations of crime readers to speculative fiction readers, what makes a good murder mystery and the use of murder mystery to illustrate the general philosophical point of the underlying story.

The second session of the day for me was titled What’s It Worth chaired by Alan Baxter, joined by Jason Nahrung, Jonathan Strahan and Kate Eltham, discussing the price of eBooks and the various controversies that surround that pricing. This was one of my favourite sessions of the convention so far. There were some very interesting discussions on the process of “costing” an eBook, from the “it’s bits and bytes, it costs nothing!” musings of readers through to the “load it up with all the normal costs of producing a print book – editing, marketing etc” from publishers.

The session also covered Digital Rights Management, finding the right price point, how to create the perception of value – it was all very interesting.

I also met David Golding, who has provided comments on this blog before. Had a great chat with him, sounds like he is doing some very interesting stuff in his job with Scribe Publications.

Next was the guest of honour session with Alison Goodman, interviewed by Jason Nahrung. The discussion focused on Ms Goodman’s writing and publication process, with some good points about including sensory detail in your writing as well as some interesting story about her road to publication. Simultaneous editing with an Australian and American editor sounded exhausting!

After a quick lunch I attended Book Blogging and Reviewing chaired by Sue Bursztynski, who was joined by George Ivanoff, Alexandra Pierce, Gillian Polack and Sean Wright. The panel was mixed between people who were paid for their blogging (Mr Ivanoff and Ms Polack) and those who did it more for the love (Ms Pierce and Mr Wright). There was quite a bit of audience feedback, especially from a reviewer for one of the West Australian newspapers. This was one of the few panels that had some genuine disagreement (in particular over the issue of whether to review friend’s books), which was good to see. Everyone was very polite and respectful of course, but it was good to see people having a reasonable disagreement.

I’ve interacted with Sean Wright over the internet a bit (Sean runs the Adventures of a Bookonaut website, which is one of my favourite sources of Australian speculative fiction news and reviews). It was great to introduce myself to Sean in the flesh after the session.

Next was a live taping of The Writer and the Critic hosted by Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, joined by special guests Alison Goodman and Kelly Link. It was fantastic to see the podcast (which is probably my favourite at the moment) live, complete with cutting room floor banter between Kirstyn and Ian.

This month’s podcast reviewed books brought along by Ms Goodman (The Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey) and Ms Link (The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater). I won’t spoil any of the podcast, go along and listen to episode 20 if you want to find out what everyone thought.

After that I was a bit panelled out and the last couple of sessions in the day didn’t grab me, so I grabbed a drink with David Golding and Sean Wright instead. While ordering drinks at the bar I had a great chat with Jason Nahrung, an excellent Australian author whose work I really enjoy. Jason was very encouraging, and pointed me towards Genre Con as being an upcoming event in Sydney that I should consider going to. Jason also has some very exciting work coming out over the next few months, which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

David, Sean and I then went and grabbed dinner while we waited for the upcoming Ditmar and Chronos awards ceremony. Sean was a nominee for a couple of the awards (Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Publication in Any Medium (for his work with Galactic Chat). It was great to hear about Sean’s writing and work in the community, and David is doing some very interesting work in both editing and eBook publication. A very enjoyable dinner.

I’ve documented the Ditmar and Chronos award session separately, so this is where I leave day three. It was a lot of fun and it was great to interact with some people as well attending some great sessions.


Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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