Continuum 8 – Wrap Up

So, it’s been a few days since I got back from Continuum 8 and I thought it was about time I wrote a “wrap up” post (now that everything has had a chance to sink in).

Those that have been following along with my day to day posts (day 1, day 2, day 3day 4 and the awards ceremony) could probably tell that I enjoyed the convention immensely. I was attending more from a writing perspective than a general fan perspective, but the program was varied enough that there was usually always something on that I was interested in. It was also a great time to sit back and think about my own writing, while listening to experienced and knowledgeable people talk about the craft and the industry more generally.

Given the ongoing commentary about gender issues in the publishing industry, I was very interested to see how the gender balance on the panels went. A quick count over the sessions I went to comes to 53 female panel members compared to 21 male panel members, so certainly not male dominated (keep in mind this is just the panels I attended – the effort required for the task of checking the gender balance across the entire convention exceeds my laziness level).

Sydney seems to be quite fallow when it comes to speculative fiction events, but Jason Nahrung did mention GenreCon in Paramatta later in the year. According to Jason this is more of a writers conference than a fan conference. I’ve signed up for it, sounds like it will be very interesting.

I still have a bit of “credibility cringe” when it comes to approaching people at these kinds of events. It reminds me of the early years of my day job – you can’t help but wonder what on earth you could add to a conversation by people that are obviously experienced in their field. So I didn’t avail myself of the social aspects of the convention over the first two days. But even given my natural reticence, I did meet up with a few people that I had interacted with online. Sean Wright (Sean the Bookonaut to his internet fans) and David Golding made excellent dinner companions on Sunday night, and I really enjoyed my conversations with authors Jason Nahrung and Kirstyn McDermott on Monday. There were a few shorter conversations with some people who seemed quite cool and it would have been interesting to speak to for longer – Ian Mond (from The Writer and the Critic), Alex Pierce (from Galactic Suburbia and one of my favourite reviewers) and Russell B. Farr from Ticonderoga Publications to name a few.

My lesson for future conventions would be to explicitly organise to meet up with people I know earlier in the convention. From reading a few other convention round ups, the conversations in the bar seem to be a big part of the appeal. Hopefully next time I’ll know a few more people and I’ll be able to enjoy this part of the convention experience a little more.

I tended to pick which panels I would attend based on the subject matter the panel was covering. Without naming any names, there were panel members that were more prepared and perhaps slightly more thoughtful in their commentary. I think in future conventions I’ll be picking panels based as much on the people on the panels as the subject matter.

Attending the award ceremony was a good part of the experience. Because I’ve been paying a bit more attention to the Australian speculative fiction scene over the last year, I was more aware many of the works on the short lists and had voted accordingly. The atmosphere at the ceremony itself was great and it felt like a bit of a capstone for a lot of the reading and reviewing I’ve been doing lately. I’ll certainly be making sure I participate in the voting process again in future years.

All in all, I am really pleased that I attended Continuum 8. I feel recharged with respect to my own writing, and had quite a few interesting ideas inspired by the environment and the people I interacted with. If you are an aspiring writer in the speculative fiction field, I’d certainly recommend attending the national convention. In 2013 it will be based in Canberra, at the Conflux 9 convention. If you decide to go, make sure you let me know. We’ll organise to meet up on day 1!

Continuum 8 – Day 4 (Monday)

Last day of Continuum 8. Another later start, thank goodness. This convention attendance is exhausting!

First up was a bit of blood sucking with Vampires: From Horror to Heart-Throb. It was chaired by Narrelle Harris, with fellow panelists Jason Nahrung, Sue Bursztynski and Amanda Pillar. The session started off with some interesting historical perspective of the vampire in fiction. There was a lot of discussion about the way vampires have been used to reflect particular societal issues of the time, from sexual repression in Victorian times to issues of empowerment in more modern times. In examining the more recent shift toward viewing the vampire as a romantic interest, it was postulated the removal of religion from consideration of the vampire switched us to being a representative of the other – and with growing awareness of the exclusion of the other (racism, sexism etc) we have naturally drifted into a more sympathetic treatment of vampires.

Of course some of the panel just thought that teenage girls like sexy, immortal beefcakes who will allow them to become immortal as well. Takes all sorts I guess.

The panel covered a lot of other ground including what is next for the vampire (most people seemed to think a period of inactivity followed by a reinvention guided by whatever societal trends were in vogue), issues with choosing evil vs having evil thrust upon you and the choice of metaphor that guides your representation of the vampire as an author.

Next I went along to Suffragettes in the Citadel, Amazons in the Engine Bay moderated by Jane Routley, with fellow panelists Jo Spurrier, Lucy Sussex and Kirstyn McDermott. This session focused on the role of default sexism in the creation of speculative fiction, fantasy in particular. The panel discussed the drivers of a default male pattern on societies and noted how seldom speculative fiction built worlds that were free from the default biases that exist in our contemporary society.

I found this session very interesting from a writing point of view. There were a lot of issues raised regarding world building and societal structures, including the use of matriarchal societies to provide a critique of gender imbalance, deriving alternative societies that are still based on biological history, using how work is valued rather than division of labour as a way of creating different societies and thinking through the role of a mother as a protagonist and what impact that has on story telling.

This was one of the most interesting sessions of the convention from a writing perspective.

Next was the guest of honour session with Sue Ann Barber, interviewed by Emilly McLeay. This was a very informal session, with Sue Ann Barber interacting as much with the crowd as the interviewer. The session covered Ms Barber’s involvement in Lego fandom, her trip to Britain representing fandom at an English convention (EasterCon), her involvement with the Star Trek club The Neutral Zone in Western Australia and programming AussieCon 4.

After lunch, I went along to see The Awards Debacle compared by Dave Cake, with fellow panelists Robin Pen, Kirstyn McDermott and Jason Nahrung. Given some of the commentary about awards controversy I’ve heard over the last year I was expecting some Jerry Springer style antics, but it was disappointingly calm and respectful. The panel talked about whether there were too many awards (conclusion no – the Aurealis Awards and Ditmar Awards fulfil different purposes), should authors be able to remove themselves from contention for an award (conclusion no except in special circumstances – but they can refuse to accept the award), the value of the short list (conclusion – great way of spreading the word about works), do awards actually make a difference to sales etc (conclusion no – but publishers think they will), the nomination process and how it works in practice (conclusion – perhaps room for some changes), whether or not “block voting” occurs (conclusion – not as much as people think) and some interesting commentary of the history of awards in Australia.

The most potential for biffo came when one of the audience started criticising the William Atheling Jr Award for criticism as not including works that were substantive enough, with one of last night’s winners sitting directly behind him. Unfortunately for my personal entertainment, it didn’t come to anything with the crowd member conceding that the work that won was indeed substantial.

After this I went to the bar for a drink with Sean Wright, Jason Nahrung and Kirstyn McDermott. Quite a few people drifted through during the afternoon (including Stephen Dedman, Robin Pen, Russell B Far and many more. I found when you are sitting with “known quantities” it can make a difference to how involved you can get in conversations. I had a great afternoon, and I don’t think I embarrassed myself. Jason gave some excellent advice regarding writing and writers groups, how to organise them etc and there were some interesting discussions about the state of the speculative fiction scene in general. I had a fantastic time.

In fact I was having such a good time that I missed going to the closing ceremony (sorry Continuum 8!).

All in all it was a good convention. I learnt a lot, with some good panels and very interesting people. I think I’ll sit on my experiences for a few days, then write up some more general thoughts on the convention as a whole later in the week. But for the time being, my tram is rolling towards my stop so I think I’ll publish this and say “farewell from Melbourne”.

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.


Ditmar and Chronos Awards

As a part of Continuum 8 (and the 51st National SF Convention), the Chronos Awards (for Victorian speculative fiction) and the Ditmar Awards (national voted awards for speculative fiction) were presented.

The awards were hosted by Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond (of The Writer and the Critic podcast fame), who were very amusing. As an aside, when returning from dinner, David Golding, Sean Wright and I came across a very ill Ian Mond outside, who had ate something dodgy for dinner and was feeling quite poorly. After making a quick trip out to see if I could find a chemist on Lygon St, I was forced to return with only aspirin and antacid from the only place open with any kind of medical supplies – the local Woolworths.  While none of these items proved to be useful at all, Ian went on to successfully host the awards, so I’m claiming partial credit for a successful night.

The award ceremony went well and quickly. Unlike the Aurealis Awards, most people seemed to have prepared a few words which made the evening run more smoothly. Amusingly enough, the actual Ditmar trophies hadn’t arrived as yet so people were awarded with a squeaking, fluro plastic octopus trophy as a placeholder.

As with the Aurealis Awards, I’ve listen these award results in the order the awards were presented.

The first awards of the evening were the A. Bertram Chandler Award for general all round excellence. The award went to Richard Harland, a primarily YA author whose writing workshop I went to late last year. Richard wasn’t there to receive the award. Apparently we are all to pay out on him when we see him next.

The second award of the evening was the Norma K. Hemming Award for excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy. The award went to two recipients:

  • Anita Bell (A. A. Bell) for Hindsight
  • Sara Douglass for The Devil’s Diadem

There were also three honourable mentions:

  • Meg Mundell Black Glass
  • Sue Isle Nightsiders
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts The Shattered City

The Peter McNamara Award for long term contributions to the speculative fiction field went to Bill Congreve.

Chronos Awards

The Chronos Awards looked cool, clock type awards that were very aesthetically pleasing. Almost enough to make you want to move to Victoria.


  • Best Achievement: Conquilt by Rachel Holkner and Jeanette Holkner (Continuum 7)
  • Best Fan Publication: The Writer and the Critic Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Best Fan Art: Blue Locks by Rebecca Ing
  • Best Fan Written Work: Alexandra Pierce Tiptree, and a collection of her short stories
  • Best Fan Artist: Rachel Holkner
  • Best Fan Writer: Jason Nahrung
  • Best Short Fiction: The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt by Paul Haines
  • Best Long Fiction: The Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines
  • Infinity Award: Merv Binns

SF Competition

Although the results of the SF writing competition had already been announced, the winners received their awards during the ceremony.

  • First place: Pattern for knitting a galaxy by Stephanie Lai
  • Second place: The Armour by Jessica Reid
  • Third place: Stitch the Sun by Liz Barr

Ditmar Awards

The William Atheling Jr Award for criticism was given out first. It went to Alexandra Pierce and Tehani Wessely for their conversational reviews of the Vorkosigan Saga.

  • Best New Talent: Joanne Anderton
  • Best Fan Publication in Any Medium: The Writer and the Critic by Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Best Fan Artist: Kathleen Jennings
  • Best Fan Writer: Robin Pen for The Ballad of the Unrequited Ditmar (sorry Sean – you were robbed!!! Actually, the Ballad was pretty funny)
  • Best Artwork: Kathleen Jennings for “Finishing School” in Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories (although she had the only two nominations in this category so this wasn’t a huge surprise!)
  • Best Collected Work: The Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines
  • Best Short Story: The Patrician by Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Best Novella or Novelette: The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt by Paul Haines
  • Best Novel: The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood

Overall a very enjoyable evening. Congratulations to all the winners and well done to all the finalists.

Continuum 8 – Day 2 (Saturday)

Up early for the first session of the day at 9:00am. Melbourne is cold!

The first session I attended today was titled Take the pebble from my hand exploring the benefits of mentoring for emerging writers. Chaired by Kaaron Warren (whose novel Mistification I reviewed recently), the panel also had Kimberley Gaal (mentee of Ms Warren’s), Jane Routley (mentor), Angela Slatter (mentor) and Louise Cusack (mentor).

I enjoyed the session – it was good to get both mentor and mentee perspectives on what makes a good relationships of this sort. While all the mentors were paid, Ms Warren and Ms Slatter seemed to mentor more through writer centre programs whereas Ms Routley and Ms Cusack seemed to run their mentoring as a business concern (hanging out their shingle when they have time to take on a client).

It was a bit worrying for me that at least two of the mentors look for that “spark of genius” in the people that they take on as mentees. I don’t think I’ll ever have that! Fortunately, the other mentors were a bit more willing to take on people to improve their writing regardless of their basic ability. Ms Cusack in particular seemed very open in her desire to work with a wide range of clients.

All the mentors spoke a lot about the willingness of the mentee to actually take advice, and noted that unsuccessful mentoring relationships tended to be more about attitude than talent. All in all a very informative session to start the day with.

Backyard Speculation was the next session attended, chaired by Jason Nahrung, who was joined on the panel by Tor Roxburgh, Gillian Polack, Claire Corbett and Lachlan Walter. The discussion focused on two main themes, a sense of landscape and culture.

On the landscape front, there was a focus on the inhospitable centre of Australia and the feeling that we were already half way towards an apocalypse, hence the tendency towards dystopia. But there was also some interesting discussion about the urban landscapes of Australia, including exploring the vertical elements of our cities. This also lead to some points about the Australian tendency to think of ourselves as second rate, with Ms Polack in particular pointing out that most of our larger cities rivalled American cities in size and age.

The issue of culture was also explored, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vs non-indigenous discussions as well as the Australian struggle for identity and dealing with patterns of immigration.

The third session of the day was titled The Big Bad – Fairytale Villians chaired by Peter M. Ball with Angela Slatter, Nalini Haynes and Margo Lanagan. Given the preponderance of fairy tale based literature and television of late (I’ve been enjoying the TV series Grim for instance), I thought this would be an interesting session looking at a currently “hot” topic. It was a well run session, with commentary on gender roles in fairy tale villianary, the evolution and sanitation of fairy tales, rediscovering the original “bones” of fairy tales and how to translate them into something that will still scare a contemporary audience.

Next was one of the keynote sessions with one of the guests of honour, Kelly Link interviewed by Kate Eltham. As well as being a celebrated author, Ms Link is one of the principals in Small Beer Press and had some very interesting insights into modern publishing trends. Her hypothesis that Amazon will end up with their own small bookstores, with full integration into their online ordering and delivery networks was thought provoking. As was her thoughts of the impact of Amazon dominance on the viability of mid tier publishing firms in the US.

Ms Link is a graduate of the Clarion workshops in the US, as well as being very involved in the organisation as a teacher and organiser. Her reflections made me even more keen to one day attend Clarion South (if it is ever resurrected) – it sounds like an amazing experience.

After a quick lunch break, the next session I attended was a live recording of one of the podcasts I like listening to, Galactic Suburbia. It needed to fit within a one hour session, so was shorter than usual. It was also less attended than I expected (although the launch of the anthology Ishtar was happening at the same time and I would have liked to attend that as well – perhaps everyone was over there). It was a fairly typical episode, although it was interesting to hear about where the three hosts had spent their time at the convention. Alexandria Pierce discussed Game of Thrones and the growing agency of the female characters over the arc of season 1. This corresponds with something I’d been thinking as well, in fact I’d go as far as to say that part of the point of the show is the growing agency of the younger characters in particular, especially the female characters. Fun to listen as always.

The next session was Playing God – A Guide for Beginners hosted by Michael Pryor and joined by Tansy Rayner Roberts, Trudi Canavan, Alison Goodman and Louise Cusack. This session explored the starting point the panel members used for world building, including academic research, physically visiting locations that were similar, looking to history and taking an “invent it as you go” approach. The panel members included some interesting anecdotes about mistakes they’d made (note to self – always draw any maps early to avoid embarrassment). I also picked up a few good tips e.g. finding an animating detail – some small detail from a time period that helps bring a scene alive. The session focused more on basing fantasy in time periods from Earth’s history rather than completely making something up from scratch, but was still interesting.

I then went to see the session All SF TV is Rubbish a comedy debate between Josh Kinal and John Richards of Boxcutters podcast fame. Mr Kinal took the affirmative position (risky at a SF convention) and Mr Richards took the negative position (as is fitting for a man who has written a TV show about a SF fan club – Outland).

Some excellent use of selective video clips was utilised on each side of the debate, and admittedly it was sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the good science fiction clips and the bad. However, I think Mr Richards clinched the argument when he demonstrated that a clip from what is universally acknowledged to be one of the worst Doctor Who episodes of all time was still better than any randomly selected segment of Packed to the Rafters. And it wins Logies.

By general acclaim Mr Richards was declared the winner.

My final session of the day was attending the A New Age of Australian Small Press moderated by Russell B Farr with fellow panel members Lindy Cameron and Amanda Pillar. Some very interesting discussion of the current state of small press in Australia, including comparisons with the kind of relationships authors can expect and some fascinating insights into how the three panelists got into the small press scene and what their future plans were.

I had a family event to get to, so I skipped out at that stage and didn’t go to the costume parade and Maskobalo Ball which is, I’m sure, still going as I write. Now it is off to bed to prepare for tomorrow, which will be a very long day (full day of conference activities followed by the Ditmar and Chronos award ceremony).

Continuum 8 – Day 1 (Friday)

Day 1 of Continuum 8 (my first National SF Convention) kicked off this afternoon, with the first panel session at 4:00pm. There were several different streams going on at any given time, so of course my perspectives are going to be limited to those sessions I went along to. One general thing that interested me was that there seemed to be as many people out of sessions talking as there were in sessions. Unfortunately, due to the layout of the hotel where the convention was being held, that meant a lot of people standing just outside the panel session doors talking, which was a bit distracting. Fortunately the quality of the sessions more than made up for it.

The first session I attended was titled Splicing Genres, moderated by Jenny Blackford with fellow panelists Jane Routley, Lisa Hannett and Claire Corbett, talking about fiction that defied genre boundaries. There was some interesting discussion about the tensions that be created between the “needs” of different genres (e.g. the need for immediate pace in a thriller vs world building in a science fiction or fantasy novel), as well as the marketing problems that occur with cross genre novels.

General agreement that cross genre novels are interesting (and what is pure anyway). “Write the novel you want to write and worry about classifying it later” theme came up here (and in other sessions later in the evening). Made me think about the compact between the author and reader, in particular that when confounding expected tropes to be sensitive to the fact that this may alienate some readers.

My second session of the day was The Forgotten Frontier chaired by the enigmatically named m1k3y (at least according to the program) with Jonathan Strahan and Alexandra Pierce on the panel. This panel discussed the space opera and whether it was a dying sub-genre.

Some interesting points made defining space opera (large scale and melodramatic). Ms Pierce started off with a “Homer in space” definition, which I blush to admit left me scratching my head and thinking “the Simpsons in space would be funny, but I’m not sure it would be my definition of space opera” only to later realise she meant traditionally Greek story style Homer, not “doh” Homer.

This was representative of my slightly out of place feeling in this session. Whenever you get a group of people together which shared narrow but deep expertise there is often a race to find out who can quote the most obscure or arcane fact. In this case history of science fiction was the topic area, and quoting obscure but worthy authors/works seemed to be the race. Still, despite me knowing probably only half the works referred to, there was some interesting discussion on the cycles/fads that certain types of science fiction goes through and speculation on the form that the next wave of “space opera” might take. This made me think (not for the first time) that I need to read more of the seminal works from the history of the field. Although given that I have barely any spare time now I’m not sure how I’m going to manage that. Slowly, I expect.

Writing different genders, sexualities and cultures was my third session of the evening. Chaired by Deborah Biancotti with fellow panel members Gillian Polack, Trudi Canavan and Louise Cusack, this session was an interesting discussion by authors about what it took to represent characters from outside their personal experience. Ms Biancotti did an excellent job in convening, keeping the focus on her fellow panel members (although I would have been very interested in hearing more from her on the topic – but then I am a fan of her writing). I particularly enjoyed the discussion on defaults, and being aware of the defaults of your target audience (the difference between writing for a US based audience compared to an Australian one for instance). It was a very nuanced conversation well worth attending.

Come 7:00pm and it was time for Twelfth Planet Press to have a cocktail hour, with cupcakes representing each of the Twelve Planets series released so far. It seemed well timed and a good chance for people that knew each other to catch up. Of course I didn’t know anyone, but it was a good chance to observe the crowd (and write up the first part of this post!). Alisa Krasnostein, the head of Twelfth Planet press, gave a brief speech talking about the next couple of titles in the Twelve Planets range, as well as the launch of Jason Nahrung’s Salvage. She also announced that Twelfth Planet Press were launching a new crime imprint, with the next book to be launched to be a crime novel rather than a speculative fiction one.

Next in what was turning into a busy evening was the official opening of the convention. The guests of honour (Kelly Link, Alison Goodman and Sue Ann Barber) were introduced and the official national convention gavel was banged (they have a gavel!).

This being my first proper convention, I then popped along to the Continuum 101 session with some knowledgeable people talking about what you should expect if you are new to conventions. A lot of good common sense, including a plea to pace ourselves. I haven’t seen too much rowdy behaviour so far, but they were so insistent on the pacing that I can only assume things get more “robust” from here.

After popping out to grab a sandwich (I didn’t think about dinner when planning my evening), I then went along to a fun session Spicks and Speculation – a quiz show along the lines of Spics and Specs (an Australian music based quiz show) dealing with speculative fiction. Nostalgia highlight: the opening credits for Battle of the Planets. Funny highlight: Star Trek memorabilia – Star Trek “Fundies” (fun undies?). Disturbing highlight: the original opening credits for Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century.

The final couple of sessions were more film/TV based, which I’m less interested in. I decided to take those nice Continuum 101 people’s advice and pace myself. Currently waiting for the tram that will whisk me back to my weekend abode.

Overall impressions – great to put a lot of faces to voices I’ve heard on podcasts etc. Lots of very nice seeming people and a lot of passion for speculative fiction. I’ve picked up a couple of interesting thoughts listening to people talk on the panels. I also learnt not to grab a sandwich from the local 7-11.

All in all a good start to the convention. Stay tuned for further updates tomorrow.

Attending Continuum 8

Starting tomorrow (Friday 8th June 2012) I’ll be attending all four days of Continuum 8, the Australian National SF Convention. It looks like a really interesting program and I’m quite excited to be attending.

I’ll be doing a quick write up each day on the blog with personal highlights.

So if you’re in attendance and see my name badge, make sure you come over and say hello.