LOUISE CUSACK

Continuum8, Melbourne: the Australian sci fi and fantasy NATCON

Running late with this: a quick roundup of last weekend’s a fortnight ago’s Australian convention of all things sci fi and fantasy: Continuum8 in Melbourne.  A big slice of the Aussie speculative fiction community turned up to hear their favourite authors speak, and my contribution was to sit on panels about fantasy world-building, romance writing, mentoring writers and digital technologies.  I also did a reading from my work-in-progress erotic novel (which was fun – my first time reading erotica aloud), chatted in the hallways, wandered a couple of blocks down to Lygon Street and ate amazing food while (again) discussing all things literary with other authors, and hung at the bar.  A lot. (although in my defence, often drinking coffee).  The bar and adjoining restaurant were quiet places away from the bustle where you could catch up with mates and make new friends.  Networking.  Of course, it isn’t a con without costumes, and although I missed seeing Rachael Holkner as Wonder Woman, Tansy Rayner Roberts caught this great photo of her above which I’ve borrowed (there are more photos of the con on Tansy’s blog).  I did bump into  Donna Hanson (left) who is one of the organisers of the Canberra Con Conflux.  She was pitching her con for 2013 looking all very Victorian/Steampunk.

Another item on my agenda was attending Twelfth Planet Press’s launch of Jason Nahrung‘s fabulously moody novella “Salvage” which I bought and had signed.  It’s an awesome read and I can thoroughly recommend it.  Here’s a photo of Jason (below) offering wine and cupcakes to punters at the launch:

 

More photos below of ‘networking’ around the bar and restaurant areas of the con where all sorts of issues about writing were raised and discussed.  I sat in on a few discussions about bookstores and how they’re adapting.  Apparently publishers are looking at the idea of selling marginally more expensive print copies of books that include an eBook code in them, so readers can ‘bundle’ their purchase to have both print and digital copies of a book. I also discovered that ‘classics’ are having a resurgence in sales as people download them free as ebooks and fall in love with them, then turn up at a bookstore to buy a print copy.  Jane Austin, Dostoevsky, Homer, all getting fresh reprints, which is both lovely and interesting – ebooks driving print sales.

As well as indulging in deep-and-meaningfuls, we had a lot of fun, and to the left is a a pic of two people who gave us a lot of laughs.  Ian Mond and Kirstyn McDermott won a Ditmar and a Chronos award for their podcasts of The Writer and the Critic. (if you haven’t heard them, check them out)  They were also co-presenters of the awards ceremony and they gave the night some real pizzaz.  I was also very impressed by the way the spec fic men scrubbed up in their suits.  Not too shabby!  The plastic octopus Ian is holding was a stand-in award as the proper trophies hadn’t arrived in time.  Bonus, they squeaked!  I’m reliably informed that the lurid plastic octopi will be exchanged for proper Ditmar awards in the near future.

Just a few more photos to round out the collection.  Me on Lygon Street hunting down desserts, a homage to the fabulous architecture (and trams) of Melbourne, and a collection of amazing pocket watches I found in The Junk Shop on Elizabeth Street (very cool Steampunk accoutrements).

And for those who are lovers of movie/tv sci fi and fantasy, here’s the Opening Ceremony video highlighting the Craftinomicon aspect of the con – making costumes.  I’ve got a soft spot for Dr Who’s dog K9 so keep your eyes open and you’ll see him in the mix. Just be aware that it has a fairly loud soundtrack!