Saturday, June 23, 2012

Continuum – Melbourne’s Science Fiction Convention

I was lucky enough to be able to participate in Continuum 8 – Melbourne’s science fiction convention. I was at Continuum as a panellist, a reader, a fan and a learner.

Learning

I loved being in the audience for ‘The Crafty Middle Ages’. I got to listen to Canberra-based writer and academic Gillian Polack talking about day-to-day and special occasion crafts in France and England. I especially loved her show and tell items. My favourite was the pilgrimage badge (a kind of souvenir for pilgrims) that depicted a vulva riding a horse – yes, I did write the world ‘vulva’ and it was silver and it was riding a horse.

I also learned a great deal from ‘Book Blogs & Reviewing’, which featured Sue Bursztynski, George Ivanoff, Alexandra Pierce, Gillian Polack and Sean Wright.

My Inner Fan

I love space opera so I dropped in to listen to ‘The Forgotten Frontier?’ where m1k3y, Jonathan Strahan and Alexander Pierce talked about that genre. I came away with a reading list that now includes ‘The Mote in God’s Eye’ by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and ‘Leviathan Wakes’ by James Corey.

I also sat in the audience for ‘Relative Dimensions: The Limits of Doctor Who’. Who knew that anyone could know so much about the good Doctor? Amazing.

Good Reading

My two favourite authors Margo Lanagan and Kelly Link were at Continuum this year and I really enjoyed seeing the people behind the stories and (in Margo’s case) the person behind the novels. I also enjoyed listening to Alison Goodman being interviewed by Jason Nahrung. I didn’t make it to many of the readings, but I did get to hear the beginning of Jack Dann’s latest story (and it was great) and also got to listen to a snapshot from Gillian Polack’s time travel novel (which I can’t wait to read – if only I could remember the title).


Being a Panellist

Continuum 8 was my first gig as a panellist. I was nervous and overawed by my fellow and sister panellists’ depth and breadth of knowledge.

I felt I was on familiar ground with the panel on independent publishing and on the panel on crossing literary genres. Both situations are current for me as I’ve crossed from writing teen romance to writing speculative fiction and I’ve self-published a fantasy novel this year.

I really enjoyed being a panellist on ‘Backyard Speculation’ but realised there is a lot of Australian speculative fiction reading that I need to catch up on.

Being on the ‘Everyone Loves a Good Murder’ panel was a humbling and rewarding experience. I realised that being a murder mystery reader and writing novels with murders and mysteries is not the same thing as knowing the genre through and through.

I came away from the panel with new thoughts about the novel that I am currently writing, which is a young adult, science fiction murder mystery set in Ballarat. Is my murder compelling and tangible? Does my mystery reward the clever reader? Is my resolution going to be just or unjust, tragic or warm?

And then…

I’m reuniting with a couple of Continuum 8 panellists and meeting up with a few new writers at ‘The Art of Words’, the 2012 Bayside Literary Festival. I'm on the Creating Worlds: Real and Imagined panel - and looking forward to it.
The Art of Words needed a new profile photo - a new unfinished painting in the background

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