In June this year I excitedly went off to attend Continuum X, the 10th in a series of Melbourne-based science fiction and pop culture conventions. But this year was special. This year, Continuum doubled as the 53rd Australian National Science Fiction Convention.
International Guest of Honour was Jim C Hines, author of, amongst other books, Goblin Quest, Libriomancer and Codex Born. He is also known for a series of photographs in which he attempted to place himself into the ridiculous poses that female characters are often put in on genre book covers. Check it out. Australian Guest of Honour was Ambelin Kwaymullina, author of the The Tribe series of novels (The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf and The Disappearance of Ember Crow).
Both guests were friendly, eloquent and well worth the price of admission. And they both delivered extraordinary Guest of Honour speeches — you can check out Jim’s here and Ambelin’s here.
But there was lots more to Continuum X. There were panel discussions on an amazing range of topics, from early science fiction cinema to The Big Bang Theory; from technology for writers to religion in science fiction. Perhaps the most extraordinary of these was “We Do This Stuff… Gets Personal”. The programme description was as follows: “Based loosely on the “living library” idea, this is a chance for people to talk about their experiences of being an othered gender, sexuality, race, physical, mental or sensory disability or otherwise other, with questions from the audience. Open to writers who want to write better characters and anyone who just wants a better understanding of what it’s like in someone else’s head.” Not only did this panel provide the opportunity for writers to learn, it promoted understanding, which is a starting point for a more inclusive community.
- Guardian by Jo Anderton
- Trucksong by Andrew Macrae
- Secret Lives of Books by Rosaleen Love
- Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott
- Use Only As Directed
- Death at the Blue Elephant by Janeen Webb
- Kisses by Clockwork edited by Liz Grzyb
- Nil By Mouth by LynC
- The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry edited by Tim Jones and PS Cottier
I was particularly excited about Nil By Mouth, which I had the great pleasure of launching myself. I was also honoured to co-host the Continuum X awards night with fellow-author Narrelle M Harris. Awards presented that evening included the Ditmars (for excellence in Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror), the Chronos Awards (for excellence in Victorian science fiction, fantasy and horror), as well as a number of special awards.
Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead by Robert Hood, picked up the Best Novel Ditmar.
“The Home for Broken Dolls” by Kirstyn McDermott, in Caution: Contains Small Parts, picked up the Ditmar for Best Novella or Novelette.
The Bride Price by Cat Sparks got two Ditmars — one for Best Collected Work and one for Best Short Story for “Scarp”.
And my own Gamers’ Rebellion got the Chronos for Best Long Fiction. 🙂
You can check out a complete list of nominees and winners on the Continuum website.
All up Continuum X was a great experience for genre book fans — so many authors, editors and publishers just wandering around, as well as speaking on panels, reading from their works and taking part in question and answer sessions. I picked up a bunch of books to add to my ever-growing to-be-read mountain, as well as adding to my really, really long list of books I must purchaser in the near future. 🙂
A HUGE thank you to the organisers, panellists and attendees for making this such an enjoyable event. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Continuum.
Catch ya later, George
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