Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention is now just round the corner. Five days of panel presentations, readings, signings, book launches and kaffeeklatsches (I’l explain the term later in the post), beginning on Thursday 2 September at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. I’m getting excited!
Last week, an email arrived in my inbox from the convention’s programming director, detailing all the programme items I had agreed to do and providing me with a schedule. Wow! I didn’t realise I had volunteered for so many items. I’m doing seven panels (two of which I’m chairing), two kids’ programme items, a reading, a signing and a kaffeeklatsch. And, of course, there are dozens of other programme items that I want to go and watch. It’s going to be a rather exhausting and exhilarating five days.
So, here’s a round-up of the panels that I’m on, with descriptions from the programme:
Game on! Games and YA spec fic — “A discussion of the influence and penetration of games of all sorts into the world of YA Speculative Fiction.” Also on this panel are Leanne Taylor, Bob Kuhn and Ben Chandler. I, of course, will be chatting about my novel, Gamers’ Quest, as the entire story is set within the multiple worlds of an elaborate, virtual reality computer game.
Playing in someone else’s sandpit: franchise writing — “With original novels based on entertainment properties such as Star Wars, Doctor Who and Halo regularly hitting the bestsellers lists, media tie-in fiction is big business. It is also a type of fiction that comes with its own rules and expectations. A group of authors discuss their own experiences working with someone else’s characters — the challenges, the benefits and the drawbacks.” Also on this panel are Karen Miller, Paul Cornell, Russell Blackford and Jennifer Fallon. I’m rather excited about this panel. My experience with franchise writing is minimal (I’ve done one Doctor Who short story and one book in the Behind The News series), so I’m looking forward to hearing the words of writers more experienced than myself.
Making a living: Professional writing for speculative fiction authors — “For many writers of science fiction and fantasy, the money earned from her or his craft is never enough with which to make a living. What other opportunities are there to earn a sustainable income? A look at ways to earn money as a professional writer outside of the speculative fiction markets.” Also on this panel are Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi and Jennifer Fallon.
QF — “Quite Fannish: a cheap attempt to cash in on the success of Stephen Fry’s quiz show with a similar name. Let’s see what interesting misconceptions the contestants have about science fiction and its associated sub-culture.” Also on this panel are Marc Ortlieb and Ian Nichols. I’m not sure what to expect with this one. I think I might have to watch a few episodes of QI before the event.
Fantasy TV: What happened? — “The overwhelming success of Star Wars in 1977 sparked off a wave of derivative science fiction television dramas such as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Battlestar Galactica, each intended to capture the Star Wars audience on the small screen. Following the similarly successful release of The Lord of the Rings from 2001 to 2003, no such wave of derivative programmes followed. Why has fantasy television failed to enter production as successfully as science fiction television? What are the hurdles facing writers, producers and television networks, and how might they be overcome?” Also on this panel are Jeanette Auer and Lara Morgan.
We are all fairy tales: Doctor Who’s fifth season — “In 2010 Doctor Who returned to the screens with a new writer/producer, a new TARDIS, a new companion and a new Doctor in the form of Matt Smith. How has Doctor Who’s fifth season differed from the four seasons before it? Has the transition from Russell T Davies to Steven Moffat been a successful one? A critical review of the most significant change in Doctor Who since it returned to TV.” Also on this panel are Kathryn Sullivan, Narrelle M. Harris and Rani Graff. I’m a complete Doctor Who nerd, so this panel should be a lot of FUN!
YA science fiction – a guy thing? — “Is Young Adult Science Fiction written by males for males?” Also on this panel are Foz Meadows, Sue Bursztynski and Gina Goddard. Yes, another excuse for me to talk about Gamers’ Quest.
And the two kids’ programme items are Writing career guidance for kids and Books from TV series.
Then, of course, there’s the kaffeeklatsch. A kaffeeklatsch, for those of you who don’t know, is a small, informal gathering over coffee (or tea). The host author is joined by up to nine people for a chat about pretty much anything. There are a whole bunch of authors hosting these, including Garth Nix, Rowena Cory Daniells, Trudi Canavan, China Mieville, Marianne de Pierres, Stephen Dedman, George R R Martin, Charles Stross and Ian Irvine. Demand for places at kaffeeklatschs hosted by some authors can be high, so you have to sign up beforehand… people often need to arrive very early and wait in line in order to get into the kaffeeklatsch of their choice. Given the calibre of the other authors, I’m not sure that people have to worry about lining up too long to get into mine. 🙂
If any of the above has sparked your interest in Aussiecon 4, then check out the website, buy a membership and join the several thousand other people who will be heading to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in just under a week.
And tune in next time as Sean Williams tell us a little about writing Star Wars books.
Catch ya later, George
PS — Follow me on Twitter… go on… you know you want to!