Over the long weekend just past, I attended Continuum 7, Melbourne’s Speculative Fiction and Pop Culture Convention. For me it was a rather surreal experience. I did some speaking, I did some listening, and I did a lot of wandering around in a vague haze. That’s what happens when you come down with a nasty headcold the day before a convention and have to dose yourself up with a combo of paracetamol and codeine to get through the weekend. Why in the world would any sane person do this, rather than staying home in bed? Simple! The Continuum conventions are such great events, that there was no way I was going to allow a damn headcold to stop me from going!
And I’m so glad that I didn’t miss it.
To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of either of the guests of honour — Catherynne M. Valente and Dave Freer — prior to attending. But, as I always do, I went along to listen to the guest of honour speeches to find out about them. They were both excellent and interesting speakers, and I’ve gone away interested in giving their books a go. In the case of Dave Freer that will be an easy follow-up as he kindly gave me a copy of Much Fall of Blood, a novel he co-wrote with Mercedes Lackey and Eric Flint. And before you ask, there’s nothing special about me. Dave actually gave out a number of promotional copies of his books, kindly supplied by his publisher.
Aside from guests, there were a plethora of other authors appearing on panels. So I got to hear Richard Harland talk about alternative history novels, Jack Dann and Lucy Sussex discuss the topic “Can Writing be Taught?”, and Narrell M Harris talk about her Melbourne Literary iPhone app. There were also three book launches — Richard Harland launched his YA steampunk novel Liberator (sequel to Worldshaker), Paul Collins launched his new YA science fiction novel Mole Hunt and Lucy Sussex launched her new short story collection Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies. Other authors speaking and/or reading over the weekend included Kirstyn McDermott, Janeen Webb, Karen Healey, Meg Mundell, Joel Shepherd, Sue Bursztynski and Jason Nahrung.
Aside from all the great authors, there were also a bunch of pop culture related panel discussions and presentations. The most memorable for me was “Goodbye Sarah Jane”, a rather tearful tribute to recently deceased actress Elisabeth Sladen, who portrayed the character of Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and her own spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures.
I had grand plans for my attendance at Continuum 7 (if you have plans, you might as well make them grand). I was going to run around with my video camera and interview authors as I did at Aussiecon 4 (check out the post), with the intention of inflicting them on you, here at Literary Clutter. But … you know … *cough, cough, splutter, sneeze* … and all that. I only just managed to hold my concentration in place for the panels I was speaking on… and completely forgot about the videos. In fact, I almost forgot about photos as well. I only managed a couple — one each from the launches of Liberator and Mole Hunt.
Despite feeling like crap (are you sick of me whinging, yet… well tough… I don’t believe in suffering in silence), I still managed to enjoy the weekend. And I’m already looking forward to Continuum 8, which will also double as next year’s Australian National Science Fiction Convention. So it will be even bigger and better! More info about it will soon be available from the Continuum website.
Catch ya later, George
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