This year Continuum, which is the Victorian convention for celebrating spec fic and pop culture. This year, it also did double duty as the 51st Australian National SF Convention. I had pegged this convention as one that I wanted attend from last year, but it was only a few weeks ago that I actually decided to go. As it got closer and closer to the time to buy tickets I got more and more nervous at the prospect of doing so. In the end, I am glad I went but I was once again reminded that I am not great in crowds of people where I don't know people! One of the highlights was to meet the people that I have been chatting to online and actually get to chat with them face to face.
On the Friday night, it was gold coin entry and so I
|Lisa Hannett making a point|
With each session only an hour, there was a lot of topic to cover. Some of the main comments that I found of interest were talking about genre labels as a whole and their importance or otherwise to readers and publishers in particular in relation to how to market something that doesn't fit neatly into one category. One of the books that I went to con knowing that I intended to read eventually but definitely wanting to read by the time I came home is When We Have Wings, especially after hearing more of what Claire Corbett had to say about it. When she started writing the book she knew she had a detective character but not necessarily that she had a detective story. She found the thriller and spec fic aspects were pulling against each other but both aspects still needed to be strong and to work within the storyline. There was a discussion about splicing like the recent spate of classics mixed with the paranormal like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and brief mention of the fact that much fantasy is actually genre splicing with historical fiction, particularly with so many fantasy worlds having a kind of medieval feel. There was quite a lot more meat in the discussion but if I am ever going to finish this post I need to move to the next session!
Next up was Twelfth Planet Press Hour. You could be forgiven that this hour was just an excuse for cupcakes and champagne, but really it was a chance to celebrate the release of the twentieth book for this small publisher, the announcement of a new crime imprint for the press and so much more! The room was crowded with people including many of the authors who have had books published with the press. For much more extensive coverage I would direct you to Alisa's blog (Alisa is the owner and driving force behind Twelfth Planet Press).
There was another panel scheduled that I wanted to attend but we couldn't find it and by that time I was getting tired after a long day at work and then out so we headed off pretty happy with our initial Continuum impressions.
I will have more posts about the con, but I thought I would finish up this one with a brief comparison to the romance conventions that I have previously attended.
The first thing is that I was actually expecting there to be a bigger attendance for a spec fic/pop culture event but I am not sure that the organisers were planning for too many more than they got. The venue was a good size for the number of people but there wouldn't have wanted to be too many more people as a lot of the sessions were full with standing room only and the corridor outside the various rooms were quite crowded.
The second difference was in relation to the books and authors that were available. One of the hallmarks of the romance conventions has been coming home with a huge pile of free books, both in the convention bag and in winning door prizes in each session, but there was none of that at Continuum. I am not sure if it is a reflection of the lack of big publisher support for this convention. The small presses were there in force, doing what they could to promote their authors and books but there was very little big publisher presence. Maybe that is the way that the conventions want it! In addition, at both the Australian Romance Reader's Conventions I have been to there was dedicated time for author signings and people brought lots of books from home to get signed by their favourite authors. From what I saw, there was only a little bit of adhoc author signing going on. I am not saying that there should be huge amounts of free books, because goodness knows I still spent more than enough in the Dealer's Room acquiring new books but it was interesting to see the difference in this aspect!
Attending these conferences always forces to look at myself too. If you talked to people who know me in real life, most of them would suggest that I could talk the legs off a chair, especially when you get me onto my favourite topics, like books, but the fact is that I am happy enough with people I know, and even in groups of people who are friends of friends as an example, but put me in a room full of strangers and I find it incredibly confronting to start a conversation with the people around me. I also think I must give off a don't approach me vibe as well! It is interesting because while I inherited a lot of my father's bad traits, this is one trait that I wish I did inherit. He can talk to anyone.
Anyway, it is already Monday here and I need to go to work in just a few hours, so I will just finish this post here. I did intend to write the whole con up in this post but unfortunately I got very distracted by The Voice again tonight. I will come back with brief notes about the other days in the next couple of days.
My Hundred Lovers by Susan Johnson for the readalong, Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier for the current season over at Historical Tapestry (it should be noted that we are giving away some books by Daphne du Maurier!)
Until I Die by Amy Plum and The Girl in Steel Capped Boots by Loretta Hill