Saturday, 4 September 2010

Worldcon - Day 3 - Part 1

Aussiecon is the first time I've been to something where I just can't wait to get there to sit down and listen to people yack. So why do I still sleep in and arrive late? It is like one morning out on the Masai Mara in Kenya. We wanted to get up early and see the sunrise over the savannah. It was a glorious morning nearly spoiled by me still dragging the chain and barely being able to pull my self out of bed in time to see the sunrise. Michelle and our friend Satti were almost having kittens I was so slow getting up. I couldn't skip my Weetabix either. I can be a real prick until I've had my coffee and Weetabix. An almost once in a lifetime experience and I still had trouble getting going. Little wonder then I missed the first couple of sessions on today's program.

I did make it in plenty of time for the 12 noon session. Again I was spoilt for choice but I chose to see the panel on Fred Hoyle: Scientists and Science Fiction. No lack of star power on this panel either - Gregory Benford, Jeff Harris, Cristina Lasaitis and Alastair Reynolds. Fred Hoyle was a great astronomer and science fiction writer. As he got older he stubbornly clung to discredited scientific theories and was a proponent for some quite loopy theories. Greg Benford knew Fred so he could throw in some personal anecdotes. Greg's brother Jim was also in the audience and he was able to tell some stories about Fred Hoyle and his contemporaries too.

From the left -
Cristina Lasaitis, Gregory Benford, Alastair Reynolds and Jeff Harris

Greg Benford signs a few books.

Speculative Fiction such a diverse field that we can leave a panel on hard science one minute and join a panel on Australian Horror the next. That is exactly what I did. The next panel I attended was The Best Kept Secrets Of Australian Horror. This panel was looking at historical Australian horror fiction and how back in the 19th century and early 20th there was more horror than you could poke a stick at. Even the most famous writers of the time, Lawson et al, turned their hand to horror once or twice. On this panel we had Kylie Ward, Lucy Sussex, Marty Young and Stuart Mayne. Marty Young was promoting his new collection of classic Australian horror stories called Macabre - A Journey Through Australia's Darkest Fears. A bloke in the audience made a comment and the panellists acknowledged the guy by saying that he was one of Australia's best kept secrets in horror, Rick Kennett. Rick Kennett has a sadly out of print collection of ghost stories which had been received quite well in the early oughties. He also has one of his stories in Macabre.

From the left Kylie Ward, Lucy Sussex, Marty Young and Stuart Mayne.

After the panel I went back to the dealers room for a wander. I stopped at the Triconderoga table and was browsing their books. They had a copy of Macabre which had debuted the previous day at the con. Russell Farr was touting the book to me and he said if I buy it one of the authors in the collection, who happened to be standing behind me, would sign it. I turned around and Rick Kennett said hello. Rick and Russell, who also has a story in the collection, both signed the book so I had to buy it then. I chatted to Rick for a while and mentioned it was a shame that his collection 13 was out of print. He offered to send me a PDF copy to me via email (I received it the very next day). I've said it before but I will say it again. The people in SF and SF fandom are bloody tops.

It was difficult choosing which 3pm panel to attend. There were a couple of interesting panels and a reading that wouldn't be too bad on. In the end I chose The Writer And The Audience: Online Interaction And Public Personae with John Berlyne, Peter V. Brett, Cory Doctorow, Howard Tayler and Mur Lafferty. This was all about how writers relate to the world through their online presence - blogs, Twitter, Facebook and all that shit. Another informative panel.

From the left - Mur Lafferty, Cory Doctorow, Peter V. Brett, John Berlyne and Howard Tayler.

That'll do for now. I'll save the late afternoon sessions for later.

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