Tag Archives: natcon

Tansy’s Con Report 2: Cocktails, Cupcakes and a Trifle or two

Can’t believe Alex has already managed to write up the whole con! I’m still grouping the events by theme…

And speaking of events, there were all manner of special ones at this convention. I was delighted to be able to go to Narrelle Harris’ launch of Walking Shadows, the sequel to The Opposite of Life. This book has been a long time coming, and it was delightful to see it finally HERE. I adore Narrelle, and she deserves all the wonderful writerly things that have been happening for her this year. It was a smallish program room but utterly packed, standing room only (and there were plenty on their feet) as Jason Nahrung launched the books, and we all queued up to buy it. I have a copy!

Speaking of books, I was also excited beyond all measure to get my hot little hands on Medea by Kerry Greenwood, one of my favourite Ancient Greece novels of all time, recently reissued by ClanDestine Press, who are also publishing Narrelle’s novels. I’ve never owned a copy of this book (I read it through the library) but am so excited to have a chance to reread it.

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Tansy’s Con Report 1: Crafty Continuum, the Program

Rachel Holkner as '1950's feminine ideal Wonder Woman' complete with chatelaine & pincushion

A lovely convention. The title ‘Craftonomicon’ was reflected in two ways – an emphasis on craft threaded through the programme and the repetition of imagery involving squid, octopi and tentacled creatures. I particularly enjoyed the fact that, with great encouragement of the committee and environment, there were crafters everywhere. Those who enjoy handcrafts often feel uncomfortable doing so in public places or audiences, because non-crafters can interpret their busy hands as being rude or dismissive of what’s going on around them. But the reason handcrafts appeal is often because you’re the sort of person who better pays attention when your hands are busy!

Right from the beginning, it was clear that this was an event that welcomed and encouraged crafty activity. There were random balls of yarn and needles placed around for people to play with, and the beautiful programme included some patterns and ideas. My very first panel, Crafty Characters on the Friday afternoon, involved a small group of people including the panellists (myself, Trudi Canavan and Jo Spurrier) working away at our crafts while chatting about the topic at hand. We sat around a big round table with our handful of audience members, many of whom had also brought handcrafts to work on while we all discussed the topic. It was a lovely way to get started!

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Craftonomicon/Continuum/Natcon or Bust!

I’m off gallivanting again next weekend, which is very exciting – the Silent Producer and I are leaving our girls behind with my Mum and jetting off to sunny Melbourne for the Natcon, AKA Continuum, AKA CRAFTONOMICON. It’s going to be awesome!

The program seems to have firmed up, so here is what I’ll be up to over the convention:


16:00Crafty Characters, with Trudi Canavan, Tansy Rayner Roberts & Jo Spurrier. (Drummond Room)
“We take a look at craftspeople in speculative fiction, the stereotypes, and what crafts have been overlooked.”

19:00 The Twelfth Planet Press Hour – Alisa Krasnostein, Jason Nahrung, Narrelle Harris
Sure I’m not technically on the program, but Alisa would kill me if I wasn’t there and also Terri is designing Twelfth Planet cupcakes. Be there or be cakeless!


14:00Galactic Suburbia Live! – Alisa, Alex & Tansy in Melbourne (Lincoln Room)
The latest episode of the cult podcasting series, recorded live! Alisa, Alex and Tansy bring you speculative fiction news, reading notes and chat from the galactic suburbs of Australia.” (we’re a cult!)

15:00Playing God – a Guide for Beginners – Trudi Canavan, Louise Cusack, Alison Goodman, Michael Pryor, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Argyle Room)
“Building a new world for your fiction can be fun and exciting. But where do you start, what should you avoid and what makes it a living, breathing, believable world?”


11:00 Crafts in Space – Trudi Canavan, Lyn McConchie, Sarah Lee Parker, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Drummond Room and have you noticed yet that Trudi and I are totally stalking each other at this convention?)
“Fantasy seems to be littered with all kinds of craft-doers but it’s rare in science fiction. Why is this? What materials could you make craft out of? What effects would low gravity have? Which technologies would be awesome to use? Our crafty panellists discuss all this and more!

14:00 Readings – (14:00) Kelly Link (14.15) Jenny Blackford (14.30) Tansy Rayner Roberts (14.45) Alan Baxter
Reading after Kelly Link, not intimidating at all! I will probably be reading from “Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary” in Love and Romanpunk as this is my favourite piece to read from right now. But will decide on the day!

16:00 – Where Are All the Wonder Women? – Russell Blackford, Alice Clarke, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Grant Watson (Pelham Room)
“There’s no shortage of female superheroes (or villains!), but few have attained the iconic status of, say, Wonder Woman. Why is this? Which characters deserve better? A discussion of female representation in comics.

and of course I shall attend…

Your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, will be overseeing the 51st Australian National SF Convention Awards, including the A Bertram Chandler, the Peter McNamara, the Norma K Hemming, and the Chronos and Ditmar awards.
Ooh, the Chandler! Someone’s getting a plate! I love awards & many of my favourite people will be there on the night. I was delighted to hear that Kirstyn & Mondy are hosting, I expect many antics that will get them snapped up for next year’s Logies. Might we see the pointy stick in person???

In and amongst all of this scheduled wonder, I have a plot afoot to work on a real live SF Craft Project while chatting to my friends & possible even while presenting on panels. To be revealed… in a later blog post. Bwa ha ha!

On Awards, At Length

As I mentioned earlier, the awards night on Sunday (full results here) was a very emotional one for me! And brought in a rather hefty stack of what we football fans refer to as ‘silverware’ for myself and some very good friends. I’ve been to a lot of Ditmar ceremonies over the last decade or more that I’ve been attending cons, and this is only the second time that I’ve had fiction even nominated, so to win Best Novel with what is, let’s face it, my ‘comeback’ novel, means a lot to me.

Especially because this year’s shortlist was so strong, made up of books I love and works by writers I really respect (didn’t quite manage to read the whole shortlist before I got to the con) and I would have been genuinely glad to see any of those novels win.

But I’m so proud of Power and Majesty, and so pleased by its overall reception, and it’s hard not to be supremely grateful that people are

Winning the William Atheling for Criticism and Review for my Modern Women’s Guide to Classic Who was also deeply meaningful to me – I love this blog, and writing reviews, and you all know how I feel about Doctor Who & feminist commentary, so the fact that it was that particular series of posts that earned me another shiny trophy is something I feel very good about. Having a set of book ends like this does suggest I’m doing a good job of balancing my professional and fannish work!

Then there are the awards I shared – Galactic Suburbia won the Ditmar for Best Fan Publication in Any Medium, and the Tin Duck (Western Australia specific fan award) for Fan Production. As you can see, both sets of awards don’t have a problem with the ‘are podcasts fanzines’ debate! I had been delighted to see GS nominated for these awards along with many other podcasts because I tend to see the awards shortlists as important historical documents, and it was lovely to see the ‘year of Australian podcasts’ commemorated in this way. But much though I love all of our fellow podcasters (and projects) I was awfully delighted about these ones. We love our podcast and it has been completely humbling both at Swancon this weekend and at Worldcon last year to have so many people come up to us and say “you changed the way I read.”

Considering feminist commentary is often thought of as a rather niche concern, it’s also very exciting how often those people are men, though I have to say it’s no less awesome to hear women tell me the effect that Galactic Suburbia has had on the way they look at things.

Finally I had a very small share of the Ditmar for “Best Achievement” which was won by last year’s Snapshot. Yes, another new media project! Taking part in the Snapshot is always frantic and exciting, and inspiring at the same time. Last year, it was Kathryn Linge who took the helm, organising and encouraging us all, and while many of us have our name on that award (and we all got to kiss Sean Williams when accepting it, of course!) she was the one who put in the hard yards to make it happen.

So you know it wasn’t just about me, I was also squealing and whooping about many of the other winners. Alisa puts in so much work at Twelfth Planet Press, and I think has really lifted the bar of what we expect from indie SF press in Australia – I loved Sprawl, and I think it’s her best anthology yet, so hooray for her taking out the ‘Best Collection’ Ditmar and ‘Best Professional Production’ Tin Duck. Other Sprawl related awards included Amanda Rainey getting the Tin Duck for Best Professional Artwork for the cover art, Pete Kempshall getting the Tin Duck for Best Short Story for “Signature Walk,” and Cat Sparks’ “All The Love in the World” (one of my favourite stories from last year!) getting one of two Best Short Story Ditmars (tying for first place with Kirstyn McDermott’s “She Said” from Tales From the Second Storey).

Random Alex and Tehani have both been reviewing furiously and consistently for some years now, and so it was exciting to see them take out the Ditmar for Fan Writer and Tin Duck for Fan Written, respectively. I also yippeed for Thoraiya Dyer (whose “Yowie” from Sprawl is up for an Aurealis Award) getting Best New Talent. I not only love Thoraiya’s work, but have been excited to see how quickly she has gone from first publication and first award noms last year to – with her sale to Cosmos early this year – her first pro sale. All that plus her excellent TPP stories! Thoraiya caused many people to go “awwww” when she took her 2 year old daughter on stage for both of her Ditmars, the other being for “The Company Articles of Edward Teach” – this was a story I really loved last year, and thought would fall under the radar because it was published so late in the year. So hooray for that too!

Fan Artist of the Ditmar went to Amanda Rainey too, in this case for the Swancon 36 logo, which I have to say is hard to argue with when you’re staring at the gorgeous design of this year’s Ditmar & Tin Duck trophies (in true cyclical fandom tradition, she designed this year’s trophies featuring said logo, and promptly won several of them). She also tied for first place with Christina Lorenz for Fan Artist in the Tin Ducks. Amanda’s been doing such great work in the SF community over the last few years, mostly unpaid despite her high professional skills, and it’s lovely to see her time and effort rewarded with some trophy love.

Oh and yes, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann won for “some short film” as Jonathan charmingly put it, while presenting the award. It was one of those things where – well, it would have been completely embarrassing if anything other than the Oscar winner had taken the prize, though it would have been rather amusing if Shaun had beat himself with his other nominated work.

Back to the Tin Ducks, I think the only award I haven’t mentioned is Juliet Mariller’s Best Long Form for Seer of Sevenwaters – I loved her original Sevenwaters book, and didn’t know this one existed, so hooray for awards, now I can seek it out!

There were a few other non-affiliated awards, of which the one of most interest to me was the NORMA, of course. This year it was won by A A Bell’s Diamond Eyes, which I shall promptly seek out. The thing that seems most interesting to me up front is that they changed the award this year to include disability along with race, gender, etc. as themes that the award was looking for, and it seems from the blurb I have read that disability is a strong theme in this particular book. Watch this space for my feedback!

OK I have to go now and record another Galactic Suburbia, so I will just close by saying that it would be hard to beat the energy and love and positive vibes that I felt in the room when I picked up my own awards, and cheered on so many of my friends and colleagues while they did the same. So many smiles, so much genuine happiness! There was a time when I definitely did not feel as much a part of this community as I do today, and it was just plain nice to have so many people express their support. I do apologise for my (honestly I don’t remember what I said) rather garbled thank you speech, but I was so completely overwhelmed at that point that I’m surprised I was able to form words. That was probably the only moment of the con when I really wished I had after all brought my honey and my daughters all that way on the plane with me, so they could be a part of it all.

This whole winning trophies thing is aces, but it’s really, really new to me, as is this huge wave of excitement about my work. I am well aware that it’s not something that happens every year in a writer’s bumpy career, so intend to enjoy it while I can.

Galactic Suburbia Episode 30 Show Notes: Swancon 36 Edition

Image courtesy of Cat Sparx

Episode 30 is up, recorded live from Swancon on the morning of Sunday 24 April 2011 with an audience of loyal followers who were prepared to come to a panel at 9:30 AM!

Grab it from iTunes, by direct download or stream it on the site.


At Swancon 36/Natcon50

In which we talk convention gossip, awards, go through piles and piles of reading for Tansy and Alex, while Alisa patiently explains her position on ebooks.


Recorded Live from Swancon!


Shirley Jackson nominees

PK Dick winner announced

BSFA winners announced

SF Hall of Fame Inductees for 2011

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alex: Kraken, China Mieville; Doomsday Book, Connie Willis; Contact (the movie), Mappa Mundi, Justina Robson; Brasyl, Ian McDonald; Nightsiders, Sue Isle

Tansy: The Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare, The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke, Fun Home & Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, [http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/clockwork-rocks-and-a-tragicomic/] Tales of the Tower: the Wilful Eye edited by Isobelle Carmody & Nan McNab, especially “Catastrophic Disruption of the Head” by Margo Lanagan, Nightsiders (twelve planets 1) by Sue Isle.

Pet Subject: Indie Press: Alisa talks Ebooks!

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Going to Swancon, lalala

I’ve been having trouble joining my friends in their enthusiasm and excitement about Swancon this year. Not because I’m not looking forward to it – it’s a CON, and I always have an awesome time. The reason my feelings are so mixed is because I am completely fixated on the fact that I have to say goodbye to my girls for four days. And um. Haven’t *entirely* managed to wean my 19 month old yet. So basically whenever I think about Swancon, I think GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILTY GUILT.

We experimented last night with my honey comforting the baby in the night, offering her a drink of water and a cuddle that was not boobie-related. She was unimpressed.


Worldcon was wonderful in many ways, but hard, and there was just as much guilt from all the small goodbyes than there will be this time from one big one. I know in my heart that as soon as I’m on the plane and away, I will be able to enjoy the freakish luxury of four days in which the only person I have to look after in myself.

(secretly, I’m looking forward to the 5 hour plane trip – so many hours on my OWN to listen to stories and read books without someone jumping on me or needing a drink of water. Possibly *I* will be the one receiving drinks of water from someone else. UNTOLD LUXURY)

But then I think about the fact that my girls may well be having the annual Easter Egg hunt at Glammer’s house without me and I crumple, just a little…

I haven’t paid much attention to what is actually happening at Swancon – a bunch of my friends are going to be there and I’ll get to talk non-stop about books, science fiction, publishing, and podcasting. Not on panels or anything – I have no idea what my programme will look like – but to a crowd of my favourite people. Really, I just heard ‘con’ and I was there – plus I get to share a room with Alex, and we’ll be working hard to kidnap Alisa from her duties as chair from time to time, just so we get a chance to hang out with her too. Did I mention that I still haven’t *met* Amanda or Cranky Nick or Chris in person yet? Virtual will become reality!

But it’s probably time I looked at what the convention has to offer.

Swancon 36 – Natcon 50!

*swish, fancy hotel with actual room for all the stuff a convention needs
*Guests of Honour Sean Williams, Justina Robson, Ellen Datlow, Sarah Xu and many more invited guests.
*Writerstream – a whole stream of programming on Saturday 23 April, devoted to writers trying to break into the industry, with workshops/presentations as well as panels and discussions.
*Romancing the West – a SECOND stream of programming for writers, this time with a focus on romance, paranormals, etc.
*Edustream – on the Friday, a series of professional development workshops and panels with a focus on the uses of SF in schools for teachers and librarians as well as those with an interest in YA.
*Future Imperfect Art Show, various Awards ceremonies, everything else you expect from a Natcon

Okay. Now I’m getting a teeny bit excited. ROLL ON EASTER.