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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Back From Another Con... With More Books! Day 1

And here they are! I did download one book, Feed, by Mira Grant, the pen name of Seanan McGuire, the GoH of this year's Continuum - Number 13, how time flies! I've been to every single one since the start. 

Seanan McGuire, who writes urban fantasy under her own name, explained during her GoH speech that she had to take a pen name for a more literary type of speculative fiction because a lot of people just don't buy anything by an urban fantasy writer, even if it isn't urban fantasy. She said many people who had read and loved her Newsflesh series said they would never have picked them up if they had known who the author was, because urban fantasy is, oddly, considered inferior. So she writes those as Mira Grant. 

She mentioned, interestingly, that she can't afford health care because the costs are over $1100 a month and she lives entirely on her writing. Some years are good, some aren't. 

Due to family commitments I couldn't get there till yesterday, but there were some good panels and I was lucky enough to be able to hear the GoH speech, which is normally on the Saturday. 

As it was, I arrived in the middle of a book launch. It was a children's book published by Allen and Unwin, so I listened, but wasn't interested. Even the bits read by the author were explaining the universe rather than things happening. I left as soon as we were invited to have a nibble and buy a book. 

So I went to the panel on fairy tales, on which Seanan McGuire was appearing. It was a lot of fun and there were comments on such things as siblings in fairy tales. There wasn't much I didn't know, but it's always enjoyable to hear other people's thoughts. Nobody, for some reason, commented on the fact that, actually, there are groups of three - the older two ignore the magical helpers and fail, the youngest shares his/her lunch and succeeds. But nobody mentioned this.

Then there was Kid Stuff, a panel on which a group of writers, led by Michael Pryor, talked about their inspiration from their childhoods. 

At noon, we all attended the GoH speech and I ended up going to lunch by myself, as everyone I know disappeared, including George Ivanoff, who had to go and find some Panadols; his cold is at an earlier stage than mine, poor man! It gave me an excuse to read for lunch, over a freshly made borek and hot lentil soup.

I did intend to go to the talk about the history of Aussie fandom, but as I entered, I was harassed by someone I won't name. I stayed about five minutes, then went out to the dealer's room, where I bought the three books you see above, having a chat with two friends, Narrelle Harris and Simon Petrie. Both of them had new books out, so I bought them, plus Gillian Polack's The Time Of The Ghosts, which I've started reading. Fascinating, by the way - in it, the French fay Melusine is Jewish! And alive and well and living in modern Canberra. It's one of the books which suddenly went out of print when her publisher closed, but Simon told me that she has a new publisher, so great! I managed to chat for five minutes with Gillian as I was leaving and it was even better than Simon had told me. I need to catch up and get details. 

I went to a label on "Queering SF" because a friend of mine, Geoff Allshorn, was on it. The argument was that "there have always been queers in space opera." They then went on to complain about lack of representation. Weird! And one of them complained about that scene in A Civil Campaign in which Ivan, Miles's ultra-hetero cousin, arrives at the spaceport to greet Lady Donna, his sexual mentor, who has come back as Lord Dono, a hulking man with a beard. The complaint? Ivan hadn't wanted to continue the relationship. Well, no... Ivan is a heterosexual. And it wasn't that kind of relationship anyway. It was strictly sexual. At best, it would be "we're friends, but strictly Platonic now."  And Ivan ended up helping Lord Dono to get his inheritance and by the way, Dono ends up engaged to a young woman, one of the beautiful intelligent Koudelka sisters. Donna had been fed up with being a woman and fed up with men. 

Geoff later told me that the panel hadn't quite worked out as he had expected(he was moderating). 

My final panel for the day was on filking. It, too, was a lot of fun. We don't have much of a filk community here, though we used to. A pity. Anne Poore, a wonderful harpist, said that Dave Luckett, our major filker, doesn't perform his sings any more, so she does. Seanan McGuire , who has done quite a lot of it herself and produced her own albums, said there is a major filk con in Columbus, Ohio, every year, because it's right in the middle of the U.S. Bible Belt and the arrival of all those weirdos is a shock to the locals! This is on purpose. 

I had to leave early, to get some food and go to my mother's place, but on the dhole it was a good day. 



Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - well I'm glad you were able to get to one of the days ... and you've told us about filking - something I'd never come across ... interesting! Cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Hilary! Well, filking is really only for SF fans. If you love SF, it's wonderful.