Friday, March 25, 2005

Swancon Day 1.1

It's Saturday morning as I write this. Yesterday, which was the real Day 1, was good fun. I got up early, wrestled with the Internet machine downstairs, got lost in King's Park and had to ask directions, when I finally got out, of an older lady who was walking along the unfamiliar street. However, I found my way back down the VERY steep street, which could have competed with that famous street in Dunedin for the title of "World's Steepest Street" and managed to get into the panel on "TV Vampires". I would have enjoyed this more if it hadn't been in a tiny room with no windows. Finally I had to get out, though I would have liked to stay. I found some friends and spent a pleasant hour before lunch. Sally Beasley, who was sharing a room with me, arrived and I fixed up her room key, then a group of us went to lunch. Not much is open in Perth on Good Friday, but with a native guide, we found an open cafe where I got a vegetarian stir-fry for $5.95, very nice. We were mostly members of the Andromeda Spaceways Co-op and tried to avoid discussing our magazine so as not to bore the only non-member. After lunch, I went to the first panel of the day featuring Charles De Lint, with Robert Hood, Cat Sparks, Dave Luckett and Lee Battersby. It was on the subject of balancing a day job with writing, something of great interest to me, as I have to do precisely this. Mr De Lint, of course writes full-time now (since he got made redundant at his record store job). He seems a pleasant, approachable gentleman. I hadn't realised that Robert Hood, the only person allowed to write YA horror fiction for Hodder, has a full-time day job, just like me. Dave writes more or less full-time, but doesn't earn as much as you'd think, though, after all, this is Australia and you have to be Sarah Douglass to be earning in the six figures!

After this, I caught up with Sue Isle and bought some books in the huckster's room, shelling out $65 for a Charles De Lint Hardcover that will probably never make it to paperback, asnd buying the new Daikaiju collection, which is great fun - pity I never got around to submitting! When I took my copy of Moonheart to be autographed I let Charles D know that it was this book that had got me beadlooming, among other things. He said his wife, who was with him, would probably enjoy having a look at my belt, but I'm not wearing it, the threads have frayed and need fixing.

Then I went to a short fiction panel. Let's face it, short fiction is where the new writers are coming from in this country and it's where all the new work is happening, unless you want to read/write fat fantasy trilogies.

Follwed this with the "It came from the slushpile" panel, which was fun, but more about what editors do and don't want to see than about, "the weird experiences we've had" (a little of that). One of the panellists, Anna Hepworth, showed me, afterwards, a little trick I didn't know my Macintosh could do, so i can't wait to try it at home.

"Economies of (Dragon) Scale" was about mediaeval economics and how you really need it to make a story make sense. Nice. Dinner was pizza, after which Sue Isle and I went up to her room to drink tea and share a Hahndorf's easter egg I'd brought with me. This was followed by evening events - the Alternate History Game Show, run by Lee Battersby, and "The Simono Retrospective" by Simon Oxwell, who has a character called Simono, "The world's most beautiful fan" - very entertaining stuff, the man could be a stand-up comedian, but I found myself nodding off. Too late and my body was still on Melbourne time.

Today is going to be interesting. I have volunteered for a panel I haven't a clue what it's about. Sally and I went off and found an Internet cafe, where I'm typing this. More tomorrow.

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