March 27th, 2008


Some of the Swancon lows

... well it can't *all* be positive and upbeat, can it?

The Dealers room.

There was much grumpiness in relation to the dealers room. I had a bit of a pre-con grump here and angriest kindly did all he could to sort it out behind the scenes. In so doing, unfortunately, I discovered more issues that I was until then unaware. And I appreciate all he did to try and fix these things but ... they caused a lot of personal upset, general small press table upset and general hucksters upset. And in the interests of next year I think we should discuss em.

Early on I learned there was not to be a dealers room at Swancon. Given the number of tables that ended up trading throughout the con and the fact that it was a Natcon this year, I cannot understand why there was not a dealers room. Presses come to a con, particularly Natcon, specifically to trade and in the hopes of doing the main trade for the year. They become less that impressed when it feels like at every turn their ability to optimise their sales seem to be being deliberately limited. Some examples, I guess:

- at the exceedingly last minute I discovered I was supposed to find and collect an envelope that would tell us our roster for the weekend. We didn't get to have the same space and same set up every day and for one day we were supposed to be upstairs trading. Except, even though I did manage to find my envelope and locate that Sunday we were upstairs ... the space was double booked for that slot. (I gotta be honest, the whole thing was such a farce by this point).

- we were not allowed to keep our space for the full con. We were also told to be set up by 9am and packed up by 5pm. We were the only table that did this. This meant that we had to find somewhere to store all our boxes and other things every day or else pack our car each night and unpack it in the morning. Thank you to Alex and Lucy and Edwina who let us store 10 boxes and 15 bags every night in their hotel rooms. It would have been so much worse without you. And also thank you to all those people who helped us pack and carry boxes up and and down the lifts and to and from cars - Tehani did most of it, but also Russ, Liz, Alex, Kathryn, Dirk, Rob and Simon and whoever else I forgot. My apologies if I did forget you, it was all so flustered and rushed. On top of this ... getting in and set up by 9am nearly very well killed me. We didn't get home before 2am each night and had to debrief and check email of course. Then get up at 7.30 to be in at the hotel by 8.30. I was like a walking zombie by the end. If I stood still too long I would start to drop off.

- I had asked if we would be able to bring posters for advertisements and was told we could not. So I didn't bother to print any up. However, obviously Harper Collins were not told this and for the first day of the con we got to have our table in front of their wall of posters and field questions all day long about their books. And that we weren't selling them

- there was no Dealer Room. I mentioned this already. Instead we got to loiter in an in between room that led to the main panel rooms. On the first day that meant standing all day in front of a vent or draught that brought the icy winds of Antarctica. It also meant that we got knocked around by the doors to the panel rooms constantly opening and closing and generally got in the way. However, I think my absolute favourite moment was when someone came out from inside the panel room and told us to be quiet because we were being too noisy. Here's a suggestion for next year: Have a dealers room.

I'm not going to go into the rest but I think it would be fair to say that most, if not all the hucksters, felt screwed around and talked down too and unwanted. Hucksters form an important component to a con - please don't exclude us or make us feel like a hindrance. Many complained of slow trade and I really do believe it was for many of the reasons above. If it's no longer worthwhile to trade, they/we won't come and what's a SF con without books and merchandise?

Other thank yous!

Soooooooo many that I know I am still going to forget everyone.

Thank you to Alex who hosted the best room parties EVA and for letting me have girliecon there. And to everyone who attended Alex's room parties and, on the whole, behaved. I think she'll let us have parties in her room again.

Thank you to Kathryn who is always there and is one of those people who jumps in and fixes things when they go wrong, makes things work when they don't and never ever asks but always knows exactly what is most needed when.

Thank you to all my friends who bolster me when I am down and who give me a shoulder to cry on or a hug when I most need one. Thank you to those people who made food appear during the weekend when I probably hadn't eaten for 6 hours and who put drinks in my hand. Tehani and Alex and Dirk and Lucy thank you all very much for that. And I *know* I owe people money - please let me know and I will sort it out ASAP.

Thank you to Tehani's Mum and to Davina who were the power behind all our room party catering. And thank you to Kathryn and Liz and Russ and my Mum who helped with the 2012/Workers Paradise catering. That would never have worked if just one of you had not pitched in. Thank you also to those who helped set up - Cat, Kathryn, Dirk, Kate, Alex and others. And to Tehani who hosted the party like it was her book and slips in and mothers so well that you don't even notice you've been cared for and sorted out. And thanks also to everyone who came to the launch. Without you we would have been lonely in a dingy carpark with a lot of booze and some books.

Thank you to Claire McKenna who gave me my very own copy of Liminal. OMG squee! I am *such* a fangirl.

Thank you to Ian and Mitch and Rob and they know why.

Thanks to the Last Short Story crew - Ben, Tansy and Alex and Jonathan who oddly make reading a ridiculously large number of stories in a ludicrously short amount of time a tonne of fun!

Thanks to the Snapshot team - Kathryn, Ben, Tansy, Alex, Kaaron and Rosie. And to Ben Peek who's original idea it was in the first place. That was an extreme period of time and we pulled it off! And thanks to everyone who let us interview you.

Thanks to the ASif! team - Ben and Geneva who helped me mop up the mess that was left post World Fantasy Con to get the project back on track and made it fun again. Thanks to the best review team I could ever hope to have. Who always optimistic and have fun and make the project a joy. And thanks to everyone who sends us material and reads the site.

Thank you to Tansy who stayed up very late and compiled random and excited text messages into the ASif! News headlines for the award winners. And thank you to Tansy for always being on the end of an email or text or skype session and for sending me things to cheer me up when I most need them. T, you have to come to a Swancon some time - you'd love it.

And thanks finally to Ben who shone a light when things got dark. And still shines a light when things are darker still. And who makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Thank you to those I have forgotten, I know I have and I apologise for doing so.

I love SF

CASHLESS transactions, artificial organ transplants, space tourism and newspapers you can read on a screen may sound like common fare today, but 40 years ago they were the stuff of science fiction fantasies.

A magazine article printed four decades ago containing predictions of what life would be like in 2008 has been republished online, and it holds some surprisingly accurate details.,25642,23439615-5014239,00.html

Wonder how much of the stuff in 2012 will be accurate - too much, I fear.

Olympics - Fair warning!

There's only one thing I get more excited about than Ditmar nominations ballots and that's breaking world records! Yes, I am an olympics nut! For two weeks every four years, I care more about sports than life itself. If it's in the games, I love it, I can commentate it and I can quote you scores and times from the last 4 games. You might not want to be round me then!

And of course right now we have the Swimming trials going on. And OMG how awesome and awful was the men's 50m free last night?! I'm pretty sure Eamon Sullivan did the same undergrad at the same place as me which is my only claim to his fame. But still! OMG to qualify for the team is awesome. To cheer for him as he was so close to chasing down the red line was fun. To see his face as he hit the wall, turned to check the clock and discovered he had missed the world record time by 0.02 seconds was heartbreaking. He looked like he had lost and maybe he would have preferred that he did. 0.02 of a second between elation and defeat. That's swimming for you.


Twelfth Planet Press

It's with deep sadness that I have to announce that Ben Payne has left Twelfth Planet Press.

His thoughts are on his blog.

I can only add that he is a talented editor and his contribution to TPP will be sorely missed.