Aussiecon 4, Voice of the Echidna, Issue 5 – Saturday Morning (synopsis)

Transcribed by Elaine Walker. We thought we only had the first three of these, but trawling through another box has uncovered the next two issues of this newsletter so I shall continue to summarise their contents, including excerpts of bits I thought were interesting or amusing, continuing with Saturday Morning. As per usual the constellation of the Southern Cross with the image of an Echidna drawn behind it is in the top left corner. This is an A4 sheet, double sided, printed in black on mango coloured paper. I had almost forgotten that the convention had coincided with the first item. Full version available here

Earthquake in New Zealand

There was a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the South Island of New Zealand at 0435 NZ time this morning. The epicentre was near Christchurch, where a state of emergency has been declared. There are no reports of fatalities, but there have been some serious injuries. Christchurch airport is closed until at least noon on Saturday.
If anyone at the convention is affected, let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. Prayer rooms are available on the ground floor of the MCEC (opposite the Press Office) for anyone who needs some quiet space.

Ditmar Winners

As well as the standard Ditmar Winners there were also some other awards given. (At the same ceremony which I attended as part of Dudcon III the Australian NatCon incorporated into Aussiecon 4–EW)

A. Bertram Chandler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Australian SF: Damien Broderick

Norma K. Hemming Award: Maria Quinn, The Thieves. A new award celebrating excellence in exploring the themes of race, gender, class and sexuality in speculative fiction.

Short Story Competition: The brief was for new genre fiction that’s imaginative, entertaining, and contains the words ‘make ready’ and an Australian landmark. The winner was “The Perforation” by Helen Stubbs. Runner up: “The Rise & Fall of a Fair Dinkum Superhero” by Aidan Doyle. Prizes generously provided by the Australian Science Fiction Association.

Peter McNamara Award: for contribution to the SF community, Dr Janine Webb.

Not-a-Ditmar Awards:

William Aethling Award for Criticism: The Secret Feminist Cabal, Helen Merrick.

Best Fannish Cat: Peri Peri Canavan [This award thing has clearly got out of hand–Ed]

with thanks to Cheryl Morgan, Kevin Standlee, and conreporter.com

Prometheus Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame award went to Poul Anderson’s classic story, “No Truce with Kings”, which had previously won a Hugo Award. A touching reminiscence about the writing of the story was contributed by Anderson’s window, Karen.

–Taras Wolansky

Golden Duck Awards

For excellence in Children’s SF Literature
Picture Book Award: Swamps of Sleethe by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Jimmy Pickering (Knopf)
Eleanor Cameron Middle Grades Award: Zrex by Steve Cole (Penguin)
Hal Clement Young Adult Award: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
Special Award: You Write It: Science Fiction by John Hamilton (Abdo)


There was information on closing dates for Site Selection, on the Art Show, which apparently had fabulous works of art by Shaun Tan, Patrick Jones, Lewis Morley, Marilyn Pride, Nick Stathopoulos, the Mayfair Collection and many more.
There was a Meet the Artist Saturday featuring Lachlan Creagh, Bob Eggleton, Elise Matthesen, Marianne Plumridge and Spring Schoenhuth and Sebastian Rice presenting a slideshow and talk about his extensive collection of sf/f art at 1400.


Hospitality Reports

A grand total of four hospitality events this evening, some of which were shared between two organisations.

The only event not associated with a future Worldcon bid was hosted by the Canberra SF Group, a quiet gathering with soft drinks, flatbreads and dips.

Décor: minimalist. Chocolate balls: orange.

Across the hall the reception for the Chicago in 2012 Worldcon bid was a slightly livelier affair with posters from the city’s history and references to such things as World Fairs and Presidential Inaugurations. Exotic foods such as Oreos and teacakes were in evidence, and conversation was occasionally silenced by the roar of a fruit-smoothie machine running under zero load. Odd not to see a registration table here.

Date of World’s Fair: 1933. Nature of mutant twiglets: extra-large, marmite-free.

Proceeding upstairs we found the first of two shared receptions on the right, hosted by Texas in 2013 and New Zealand in 2020. Fans surviving on hotel breakfasts and bid hospitality alone were served well here: besides macaroons, kiwi fruit, shortbread, nuts, Whittaker’s Chocolate (for those with taste) and Hershey’s Kisses (for others), the bids provided a table laden with ingredients for the assembly of steak sandwiches, ideal for those unaware of the benefits of cheese that has some bite. It was a little disconcerting to find that the drinks which the reception seemingly provided actually came by way of a paid bar, a shock sprung on visitors without notice, leading to stumbling embarrassment (Brits) or swift and drinkless exit (others). Both bids correction provided an opportunity to pre-support.

Designs of inflatable seen: twofold. Size of silver fern stickers: multiple.

Finally, proceeding once more across the hall, your tireless correspondents attempted to penetrate the seething masses attending the UK and Irish Fandom and Continuum 7 reception, marking the London in 2014 bid and the 2011 Melbourne annual convention respectively. Poster-sized book covers from British authors adorned walls to the left, and flags of northern European nations decorated windows to the right. There was shortbread, there was Battenberg cake, there was the sort of cheese that seizes the back of your throat and wrestles it to the ground. The culture of the UK’s bonniest parts had been distilled for the pleasure of the attendants, who were invited on a metaphorical tour of the the regions of Scotland, as represented by its most famous export. And, while a jug clearly labelled for donations was available, no-one was charged for anything (except for becoming a pre-supporter or friend of the bid, of course).

Crowd density: high. Malts sampled: four.

Oh, one other thing. There were tentacles. We counted four of them, two large and two small, but there may have been more. It probably made some sort of sense at the time. To someone. We have to go and lie down now.

Douglas Spencer and Julia Daly, hospitality correspondents

An Echidna In the UK #2

Surely an echidna in the UK would be a hedgehog?

–Marianne Cain

On the Signing of eBooks

Bob Silverberg reports that somebody asked him to sign their Kindle. And Brett Mashado tweets: “Kim Stanley Robinson signed my iPad wow!” Could get a little crowded after a while.

–with thanks to Chris Sloan


That’s about it, there’s some some stuff about twitter conversations about echidnas, panel changes, Worldcon Chair photos, plugs for books (I Shall Wear Midnight, and magazine anniversary parties Strange Horizons, breakfast recommendations, and pleas for write-ups of the previous evening’s Nightmare Ball.


This issue was produced by Alison Scott, still in a Walthamstow garrett, with help from Flick and Marianne Cain. Special interference from Jonathan Cain, schools go back Monday yay! Masthead by Sue Mason. We’re following #Aus4 and #worldcon on Twitter and Flickr. Happy Birthday, Dr Plokta!

About australian sf-history

ASFDAP was set up in 2011 after the rediscovery by the wider SF community of an impressive hoard of Australian SF community related ephemera, fanzines and other materials in the Murdoch University basement.

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