Festival of the Imagination 1996 Souvenir Book: Neil Gaiman An Appreciation

page 7 of the Festival of the Imagination 1996 Souvenir Book had an appreciation of Neil Gaiman, written by Stephen R Brust. At the bottom of the page, it gives the following mini-bio of Brust: “Stephen Brust is the author of the enormously popular Vlad Taltos series of novels, as well as The Phoenix Guards: 500 Years After, Agyar and others. A rock star himself, Mr Brust has recorded several albums with Cats Laughing (with Emma Bull).

Neil Gaiman: Rock Star

First of all we need to understand what a Rock Star is. Huey Lewis is not a Rock Star; he’s a guy who plays music. Alice Cooper is a Rock Star. George Harrison is a musician; Mick Jagger is a Rock Star. Okay? Are you with me?

You don’t need to be a musician to be a Rock Star. Harlan Ellison, for example, is a Rock Star. So, in an entirely different way, is Alan Moore.

How do you identify a Rock Star? Well, in the first place, check out the black tee-shirts. Wearing black tee-shirts is a sign of Rock Stardom. So, of course, are shades. And besides the surface stuff, anyone who writes comic book scripts, novels, and some wonderful songs clearly has the whole Rock Stardom thing working for him. Obviously, I am claiming that Neil Gaiman is a Rock Star. It seems so obvious, in fact, that I will waste no more time proving my case.

So the question comes up: Exactly how does one deal with a Rock Star? If you walk up to him and say, “Yo, Dude, how they hangin’?” you’re liable to reflect back on the interaction later and feel that maybe you didn’t make the best impression. Similarly, falling on your knees and chanting, “I am Unworthy” will make you as having seen Wayne’s World too many times: a sure sign of Uncoolness.

So, let me make a few modest suggestions.

I’ve given a great deal of thought to the question of first contact with Rock Stars, and I’ve decided that all attempts to impress them are doomed. They are preternaturally cool; if you try to make them think you are cool too, you will merely appear feeble. The only thing worth trying to impress them with is your good taste and affability. I recommend saying something like this: “I really like your work. May I give you a check for a million dollars U.S.?” If your bank account doesn’t support this degree of affability, you might modify the second sentence to, “May I buy you a drink?” and see how it goes from there.

Now, let us suppose our Rock Star accepts, and you suddenly find yourself in a conversation with him. What do you talk about? First of all, don’t, for God’s sake, tell him about yourself. Your puny life is of no interest to the Rock Star. And don’t try to impress him by making a sharp, detailed criticism of the flaws in his latest work; he knows very well that there are no flaws in his latest work, so you’ll just make yourself look stupid.

You may try the Astute Observation And Penetrating Questions Technique, but make sure your observation is actually astute; your question truly penetrating. Something like, “It was damn clever the way you allowed us, in the first few issues of Sandman, to fool ourselves into thinking Death was male,” isn’t bad, because Rock Stars know they are clever and it is a sign of your intelligence if you know it too. A question such as, “Did you always plan to make the relationship between Dream and his son an oblique comment on the family’s relationship to Destruction, or did that emerge as you did the work?” might convince him you were the sort of reader he was aiming for (if it didn’t instead convince him you were a pretentious twit). On the other hand, something like, “In Number 47, on page two, what brand of knife is the guy cutting the onion with?” is likely to make him wonder if you wouldn’t rather be at a Star Trek convention.

Once you’ve made it that far, you can take a few chances by using him about influences and tastes in other media, and you might even venture to mention a couple of your own. Alternately, you may want to keep quiet about your own; Rock Stars aren’t usually interested in hearing about reruns of “The Brady Bunch”.

Dealing with Rock Stars can be tricky. I wish you all the best.

Note: In case the irony above isn’t obvious, I really out to say for the record that Neil is a sweetheart, a joy to talk to, and one of my favourite people in the world, as well as one of my favourite writers. Honest. If I let it go out without making it clear I’m kidding, he’ll probably break my neck.

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SwanCon 21 – Souvenir book page 63. The Rationalist’s One-Stop Guide to Sc-fi/Action/Horror Movie Traits

This is Robyn’s work and therefore I have not transcribed it in full, just the introductory sentence and headings. The full text is well worth writing up if we ever seek and get permission to print it. Chris Creagh

Robin Pen
A brief guide to certain elements that make up a sci-fi action horror film so you get all that rationalising, intellectualising and categorising out of the way and get on with and get on with enjoying the movie in proper braindead fashion.


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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Special Guests

Page 6 of the January 1996 newsletter of the 1996 Festival of the Imagination focuses on two special guests:

Jack Dann

Jack Dann is the author or editor of over thirty-five books, including the novels Junction, Starhiker, and The Man Who Melted. Dann’s work has been compared to Jorge Luis Borges, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, Castaneda, J. G. Ballard, and Philip K. Dick. His short stories have appeared in Omni and Playboy and other major magazines and anthologies. He is the editor of the anthology Wandering Stars, one of the most acclaimed anthologies of the 1970’s, and several other well-known anthologies such as More Wandering Stars. He also edits the multi-volume Magic Tales fantasy series with Gardner Dozois and is a consulting editor for Tor Books. He has been a finalist for the Nebula Award eleven times and a World Fantasy Award finalist three times. He has also been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award, and is a recipient of the Premios Gilgames de Narrative Fantastica award. Dann’s major historical novel about Leonardo da Vinci–entitled The Memory Cathedral–will be published in hardcover by Bantam Books in December, 1995. Dann is also listed in Contemporary Authors and the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series; The International Authors And Writers Who’s Who; Personalities Of America; Men Of Achievement; Who’s Who In Writers, Editors, And Poets, United States And Canada; Dictionary of International Biography; and the Directory of Distinguished Americans.

Dr. Janeen Webb

Janeen Webb is senior lecturer (professor) of literature at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. One of Australia’s leading SF critics, her work is also widely published in the USA, England, Germany, and Austria. Her books include Trends in the Modern Novel (Institute of Early Childhood Development), Modern Australian Drama (with G. McKay) (Institute of Early Childhood Development), and Storylines (with M. Tyrrell) (Oxford University Press). Dr. Webb is currently working on critical bibliographies of William Gibson, Angela Carter, and Thomas Keneally for the Borgo Press Modern Authors series. She was co-editor of the Australian Science Fiction Review from 1987 to 1991. This bi-monthly journal was the premier science fiction forum in Australia and had a world wide influence on science fiction, especially in the USA. She is a consultant and contributor to the Hugo Award winning Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls. Dr. Webb is listed in The Who’s Who of Academics In Australia, The Worlds Who’s Who of Women (13th edition) and the Internation Who’s Who of Intellectuals (11th edition).

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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Competitions

Being page 10 of the December 1995 Newsletter. Top half of the page has a small amount of white space which is filled with a small line drawing of a grotesque fish about to take the bait off a dangling hook.

Short Story Competition

As part of the commitment that the Festival of the Imagination 1996 has towards the encouragement of creativity and talent in Australian fiction writing, there will be a short story competition for works of speculative fiction held in the months leading up to the conference.

The competition will be held open for any piece of Australian unpublished fiction of five thousand words or less, and will have two categories: the open category, and the category for entrants aged 16 and under at the time of submission. Stories for the competition must be based on the Shaun Tan artwork featured here.

The prizes will be $130 first prize and $70 second prize for the open category, and $70 first prize and $30 second prize for the sixteen and under category. These prizes will be presented by one of the guests of the conference. In addition, winners will also receive memberships to the convention, to allow the prizes to be awarded in person.

To be eligible for entry, manuscripts must be typed and double spaced, and submitted to the Festival of the Imagination by no later than then thirtieth of March, 1996.

Art Competition

Additionally, the Festival of the Imagination 1996 will be holding a [sic] art competition open to all members of the Festival and the general genre community. The competition will be arranged into four categories – Professional, Non-Professional or Fan, Photography and Dimensional. All entries must be procured by the entrant and be of a Genre nature. There are no limits on the size or material used, but all entries must be available to be displayed. The Festival will take all due care but no responsibility for entries. All entries must be available and presented to the Festival by April 4th 1996 for judging and displaying.

The Art Competition will be judged by noted Australian genre artist Nick Stathopoulos and displayed at the Festival of Imagination 1996 Art Show for the duration of the Festival. At this stage the prizes will be $100 for best in show and $25 for best in each category. It is hoped that we will increase this prize pool in the near future. Art can be included in the show without being in the competition if requested. Please contact the Festival at the addresses on page 2 for further information or enquiries.

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Swancon 2001: PR3: Guests

Part of page 1 (the front cover) and part of page 2 of this PR is Guests:


Guest of Honour
Robert Silverberg
Robert Silverberg has published more than 100 science fiction books, more than 60 non-fiction books, countless short stories, and edited more than 60 anthologies. His career has spanned five decades, and he is still publishing.

International Guests
Karen Haber
Karen Haber began to write genre fiction in 1988, with the story “Madre de Dios”, which was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Her best known fiction is the Fire in the Winter sequence. She is also a successful editor, and co-edits the Universe anthologies with Robert Silverberg.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier works in the anime industry. He has worked on RikiOh 2, Locke the Superman (OVA), Shurato (OVA), Bubblegum Crash (OVA) and Tottoi (feature) among others.

Australian Guests
Rosaleen Love
Rosaleen is best known for her fabulous short stories, especially in her collections The Total Devotion Machine (1989) and Evolution Annie (1993). Her latest project is Reefscape, a book of non-fiction essays on the Great Barrier Reef.

Marilyn Pride
Marilyn has worked in various artistic fields, including illustration and sculpture. She is currently working on creating models of crime scenes for the NSW Police Department.

Lewis Morley
Lewis mainly does modelling work for films. He is currently working on the next Star Wars instalment, and has previously worked on films such as Dark City and The Matrix.

Kate Orman
Kate Orman is the author of some of the most acclaimed Doctor Who novels ever published, including the The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Set Piece, and The Room With No Doors. Her short stories have appeared in Interzone and Realms Of Fantasy.

Jonathan Blum
Jonathan Blum is the author (with Kate Orman) of the Doctor Who novels Vampire Science, Seeing I and Unnatural History. He recently wrote the acclaimed Doctor Who audio release The Fearmonger, starring Sylvester McCoy.

Invited Guests
Zan Ross
Local poet Zan Ross is currently studying for her PhD at Curtin University. Her poem By the River of Crocodiles was published in the 1999 edition of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.

Scot Snow
Scot has published over 100 short stories. Currently he is involved in script writing for comics, TV and film. His story What We Want and What We Need will be appearing in the forthcoming anthology AustrAlien Absurdities..

Grant Watson
Local playwright Grant Watson is the writer of the speculative fiction plays Frames, R3 and Degree Absolute – which Triple J described as ‘dark and extremely tense’.

Russell Blackford
Russell is a noted scholar in the science fiction field. His recent collaboration with Van Ikin and Sean McMullen, Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction was recipient of the William Atheling Jr. Award for criticism or review at the 2000 Ditmar Awards.

Juliet Marillier
Juliet Marillier is a Western Australian writer who has just published the fantasy novels Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows, which are both instalments of the Sevenwaters trilogy. The trilogy has been published in Australia, the UK, the USA and Germany.

Fan Guest
Susan Ackermann
Our fabulous Created Guest. Susan has worked towards becoming a Fan Guest for many years through her theatre sports, readiness to take part in mad fan projects at short notice, and her openness towards new fans.

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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Storm Constantine

Being page 4 of the January 1996 Newsletter.

Storm Constantine is 30 something, and lives in Stafford with eight cats and a husband. Apart from being a successful author and an accomplished artist, through her love of music, she has been involved with band management for many years.

Storm has written stories all her life. Her interests have always lain in the realms of the fantastical, but she was influenced by the mythology of Ancient Egypt and Greece more than by contemporary fantasy writing. After beginning – and never completing – several full-length works, Storm began work in 1985 on the first of her Wraeththu novels, The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit. This was completed in 1986 and accepted by Futura/Macdonald, finally being published in 1987. It was followed by two further Wraeththu books, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate (1988) and The Fullfilments of Fate and Desire (1989).

In 1990, Macdonald/Orbit published Storm’s fourth book, The Monstrous Regiment – a departure from the territory of the Wraeththu, though still, as her editor once put it, “quintessential Storm”. A sequel to The Monstrous Regiment – Aleph – appeared in 1991.

1991 also saw Storm moving publishers, to Headline, which Storm saw as a major step forward in her career. Storm had four happy and successful years with Headline which saw the publication of her next four books: Hermetech (1991), Burying the Shadow (1992), Sign For The Sacred (1993) and Calenture (1994). Hermetech, a favourite of Storm and her fans, was a step sideways for Storm in that it was a science fiction novel.

A change of publishers in 1994, to the exciting new Penguin/Creed imprint, has served to strengthen Storms’ outlook and career. Her first book with Creed, Stalking Tender Prey, is due to be published in November 1995. Stalking Tender Prey explores Storm’s continuing fascination with the mythology of the Fallen Angels, drawing on characters and ideas from her earlier novel, Burying The Shadow, and her short story, “A Change of Season” (which appeared in the Midnight Rose Anthology, The Weerde).

Besides her novels, Storm has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies/collections, and both Hermetech and Burying The Shadow have been translated into German with translations into other languages planned for future.

Below this was a ‘Selected Bibliography’. As this pretty much echoes the works listed above, this has not been replicated

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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Neil Gaiman, Robin Pen

Page 5 of the SwanCon/Festival of the Imagination 1996 January 1996 Newsletter has brief (one paragraph) bios on guests Neil Gaiman and Robin Pen. There is also a selected bibliography for Neil Gaiman, which has been omitted on the principle that if you want to know, you know how to google. The page finishes with a quote from Robin in large type face.

Neil Gaiman

Expatriate Britisher and winner of the World Fantasy Award, Neil Gaiman is probably most widely known as the writer of the Sandman comic saga. He is also the author of numerous comics and graphic novels, often working with acclaimed artist Dave McKean. An occasional writer of short fiction (some of which was recently published in a collection), he collaborated with Terry Pratchett on a highly successful humorous fantasy novel and co-created and edited a namuber of shared-world anthologies including Temps and Weerde. Gaiman also collaborated with Kim Newman on a compilation of high-lights of the low-lights of science fiction and horror writing in literature and fim; he is a popular interview subject, has received many awards and happens to are an authority on Douglas Adams’ Hitch-Hiker series of plays and novels.

Robin Pen

Writer, columnist, film maker, artist, publisher, editor, critic, interviewer and raconteur, Robin Pen has worked in three SF bookstores – managing two of them – two comic shops, and a computer games store, and has been active in conventions since Swancon 14 in 1989. In 1990, he helped found and edit Eidolon – The Australian Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and began his film column, “Critical Embuggerance”, for which he won a Ditmar Award in 1993. He has also programmed film events for the Lumiere Cinema, including two Sci Fi Blockbusters and the week long Festival Fantastique in 1994. Today, along with his contributing editorship with Eidolon, he is also an associate editor for PC Games Plus.

“Godzilla is the sensei in the dojo of Cinema Ephemera.”
Robin Pen

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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – The Chair Speaks

Being the main part of page 3 of the January 1996 Newsletter. Details from page 4 that are mentioned can be found at the newsletter summary page; those from page 9 may or may not be transcribed later.

Welcome to the penultimate newsletter for the Festival of the Imagination 1996. This newsletter will be the last one being distributed to Australia in blind mailings. We will be producing a final newsletter in March with the Postal Voting forms for the Ditmars and ASFMAs. This will be available in shops, albeit without the forms, but if you aren’t a member by then or on the mailing list (without any obligation), you won’t receive it.

The big news for this newsletter is that Storm Constantine is our new guest. Storm is a great person, a rising star in the fantasy field, and a real gas at a con. We are very lucky to have her coming, and I’m sure you’ll agree that she is a great choice. See page 4 for more information. As you can see below, we have a pretty impressive guest line-up attending the conference, and we hope to add even more names in the near future.

Would all those members (or prospective members) who are thinking about staying at the con Hotels please book a room soon. We can obtain more block bookings at the special conference rate, but we need to make sure rooms are available. Rooms in the primary Hotel are almost all gone, so don’t miss out – book now.

Well, that’s about all from me this time. I want to draw all our WA readers’ attentions to the Quiz night (well, afternoon), which is sure to be a blast and has great prizes too (see page 9). We hope to see you there. If you have any questions, please write, phone, email, or heck, just drop by; we’re always happy to talk to members and the fan community.

See you at the con!

Richard Scriven
Chair, Festival of the Imagination 1996

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 – Souvenir Book – Jack Dann

This is a Guest bio for Jack Dann in the souvenir book, page 37 for Swancon 21, Festival of the Imagination 1996. It is followed on the next page by an appreciation by Joe Haldeman which we will not reproduce. As much as possible typographical errors have been faithfully reproduced.

Jack Dann

Jack Dann is the author or editor of over thirty-five books, including the novels Junction, Starhiker, and The Man Who Melted. Dann’s work has been compared to Jorge Luis Borges, Ronald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, Castaneda, J G Ballard, and Philip K Dick. Philip K Dick, author of the stories from which the films Blade Runner and Total Recall were made, wrote that “Junction is where Ursula Le Guin’s Lathe of Heaven and Tony Boucher’s ‘The Quest for Saint Aquin’ meet … and yet it’s an entirely new novel … I may very well be basing some of my future work on Junction.” Best selling author Marion Zimmer Bradley called Starhiker “a superb book … it will not give up all its delights, all its perfections, on one reading.” Library Journal has called Dann “… a true poet who can create pictures with a few perfect words.” Roger Zelazny thinks he is a reality magician and Best Sellers has said that “Jack Dann is a mind-warlock whose magicks will confound, disorient, shock and delight.” The Washington Post Book World compared his novel The Man Who Melted with Ingmar Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal.

His short stories have appeared in Omni and Playboy and other major magazines and anthologies. He is the editor of the anthology Wandering Stars, one of the most acclaimed anthologies of the 1970s, and several other well-known anthologies such as In the Field of Fire. He also edits the multi-volume Magic Tales fantasy series with Gardner Dozois and is a consulting editor for Tor Books. He has been a finalist for the Nebula Award eleven times and a World Fantasy Award finalist three times. He has also been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award, and is a recipient of the Premios Gilgames de Narrativa Fantastica award.

High Steel, a novel co-authored with Jack C. Haldeman II, has been published in hardcover by Tor Books to rave reviews. British critic John Clute called it “a predator … a cat with blazing eyes gorging on the good meat of genre. It is most highly recommended.” A sequel, Ghost Dance is in progress.

Dann’s major historical novel about Leonardo da Vinci–The Memory Cathedral–was published in hardcover by Bantam Books in December, 1995. Morgan Llewelyn called it “a book to cherish, a validation of the novelist’s art and fully worthy of its extraordinary subject”, Lucius Shepard thought it was “an absolute triumph”, and Kirkus Reviews called it “An impressive accomplishment”. Dann is currently working on The Silent, a new novel about the Civil War, which will also be published by Bantam.

As part of its Bibliographies of Modern Authors series, The[*] Borgo Press has published an annotated biobliography and guide entitled The Work of Jack Dann. A second edition is in the works. Dann is listed in Contemporary Authors and the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series; The International Authors And Writers Who’s Who; Personalities Of America; Men Of Achievement; Who’s Who In Writers, Editors, And Poets, United States And Canada; Dictionary Of International Biography; and the Dictionary Of Distinguished Americans.

Jack Dann lives in Melbourne, Australia.

There is a photograph of him taken by M C Valada. (Copyright, all rights reserved).

* I assume this is ‘The’ based on googling. The page had that followed by a box and an r.

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Swancon 2001: PR2 part 3 of 3

The Swancon 2001:Masquerade Progress Report 2, while a light weight publication, devoted a significant proportion of the real estate to Guest of Honour, Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg

“The man who put sex in science fiction”
– Neil Gaiman

Its almost impossible to to sum up the work of Robert Silverberg in this short a space. His career has been long, prolific, and has produced an enormous amount of work of the highest quality.

An indication of how well regarded he is as a science fiction writer is that he has been nominated for the Nebulas 20 times (and won 5 times), and been nominated for the Hugos 27 times (and won 4 times, withdrawing 4 times), beginning with the Hugo for ‘most promising new author’ in 1955, a promise that he has well and truly made good on. He has also been nominated for the Locus Readers Award 97 times and won 5 times. Most notably, he is the only science fiction writer to have won major awards in every decade from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Robert Silverberg is not only a writer of an enormous amount of superb science fiction, but also a notable editor (for example, he edited the recent Legends anthology), and writer on many other subjects (including much excellent non-fiction). He is also a witty, warm and entertaining speaker, who has been a guest of honour at many science fiction cons before.

Perhaps his best known recent work is the Majipoor series, beginning with Lord Valentine s Castle, that he is currently continuing with books including the recent Lord Prestimion.

We are absolutely delighted at the prospect of having Robert as a guest.

“Where Silverberg toes today, the rest of science fiction will go tomorrow!”
— Isaac Asimov

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