SwanICon PR1 – Guests (part 1)

Pages four through eight of this progress report have one page (or in the case of the last one, half a page) of guests. In this post, those for Jack Dann (p4) and Sean Williams (p5) are transcribed. Theoretically, the rest will be in a post in the next couple of weeks, but we make no promises.

Jack Dann

is a multiple award winning author who has written or edited forty-eight books ,including the groundbreaking novels Junction, Starhiker, The Man Who Melted and The Memory Cathedral, which is an international bestseller. Dann’s work has been compared to Jorge Luis Borges, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, Castaneda, J. G. Ballard, and Philip K. Dick. The Washington Post Book World compared his novel The Man Who Melted with Ingmar Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal, and Science Fiction Age called it one of the greatest SF novels of all time.

His short stories have appeared in Omni and Playboy and other major magazines and anthologies. In collaboration with Janeen Webb, Dann won the Aurealis Award this year for Best Science Fiction Story. The story was “Niagara Falling”. 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, the White Wolf Rediscovery Trios with Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski, and is a consulting editor for Tor books. He is a recipient of the Nebula Award, the Aurealis Award (twice), and the Premios Gilgamés de Narrativa Fantastica award. Dann has also been honoured by the Mark Twain Society (Esteemed Knight).

Dann’s major historical novel about Leonardo da Vinci–entitled The Memory Cathedral–was first published by Bantam Books in December 1995 to rave reviews. It is has been translated into seven languages. It won the Australian Aurealis Award in 1997 and was #1 on The Age bestseller list; a story based on the novel was awarded the prestigious Nebula Award. A new edition of The Man Who Melted has just been published in Australia. Also published are Three in Space, edited with Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski, and Clones, edited with Gardner Dozois. As part of its Bibliographies of Modern Authors series, the Borgo Press has published an annotated bibliography and guide entitled The Work of Jack Dann. A second edition is in the works. 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 & Poets, United States & Canada; Dictionary of International Biography;and the Directory of Distinguished Americans.

Sean Williams

was born in Whyalla, South Australia, in 1967. He has been writing since 1990. His short fiction has appeared in Aboriginal SF (the first story by an Australian to do so), Aurealis, Bloodsongs, Eidolon and The Leading Edge, as well as the anthologies Alien Shores, Intimate Armageddons, The Lottery, The Oxford Book of Australian Ghost Stories, The Year’s Best Australian SF & Fantasy 1996 and Terror Australis. He has won a prize in the Writers of the Future Contest, been recommended by Year’s Best Horror & Fantasy anthologies, and won the Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story in 1996. Doorway to Eternity, a collection of two short stories and one novelette, was published by MirrorDanse Books in 1994. His first collaboration with Simon Brown, “The Masque of Agamemnon”, was selected by Gardner Dozios to appear in The Year’s Best Science Fiction Volume Fifteen. An as yet untitled collection is due from Ticonderoga Publications in April, 1999.

This prolific and consistent short story output has earned him something of a reputation.

On the novel front, he is co-author with Shane Dix of the first book of the Cogal trilogy, The Unknown Soldier which was published by Aphelion Publications in 1995. The Unknown Soldier was nominated for both the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the Ditmar Award for Long Fiction, and was voted in the top twenty of the Internet Science Fiction Databases’s most popular books of 1995 (http://cu-online.com/avonruff/top100.html*).

His first solo novel, Metal Fatigue, was published by HarperCollins Australia in June of 1996 to rave reviews. Metal Fatigue won the Aurealis Award for Best SF Novel of 1996, and polled equal-11th in the Internet Speculative Fiction DataBase’s Top Books of 1996. His second solo novel The Resurrected Man, was published by HarperCollins Australia in April 1998 and has already generated a favourable response from editors and reviewers alike. Damien Broderick: “The Resurrected Man pushes cyberpunk’s envelope, then licks its stamp.”

The Unknown Soldier has been rewritten and, retitled The Prodigal Son, now serves as the first novel of the Evergence trilogy, continuing in The Dying Light and concluding with The Dark Imbalance. Ace Books will publish the Evergence trilogy in the US through 1999-2000, simultaneously with HarperCollins in Australia.

Sean lives directly underneath the flight path of Adelaide International Airport. Interests include music, cooking, and cheating death.

* note that this URL no longer exists, and the wayback is possibly not old enough to have captured it. Googling finds the Internet Science Fiction Database still up and running, but not the best books of lists.

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SwanICon PR1 – Welcome

Being page 3 (of 16)

Welcome to what we believe will be the social event of 1999!

SwanCon 1999, or ICon as we like to call it, aims to bring you all the traditional features of SwanCons that that you love, with a few innovations that we hope will make a con to remember. For many people, the most important part of any Swancon is the programme. For ’99, we thought that we would trial two ideas: ongoing themes for part of the programming, and large ‘audience friendly’ after-dinner panels. Some areas within programming are simply too large to be contained into one hour. We have decided to break these items into ongoing ‘chapters’ of panels. This means that you will be able to attend either that part of the subject which interests you, or attend all three panels for a more complete picture of the theme. This is one way in which we are trying to develop the ways we think about con organisation,.

SwanCons have always been social events, and we are trying to encourage this within our programme. For every night, we have scheduled a large social event. These events are designed to encourage participation from the audience, forming a sort of after dinner entertainment, in which you can either take part, or just enjoy watching. Gaming and video programming for ICon are both covered in more detail later in the progress report, so I will simply say that if you would like to run something that does not appear, please let us know. Several tournaments will be taking place, including the World Trade Game and a Nuclear War tournament, and we have two freeforms scheduled already.

SwanCons, in general, are an eclectic jumble of social, educational, and informational ideas. For ICon, we want to bring you the best event that we can. For this, we need to have your participation. We can only think of so many ideas. If you feel that you can help in any way, from participation on the front desk or panels, to running Rail Baron, we would love to hear from you. Regardless of how much work the committee does, or who the guest is, a SwanCon can only work if you, the members, have the chance to make it a weekend of your own.

Julian Ackermann

credits at the bottom of the page:
Cover illustration by Laurie Goodridge.
Progress Report 1 designed & edited by Russell B. Farr

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Festival of the Imagination – Souvenir book – Janeen Webb

Pages 53 to 56 of the Festival of the Imagination 1996 Souvenir book are dedicated to the appreciation of Janeen Webb. This post features the first part, which is a potted biography taking up just under a page. The second part, being “An Appreciation” by Pamela Sargent, takes slightly over a page, and will feature in a later blog post. Pages 55 and 56 are a biobliography which will not be transcribed.

Sections of this article are very similar to information in various newsletters, but the whole article has been transcribed anyway.

Janeen Webb

Dr. Janeen Webb is a senior lecturer (professor) of literature at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. She is a specialist in comparative literature, children’s literature, and speculative fiction. One of Australia’s leading sf critics, her work is also widely published in the USA, England, Germany, and Austria. She has written over seventy-five articles, essays, and reviews for such journals and magazines as Omni; Foundation; The New York Review of Science Fiction; Meanjin (the Australian Critical Quarterly); The Age (Australia’s largest and most influential newspaper); Selected Essays from the Fifteenth International Conference On The Fantastic In The Arts; Magpies: Talking About Books For Children; Papers: Explorations Into Children’s Literature; Metascience: International Review Journal For The History, Philosophy And Social Studies of Science; Australian Science Fiction Review; and The Journal Of Myth, Fantasy, and Romanticism.

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.

Dr. Webb 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 Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls. Her most recent article entitled “Wings”–a critical appraisal of the Australian aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave–appeared in the January 1995 issue of Omni Magazine. In July, 1994, she convened the 10th Annual International Conference Of The Australian Mythopoeic Literature Society.

Dr. Web is listed in the Who’s Who Of Academics In Australia, The World Who’s Who of Women (13th edition) and the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals (11th edition).

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Swancon 17 – Festival of the Imagination 1992 – Programme Book – Raiding the Illusion Chest

This was from the souvenir book from the Festival of the Imagination 1992 – Swancon 17. Pages 56-57. Attempted to maintain all and any typos. Some hyphenation may be end-of-line but has been included where it was not obvious as to whether it was specifically intended.

Raiding the Illusion Chest

Okay … let’s get silly.
Let’s get pretentious.
And let’s begin with a definition.

Visual SF: Science fiction that is predominately visually based; relying principally on shape, form, texture, colour (and a diversity of sound) to cross the suspension bridge of belief from the factual real to the fantastic unreal, surreal and hyper-real.

There we have it; a rather inadequate definition for the term “Visual SF”, but one which is reasonably appropriate for delineating fantasy and science fiction as depicted in film, video, software, hologram, virtual reality and the inked page – an appropriate definition for that playground of the imagination which encompasses the spectrum of Visual SF. Indeed, it’s an appropriate way to (dare I say) romanticise these organised groupings of semiotic squiggles and fractals which exist preeminently in order to help us attain that which is so resoundingly sought by the modern Intellectual (or demi-Intellectual); escapism.

Escapism is that urge within us to retreat into the realm of the intuitive soul, where exists that which is both pre- and post-language (another definition to where I’m journeying; journeying being the key word, with most of you being, like me, journeyfolk – or perhaps journeysophonts – of the intuitive, emotive and intellectual experience often sought in the sensoral ingestion of particular visual science fiction, whereby we attempt to assimilate that which is wholly false and non-real so as to create a new perception of aspects of our local reality. And we do this most commonly through the act of “escapism”). This selfish act is like dreaming; something that we have to do in order to survive and to develop, almost certainly physically as well as emotionally. It is a way of surviving, by building a reality from a subsumed fantasy.

“Believe it… or not…”, as good ol’ Jack Palance would rasp exuberantly, grinning his smug grin as we view, on the television, the figure of a mummified priest, sealed away in a gold embossed chest for five hundred years, being gently lifted from its musky confines for the first and last time. Then good ol’ smilin’ Jack would turn to the camera, beam cloyingly out through the monitor and into our lives, and ask that we picture what this mysterious holy man might have looked like so many centuries ago. It’s here that each individual’s image of this no-longer man is unique; here is the process of creating a fantasy from a reality.

You see, as a journeyman of Visual SF you have to make it work both ways or it will never work at all. Reality from fantasy and fantasy from reality; it has to be a continual cycle, backwards and forwards, forwards and backwards, like the roving laser of a matte-black robot reconnoitering the dark interior of a freshly-opened crypt deep in the mountainside of an airless moon. Fantasy from reality, reality from fantasy; the continuous cycle of perceiving true illusion; an act made more fervent when you, fellow journeyman, are within the swirl of the maelstrom born of the flows and currents from those deep tides which swell about the outer rim of that multi-dimensional entity known as … Visual SF.

It must be admitted that the term “Visual SF” is a vagary, in light of what goes to make up this spectrum. The encompassing light of the term shines down upon a fair range of alternative worlds of differing views and perspectives – of places, people and things that could never be – all with widely differing styles and attitudes. Its light touches Hard Science Fiction, New Wave Horror, Pseudo-phantastique, Post-modernist Space Opera, Tech-noir, Pretentionoir, Hyper-thriller-noir, Mechaflash Violence, Alienesque, French Re-Impressionism, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Splatterpunk, TechnoGoth, Gothik Haze, Hippie Hype, Psychomaticism, Fluffy Unicorn Fantasy, Neotech and Cube Romance (it’s so easy to create sub-genres, and they’re being created all the time.) All of these are played across shimmering screens in the dazzled twilight. It’s a burning light; a powerful, iridescent glowing. It gives off flashes of dynamics and its energy flows through the sub space aether of personal communication, attuned to the artificial, the unreal, surreal and hyperreal, spurning the inception of fresh realities and new experiences, creating landscapes of and for the imagination. It initiates those vital electrochemical reactions in our synapses, and so inspires the emotional, electrical rush brought about through new perception.

So … is all this silly? Is this pretentious? Damn right it is! And it should be. This stuff, this “visual science fiction”, relies on the absurd, the silly, and the pretentious. That’s the attitude – the state of mind – required to successfully incept, interpret and analyse the unreal; to catch the fantasy. This suspension-of-disbelief, this creation of fantasy, is the very act of being pretentious. This act of silliness is what makes the journey something much more than a dry, semiotic exercise. “Pretentionism” creates the experience – the construction of a fantasy from reality, a reality from fantasy. And that experience is what it’s all about.

This creation of a “false experience” is what turns the wooden pieces into the living, breathing boy. Without it, all the fantasy we encounter will mean as little to us as if Pinocchio had stayed a puppet. But with this false experience, things happen. The wooden boy comes alive; the mummified body becomes the smiling Tibetan monk; a computer graphic becomes a machine built from liquid metal; an inked drawing becomes a personality with the potential to influence our lives. King Kong was only eight inches high, yet he picked up Fay Wray and knocked a biplane out of the sky from the top of the Empire State Building. The Tardis is a fake police box, yet it contains infinite space. The Millennium Falcon is made up of old model kits, yet it can do the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs(!). The Discovery is a six-foot model, yet without it Hal could never have sung “Daisy” to Dave. Animation is painted paper and plastic, yet the greatest fantasy on screen was created in that media. Creating the false creates the real.

Still being silly? Still being pretentious? Indeed we are.

All this may be merely the Dreams of Mice and Protozoans, but rephrasing it for more modest ears would still not disguise the assertion that the act of suspending disbelief can and should be active in enhancing the way we perceive our psyche and its wanderings through the surrounding environment (often having a jolly good time, I might add). The involvement in these fictional worlds, with their never-living characters and ungoable places, becomes an aide-memoire for our mythic unconscious (you might have guessed that I’m a bit of a fan of Jung). They become our safe agents provocateur and provide a clarity in our viewing of bitter reality. They illuminate Pandora’s box, making the demons within seem to withdraw to whence they came.

So go ahead. Take that colour, shape, form and construct that can only be fabricated in the 3D charting package of our cerebra. Empty out your pre-conceptions onto an already cluttered floor and absorb the fresh and exciting creations from the machinations of minds who are busy exploring the frontier of the imagination: Visual SF. If it doesn’t work for you then I’m afraid you’ve got neural dieback, a visual cortex with Dutch Elm’s Disease; you’re brain dead and imaginatively flatlined. If you can’t manage to sprinkle chocolate on the cappuccino in your own virtual cafe then you’re a sad case indeed.

So get up. Look back, look forward – see what is the now and ride with it.

So let’s get pretentious.

Let’s get silly.

Let’s raid the illusion chest.

Robin Pen
Co-ordination of Visual SF,
SwanCon 17

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 – Souvenir Book – Storm Constantine – An Appreciation

This is from the Swancon 21/Festival of the Imagination 1996’s Souvenir book, pages 20-21. It contains an Appreciation of Storm Constantine by Graham Joyce and a mini-bio of Mr Joyce. I have endeavoured to transcribe his words as accurately as possible.

An Appreciation

Graham Joyce

Catwoman! That’s what I thought when I first met Storm Constantine. All right, don’t take the piss but this was before Hollywood started turning out doss Batman movies where all the women dress in PVC. No no no. This was when Storm Constantine strutted her stuff at SF cons in fish-nets and thigh-length spike-heeled boots, and I wasn’t the only guy sweeping the floor with his tongue and going “Hey! Catwoman!”

But I intuited it in more ways than one, since Storm obviously has a past-or-future-life as a cat. The first time I went to her house there were half a dozen exotic felines crawling the bookshelves, draped across computer monitors and commanding the best chairs. The last time I was there the number seemed to have at least doubled. If you imagine a hybrid of Catwoman and a White Russian émigré countess fantasy writer, you’re getting there. And of course, Storm is such a charming, warm and friendly one of those hybrids, you put up with the cat-hair coffee and the bleeding cat-hair sandwiches because she’s such damn good company.

We shared a stable at Headline publishers, and now we share a stable at Penguin and during that time I never failed to notice that at every public appearance she seemed to trail behind her an entourage of beautiful, epicene young men and deliciously aggressive and exotic vamp-like women. Personally I tend to retire from such bewitching people but their almost constant presence does cause one to speculate on the sexual ambivalence of her wonderful novels.

“But what do you do with the bones?” I once asked her plaintively over a Vodka (her favourite tipple) late, very late in some convention hotel. She didn’t answer. She just drained her glass, licked her full, crimson lips, looked at me with dissolving eyes, and burped. Then, no doubt she despatched me to the bar for more Vodka. To hear is to obey.

In fact it’s then, during the wee hours and fuelled on high-octane Vodka you are likely to catch the woman at her best. Particularly if she is being wooed by one of the young, epicene aforementioned whereupon she’s apt to throw back her head and cackle. That wonderful cackle-from-another-world is likely to summon the worried night porter, who will be sent away in search of more Vodka.

Not a great traveller, Storm, preferring generally to circumvent the sparkling and luminous inner-worlds and cross the great rainbow-bridges of her spectacular imagination. So unhappy with travelling is she that occasionally I’m lucky enough to get called upon as consort/travel minder, at least until someone more beautiful and more palely Gothic arrives, whereupon I get banished, whimpering, to the shadows of the bar. In fact so uncomfortable is Storm with travel that I’m wondering how she’s going to cope with flying to the other side of the world. I discussed the business of travelling to Australia with her, and at one stage I thought I must be talking to Marco Polo, so gruelling and minatory did the expedition seem. But I knew that by the time she reached Oz she’d have a great time, because Storm has a great capacity for fun and a natural disposition to party. I know she’ll take instantly to Australia, and that Australian folk will take instantly to her.

One time in Glasgow, after much Vodka, our editor (we share the same editor, Luigi Bonomi at Penguin) had literally slithered under the table so Storm and I poured him into the lift and spooned him into bed. Then we went back for another drink or two. Late, very late, Storm unaccountably got it into her head that she wanted her butt tattooed. I tried to talk her out of it but she raved. She ranted. she ordered me to get a taxi and stay with her until the job was done.

“No, nooo nooo Storm,” I pleaded, but she stood on a table and called me some terrible names, upsetting the night porter again. She wanted an angel on her butt and if she wanted an angel on her butt by God she was gonna damn well have an angel on her butt etc etc etc. So I found myself driving round Glasgow in a cab with the dawn almost ready to crack (why does she have this strange power to make me do things?) We finally found one and it didn’t look too healthy to me, so I had to secretly pay the tattooist a tender NOT to tattoo her. After a lot of shouting we went back to the hotel, where she now wanted me to apply the tattoo with a safety pin and a bottle of carpet dye she’d stolen from the tattoo studio. I was trying to refuse when I passed out.

She now pretends this all never happened. No doubt I will taste the whip for telling you this. How my heart hammers.

But one of the most exciting things about Storm is her halo of creativity. Beyond her novels she has published numerous short stories and recently a volume of poetry. She has an intimate knowledge of the music biz, and has managed a brace of rock bands in her time. Now comes a new venture, the publication of the dark fantasy magazine, Visionary Tongue. A mark of Storm’s generosity to younger or newer writers, it’s a clever idea: new writers collaborate with and have their work edited by established professionals, whom Storm recruited to work with her on the project. it’s also typical, as Storm is an author who is always quick to praise and encourage others.

And so to Oz. Remember, it’s a long white-knuckle ride on the plane for some people. She’s come a long way, has Storm, in more ways than one. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet this fabulous woman, buy one of her wonderful books, buy her Vodka. I hope she comes back from Oz sans tattoos but having made loads of new friends.

Graham Joyce

Graham Joyce
Wit, raconteur, irrepressible mimic, drunk, and all around nice guy, Graham also takes time off from convention partying and escort duties to write the odd book. His first novel was Dreamside (Pan 1991) which sparked an interest, and several workshops, in lucid dreaming. His next two novels, both for Headlne, (Dark Sister and House of Lost Dreams) were critically acclaimed dark fantasies. Dark Sister won the 1993 British Fantasy Awards. His fourth novel (from Penguin/Creed) was the atmospheric ghost story, Requiem set in Jerusalem. Graham’s new novel, The Tooth Fairy, will be published by Penguin/Creed this coming Autumn.

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Swancon 2000 flyer

A5. White paper. Printed both sides in a dark paintwater green.

Front: photo collage of an old-fashioned television in a forest, with a Hugo-style rocket on screen and a selection of books on top of the set. At top, in large white block text overlaid on the photo collage: “SWANCON 2000”. In very thin-stroked italic script in dark text, overlaid directly on top of the first text: “Swancon 2000

At bottom, in white block text overlaid on the photo collage: “100% Millennial Hype”; “20th to 24th April 2000”.

On the reverse: at the top: “SWANCON 2000”. Below:


Connie Willis
International Guest
Garth Nix
Australian Guest
Ian Nichols
Fan Guest
Gratuitous Interstate Guest
Simon Brown
Damien Broderick
Cathy Cupitt
Jack Dann
Stephen Dedman
Terry Dowling
Sue Isle
Paul Kidd
Robin Penn
Nick Stathopolous
Grant Stone
Lucy Sussex
Shaun Tan
Janeen Web
Sean Williams
Tess Williams
Invited Guests


Full membership: $70 Aus until Jan 1st 2000   Supporting: $20 Aus


Thursday 20th to Monday 24th April 2000


The Ascot Inn 1 Epsom Ave, Ascot Western Australia


www: http: www.swancon.xxxxx.xxx.au
email: swancon25@xxxxxxxx.xxxxxxx.edu.au
Swancon 25, GPO Box Gxxx, Perth, Australia 6892

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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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