Aussiecon 4, Voice of the Echidna, Issue 7 – Saturday Evening (synopsis)

Transcribed and summarised by Elaine Walker. When looking through various bits and pieces for the SwanCon 40 ephemera books, I discovered in one of my collections of papers another collection of Voice of the Echidnas, so I’m going to summarise these ones (I appear to be missing at least one though). And so I move on to the next one. 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 light green coloured paper. As with the previous ones the full version is available here. This time the issue number matches the big 7 printed underneath the main text.

Further News from New Zealand

While New Zealand is recovering from the earthquake, there is now news that a skydiving light aircraft has crashed taking off from the Fox Glacier. Four international tourists, four local people and the pilot have all been killed. We know that a lot of fans here went to this area recently, and may have flown to the Glacier. The NZ2020 team appreciate the kind thoughts of everyone who has dropped by the desk today to express sympathies.

Dates For Your Diary

Some information on various activities. Susan Xu’s kaffeeklatsch, an invite for knitters, spinners and other needlecraft folk to gather in the fan lounge on Sunday, an advertising for a silent auction of a signed copy of Odyssey, the Authorised Biography of Arthur C. Clarke, a notification of a Sydney fan dinner meetup, a correction of the Strange Horizons tea party advertised time from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.

Apologies From John Hertz

John Hertz apologises for missing his Classics of SF talk: it wasn’t on the Pink Sheets, and Program Ops couldn’t find it, so he assumed it was cancelled, unlike all the people who went to see it!

Sydney Futurian Meeting

There will be a Sydney Futurian-style discussion at 1600 on Sunday in Room 216.

All interested are invited to contribute the conversation about “Conflict between cities in SF”, based on their SF reading and viewing experiences.

From Program Ops

There will be an updated Sunday Pink Sheet, available at the Information Desk from 0900.

Please note that “child in tow” means that you must remain with the child. This still applies for child programming: it is not a babysitting service!

New Zealand 2020

Five days ago, I was expecting to have a nice quiet Aussiecon 4.

Then Sean Williams and BASFA happened, and I found myself standing in a convention room in New Zealand with my mouth open and money being thrown at me. Apparently, I was now the chairman of the bid for a Worldcon in New Zealand in 2020. And then fandom happened.

Fans from all over the world gathered around and had ideas and designs, and within two hours a website. I am in awe of the generosity of time and energy that the fans have poured into this. A word I’ve been using quite a lot is “awesome”.

So I and everyone involved with this bid want to say thank you to the core group who have pulled this together in such a short time, and also to all of you who have popped by the table in room 201 to say “Hi”, or to sign up as a pre-supporter.

Image of NZ in 2020 logo – looks a bit like a fern but with a rocket ship coming off the end.

Thank you especially to the Texas in 2013 and London in 2014 bids, who have taken us under their wings and invited us to share their party areas on Friday night.

The designated Russians thank you!

–Norman Cates

Tonight’s Hospitality Events

Events run from 2100 to 0100 in the Crowne Plaza hotel:

  • Reno in 2011 (Corporate Left).
  • Texas in 2013 and New Zealand in 2020 (Corporate Right).
  • London in 2014 (Bridge)

Also, Brotherhood Without Banners (George R R Martin) will be holding an event from 2130 in the CO Nightclub, 2nd floor of the Crown Casino: free entry and open bar!

Some advertising of old S&SF magazines from the estate of Sydney Fan Kevin Dillon are being sold with proceeds going to charity.

Tonight’s Weather

Predictions for tonight seem to think it will be a bit showery and cloudy, cool at around 14. That’s somewhere in the 50s in Real.

When the Going Gets Tough

The Tough Go Shopping

It’s a bit late for restaurant reviews for this evening, so we thought we’d tell you about shopping opportunities for the next couple of days. Lots of shops in Melbourne are open on Sundays, but please check by phone or internet before you make a special trip.


Any women going clothes shopping should note that the mainstream stores go up to an Aus size 14 (the internet says that’s a UK12/US10, but I thought it was more like a UK16/US14 Editor’s note: the internet is right). No short fittings were found by your 4’11” correspondent.

There was a thread on shopping for larger sizes on the Australia2010 LiveJournal community, and there’s also a fatshionista_oz community you could check out. For lingerie, try Victoria’s Affair at the top of the Vic market, which has corsets and bustieres up to size 32.

It’s worth shopping around: Australia really is a nation of shopkeepers. Melbourne is full of small independent shops full of unusual things, rather than the mega-chains that have a stranglehold in the UK, although they are also present along with lots of others that you’ve never heard of.

Minotaur Comics is Melbourne’s largest comic shop. It’s located downstairs at 121 Elizabeth Street.

Also, if you’re doing trendy foodie shopping, don’t forget that cupcakes are so last year, you should be looking for macarons, and no, we don’t mean macaroons. [Hint, hint.]

Giulia De Cesare and others


Sunday’s Build a LEGO Dalek (for kids) was a big success with about twenty-five children cramming around the table loaded with parts to build their evil Dalek
Some needed a little assistance, but most just had to be shown the parts and they knew exactly what to do. The biggest challenge was making sure there would be enough parts left for the adult session.

The Sunday Build a LEGO Dalek (for adults) take place in room 216 at 1700, and looks like it will be very popular. We only have parts for 50 of them, so make sure you get there early to avoid disappointment.

To cover the cost of Dalek parts, there will be a small charge of AU$3 if you want to keep your Dalek.

–James Shields

What Are We Sitting On?

Friday morning, and I’m at an academic panel: along the lines of “Anarchy in the Cosmos; that the history of SF has always been punk”, but all I can think about is the seating. The chairs here in the convention centre are amazingly comfortable.

Seriously. They appear to be made entirely of that stuff they use underneath playground swings to absorb some of the bounce, and as I sit here typing, my butt is gently bouncing on the seat in a very comfortable, if slightly disturbing, fashion. Hopefully nobody notices my quiet smile …

–Zara Baxter

Quote of the Day

From the Fringe panel (1300 Saturday)

Seanan McGuire: “You’d be familiar with the Dr Who episode Father’s Day?”

Paul Cornell (author of same): “…”

Signing eBooks

Adrian Emergy suggests that you get the author to sign a book plate then scan it in: lots of eBook management software will let you add the image file to the eBook file, as long as it’s DRM free!

Kathryn Sullivan, on the other hand, suggests asking the author to sign using the “notes” function of your eBook reader, or to sign a CD containing the file.

[I’m sorry I started this now -Ed]

Editor’s Question

Enough of the eBooks already, what exactly is the difference between a flat white and a latte?

Long Memories

Does anyone remember throwing a drunk Queenslander out of Aussiecon 2? Because he’s now a salt-water-croc wrangler on the Daintree and said to tell you he hasn’t forgotten…

Echidnas Not In The UK

A hedgehog doesn’t eat ants! We could do with an echidna right now, in the UK, where it’s cold and damp and not at all like Melbourne.

–Helen Armstrong

Badger Penguin Parade (cont.)

Then it was back on the bus to visit the Koala sanctuary. We followed a boardwalk around their favourite trees, carefully obeying the signs that said you mustn’t shake the branches to try to get them to move. We saw three, and one of them moved, so we are prepared to believe that they were neither animatronic nor stuffed.

On to the penguins, the true reason for the trip. We made our way through the distracting visitor centre full of sweetie shops, fast-food counters, souvenir stuffed penguins and other Australasian tat, passed the blue-screen photo opportunity and out onto the board walk. After a day of rain the steps and bench seat-tops were very very wet, and we used one of our waterproof coats to protect our bottoms from that otherwise inevitable seeping damp. We got good seats and the area slowly filled with noisy, snack-munching tourists and school-children. As the light faded a ranger settled the silver bullets firmly on his hips and delivered a serious talk about penguins coming in-shore groups known as “rafts”, their shy nature and the need for us to be as quiet as possible. It got darker. We stared at the ocean. It got darker. We gazed through the twilight at penguin-sized rocks in the surf. Nothing. It got darker.

Suddenly there was a rustle of interest. And there they were. Our first set of penguins, a group of about eight, were swimming together parallel to the shore trying to decide where to land. They fell out of the surf, bobbing up and down from standing to tummies to standing, and then they were off, no hesitation, waddling purposefully across the beach, leaving no penguin behind, and then … gone. After that whole series of penguins followed. Some made it first go, others shimmied forward and back in and out of the water, like reverse reluctant swimmers fearing the cold of the new environment.

Like the penguins, we headed inland along the boardwalk, watching penguins making their way along penguin super-highways, or stopping and gazing around like Alzheimer sufferers knowing they’d left their burrow around here somewhere… And the noise was incredible.

The night landings were to avoid predators who hunt by sight, but anything that hunts by sound would be too stuffed with penguin to ever move again. It was like being surrounded by 12″ black and white Chewbaccas and Mogwais.

An astounding experience and one we would recommend to anyone.

–Julia Daly

This issue was produced by Fran Dowd, with help from Flick, Jan, Doug, Steve, Ang, mrgazpacho. Also Fran’s glasses, which she left here last night. So if she’s been ignoring you, there was a reason …
Masthead by Sue Mason. We’re following #Aus4 and #worldcon on Twitter and Flickr.

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