Swancon 2001: PR2 part 2 of 3

The Swancon 2001:Masquerade Progress Report 2, while a light weight publication, devoted a significant proportion of the real estate to the Convenor’s rant.

Dave’s Rave

Swancon 2001 is please to announce that we will have as our International Guest of Honour Robert Silverberg, Hugo and Nebula award winner, and author of more than 100 sf books. As those who attended Worldcon in Melbourne last year will know, Robert is not only a talented and prolific writer but also a witty, knowledgeable, and entertaining speaker on almost any issue to do with science fiction.

Accompanying him will be his wife Karen Haber, also an sf writer and editor – we are very pleased to have her as well.

Robert should be a wonderful guest, and we are grateful to Harper Collins for their assistance in bringing him across.

While we are busy preparing for Swancon, we would also urge you to think about getting involved. We will have an art show and a short story competition in conjunction with the con, and a short film festival beforehand, all of which are great opportunities to show off some of the great talent that exists in Australian fandom. Another way you can get involved is by coming along to our open programming meetings. If you have some ideas for what you would like to see at Swancon, please come along and let us know, or email us if unable to attend. Swancon is a chance for everyone in fandom (in Perth particularly, but we really want national involvement) to share their interests, their enthusiasms, their ideas and most of all to get together and have a good time. So please let us know what you want to see, how we are doing, and what you would like to do – because its your con, the members, not ours.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to those who have offered to help Swancon in various ways. A particular thanks to Harper Collins Australia, to JAFWA, and to The West Lodge. All your contributors are valued.

And lastly, a big woohoo to Cathy Cuppitt [sic], Swancon committee member and DUFF winner, who by the time you read this will already be on her way to Worldcon to spread the word about Australian fandom and Swancon. Have fun Cathy, and remember that you will be sharing the experience with us all in your DUFF report at the Con!


Convenor and Chairthingy

Footnote: Cathy’s name is spelt with a single ‘p’, but we have faithfully preserved the typo.

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Swancon 2001: PR2 part 1 of 3

The SwanCon 2001 (‘Masquerade’) Progress Report 2 is a single A3 page (printed back and front) page folded into an A4 booklet.

The front cover has the text “Things are not always what they seem” (although rather nicely laid out) as well as a rather fetching piece of artwork by Colin Sharpe which defies description. The back has the committee details, the web page, upcoming events (see below). It gives the credits for the PR as

This PR was compiled by Sarah [redacted]* and Dave Cake, cover art by Colin Sharpe

The inside has four columns, which contain:

  1. Dave’s Rave (to be transcribed later)
  2. Swancon 2001 Unmasked (repeats information we have elsewhere about timing, location, membership, guests of honour, invited guests, and other minutia), which flows in to the top of …
  3. Robert Silverberg (to be transcribed)
  4. Art Show; Call for papers (see below)

* last name omitted as it is no longer in use.

Art Show

We welcome all sorts of two dimensional- and three dimensional – fantasy, science fiction and horror art work for the Swancon 2001 art show. Pieces which address the convention theme ‘Things are not what they seem’ are particularly welcome.

Reproductions or prints from digitally created works are allowed, though only one of any particular piece may be hung. Please state on the entry form if the piece is an original or a reproduction. You may put up a notice on the displayed print advising that further copies are available.

Works judged by the art show staff to have libelous (as opposed to humorous) content in regard to known persons will not be accepted. Works of pornography can not be accepted, as this art show is open to the general public including minors. If you are in doubt as to whether your work is acceptable, please contact the art show staff in advance.

Call for papers

Academic Stream

Swancon 2001: Masquerade is still accepting and encouraging submissions of proposals for papers to be presented as part of our academic stream.

We are interested in papers on any aspect of science fiction or fantasy, including fandom.

The deadline for proposals for papers is November 20th 2000. Proposals should be submitted by email to:

Helen Merrick
email [redacted]

Or by snail-mail to: Swancon 2001: Masquerade, PO Box xxx, Nedlands, Western Australia, 6909

Upcoming Events

Westlodge Farscape Day
Come and watch episodes of Farscape
21st October 2000
10am – 10pm
xxx Wright Street Kewdale
tickets $8
call Sven 04xx xxxxxx

Quiz Day
11th February 2001
Sandringham Hotel Belmont
tables of 8
tickets $7

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SwanCon 17 Progress Report July 1991 – Details front cover

Transcription and commentary by Chris Creagh

The A4 buff coloured booklet front cover has a central image of radiating lines overlaid with the impossible triangle (apex downwards) overlaid with a clear silhouette of a  young adult in the style of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man) overlaid with the words “THE FESTIVAL OF THE IMAGINATION”. At the bottom of the page can be found “A Celebration of Fantasy and Science Fiction in All Media”.

Inside the front cover you can find the “Convention Details”.

Dates: Friday, January 24 to Monday, January 27, 1992

Venue: The Ascot Inn Function Centre, 1 Epson Ave. Belmont, WA

Terry Dowling – Pre-eminent author of Rynosseros & Wormwood
Nick Stathopoulos – Australia’s finest genre artist

Attending Membership $40.00 ($45.00 from 01-08-91), reviewed 01-11-91)
Supporting Membership $15.00

Please Note: Supporting Membership cost will never rise beyond $15 and will be convertible to the Attendance Fee at the then-current fee less $15. Persons with Supporting Membership will receive all Progress Reports and the Program Book.

The Hotel: Room Costs $50 per night for single/double. The convention organisers have been able to obtain a special room rate of $50 per night… then there is more info about the limited number of rooms and how to book them with the hope that the whole hotel could be booked out and the expected attendant benefits. The page ends with correspondence and payment details as well as Huckster and Advertising enquiries.

Page 3 top has the Table of Contents which apart from the above mentioned includes, P4 Programme, P6 Social Programme, P8 Video Programme, P10 Hotel Feature, P12 Gaming Programme, P16 Writers’ Workshop, P19 Education Seminar, P19 Short Story Competition, P20 Afterword & Committee.

At the bottom of page 3 in large friendly letters is

Don’t Panic
There’s a lot in here.
You don’t need to read it all.
To help you skim we’ve highlighted the headings.
This should help you find the stuff that interests you, and ignore the junk that doesn’t.

which really says it all!


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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Hotel, Gaming Programme, Fundraiser Quiz

Being pages 8 & 9 of the December 1995 newsletter. As ever, transcription done as faithfully as we can manage

The Hotel

Not many rooms are left at the Kings, so get your bookings in now. There has been some confusion over the room prices at the Kings Perth Hotel. Members phoning the Hotel have been told that the price is greater than the 80/85 quoted in our newsletter. This is correct, as the Festival has negotiated a special rate available only through the con. The Hotel is confirmed at 80/85 but only first 40 rooms are available at this special price at the Kings. We have also booked The Inntown Hotel as the quiet hotel, only about fifty meters around the corner from the main venue. The hotel rooms are available at the same price of 80/85. We ask that everyone with a pre-existing booking please confirm their wish to stay in the Kings or move to The Inntown.

Gaming Programme

Gaming has always been kept as a sideline for previous Swancons, something to keep those diehard Rail Barons happy. This year we intend to open up the gaming slightly, running several items which are intended to be enjoyed by the audience as well as the participants, or simply to entice a wider range of people to participate.

Freeforms have become a regular event at previous conventions, and this one should prove to be no different. This year we are intending to run between three and five different freeforms at the convention, the final number depending on how much programming time we are able to steal. Several people have expressed that they wish to write a freeform for use during the convention and we feel that this is appropriate. If you wish to write a freeform for the convention please forward any information to the committee and we will see what can be done. Also this year we are fortunate to be able to run the World Trade Game at the Festival, run by the organization Junior Chamber International. The World Trade Game is a mixture of a freeform and Monopoly in which people take on the part of various countries and try to balance the budget through dealing with other countries. The whole game is conducted over two hours, which ensures frantic buying and selling throughout.

Bill Gant’s boardgames version of “Salute of the Jugger” will be back again this year, and we hope to run a competition between entrants to find out who will be able to take on the League team. For anyone who watched the cult film with Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen, or anyone who feels like spending time manoeuvring their team to get a dog skull onto the opponents’ spike!

There will be a gaming room set up for the usual games of Rail Baron, Shogun, Nuclear War and Magic, and anyone wishing to organise a tournament should contact the committee, hopefully before the convention. This room will be available for gaming throughout the convention, 24 hours a day for those hardened gamers, so bring along anything that you wish to play. You won’t get anything out of it unless you participate.

Fundraiser Quiz

The Festival of the Imagination 1996 fundraiser quiz will be held on February the 11th, 1996, at the Hype Park Hotel, on Bulwer Street in North Perth. It will start as 12:30 PM, and run through until around 5PM – the restaurant will be open beforehand, so come and have lunch with everyone prior to taxing your brains, and there will be bar service available throughout, including afterwards, so apres quiz socializing is encouraged. There will be six people to a table, with an entry fee of $30 per table. Up for grabs will be a a large selection of prizes, including dinner for six kindly donated by the hotel, and pop quizzes will punctuate the routine every once in a while. Also look out for the slowly-becoming-legendary and difficult to win (on purpose, anyway!) L. Ron Hubbard Memorial Award for Outstanding Mediocrity. The question will be chiefly of a genre nature, and will be assembled by an evil team of mad scientists to challenge and entertain even the most anal-retentive of sci-fi fanatics, let alone the rest of us.

There will be more details, including more of the prizes, in the January newsletter. For further information, contact Richard Scriven on (xx) xxx-xxxx, or check with your fan club or local shop. (see sponsors list, page 14).

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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Apologies

Being page 3 of the December 1995 Newsletter. Faithfully transcribed by Anna Hepworth. Fancy fonts and formatting at the bottom of the page have been ignored as too hard for this time of night.


Why We’re So Late, and What About Bruce?

I regret to inform you that I cannot attend your conference as I have recently discovered that my wife will be giving birth in April. I’m professionally quite disappointed and personally very elated. A development of this magnitude is one of the very few things that could have kept me away from Perth — but well, this is in fact one of those things.

Please convey my apologies to the committee and my hopes that another opportunity may offer itself at some later time.

Yours sincerely, Bruce Sterling

Yes, this was meant to be the October Newsletter for the Festival of the Imagination 1996, and yes, Bruce Sterling was one of our guests. Isn’t it amazing how much can change in the space of one newsletter? As you can see, we received correspondence from Bruce in October, giving us the good news that his wife was expecting a child. Unfortunately for us, this happy event was due to take place in April of next year, inconveniently clashing with our schedule. Suggestions that the birth be made an impromptu panel item were, naturally enough, rejected by all and sundry, and thus the search for a new guest was begun. “We’ll put off the next newsletter until we have some positive news to impart”, our chairman assured us.

Now we are pleased to announce that Jack Dann has accepted our invitation. Both Jack and his wife, Dr. Janeen Webb (see page 5 for biographical details), will be most welcome at the Festival of the Imagination 1996, and we’re sure they will be invaluable guests. Of course, Neil Gaiman has sent his congratulations to Bruce and has assured us he is still most definitely on his way, bringing with him preview material from his new television series. In addition we are looking at the possibility of acquiring yet another overseas guest, as well as more local guests. There will be more details in subsequent newsletters, which will, god and contributors willing, be on schedule this time.

The Festival of the Imagination 1996 would like to wish everybody a
Merry Christmas
and a happy New Year

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 March 1996 Newsletter – The Chair Speaks

We’ve already summarised this newsletter, but here’s its page 3:

The Chair Speaks

Welcome to the last newsletter before the Festival. This newsletter will primarily cover the programme and the voting for the Ditmars and Asfmas. I will however be adding some general information in this page relevant to most of our members.

The Festivals block accomodation booking for the Kings Perth Hotel is now full, but rooms are still available in the alternative hotel, the Inntown. Members who wish to book rooms should now do so direct to the hotels, as the short time left until the Festival makes this the most efficient way to provide this service now. The Festival’s rates still apply, so make sure you inform reservation staff that you are eligible for the special rate. Hotel contact numbers are listed on page 2. Miss Mauds and The Sebel are also local hotels.

Membership prices have been held down to $75 until the end of March, then then $80 until the Festival. Prices will be $80 at the door of the Festival or $25 for a day membership. Memberships after 31 March will only be availble from the Festival, support businesses will no longer be able to provide memberships.

Voting forms for the Ditmar and Asfma Awards are included with this Newsletter. Please read the conditions for voting on the forms if you intend to vote for these awards by postal vote. Please note – all members attending the Festival can vote until 6pm Saturday 6 April at the Festival.

The programme is provided here for members to start planning their attendance at the Festival. Listed is the programming for the two main rooms which include all major guest events. Video, Gaming and third stream programs will be available at the Festival. As always this program is subject to minor change but all major events are very unlikely to move. If you have any item you wish included in the program, or would like to participate in a event please contact the Festival at the address / phone on page 2.

I would also like to thank Martin Livings, the Editor of the Newsletters, whose professionalism and dedication to publishing the Newsletter has contributed so much to the success of the Festival promotions. Without the benefit of these Newsletters, the Festival would not have the excellent foundation it currently enjoys and have the ability to reach the success it is now assured of achieving. (aw shucks… Ed.)

Once more, and for the last time, see you at the Festival.

Richard Scriven
Chair, Festival of the Imagination 1996

“You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.”

(Super Chicken)

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Swancon 17 – progress report November 1991 – Lace & Steel part 2

This is part 2 of the rules summary for the Lace & Steel RPG on pages 16-18 of the progress report. It covers most of the combat related rules summaries. All typos are faithfully reproduced.


Lace & Steel uses a card system to resolve all combat. The deck is made up of 52 cards in two suits, Rapiers and Roses. They are also marked with an attack line (upper, middle or lower) and a number. The procedure for combat is not really complex, but the combat itself can take quite some time and can be lethal (this isn’t D&D!). At the start of combat, each player is dealt cards equal to the Maximum Hand number on the character sheet. The deck is then cut to determine which character has the initiative. The highest card wins, with ties being broken by reference to the attack lines (upper beats middle, middle beats lower). The draws are modified for the INT of the characters and the reach and heft of their weapons. The winner of the initiative contest is the attacker. The attacker plays a card, calling the line (e.g. “middle”), but playing the card face down. The defender must respond by playing a defensive card. The cards are turned and compared. If the defender’s card is in the same line and equal to or greater than the attacker’s card, the attack is successfully parried. If not, the attack is successful and the defender takes damage (see below). The players then determine the draw of new cards. If the suits of the attack and defence cards match, the defender draws a new card. If they are mismatched, the attacker draws. If one of the cards played indicates a “Draw” or “Rip-off”, its player then draws from the deck, or rips-off his opponent by adding cards selected at random from his opponent’s hand to his own. In all cases, the attacker draws/rips-off first. Cards may only be drawn by players whose characters are not wounded in the current pass. Initiative is then determined for the next pass. The attacker retains initiative unless the parry exceeded the attack by one or more points. (There are, however, special cards which will affect the gaining or retaining of initiative.) The pass is then over and the combat returns to the playing of the attack card.

Certain cards will be marked with effects as well as with the normal information:

Stop-hit: When a stop-hit card is played as a defence, the defender attacks her opponent before the original attack is played. The defender must announce the stop-hit and the line (upper, middle or lower), whereupon the attacker must defend against this hit. If the attacker is killed by the stop-hit, the defender does not need to deal with the original blow, otherwise she must defend as normal.
Feint: A feint allows the attacker to play a low-value card to draw out his opponent’s high defence cards. The feint will not lose initiative if parried, unless the defender plays a riposte card.
Riposte: A riposte card will automatically win the initiative for the defender if played as a defence card, as long as the attack is successfully parried.
Disarm: Disarm may be played by either the attack or the defender. If the value of the disarm card exceeds that of the other card by 2 or more points, the opponent is disarmed, and may not pick up his weapon until he can manage to win initiative. Note, of course that the disarmed character may not play any cards other than dodge or intuition cards until the weapon is retrieved. Neither side is damaged by a disarm unless it has been played to parry a stop-hit.
Draw Allows the player to draw the number of cards indicated, provided he or she was not wounded in the current pass.
Rip-off Allows the player to rip-off the number of cards indicated, unless wounded in the current pass. This occurs before drawing of new cards.
Lock Hilts: Playable as a parry, lock hilts stops the combat while the characters match each other in a Contest of Strength. The winner gains initiative and rips-off the opponent for 2 cards.
Dodge: There is no line printed on a dodge, and it may be used to defend against any attack. If the suits on attack and dodge cards match, the defender gains initiative, otherwise it is retained by the attacker.
Intuition: Also not marked as an attack card, this card must be played before an attack is made in the current pass. The player of the card is allowed to inspect the opponent’s cards before play continues.
Disengage: Played instead of an attack by the attacker, this allows the character to flee without allowing the opponent a strike against his back, or to re-engage and redraw for starting initiative. A re-engaging player will regain one point of Max Hand lost through fatigue.


Every character has a fatigue rating. A player keeps all the combat cards she plays in a separate pile, and when the number of cards in that pile reaches her character’s fatigue rating, her Max Hand drops by one. Points lost in this way can be regained by rest, or by passing the initiative to the other player. The fatigue rating can be lowered by the wearing of armour.


When an attack is successful, the defender is wounded. The damage rating of the attack is determined by subtracting the value of the defence card from that of the attack card if both are in the same line, or by simply applying the number on the attack card if the cards are in different lines. If the damage rating is higher than one, there is a possibility of follow-up damage. If the suits are mismatched, the attacker draws one card from the deck and adds it to the attack. The card is reduced by one if the strength rating of the attacker is lower than that of the defender. Brawling weapons such as fists, feet, rocks and such, cause only temporary damage. This damage stuns and knocks out rather than killing.
Multiple attackers against a lone defender combine their hands (of cards) into one and play as one single entity. Max hands are added together, but all other factored stats are averaged throughout the group.


Armour offers some protection against damage. When a hit is scored against an armoured location, a card is drawn from the deck and compared to the protection value of the armour. The damage will only take effect if the number on the card is greater than the armour protection. If follow-up damage is scored, two cards are drawn and penetration is checked against the higher of the two.

Other Combat Rules

Drawing new hands: There are few circumstances under which a player may draw a new hand. For those occasions, each character has a “new draw” rating, which indicates the number of cards to be drawn.
Desperate Defence: If a character is attacked, the player discard his current hand and draw three cards in a desperate defence. This may only be done once per round. This is useful when the defender has no cards matching the current line of the attack, and no dodge cards.
Lack of Attack Cards: If the attacking player runs out of attack cards, she must discard and draw a number of cards equal to her character’s draw rating.
Lack of All Cards: If a player runs out of cards completely, she may draw a new hand next time she is attacked or wins initiative.
Higher skill on one side is a distinct advantage. The more highly skilled player draws, in all cases, additional cards equal to the difference in skill ratings. They player may not, of course, exceed Maximum Hand rating, and must discard extra cards from these draws. A skill rating of 2 or more above an opponent forces the less skilled player to play all cards face up rather than face down.
Missile combat takes a similar form to melee. The players determine initiative by adding their New Draw rating to the handiness for their weapons. Highest score goes first; ties indicate simultaneous fire. Missile combat takes ten seconds, i.e. ten melee turns. Success in missile combat is determined as a task, using the DEX of the character against the difficulty rating of the target, with the firer’s missile skill as a DRM. Damage is determined by drawing a card from the deck at random, a card in Rapiers allowing the player to draw a second card and add this to the first. Armour protects against some missile fire, but unproved armour (i.e. non-metal armour and armour that has not been checked by the armourer) can be automatically penetrated at closer ranges.

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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Programming

Being page 6 of the December 1995 Newsletter. Faithfully transcribed by Anna Hepworth. 


The spectrum of science fiction has continually widened to encompass an impressive range of sub-genres. Science fiction no longer represents a restrictive type or mode of fiction, but now acts as a banner under which a variety of speculative, imaginary styles and approaches congregate. SF should be about the changing ways of thinking and seeing; not necessarily by didactic or dialectic means, though certainly valid, but simply by developing our attitude, approach, intuition to the field. Without this philosophy being entrenched in the genre and the manner in which we communicate and interact with and within it, science fiction means nothing, or at least nothing of any real importance. Not even a jolly good time. And science fiction should be of importance, even when it is busy trying to make us laugh. Because good SF can still be a hell of a lot of fun while also making us scratch our heads and getting the brain ticking over new things and new ways to see them.

And with these attitudes and beliefs in mind, the programme is being constructed to allow wide and opinionated debate. Such topics to be discussed are “Future Shock”, the relationship between SF/fantasy film/TV and literature, the Star Trek universe as providing the basis for a new religion, UFO culture as an attempt to live science fiction in a real world, do-it-yourself conspiracy, the role of paranoia in SF, SF as counter culture, madness, X-Files culture, future sex, the Internet, publishing and reviewing, F&SF film criticism as opposed to general film criticism, the importance of design and originality in the genre or lack of it. Specific panel, discussion, presentation details, including social programming, will in the following newsletters leading up to the Festival, with the final pre-con publication presenting full details of the programme and the respective participants (see previous newsletter for a description of the programme’s general structure).

A long list of potential panel items exists (those who have contacted Festival committee members know we’re not short on ideas), but topics aren’t nearly as important as who will be presenting them. This Festival wishes to emphasise that the program will be about people who have ideas and opinions to communicate and who will actively encourage Festival members to participate in the creative and entertaining process. And it is the intention of the Festival and the committee to spend the following period after this newsletter to make contact with current members and prospective members and to seek input and participation into events whether volunteered and offered, whether panel presentation, performance or workshop. As it stands we already have many current and future members who will promise a most interesting, entertaining and diverse series of events from silly quiz shows to intense debate on film, video, literature, comic, art, radio, gaming and music. We promise to make a concerted effort to cover the length and breath of the SF realm

And don’t just wish us luck (as we hear some say “you’ll need it”), gives us your thoughts. They are more than just welcome, they’re requested. And, to encourage the idea of debate, if you disagree and wish to make comment on any views expressed earlier in this article, then please make them known to the newsletter editor. (Thanks, Robin! – Ed.)

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 July 1995 Newsletter – Neil Gaiman

Pages 6 and 7 of this newsletter are dedicated to a biography of Neil Gaiman “The Perfect Guest?” written by David Cake. At the bottom of page 7 is a selected bibliography which is presumably well out of date, and the quote:

“I feel I have proved one of two things: either I have fully recovered … or a hole in the head is no handicap to a science fiction writer.”
Robert A Heinlein, regarding his  brain surgery

Neil Gaiman is the most influential and critically acclaimed comics writer to have emerged in the last decade. Best known for the enormous success of Sandman, a comic that is a triumphant revival of dark fantasy as a comics genre (and some of the best fantasy in any medium, as evidenced by the World Fantasy award it won), he has also written short stories, superhero comics, some quite unclassifiable comics, and books both fiction and non-fiction. With his black clothes, hair and sunglasses, and the success of every project he turns his hand to these days (even when his involvement is peripheral), he is the epitome of cultural cool. But inside this stylish exterior is the heart of a fan, a man who has written books on the Hitchhikers Guide (The Official Guide to the Hitchhikers Guide) and the joys of really bad SF (Ghastly Beyond Belief, with Kim Newman). Yes, Neil Gaiman is my kind of a guy. I have a theory that he is actually preparing for a career as the perfect convention guest of honour – first he lays the groundwork by gaining an encyclopaedic knowledge of important random information (the two books above, the comics history and mythology displayed in Sandman, and the ability to ‘swear in several different centuries’), writes some of it down to establish his fannish credentials, and then his only remaining barrier is become famous enough to be regularly invited – so then comes Sandman. And when you consider his dress sense and his nocturnal lifestyle, it is obvious that he is going to fit in fine at a WA Con!

His first comic (he had already had books published) was Violent Cases. A complex piece about the author recollecting his boyhood meetings with Al Capone’s osteopath, through a veil of memory and childish imagination, it was also the first of his many fruitful collaborations with Dave McKean, the phenomenal artist who would later be responsible for the Sandman covers. McKean combines painting, pencil drawing and collages of found art and objects into an expressive evocative work that complements the splintered narrative well, and their reputations are assured. The pair go on to collaborate on Signal to Noise (a story about a dying filmmaker contemplating his last film, about the hysteria that accompanied the turning of the last millennium), first published in a yuppie style journal The Face, and on The Black Orchid (a story set in the DC Comics superhero universe, featuring Batman as well as the plant-woman of the title). The Black Orchid must have pleased DC a lot – shortly thereafter McKean got to revisit his unique image of Batman in Arkham Asylum (written by Grant Morrison), and Neil Gaiman got his own series, Sandman (covers also by McKean).

And it was with Sandman that Gaiman really exploded. More accessible than Signal to Noise or Violent Cases, with the freedom of creative control over the main characters, and the security of an ongoing series allowing either one issue or long stories, he created a superb fantasy series. It won a World Fantasy Award (for the story “A Midsummer Nights Dream”), and it became hugely popular. Other Gaiman projects have been just as successful. Almost everything he has ever done in comics form has been collected into graphic novel format. His non-comics fiction has been extremely successful, both his own short story collection (Angels and Visitations) and his collaboration with Terry Pratchett (Good Omens). Alan Moore has granted him the huge vote of confidence of allowing him to continue his Miracleman series. There are now several comics series that he has only peripheral involvement with, starring characters that he has created – including The Books of Magic for DC Comics, and Mr Hero and Teknophage for Tekno comics. This (and the number of single issue Sandman stories that might have easily been stretched to much longer by a lesser author) gives you the impression that he has story ideas in such creative abundance that he cannot hope to use them all as fast as he gets them.

Why is Gaiman so successful? There are a lot of reasons. One reason is that there is a shortage of good fantasy, especially in comic form – sure, there is plenty of (usually formula driven) swords and sorcery around, but not enough of the stuff that transforms and intrigues. Sandman is good fantasy that is never to a formula. Another reason is that, like many great artists, Gaiman is not afraid to steal ideas – from mythology and folklore, from his favourite authors (James Branch Cabell and Jonathan Carroll, for example – or in the case of G.K. Chesterton, actually inserting him as a character), from the rich back log of past DC Comics (far more Sandman characters are old DC characters revitalised than most people realise. Part of the fun of reading Sandman is trying to catch all his allusions and references). But when he steals, he always does it with respect for the original, and gives the old ideas new twists rather than simply recycling them. And another reason is that Gaiman is someone who knows and loves comics, and uses the conventions of the genre innovatively and well. But perhaps the real reason Gaiman is so successful is simply that his work is so damn good.

Who will enjoy Neil Gaiman’s work? Anyone who likes good fantasy, good comics, or simply good writing will enjoy some of his comics work, and his non-fiction is great fannish material. And who will enjoy him as a guest? Anybody who is in random* should be able to find at least one reason to find Neil Gaiman a great choice.

* Yes, it says random. Presumably should be fandom? Ed.

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 December 1995 progress report: The Dealers Room

Huh. Dealers’ tables are a thing that haven’t changed price much over time.
The text uses “Dealers”, no apostrophe, throughout.

The Dealers Room

This is also known as a trader, merchant or hucksters room, where people gather to buy and sell genre related merchandising, whether it be books, comics, prints, figurines, T-shirts or any of the plethora of possible goods. It is an ideal place to pick up a souvenir of the Festival, and additionally offers individuals and businesses to chance to gain some exposure and sell some of their wares.

Opening Times

Set up –                                Thur 10 am – 4 pm
Open to the membership – Fri    10 am – 4 pm
Sat   10 am – 4 pm
Sun  10 am – 4 pm
Mon  10 am – 4 pm

Rates for the dealers room

Members $40 (1 table) –          increases to $70 on 1-1-96
Non Members $120 (1 Table) increases to $150 on 1-1-96

(Tables are limited to one (1) per dealer/ trader at this stage)

There is a maximum of only 11 tables available. Due to the small number, allocations will be based on payment order.


1) Tables are to be booked as soon as possible. You shall only be guaranteed a table when your fee has been received.
2) Limit of 1 table only
3) Only 2 persons per organization are allowed at the table.
4) Dealers are responsible for their own property and Festival organizers are not responsible for loss, items stolen or breakages.

Any other questions?

If you have any questions regarding the dealers room, please contact Brian/ Elizabeth on (09)xxxxxxx

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