Festival of the Imagination 1996 – April 1995* Newsletter – Awards

In theory, the last of our posts from this particular newsletter. Previous posts can be found by clicking the relevant tags, and having a bit of a hunt.

(*)The actual newsletter says 1996 but this is a “known” typo and therefore the title here has been changed to protect the overworked/underpaid/sleep deprived author.


An important and traditional part of an event such as the Festival of the Imagination is the presentation of awards for recognition of excellence and achievement in various fields. At the 1996 Festival of the Imagination, two sets of awards will be presented.

The Australian Science Fiction “Ditmar” Awards

The idea of a national literary science fiction award was developed during 1968 when a committee of fans and authors, including Ditmar Jensen and Lee Harding, struggled to decide on such matters as the form of the trophy, the rules, and the name. Despairing of ever reaching agreement it was proposed, half in desperation and half in jest, to use Jensen’s name for the award. The rest is history. The awards were first presented in 1969, and have been pressed at each national science fiction convention since then, which will make the 1996 awards the twenty-seventh time the awards have been presented. They recognise fannish and professional endeavours and, like the Hugo Awards, are presented for work published in the year prior to the convention at which they are presented, and are voted upon by the members of that convention.

The Australasian Science Fiction Media Awards

The ASFMAs were originally conceived as a way of giving a form of acknowledgement to those in the media side of fandom, in much the same way that the Ditmar pays tribute to its literary aspects. They were first awarded in 1984 at Medtrek, and are now awarded at the annual National Australasian Science Fiction Media Convention. 1996 will be the first time the ASFMAs (which, at one point in their brief but venerable history were known simply as ‘Robbies’) have been awarded in Western Australia. The awards themselves are made out of glass by Peter Lupinski, and are fashioned to look impressive sitting on a mantelpiece, as well as to be a fairly deadly weapon in close combat.

The Ditmar Awards will be presented in the following categories: The categories for the Australasian Science Fiction Media Awards are:
  • Best Long Fiction
  • Best Short Fiction
  • Best Publication (Periodical)
  • Best Artwork
  • Best Non-professional Writer
  • Bets Non-professional Artist.

In addition, the William Atheling Jnr Award for Criticism will be awarded.

  • Best Fan Writer
  • Best Fan Artist
  • Best Newsletter
  • Best Fan Fiction Zine
  • Best Amateur Audiovisual Production

Eligible entries for the awards will have been published or produced between January 1st and December 31st in 1995, and be the work of Australian (or, in the case of the ASFMAs, Australasian) residents during that period. More details on the criteria for the award categories will be printed in subsequent Newsletters. For more information, or to nominate works for either set of awards, write to the convention address, marking clearly which award you are nominating for. Nominations should be received no later than January 31st 1996.

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SwanCon 17 November Report – Short Story Competition

Page 12 of the SwanCon 17 November Progress report details the ‘SwanCon 17 – the Seventeenth Annual Western Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival Short story Competition’. That text alone takes the top third of page 12, and no attempt has been made to replicate any of the fancy font work that should never have happened. Our copy of this document was punched for filing. Attempts have been made to guess at what the hole punch removed at the end of a couple of lines.

Short Story Competition

Junior Division
(ages up to 16)
First Prize $60
Second prize $30
Open Division
(above 16 years of age)
First prize $100
Second prize $50

This short story competition is proudly sponsored by A Touch of Strange Bookshop, Shop xx Subiaco Village 531 Hay Stree Subiaco 6008 – specialists in the latest Science Fiction and Fantasy books and art from Australia and Overseas and suppliers of genre fiction to schools and libraries for all age groups.

All entries must be original genre fiction by Western Australian residents or Festival attendees. The manuscript should be no longer than 8000 words, provided on A4 paper, be double spaced and in [a] legible hand or typed. The author’s name, the title, and page number must appear on each page. If the manuscript is to be returned, a stamped, self-addressed envelope must be provided. Please provide a covering letter stating your name, address, phone number and age for junior division. Entrants for the Junior division may be considered for the open division on request. Winners will be announced at SwanCon 17 and also notified by mail. Prizes will be made up of an equal value of cash and book vouchers from A Touch of Strange Bookshop. Entries should be postmarked by the 31st of December 1991 and sent to: SwanCon 17 Short Story Competition, PO Box xxx, North Perth 6006.

At the bottom left of the page is a box containing the following text:

This A4 poster was circulated to hundreds of WA Libraries and schools via their internal mailing systems. It is intended for “General” audiences (thus the deviation from the standard SwanCon style and descriptions), and seems to have been having the desired effect. We’ve received far more entries for the competition than we’ve seen in previous years, although most are for the Junior Division, so there’s plenty of room left for Open Division entries.

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Confusion Progress Report 1A

page three and four of Con Fusion progress report 1A. Header features Con Fusion logo, also used as a section separator



ConFusion is Perth’s first officially acknowledged, SF Media convention. It’s also the 19th Annual SF/Fantasy convention for Perth – but more about that later ….


Our aim is to involve as many individuals, clubs, groups and states as possible. If your club/group/state is not represented, then contact us with the name of a suitable representative.

The core committee are as follows:

Sue Ann Barber      Co-ordinator/Network 23 Rep
Andrew Purcell       Secretary
Heather Magee       Treasurer
Scott Barkla             Publications/Promotions/The West Lodge Rep
Eugene Roseveare   Fundraising/Humbug Enterprise Rep
Craig Greenback      Gaming/Security/Gamers Guild Rep
Mark Bivens &
Richard Scriven        Hotel Liaison
William Duffy           GoH Liaison
Robin Clarke            Main Programming
Rod Coate                 Video Programming
Brian &
Elizabth Trump        Art Show


General Committee Members / Club Reps / Interstate Reps

Tom Edge (JAFWA), Amy Pronovost (MARS/SAGA), Peter Kelly (CIA), Brad Smart, Lord Vadar (SICCO Rep), Simon Nulsmurf Oxwell (UNISFA), Sean-Paul Smith (GALLIFREY), David Gunn (TWONKS), Jason Armstrong, Matthew Joseph, Carl Thomas, Peter Cooper, David Cake, Robin Pen, Geoff Tilley, Kelly Lannan (SA Rep), Paul Ewins (VIC Rep).


ConFusion will be held over the weekend of Juy 15-17, 1994


Our lovely and well chosen venue is that known as the PERTH INTERNATIONAL HOTEL. Located in central Perth, this veue is close to public transport, food outlets and everything else you could possibly want to be near. Basic room rates are $95 and suites will be available for those with large groups. For our own sanity, and that of other hotel guests, we’re aiming to book out an entire floor. So book NOW!

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Swancon 16 – Souvenir Book – Cindy Clarkson

This is on the page after the Barbara Hambly Bio. There is a fair amount of background imagery obscuring the text, but I will try to transcribe the text and typos to the best of my ability.

Cindy Clarkson

There are so many ways to describe Cindy that it’s difficult to know where to start. Dedicated, frenetic, frustrating, cute – all these could be used to describe one of the most popular members of Perth fandom.

Her involvement in Cons goes back to at least Swancon 11. She has been found in a variety of positions (sorry: has occupied a variety of posts) on various Con committees, and is always willing to work. Just because she’s fan GoH for this Con doesn’t mean she won’t be found helping out wherever she’s needed.

Cindy’s interests in science fiction are quite varied. She claims an early interest in Lost in Space, Land of the Giants and Doctor Who, but not Star Trek! Her cinematic background has strengthened her interest in the more technical aspects of “media” Science Fiction. If you want to know about her literary tastes, ask her yourself!

Whenever possible, Cindy works as a film editor. You never know; in a few years time she might be directing movies, not just editing them. Imagine: Superman IX – directed by Cindy Clarkson. Gee, she might even get to be rich and famous!

Cindy would have to be one of the more friendly and approachable fans in the Perth community, so don’t miss an opportunity to get to know her. Just remember: she is an old, married lady and you should treat her accordingly.

One word of advice/warning, if you happen to annoy her, make sure there are no containers of liquid at hand. You might end up wearing the contents!
John McDouall

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Swancon 16 – Souvenir book – Barbara Hambly

A two page bio and bibliography of the Swancon 16 GoH. As per our semi-policy we’ll put things in CAPS as bold.

Barbara Hambly

Barbara Hambly was born in the Naval Hospital of San Diego, California, on the 28th of August, 1951. From her earliest years she was drawn to fantasy and science fiction, finding it far more interesting than reality in the modest California town where she grew up; reading it or watching it on TV or at the movies, and telling it as stories to her brother and sister, and, alone among her contemporaries, always knew what she wanted to do when she grew up. Unfortunately, every one told her that becoming a writer a) was difficult to break in to and b) didn’t pay.

She attended college at the University of California in Riverside, California, and spent one year at the University of Bordeaux in France. After obtaining a Master’s Degree in medieval history, she held a variety of jobs: model, clerk, high school teacher, karate instructor (she holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate), technical writer, mostly in quest of a job that would leave her with enough time to write. During those years she continued to write, and in 1982 was finally published by Ballantine/Del Rey.

She discovered that the people who had been telling her not to be a writer all those years were wrong.

She is of the Sedentary or Dirty-Bathrobe School of Writers, and, to the surprise of many writers of her acquaintance, actually enjoys writing. Her works are mostly sword-and-sorcery fantasy, though she has also written a historical whodunnit and novels and novelizations from television shows, notably Beauty and the Beast and Star Trek. Her latest book (Song of Orpheus) and her next one (Star Trek 54: Ghost Walker), are both tie-ins to those series. She has also made an excursion into vampire-literature with Those Who Hunt the Night, and at one time she wrote scripts for animated cartoon shows. Her next real fantasy after the Beast and Trek novels, The Rainbow Abyss, is due out in August.

Her interests (besides writing) include dancing, painting, historical and fantasy costuming, and carpentry. She resides in Los Angeles with the two cutest Pekineses in the world.



Darwath Trilogy: The Time of the Dark (1982)
The Walls of Air (1983)
The Armies of Daylight (1984)
Sun Wolf and Starhawk: The Ladies of Mandrigyn (1985)
The Witches of Wenshar (1987)
The Dark Hand of Magic (1990)
The Darkmage: The Silent Tower (1986)
The Silicon Mage (1988)
Dragonsbane (1986)
Those Who Hunt The Night (1989) (Immortal Blood in UK)

Television Novels and Novelizations:

Ishmael (1985) (Original Star Trek novel)
Beauty and the Beast (1989) (Novelization of pilot episode)


Search the Seven Hills (1987) (Published in hardcover in 1983 under the title The Quirinal Hill Affair)

All these books are currently in print from Ballantine/Del Rey with the exception of Ishmael, which is put out by Pocket Books (and is now out of print), and Beauty and the Beast, which is published by Avon. A second novelization of Beauty and the Beast episodes is due out sometime in late 1990.

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 – April 1995 Newsletter – The Guests

Back in 2016, we did a quick summary of this newsletter, as well as transcriptions of pages containing information on The Philosophy, The Hotel and Perth, Promotions, and Competitions. We are now revisiting this — today’s post transcribes the page on The Guests, and a later post will transcribe the post on Awards. At that point, we really will have got as much out of this newsletter as we can.

As ever, formatting has been duplicated as faithfully as is easy, except the evil that is ALLCAPS

The Guests

Bruce Sterling

Over the past fifteen years, Bruce Sterling has been building a highly respected reputation in and out of science fiction. Though he had been writing for several years, he came to fore as a major author during the eighties with his shaper/mechanist stories. From here, his novels have established his credentials as a writer influential to the future directions of the genre. He also published the fanzine Cheap Truth (1984-6), which was instrumental in the formation of the cyberpunk literary movement. His fantasy and SF short fiction has been published regularly in OMNI, Fantasy and Science Fiction and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazines. As an investigative journalist he has written about the “electronic frontier”; he regularly writes SF criticism and popular science articles for Science Fiction Eye and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and his thoughts and opinions have been in a wide range of publications, from Science Fiction Age to Wired. He has received the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, is an experienced public speaker, a self confessed net-spider, and a Texan.

Selected Bibliography
Involution Ocean, 1978; Artificial Kid, 1980; Schismatrix, 1985; Mirrorshades: the Cyberpunk Anthology, (editor), 1986; Islands in the Net, 1988; Crystal Express, (collection) 1989; The Difference Ending, (with William Gibson) 1990; Globalhead, (collection) 1992; The Hacker Crackdown, (non-fiction) 1992; Heavy Weather, 1994.

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 number 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 film; he is a popular interview subject, has received many awards and happens to be an authority on Douglas Adams’ Hitch-Hiker series of plays and novels.

Selected Bibliography (* denotes graphic novel)
Ghastly Beyond Belief, (non-fiction, co-edited with Kim Newman) 1985; Violent Cases*, 1987; The Official Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion, (non-fiction) 1988, rev 1992; Sandman*, 1988 -, collected as Preludes and Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, Dream Country, Seasons of Mists, A Game of You, Fables and Reflections and World’s End; Good Omens, (with Terry Pratchett) 1990; Black Orchid*, 1991; Miracleman: The Golden Age*, 1991; Now We Are Sick, (co-edited with Stephen Jones) 1991; The Books of Magic*, 1993; Angels & Visitations, (collection) 1994; Death: The High Cost of Living*, 1994; Mr Punch*, 1994; Signal to Noise*, 1994.

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 two games stores, 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 Lumiere Cinemas, including two Sci Fi Blockbusters and the week long Festival Fantastic in 1994. Today, along with his involvement with Eidolon, he is an associate editor for PC Games Plus.

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SwanCon 16 – Souvenir book – The Player Characters

Two pages of the Swancon 16 souvenir book are devoted to characterising ‘The Player Characters’, a.k.a. the ConCom. In keeping with our unofficial transcription policy, ALL CAPS have been replaced with bold

Greg Turkich
Position: Chairman and Social Programmer
Character Class:Diplomat-at-Arms
Greg is believed to have inspired Laumer’s Retief, Leiber’s Fafhrd and the complete works of Jerry Pournelle. His brand of subtlety is usually associated with seven feet of muscle and five of broadsword. But don’t be fooled – he may look like a Kzin, but he’s really a pussycat. Scratch him behind the ears if you don’t believe it.

Tara Smith
Position: Treasurer
Character Class: Financial Wizard
In recent years, Tara has been generously volunteered to be treasurer for Swancons XV to 18. She has also edited innumerable Progress Reports and become the first one-person quorum in fannish history when the chair and secretary defected to America.

Stephen Dedman
Position: Secretary, Programmer and Guest of Honour Liaison
Character Class: Adept Conversationalist (Oral Calamarian)
Previously a notorious monk, Stephen retired because of overwhelming temptation. Without his old habit/s he looks like a run-ragged, bearded gentleman. Dextrously juggling more roles than a committee member should ever have to, Stephen has finally demonstrated what a truly volunteering character he can assume. He’s not afraid to volunteer his opinion either, so be sure to make use of his knowledge and candour.

Julia Bateman
Position: Hotel Liaison
Character Class: Castellan
Julia made her Swancon debut in 1980, wielding a metre-long Bandersnatch boning knife (small). Fans have been listening to her very carefully ever since. Trust her, she’s a nurse.

Gigi Boudville
Position: Supply Officer
Character Class: Prestidigitator
An ex-president of the C.I.A. (Curtin Imaginative Association), Gigi has contributed a lot to Swancons – and claimed most of it on tax. The rest is classified.

John Samuel
Position: Gaming Co-ordinator
Character Class: Starship Trooper
John knows the rules of 17 RPGs backwards (which may be why he keeps healing dragons and giving them treasures).

Robin Pen & Mike Studte
Position: Video Programmer & Video Manager
Character Class: Ronin (looking for another 5 to make an epic)
Two learned scholars who believe fantasy should be watched as widely as it is read. Science fiction is a state of mind, believes Robin. Mike is worried over Robin’s state of mind. Robin wants to meet Godzilla and Mike wishes more pix of the Enterprise were available in MS-DOS format. If you catch them singing “Two little Gaijin are we”, please dial 000 and ask for Dr. Miyazaki.

Mark Bivens
Position: Front Desk Co-ordinator
Character Class: Paladin
Mark is the perfect person to run the front desk: he’s organised, courteous, unflappable, and has a degree in child psychology. When Mark tells you where to go, you actually look forward to the trip.

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Swancon 17: Urban Alchemist?: Nick Stathopoulos

Herein a transcription of page 10 of the Festival of the Imagination 1992 souvenir book.

Urban Alchemist?

Nick Stathopoulos

To look at his working environment, one could be excused for thinking Nick gets paid to make mess. Surrounded by tins of adhesive spray, piles of reference books, animation cels, scraps of paper filled with doodles and many other materials whose exact functions remain a mystery, he somehow combines all these elements to create a finished piece of artwork. Truly the ancient ways of the alchemist are alive and well in suburban Blacktown.

Originally trained as a lawyer, with a Bachelor of Arts/Law degree from Macquarie University, he is now a full-time commercial artist specialising in fantasy and science fiction. Among his numerous awards are three Australian Science Fiction “Ditmar” Awards for SF and fan-related art and the 1990 Australian Television Award (“Penguin”) for the production design on Son of Romeo, a one-hour television special combining Shakespeare and mime with Warner Bros. cartoon sensibilities.

Although his cover art is synonymous with the work of local author Terry Dowling (having completed the covers for Rynosseros, Woomword and the upcoming Blue Tyson), Nick’s covers also grace many other books, records and computer games, including From Sea to Shining Star, a limited edition collection of the stories of the late A. Bertram Chandler. A skilled animator, Nick has painted animation backgrounds for Hanna-Barbera and Walt Disney, matte paintings and cycloramas for a variety of films, TV commercials and video clips, and has a mural in the Space Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. An incessant doodler, Nick has recently taken to drawing on his walls, and is presently discovering the multitudinous joys of independent film making.

Here and in the gallery later in the book are lists of things that have touched me in some way. By no means complete, they may be of interest because these things all contribute in incomprehensible ways to my psyche, my psychological make-up. Terry would have a great way of putting all this without it sounding like a wank but … I’ve excluded books because there is no way I can distil favourites. I like so many for various reasons – some irrational – that I’m just not going to worry about them.   Nick S.

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SwanCon 16 – Souvenir book – Chairman’s Report

From the Chair of SwanCon 16, Greg Turkich, comes an effusive welcome to yet another con.

Well, it’s finally arrived. After a year of planning we are proud to present Swancon 16, the latest in the long line of Swancons.

In this Report I’m supposed to outline the whole Con to all of you. You know, all the stuff about what a fun time we had working on the Con, what an exciting time that you are about to have, all the great panels and shows that will be on; all the normal hype. Well bad luck – I’m not going to. Swancon has developed a name over the last 15 years for all that and a lot more, so there’s simply no need.

I have chaired the ConCom and, due to DUFF and work commitments, have not been as involved as I would have liked. I realise that there are many other people who go to making up a Swancon committee, and even more people who help to organise the many different aspects of any Swancon. However, there has to be a strong hand at the helm, and in this case that guidance came from Tara Smith and Stephen Dedman. If, at the end of it all, any credit for this Con is due, then it should be given to these two tireless workers. If not for them, Swancon 16 would not have happened.

I will ask one thing of the people attending this convention. If you see any area that can be improved upon, or if you have suggestions as to how something can be done, please let any handy member of the Committee know. We appreciate constructive criticism, and it helps make Swancons even better.

So, enjoy yourselves. Relax, sit back and have a good long weekend.

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Swancon 17: Waiting for the Cappuccino Muse: Terry Dowling

Here’s page 7 of the Festival of the Imagination 1992 souvenir book.

Waiting for the Cappuccino Muse

Terry Dowling

Born in Sydney in 1947, Terry Dowling is the only writer to have won eight [count ’em folks, eight!] Australian Science Fiction “Ditmar” Awards for fiction. A musician, songwriter and communications instructor, he is science fiction and fantasy reviewer for The Australian, was senior editor of The Essential Ellison and, with Harlan Ellison, is presently co-editing Down Deep, an anthology dealing with the mythical nature of the Australian landscape.

His stories have appeared in Omega Science Digest, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Men’s Journal Quarterly, Aphelion Science Fiction, Aurealis, Australian Short Stories, Eidolon, and Strange Plasma, and in the anthologies Urban Fantasies, Matilda at the Speed of Light, and Glass Reptile Breakout.

His first collection, Rynosseros, received both local and international acclaim. According to Faren Miller of Locus it is “a marvellous book … Rynosseros places Dowling among the masters of the field.” His second collection of linked stories, Wormwood, was published in March 1991 by Aphelion Publications to even greater acclaim than its predecessor. Blue Tyson, a second collection of Tom Rynosseros stories, is due from Aphelion in May 1992.

Dowling has a Master of Arts (1st Class Honours) in English Literature from the University of Sydney; has won the William Atheling Award for Criticism; and as a musician and songwriter appeared for more than six years on ABC-TV’s Mr Squiggle and Friends.

However, Terry’s first love remains his writing, which he practices religiously at a secret coffee located somewhere in Sydney. Terry is perpetually seated where he can hear the dulcet tones of the cappuccino machine, without which we may never have heard his tales told.

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