24 June 2010

Why You Should Be At Au Contraire

I've banged on a couple of times on this blog about how voting on the Sir Julius Vogel Awards will be taking place at Au Contraire, this year's New Zealand National Science Fiction Convention, taking place from Fri 27 to Sun 29 August 2010 at the Quality Hotel, Wellington

But what I should have stressed is how good Au Contraire is shaping up to be.

The convention gets a sizeable helping hand from taking place the weekend before this year's World Science Fiction Convention, Aussiecon 4, takes place in Melbourne. A number of luminaries are taking the chance to attend both conventions. Subject to confirmation, this is the current lineup of guests and programme participants.

If you look under "Other Programme Participants", you'll see the following people:

* Jonathan Cowie (UK science writer and part of the Concatenation team)
* Jennifer Fallon (Australian SF/F author, The Tide Lords series and other works)
* Peter Friend (NZ short story author and multiple SJV Award winner)
* Tim Jones (NZ author of short stories, novels, and poetry)
* Russell Kirkpatrick (NZ author of the Fire of Heaven and Husk trilogies)
* Juliet Marillier (NZ/Australian fantasy author)
* Cheryl Morgan (prominent UK fan)
* Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Hugo-winning senior editor at Tor Books)
* Kathryn Sullivan (US author and EPPIE Award winner)
* Sonny Whitelaw (The Rhesus Factor, Stargate novels)

All excellent people (well, apart from the reprobate who has snuck into fourth on the list), but in particular, if you're a science fiction or fantasy writer, you would be very well advised to make the acquaintance of Patrick Nielsen Hayden, one of the best and most well-connected editors in the field. I'm also particularly looking forward to catching up with well-travelled fan, writer, energy economist, and passionate rugby/cricket/football follower Cheryl Morgan.

Au Contraire has also released its draft programme. Again, it's all subject to confirmation at this stage, but if even most of these panels and events go ahead, this will be one of the best-programmed conventions ever held in this country, with the programme track for writers a particular highlight.

I'm involved in three programme items: an SF poetry panel (warning: potential panellists have still to be approached!); a session I'm running on getting published in New Zealand, something which SF/F/horror writers have historically found difficult; and the panel submissively entitled "Joss Whedon Is My Master Now" - "no guru, no method, no teacher", say I, but the opportunity to spout Buffy trivia to a supportive audience is too good to pass up.

I'm also looking forward to attending the launch of the NZ SF anthology A Foreign Country, in which I have a story; the official launch of SpecFicNZ, the New Zealand organisation for speculative fiction writers; and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards ceremony.

When I'm not doing any of those things, I expect to be on a book sales table with Lee Pletzers and Pat Whitaker, selling books - although this often turns into chatting with people and forgetting to sell them books, which is very naughty of me.

So I hope you'll think about coming along. And if you haven't been to a science fiction convention before, and you will be in Wellington, do drop in: there's a lot of good stuff going on.

4 comments:

Morgan said...

Good lord, PNH is coming to town?!

*looks at calendar*

Tim Jones said...

I was stunned when I saw him lurking down there among "other guests" - perhaps he's not confirmed yet? - but if I was the Au Contraire committee, he'd be at the top of my guest list - with Cheryl Morgan close behind.

Morgan said...

Yeah, agreed. I've been out of the con loop for years but he could well get me along to this. Thanks for the heads up!

AJ Ponder said...

It's always amazing who turns up at these things - look forward to catching up.