I'm pushing it a bit when I say that I'm blogging Day 1 of Au Contraire, since all I attended today was the launch of new short fiction anthology A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction. I'll be much more thoroughly present at the Con tomorrow and on Sunday.
But here are some quick observations:
* The book launch was short but sweet. Anna Caro introduced the book, Claire Brunette read her story from the collection, "Beneath The Trees", and then much signing and photographing was done.
* The production quality of A Foreign Country is excellent. Publishers Random Static have done a great job of design and production.
*A Foreign Country has 22 stories in its 266 pages, costs $24.95, and is available from independent bookshops - such as Unity and Parsons in Auckland and the University Bookshop in Dunedin (I didn't catch the whole list). You can also order it from the Random Static website.
* If you want to order it from a bookshop that doesn't stock it, the ISBN is 978-0-473-16916-9
* The Con looks like a great place to catch up with old friends as well as make new ones. In the short time I was there, I met several people I hadn't seen for a long time, and a quick perusal of the guest list shows plenty more old friends to catch up with.
* Holding the Con a week before the World Science Fiction Convention, Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne, has meant that overseas attendees actually outnumber the New Zealanders. There are 150 overseas fans attending out of about 240 total.
* The Convention Committee are doing a fine job & holding up well so far. Running a science fiction convention is one of the most tiring jobs I know - I wish them all the best for the rest of the weekend.
So let's leave you with the A Foreign Country cover and press release.
The Future Is A Foreign Country
Imagine worlds where strange creatures roam the hills of Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters.
Those are just some of the visions painted in a new volume of speculative fiction by Kiwi writers. Published by Wellington-based small press Random Static, A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction features work by best-selling author Juliet Marillier; poet, musician, and writer Bill Direen; and several Sir Julius Vogel Award winners, prominent writers, and talented newcomers.
Popular and award-winning Australian author Sean Williams, who will be in Wellington at the time of the launch, was impressed by his sneak preview, describing the anthology as “richly populated with the frightening and the fabulous, the thrilling and the thoughtful, the inspiring and the inspired.”
Co-editor Anna Caro hopes the works in the collection will both provide points of familiarity to readers, and take their imagination to new places. “Many of the stories are set in New Zealand, present or future, and portray worlds which are both instantly recognisable and nothing like the country we currently live in. This anthology showcases some of the remarkable range of New Zealand’s world-class speculative fiction writers.”