31 August 2010

Blogging Au Contraire: Day Three, Part 2: So Many Panels So Close To Home

Normally I'd be posting a Tuesday Poem around this time - but I've decided to get my Au Contraire blogging finished instead. Normal poetic service will be resumed next Tuesday.

I put up a rather bleary-eyed post in the early hours of Monday morning expressing my happiness at Voyagers winning a Sir Julius Vogel Award - but a whole lot of other good stuff happened on the Sunday of Au Contraire. Here are some personal highlights from the day:

Jay Lake Kaffeeklatsch

Though I moderated two panels and ran a live Q&A on the day, my personal highlight was a kaffeeklatsch with Jay Lake, a prolific (and very talented) author of short fiction and novels. The half-a-dozen of us who spent an hour with Jay in the Con Suite were treated both to his engaging conversation, and to an impromptu tutorial on the state of SF short fiction markets in the US, and what sort of story to submit where - priceless information from one who really knows the score.

(You can read one of Jay's stories at Tor.com - I enjoyed it, but as the comments show, the political fissures that run through the US run through its SF readership as well.)

Panels: Joss Whedon and SF Poetry

To those panels: the first was "Joss Whedon Is My Master Now"m with Patrick Nielsen Hayden, myself, and Alistair -aargh, surname recall fail - as the three panelists. This was a fun panel with lots of good discussion, much Whedon-love and some cogent criticisms as well. As a Buffy fan first and foremost, I was impressed how many others shared my preference - though a small band of Firefly diehards made a bold stand on the edge of Alliance space, swearing colourfully in Mandarin as they did so.

Next was the SF poetry panel with my fellow panelists Janis Freegard and Harvey Molloy. Though it was not so well attended as the Joss Whedon panel, the discussion was good, with both considerable optimism and some pessimism on the future of speculative poetry in particular and poetry in general - is flash fiction the new poetry? I particularly loved the way in which, moments after Harvey read a poem which he said he wasn't going to submit anywhere, one of the audience put up his hand and asked if he could publish it!

Patrick Nielsen Hayden Q&A

My third commitment was to run a live Q&A session with Tor Books Senior Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Having already been to Patrick's kaffeeklatsch and sat besuide him on the Whedon panel, I'd stopped feeling nervous, and it wasn't a hard job to let the questions flow and hear a great deal of accumulated publishing wisdom - and a surprisingly optimistic take on the future of publishing - at close quarters.

In other circumstances, I would have attended Juliet Marillier's panel on reviewing SF, but that was my only chance to catch up with US fans Pat and Roger Sims, whom Kay and I met in 1994. It was lovely to see them again, and catch up across the years and the oceans.

Than it was dinner (a yummy dinner, at Balti, organsied most ably by Martyn Buyck), and back to the con hotel for the awards ceremonies - not just the Vogels, but all the Convention awards.

Final thoughts on Au Contraire

Final thoughts? Overwhelmingly positive: this was a stunningly well-run Con, and the women behind the convention deserve an enormous amount of credit. I was especially impressed that two key players in the convention committee could pull off publishing and launching a collection of original fiction at the same time as being convention organisers.

There's lots of great photos from the Con, plus reports that cover a lot of what I missed, at Joffre Horlor's blog. Check it out, and see you (I hope) next year in Auckland.


Maggie May said...

congratulations and hurrah :)

Cat Connor said...

Sounds like you had a great time!

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Maggie May and Cat! I did, indeed, have a great time. But now I'm tired ... so tired ...

Helen Lowe said...

Tim--super congrats from Aus on your Sir JVA for "Voyagers"--very well deserved

AJ Ponder said...

So much talent, so little time. So many people who love writing. and of course, Tim, you were awesome. But I can't pick a favourite (because I'd be lynched) and there were some fantastic insights on writing from professionals and non professionals alike. I haven't quite thanked everyone who contributed to the writers stream but I'll get round to it at some point. In the meantime, a hearty thanks.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Helen and AJ.

Helen, all the best at Au Contraire's big sister!

AJ, I wish I'd been able to get to more of the writers' programme - indeed, there were tons of events I didn't make it to, either because they clashed with something else I was involved in, or because I had other things to attend to.

I'm pretty sure this was the most intensively-programmed NZ convention ever, and although that's really good, it inevitably meant missing out on a lot of good stuff.