Swancon – Part Deux (or Stop Nagging Me, McDermott)

Part Two

On Friday morning we finally made it to the con proper (as opposed to simply being located in the same city and a bit around the block from it), we schlepped to the Hyatt and registered. There’s always a lovely sensation when you walk into a con hotel and see faces you don’t usually see except for a few times a year. And there is also the total delight in seeing Girlie Jones (Alisa Krasnostein) at the registration desk and having her hand you a bag full of awesome books. Here’s the haul from my con bag (imagine that M K Jemisin’s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is there too – it’s been given to the Significant Other):

We then (cackling over the nerd version of booty) went off to Ghosts in the Machine: AI and the Human Mind. It was an interesting panel and we learned that Justina Robson is a great panellist and doesn’t suffer fools. We decided we liked her lots. Then we had well-behaved lunch with the piratical Dirk Flinthart and paid a ridiculous amount of money for the food at the Hyatt. On the whole, the hotel was a great venue, except they did seem to have an awful lot of Easter trading rules that changed every time the wind shifted or the big hand on the Play School clock moved a bit. Amusing moment: when the waitress taking my payment at lunch said rather conspiratorially, ‘There are a lot of your people here, aren’t there?’

Then there was Dead Eyes: Dolls and Simulacra in Horror, with Stephen Dedman, Jason Nahrung, Kaaron Warren, Robert Hood and Anthony Ferguson who edited the new horror collection Devil Dolls and Duplicates. From this topic proceeded some fascinating discussion of our obsession with dolls, faux humans and why they scare us so much.

After that, Darkness Beyond Borders, with Kaaron Warren, Kirstyn McDermott, Ellen Datlow, Paul Haines, in which the erudite and amusing panel discussed what constitutes horror and what might be horror in disguise.

Awesomeness was in evidence early in the eve, when the luminous Helen Merrick launched TPP’s Twelve Planets series, with Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Love and Romanpunk as first cab off the rang. I read Love and Romanpunk last week and must declare it made of amazing. Go, get it it from here. Kudos to Alisa K for she is an awesome publisher and mini-powerhouse.

After that, it was time for dinner with Kate Eltham, Robert Hoge, Kirstyn Mcdermott, Jason Nahrung, Richard Harland, Justin Ackroyd, and Brain (of course). Delicious Indian food was consumed, wine was drunk and shit was shot. A successful conclusion to the day.

On Saturday morning, we had breakfast with the lovely Helen Merrick and after that, I attempted to do some shopping (having packed poorly and insufficiently ? my bad). I say ‘attempted’ for my credit card (which I had purposefully paid off before the trip) was declined. I returned to the hotel to discover this has happened.  http://www.angelaslatter.com/dear-hotel/

Needless to say I was displeased, but a lovely lunch with Ellen Datlow, Peter Ball, Brain and Dirk Flinthart helped to make up for it. It’s the first time I’ve met Ellen and she is as nice and witty as I always hoped she might be. It also seems I did not manage to go to any panels that day ? although apparently I did manage to eat all day ? but there was an excellent room party in Ellen’s room that evening, liberally supplied by Flinthart with many unreasonable and unidentifiable Korean candies. We brought cheese and chocolate, for we are boring.

Also, Saturday was the eve of the Masquerade Ball and there were some truly awesome costumes – Steampunk Geisha got my vote. Look at this photo by the awesome Cat Sparks and you will see why.

On Sunday I made up for my lack of panels the day before with Writer as Business Person/Writer as Entertainer, featuring Sean Williams, Justina Robson, Juliet Marillier and Simon Brown, and then the Clarion Call panel, with Kate Eltham, Robert Hoge, Justina Robson, Cat Sparks and Ellen Datlow. It’s always interesting to hear about other people’s Clarion experiences.

The rest of Sunday was devoted to Brain’s panel, Steampunk Style and Substance, with Richard Harland and Jeremy Byrne ? which was an awesome panel with a lot of really engaged questions and comments from the audience. Then I did my first panel, Fairytales in Today’s World, with Ellen Datlow, Jenny Blackford, Amanda Pillar and Richard Harland. It was a lot of fun and it was a relief to realise that my Masters had not gone to waste!

Ticonderoga Publications celebrated its 15th birthday with cupcakes, booze, and a talkfest from the likes of Simon Brown, Grant Watson and Sean Williams. Brain and I got roped in, too, and there’s a good chance we won the prize for most inappropriate speeches. Tom’s photo got our best angles. Russ and Liz also launched Dead Red Heart and More Scary Kisses, and there were readings and signing.

Sunday night was the Ditmars and the Tin Ducks ceremony – congrats to all the winners, everything was very well deserved indeed. All the winners can be found here. A big Wooooooot! to Alisa, Tansy, Tehani, Kirstyn and Cat, among others.

Monday was my last panel, which was fun but there seemed to be some wires crossed about what the panel was about. I’d gone in with the title ‘The Art of Blogging’ in my head – but it seemed that the panel was also advertised as ‘SF, Social Networks and Blogging’. This second title isn’t really my area of expertise; I can yap on about blogging as a writer and how I use social networking, but discussing the uses of social networks and blogging for the WA fan community isn’t really my area of expertise (not least of all coz I live in Brisneyland). My only real complaint in the five days was the last minute changes of room that were impossible to keep up with – in the space of five minutes the location of the fairy tale panel changed four times. It was frustrating.

Post-panel, Brain and I sat down for a cuppa with Peter M Ball, then started to say our goodbyes and finally toddled off to the airport about 2.30pm. We flew out within 15 mins of each other. The flight back home wasn’t too bad, all things considered and Qantarse managed to not annoy me, so hurrah! Significant Other collected me from the Brisneyland airport … alas, he got there about 90 minutes before my plane landed. :mrgreen:

Books were bought, food was eaten, gin and tonics were imbibed, writing was done, friends were reconnected with and a good con was had by all.

The organising committee can give themselves a big, well-deserved pat on the back.


(Happy now, McDermott??)

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