Continuum 8 Program Now Available!

The much anticipated program for Continuum 8: Craftonomicon — the 2012 NatCon — is now online and available to download as handy PDFs. It looks pretty damn good and the only thing I’m not looking forward to is making some difficult choices in regards to what sessions I attend. Fortunately, some of the decision making has been taken out of my hands with the following being program items with which I’m actually involved and for which I therefore must show up. Preferably awake and sober. Not always that easy at an SF convention!

Tales As Old As Time — 6pm, Friday 8th June
Fairytales are in vogue again, all over TV and movie screens and for years collected by Ellen Datlow in retold anthologies. Why are we so fascinated with these stories? And with so many retellings and versions out there how do writers make them new again? (Jenny Blackford, Lisa Hannett, Kirstyn McDermott, Jane Routley, Angela Slatter)

Twelve Planet Press Hour — 7pm, Friday 8th June
Ever wondered how your favorite Twelve Planet collection would taste like in cupcake form? Then come along to the Twelfth Planet Cocktail hour, to celebrate the launch of the newest Twelve Planets, Through Splintered  Walls by Kaaron Warren and Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, plus the new TPP novella Salvage by Jason Nahrung and a surprise announcement! Each book will be lovingly interpreted as a cupcake by master baker, Terri Sellen. Your cocktail choice is entirely your own…

Masters of Podcasting — 10am, Saturday 9th June
What makes someone podcast? Ego? Frustrated media ambition? Being too ugly for television? Ego? A group of fannish podcasters discuss the origins, do’s, don’ts and why-the-hell-nots of podcasting. Why start a podcast? How do you do it? Where do you find an audience? A group of talented talkers talk about talking. (Terry Frost, Alisa Krasnostein, Kirstyn McDermott, Jonathan Strahan)

The Future Is Now — 2pm, Saturday 9th June
eBooks, iDevices, apps etc are changing how we write and read. What’s out there, what’s worth using, and is all this technology a help or a hindrance? And where to from here? (Alan Baxter, Louise Cusack, Kirstyn McDermott, Julia Svaganovic)

Podcast: The Writer and the Critic — 3pm, Sunday 10th June
The Writer and the Critic is a monthly podcast devoted mostly to speculative fiction books, reviews and the odd bit of idle gossip. Join hosts Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond and their most estimable guests Alison Goodman and Kelly Link in this special live-recorded edition for a discussion of The Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. (Alison Goodman, Kelly Link, Kirstyn McDermott, Ian Mond)

The Awards Debarcle — 2pm, Monday 11th June
What is the role of awards in the Australian SF community? Do we have too many? Do we need more (or different) awards? Discuss. (Dave Cake, Kirstyn McDermott, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung)

And if all that wasn’t enough, Ian Mond and I will also be hosting the Awards Ceremony on the Sunday night from 8pm until …. um … well, we promise it won’t last all night! Cross our hearts and hope to … look, we promise okay? Just trust us.

Hope to see you there!

Continuum 8: Craftonomicon


Continuum, Quilts and Chronos Awards

I had a fantastic and satisfyingly exhausting time at Continuum 7 over the long weekend. The panels I saw were entertaining and engaging and Catherynne M. Valente was one of the most gracious and erudite and downright fun-to-be-around Guests of Honour a convention could hope to have. She was also a special guest on The Writer and the Critic podcast that Ian Mond and myself recorded live at the con — it will be available very soon; I just need to get some more sleep before finishing post-production — and one of my team-mates on the Great Debate. Which we won. Immortality for everyone! I also loved the enthusiastic, intelligent and impassioned discussions that took place during almost all of the panels I participated in — among panelists and audiences alike. It’s invigorating and inspiring to be in a room full of people so keen to discuss and debate and contribute. Possibly the highlight of the convention for me was the Dark Delights panel which explored the links between beauty and horror. Kyla Ward performed one of her poems with her usual aplomb and Talie Helene knocked everyone’s socks off with a stunning a cappella rendition of an old ghost ballad. (Talie’s working on an exciting new multi-media project … more details soon.)

Chronos Award 2011

Oh, and I won a very pretty Chronos Award for Madigan Mine! Karen Healey‘s Aurealis Award-winning novel, The Guardian of the Dead, was nominated in the same category and I was fortunate enough to meet and have dinner with Karen on the Sunday night. She’s witty and delightful and I’m looking forward to reading her new novel, The Shattering, which is due for release in July. (I was so very good and only purchased that one book at the convention — my To Be Read pile is already structurally unsound!)

The full list of 2011 Chronos Award winners are:

  • Best Long Fiction: Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott (Pan MacMillan Australia)
  • Best Short Fiction: “Her Gallant Needs”, Paul Haines (Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Artwork: Australis Imaginarium cover, Shaun Tan (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Best Fan Writer: Alexandra Pierce
  • Best Fan Written Work: “Review: The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick”, Alexandra Pierce
  • Best Fan Artwork: Continuum 6 Props, Rachel Holkner
  • Best Fan Publication: Live Boxcutters Doctor Who at AussieCon IV, Josh Kinal and John Richards
  • Best Achievement: Programming: AussieCon IV, Sue Ann Barber and Grant Watson

I should also remind you that the Conquilt fundraising auction is now up and running on eBay with some impressive early bidding. It’s an amazingly gorgeous quilt — after seeing it on display at Continuum, I’m half-tempted to bid on it myself. Honestly, the photos really don’t do it any justice at all.

I’m already very excited about attending Continuum 8 next year. Not only is the NatCon but it has Kelly Link and Alison Goodman as Guests of Honour. Huzzah!

Finally, on matters unrelated to Continuum, I was interviewed by the Adventures of a Bookonaut blog as part of an ongoing series featuring Australian spec fic authors. The questions were about authors and social media, and I had a lot of fun answering them. Next time you have a few minutes to spare, wander across and have a read. Sean’s blog is a treasure trove of news and reviews and other SF tidbits — well worth following!

In Melbourne this Weekend: Continuum 7

I’m spending the long weekend at Continuum 7, Melbourne’s own Speculative Fiction and Pop Culture Convention. If you haven’t yet purchased your membership, you’re most welcome to come along on the Friday night — it’s free! You’ll have a great time and you might even want to purchase a full or day membership for the weekend.

Here’s what I’ll be getting up to:

  • 9.00pm — Friday 10 June –Earth/Fire Room
    Great Debate: Immortality – There’s No Future In It
    Who wants to live forever! No, really, who does? Is eternal life all it’s cracked up to be? Which is worse, death and the great unknown or hanging around for all eternity as a head in a jar? Our two teams of crack debaters will tackle this topic – but who will triumph? Hosted by Jack Dann, Debated by Catherynne M. Valente, Dave Freer, Narrelle Harris, Richard Harland, Kirstyn McDermott, Heath Miller
  • 11.00pm — Friday 10 June — Sun Room
    Dark Delights
    Take your place, on the chaise lounge, pop a chocolate and enjoy the recitals, readings and discussion. Just how can something horrific be depicted as beautiful? Talie Helene, Kirstyn McDermott, Kyla Ward
  • 6.00pm — Saturday 11 June — Fire Room
    What’s Happening to the Bookselling Industry?
    Borders and Angus & Robertson, gone! Is it the end times? Why are booksellers collapsing & what is replacing them in popularity? Justin Ackroyd, Crisetta MacLeod, Kirstyn McDermott, Julia Svaganovic
  • 2.00pm — Sunday 12 June — Sun Room
    Vampire Circus
    Where the vampires go, other monsters seem sure to follow. Werewolves, ghouls, fairies and all manner of supernatural creatures populate the vampire circus, but do we we really need them? Can — should — monsters take centre ring without inviting all their friends? Jason Nahrung, Narrelle Harris, Kirsytn McDermott, Heath Miller, Julia Svaganovic
  • 5.00pm — Sunday 12 June — Harmony Room
    Author Reading (20 minutes)
  • 8.00pm — Sunday 12 June — Fire Room
    Writer and the Critic
    The Writer and The Critic presents its first ever live-in-front-of-real-people podcast. Kirstyn McDermott (most definitely the Writer) and Ian Mond (not much of a critic, but we’ll make do) discuss books they have recommended to each other. Things might get fiery, offensive and painful, but it will also be an eloquent and erudite deconstruction of genre. Or something. Special guest podcaster: Catherynne M. Valente.  Kirstyn selected “Full Dark, No Stars” by Stephen King, Ian has chosen “Among Others” by Jo Walton, and Cat’s pick is “EmbassyTown” by China Meiville. Warning: There will be spoilers! Come and listen and throw things at Ian. You know you want to.
  • 12.00pm — Monday 13 June — Earth Room
    Crones, Witches and Marginalised Power in Fairytales
    Witches dominate as fairytale villains; how did older women get such a bad rap? Why is age and power in women something to fear and is that notion being changed in modern retellings? Let’s talk about fear, death, and post-menopausal sexual agency–and some good old fashioned crones. Catherynne M. Valente, Kirstyn McDermott, Emily De Rango, Kirsty Sculler, Julia Svaganovic

The full program is available here at the Continuum website. See you there!

Conquilt Fundraising Auction for Continuum!


Conquilt is a record of nearly one hundred of the attending authors, editors, publishers and illustrators to Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention held in Melbourne Australia in September 2010. Signatures (and the odd sketch) were collected throughout the convention and assembled into this colourful quilt by Rachel Holkner and award-winning quilter Jeanette Holkner, based on the pattern ‘Tribble Trouble’ by Martha Thompson. It measures 152 cm x 192 cm with a 5cm diameter rod pocket on the back for easy display..

Conquilt will be on display throughout Continuum 7. There will be an auction launch at 8.45pm on Friday 10 June in the Earth Room, so if you’re in Melbourne, you can come in and see it for yourself! The quilt will be auctioned on eBay beginning at 9pm on Friday 10 June 2011 and ending on 20 June. The exact URL will be posted on the official Conquilt page, or you can search simply eBay for “conquilt”.

All funds raised by this auction will benefit Continuum, Melbourne’s own annual Speculative Fiction and Pop Culture Convention.

I was lucky enough to be asked to sign one of the panels and feel very honoured to be included among such speculative fiction luminaries. Just look at all these amazingly talented folks who’ve put pen to fabric:

Alan Baxter    Alastair Reynolds    Alisa Krasnostein    Alison Croggon    Amanda Pillar   Andrew J. McKiernan    Angie Rega    Bill Congreve    Bob Eggleton   Carrie Vaughn    Cat Sparks    Catherynne M. Valente    Charles Stross   China Mieville    Chris Miles (an associate of H. I. Larry)    Chuck McKenzie   Cory Doctorow    Deborah Biancotti    Delia Sherman    Dirk Flinthart    Duncan Lay    Fiona McIntosh    Foz Meadows    Gail Carriger   Garth Nix    George Ivanoff    George R. R. Martin    Gillian Polack   Glenda Larke    Grace Duggan    Howard Tayler    Ian Irvine    Ian Nichols   Jane Routley    Jason Nahrung    Jay Lake    Jean Johnson    Jenner   Jennifer Fallon    Jetse de Vries    John Scalzi    Jonathan Strahan    Juliet Marillier    K. A. Bedford    K. J. Taylor    Kaaron Warren    Kaja Foglio    Karen Haber    Karen Healey     Kate Elliot    Kate Paulk    Kathleen Jennings    Keith Stevenson    Kim Stanley Robinson    Kirstyn McDermott    Kyla Ward    Lara Morgan    Leanne Hall    Lisa L. Hannett    Lucy Sussex    Marianne de Pierres    Mary Victoria    Matthew Hughes    Michael Pryor    Michelle Marquardt    Narrelle M. Harris    Nick Stathopoulos    Nicole R. Murphy    Paul Collins    Paul Cornell    Paul Haines    Peter M. Ball    Peter V. Brett    Phil Foglio   Richard Harland    Rjurik Davidson    Rob Shearman    Robert Hood    Robert Silverberg   Russell B. Farr    Russell Blackford    Russell Kirkpatrick    Seanan McGuire    Shane Jiraya Cummings    Shaun Tan    Sue Bursztynski    Tansy Rayner Roberts    Tehani Wessely    Tracey O’Hara    Trent Jamieson    Trudi Canavan

Just quietly, I think that’s going to be one hotly contested auction!

Chronos Awards Ballot Announced

Looks like award season is well and truly upon us!

The voting ballot for the Chronos Awards, presented for excellence in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror in the state of Victoria, has just been announced. I’m very excited to see that my novel, Madigan Mine, has been nominated in the Best Long Fiction category, while The Writer and the Critic podcast is in the running for Best Fan Publication. The full ballot, along with voting instructions can be found here.

Hearty congratulations to all the finalists!

All members (full and supporting) of the Continuum 7 convention are eligible to vote for the Chronos Awards, and voting closes on Sunday 15 May 2011. The awards will be announced during Continuum 7 over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (10-13 June) in Melbourne — please check the website for the exact date and time closer to the weekend.

Continuum is always a fantastically enjoyable convention and I highly recommend anyone in Melbourne with an interest in spec fic to come along. I’ve only ever missed one — thanks to my little sister for choosing to get married in Newcastle that weekend! — and I’m especially looking forward to this year’s. Not only will the brilliant Catherynne M. Valente be attending as a Guest of Honour, but Ian Mond and I will be recording our first live podcast of The Writer and the Critic at some stage over the weekend. How can you possibly bear to miss it? 🙂

If you are planning to attend and feel like getting more involved, Continuum has put out last call for program participants and posted a list of proposed panels here.  As the programmers themselves point out, you don’t need a PhD in Astrophysics, just enthusiasm for the topic and being open to discussion. So if there’s something on the list that takes your fancy, then please put up your hand and volunteer. It’s a hell of a lot of fun!


Chronos Awards now open for nominations

The 2011 Chronos Awards for excellence in science fiction, fantasy & horror in Victoria will be presented at Continuum 7 here in Melbourne over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June. All nominated works must have been published during the 2010 calendar year by a resident of the state of Victoria.

The key dates for the 2011 Chronos Awards are:

  • Nominations Open:  Sunday 23 January 2011
  • Nominations Close:  Sunday 27 March 2011
  • Voting Opens:  Sunday 3 April 2011
  • Voting Closes:  Sunday 15 May 2011
  • Awards Announced:  Continuum 7, 10-13 June 2011 (exact date/time TBA).

Click here for more information and to lodge a nomination.

If you need a refresher on eligible works published in 2010, the Continuum Foundation wiki has provided quite a comprehensive list.

And in the Blowing My Own Shiny Trumpet department, I have the following works eligible for a nomination:

Best Long Fiction category:

  • Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott (Pan Macmillan Australia).

Best Short Fiction category:

  • “Monsters Among Us” by Kirstyn McDermott in Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young (Brimstone Press).
  • “She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott in Scenes from the Second Storey, edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall (Morrigan Books). [Note: this is my personal favourite of the three published last year and, I think, one of the best stories I’ve written.]
  • “We All Fall Down” by Kirstyn McDermott, Aurealis 44.

If you’ve read and enjoyed any of the above and decide to nominate them for a Chronos Award . . . well, that would be lovely. 🙂

ETA: Also eligible for nomination in the Best Fan Publication in any Medium category is The Writer and the Critic podcast which is produced by Ian Mond and myself. The first two episodes aired in 2010. If you haven’t listened to those yet, you should. We’re clever and funny and very often silly. And we love books.

Things that go bump in the night


Next Sunday is Halloween! It’s also my birthday! Double Huzzah!

Fittingly, I’ll be at Dymocks Southland for their Halloween HorrorCon on the 31st, eating too much sugar and signing books along with four other might fine local authors of dark fiction — Alan Baxter, Bruce Kaplan, Bob Franklin and the dashingly handsome Jason Nahrung. Come along and say Boo!

Date:  Sunday, 31st October 2010
Time:  12.00 noon – 1pm (approx)
Address:  Dymocks Southland, 3067 Westfield Shopping Centre, Cheltenham, VIC

For those in the mood for a night of spooky Q&A, Continuum 7 is hosting a Halloween Trivia Night next Saturday with none other than the fabulously vampiric Narelle Harris as Inquizator. Costumes are optional but there will be lots of yummy prizes, so don’t be shy about getting your Halloween groove on.

Date: Saturday 30th October
Time: 8pm
Where: Brian Boru Function Room @ The Celtic Club, 316-320 Queen Street, Melbourne
Cost of Entry: $5

The  published their Top 25 Horror Films this past week. It’s not exactly the list I would make, were I in the habit of making such lists — The Hunger is missing for a start — but it’s a fine collections of films nevertheless. There’s a few classics on there I keep meaning to track down — Peeping Tom, Don’t Look Now, Les Diaboliques — so it’s also a timely prompt. Good the see the beautiful Swedish film, Let the Right One In, making it into the top ten.

Lastly, here’s an interesting factoid for you: October 2010 has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays — all in one month. Mathematically, this only happens once in 823 years. Such things amuse me.

ETA: Sadly, this last is not true. In fact, the last time this happened in October was 2004 (six years ago) and the next time it will happen is 2021 (11 years from now). Thanks to Andrew McKiernan for pointing this out for the benefit of a Kirstyn too lazy to google . . .