Archive for the 'Fandom' Category

Age shall not weary

November 16th, 2008

Last weekend, Pamela and I were at a miniature Science Fiction convention in Sydney called Freecon. I have posted a few photos here. A few days after that was Remembrance Day. In Binyon’s immortal works – “age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn”.

Looking around the convention room the years had condemned a lot of us but although age was doing its best to weary, a bunch of die-hard fans struggled on. I do not, by the way, count myself among them, however old and weary I might be. I found Cons pretty dull back in the seventies and occasional visits over the intervening years have not changed my opinion.

Still, for Pamela this is work. A number of these people are her potential customers and influential ones at that. People whose opinion on what constitutes a good book counts for something in SF book-reading circles. I was along as moral support and photographer.

I actually spoke at the 2007 version of Freecon (there’s a blog entry here) and thought I might have to again but in the event I wasn’t required. This may be partly because I bailed out of the Sunday sessions due to terminal exhaustion (age having wearied etc).

The days of the old-style convention must be numbered. The punters are growing older and cons will eventually go the way of other out-dated institutions. But there are still lots of fans out there – SF and Fantasy books are selling well let’s not even talk about films, games, comic books (sorry, graphic novels) and small furry toys.

A lot of it has moved online. Most of your favourite authors have blogs where you can keep up with their ideas and contribute your own. There are fan sites, chat rooms, author sites, gaming sites. Probably there are small furry toy sites. You can be a lot closer to your author than used to be the case and it is less necessary to spend a weekend listening to only occasionally interesting panels to be so.

As a not particular fan of cons I can but approve. People will still get together – however good online communication is it doesn’t quite compare with meeting actual physical people – but the format is changing. And about time too.

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Roll out the Balrog

April 5th, 2008

Long, long ago in a galaxy not too far away there was a Tolkien Society dedicated, among other things, to butchering the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. At a Science Fiction convention in Sydney in 1988 they produced (despite many contenders for the title) the all time nadir of Tolkien-derivative works – Sauron, the Musical.

Not only was it a gross insult to the magnificent writing of the late Professor Tolkien it stole practically all its material from somewhere else. The music was stolen, the jokes were stolen, even the plot was stolen. Unfortunately the members of the Society were unable to steal any actors and were obliged to perform it themselves.

The Counsel for the Prosecution contacted me recently and asked if I had a copy available. Not content to share it with him I felt something this appalling should be inflicted on as many people as possible. To this end I have put the entire script on this web site.

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February 7th, 2008

Pamela’s publishers decided that we had to change her website ( Specifically they wanted an RSS feed for her updates. Better have a blog, they said.

Well, I’m not a great fan of blogs as a way of getting across anythiing except ephemera. I believe a website needs to be a little more solid. And yet it is a good idea for announcements and sundry musings be available on a feed.

So I’ve ended up building a half-blog half-website. I’m actually quite pleased with the results. The front page is a blog and there are links to essentially ephemeral groups entries – Reviews, Interviews and Events/Appearances – which are handled by the blog. But the more solid stuff like details of the books and biographical info are real webpages.

Technically I could use blog ‘pages’ to do this as well but it is much harder to deal with them hierarchically and I like the extra bit of freedom that comes from making your own pages.

I am sufficiently pleased with the concept that I will be doing something similar with my own commercial website which will appear when I actually get my book published. Which is another story.

We’ll see if the concept survives real-world use.

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Where did I put that trowel?

November 5th, 2007

My earlier prediction about having to spend more time a science fiction conventions is already happening. Pamela had been asked to appear at Freecon – a small Sydney get-together of fans. There were about thirty people all up with quite a few rainy-day cancellations.

One of the panels was on Archaeology as portrayed in film and television. At the last minute their archaeologist dropped out and I was recruited. I hadn’t been planning to go but what the hell. So, putting on my archaeologist’s hat (literally) I went along.

at freecon 07

Stephen Hart and the Picachu of Doom

There is a man holding a picachu over my head at this point. I can’t remember why.

Anyway, I spun a few yarns, some of which were outright lies but which people seemed to believe anyway. We didn’t get to talk about film or tv a lot but people were interested in the archaeology itself.

It feels odd to be appearing on panels after a hiatus of about twenty years. Must be some sort of mid-life crisis.

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