Continuum’s dark fairytale magic

vampire woman by victoria frances

Continuum is over, my throat is sore, I’m a little tired: standard convention hangover, then. Kirstyn has a new Chronos award — for Madigan Mine. There was much talk of vampires, fairytales and steampunk. A debate about the pros and cons of immortality…

In short, it was an excellent con, with long dinners and impromptu panels at the bar, great company, some slivers of inspiration amongst the panels. Catherynne M Valente was an amazingly giving and erudite and witty guest who cut a hell of a rug on the dancefloor. Her comments about reviewing, made during a Writer and the Critic podcast, are worth catching up with.

Two of the most affecting panels I attended were both, not surprisingly, darkly themed, and I’ll single them out from what was a very strong line-up.

The first was late on opening night, Friday, and involved the attraction between horror and beauty. Kyla Ward read a superb poem in her inimitable, theatrical fashion; Kirstyn read from her spooky-sexy short story ‘Monsters Among Us’; and Talie Helene lifted the roof with an acapella rendition of a ghost folk song. Discussion was informed and interested and on-topic and reluctant to stop.

The next morning, Talie and Kyla backed up on a dark poetry panel with Earl Livings and Danny Lovecraft. Kyla blew the room away with an excerpt from ‘The Raven’ and Talie pretty much felled anyone left standing with some truly wrenching World War I poems. Great stuff. And do note that P’rea Press is releasing a collection of Kyla’s poetry later this year!

In my absence, the last short story I had roaming in the wild found a home — very happy about that! — and Devil Dolls and Duplicates in Australian Horror received a fetching review. Add in a splendid night last night with friends from up north and the good time vibe has definitely lingered…

We’ve already bought our memberships for next year’s Continuum, which is the natcon and boasts the awesome paring of Kelly Link and Alison Goodman as guests of honour. And then there’s the bid from Canberra for the 2013 natcon (at Anzac weekend) and London’s push for the 2014 Worldcon … Let the good times roll!

Chronos winners

(the awards are for Victorian residents)
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 at AussieCon IV, Sue Ann Barber and Grant Watson (lovely to hear these guys pay tribute to the non-Victorians who also contributed to the programming, an awesome effort all-round)

Note: the amazing Conquilt of signatures is up for grabs on eBay till 20 June.

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