I’ve spent the past 3.5 days at Continuum 7, Melbourne’s own speculative fiction and pop culture convention, and I’m knackered. It’s been an awesome frenzy of panels and meals and bottles of wine and talking and generally fuelling the literary flame.
One of the guests of honour was the incomparable Catherynne M Valente, fantasy author and poet, whose 2009 novel Palimpsest (which I am currently reading) has been a winner or finalist of all kinds of awards. More recently, her novel The girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making has been a major YA hit and her latest novel is Deathless. She appeared on various panels that I attended over the weekend, providing insightful comments on topics from folktales to feminism to immortality. Her obvious talent and brilliance is both inspiring and a teeny bit intimidating. I tried to get to as many of her panels as possible!
Other memorable sessions I attended (and to be honest I didn’t attend all that many) covered vampires,YA fiction trends, a tribute to the late feminist icon Joanna Russ, and a late-night discussion of how something horrific can be depicted as beautiful. It was also fun to sit in on the live recording of the monthly podcast The writer and the critic, hosted by Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond with special guest Cat Valente, in which they discussed the following books: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King, Among Others by Jo Walton, and EmbassyTown by China Mieville.
I’ve come away from the con with a long list of books to read and movies to watch, as you might imagine. These particularly include Joanna Russ’s The Female Man and How to Suppress Women’s Writing, plus Morphology of the Folktale by Vladimir Propp.
But events such as this are as much about socialising and making new friends as the panels, and it was great to meet and catch up with a few folk from interstate, plus hang out with some of the SuperNOVA crowd. I hate to think how many gallons of wine we consumed either in the bar, or at dinner, or in Steve’s palatial room in the con hotel.
Now it’s time to come down off the high, re-gather my wine-soaked brain and leap back into the writing zone.