On Sunday, Carol Ryles and I dropped in on Villaincon, a small SF convention in Perth. Sadly, it was nowhere near as well attended as it should have been. It seems to me that fannish conventions are not doing as well as they once did. There are so many other calls on our time these days, and besides, events such as SupaNova cast all smaller events into the shade.
But there is still a place for the smaller, more intimate convention, where you can catch up with your friends in the bar and pick up all the latest goss. There are many people I never see outside of conventions – due, again, to all myriad of little things that take up so much time. But you can go to a con knowing that you’re going to meet like-minded people, new ones as well as old friends. So I was really pleased to learn that next year there will be no fewer than four conventions in Perth!
The first is the annual Genghis Con. I must admit I’ve haven’t been to this one, because I’ve always thought of it a student gig and my student days are well gone. However, while it did indeed start out in 1992 as a student con, run by SF aficionados from our universities, I’m assured that while it retains its low budget profile, plenty of older people attend. The 2012 offering will be held from 20-22 January at St Georges College, UWA, and it costs only $25 to attend plus $80 per night accommodation – which includes breakfast.
Then comes Swancon, which I’ve been attending for about ten years. I’ve felt quite bereft the odd time I’ve had to miss a year! It’s held over the Easter long weekend (5-9 April next year) so there are four whole days of panels, discussions, academic papers, book launches and socialising. The venue for next year hasn’t been announced, but it will be at one of Perth’s many lovely hotels. It’s going to be called Doom-Con this time, to reflect an apocalyptic theme. The overseas guest-of honour will be no less a personage than Brandon Sanderson, while local girl turned Brisbanite Marianne de Pierres will be the Australian GOH. Fan GOH will be Chris Creagh, a lecturer at Murdoch University. (Chris is the initiator of the Murdoch University Science Fiction Foundation, which is helping with the preservation of the Murdoch Uni Library's valuable collection of speculative fiction material)
If you book and pay for Swancon before the end of December they’ll give you really good deal, too! Only $185 full price or $140 concession for the four days.
Next up will be one that’s close to my heart – the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre Mini-con on Sunday, 9 September. This one-day gathering of writers has been held at Greenmount in the Perth Hills every two years since 2004, so this will be our fourth venture into the convention business. It’s only a baby con – just the one day and well under a hundred attendees – but because of that it’s intimate and chatty, with interesting panels, a good lunch and lots of books to spend your money on. And the authors could well be in attendance to sign them, too. More news will be posted here closer to the time.
And lastly will come Crime Scene on the 29-30 September at Novotel. This is a new venture for Spec-fic in Perth, but a logical one because a lot of SF readers also read crime, and SF writers often need to research crime for their works. It’s hoped that guests will include crime writers and experts on police procedure, forensics etc. This con doesn't have a website yet but you can find them on Facebook.
So, add the various fund-raising functions and it will be a busy year on the SF front in Perth. And that’s without even thinking about cons in the other state capitals! Maybe we can give you a run-down on those events in another post.