Conflux is over for another year. For the past eleven years the science and speculative fiction writers and fans conference has been held over the October long weekend in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory. It is a conference run by writers of speculative fiction with panels, workshops and activities that both assist writers and provide fun for fans. It provides an opportunity to meet well-known and respected writers and spend time with them.
This year Isobelle Carmody was guest of honour. Prolific author of fantasy fiction, she generously gave her time while in the process of completing her latest book, the Red Queen, the final of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, on a very, very tight deadline – the launch is expected in early November. Between launching books, participating in panels and kaffeeklatches (coffee meetings), she took the time to mingle with attendees and chat. She spent time signing copies of her graphic novel ‘Evermore’ which she produced with graphic artist Daniel Reed.
The Mistress of Ceremonies for the four day event was Laura E Goodin, poet, playwright and short-story author, Laura had the attendees in stitches as her introductions and announcements were constantly interrupted by urgent mobile phone calls from her home with questions about zombie apocalypses, imminent danger of death and starvation and all from her scotch loving cat. She also wrote and hosted the Conflux Radio Play performed by several of the Conflux panellists and authors. The audience loved it.
Another well-know attendee was Sean Williams, author of over 100 short stories and 42 novels with several Aurealis Awards and a Ditmar Award to his name.
Several books were launched:
The first was “Striking Fire” by Dirk Flinthart, published by Fablecroft Press. Followed by
“Hero” by Belinda Crawford, published by Odyssey Books,
The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2014, and Bloodlines , published by Ticonderoga Publications,
“The Floating City” by Craig Cormick, published by Angry Robot,
“The Time of the Ghosts” by Gillian Polack, published by Satalyte,
a Fanzine, “The Vortex” edited by Tara Ott and Maddy Piggott which can be found on Etsy and
The Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s latest anthology, Never Never Land.
The art show E Harvey Award went to Shauna O’Meara for the cover of Never Never Land and was richly deserved.
For writers there were pitching sessions that allowed authors to take their novels to a publisher to see if they were interested in their stories. For fans there was entertainment like the ‘Cabinet of Oddities’ and the Banquet with entertainment by Meri Amber, self-styled ‘geek’ pop-singer, song writer whose delightful voice and wonderful songs had the audience clapping and singing. I recommend going to her website and sampling her music.
This was my 6th Conflux event. Every one I’ve attended is fabulous and the workshops and events, as a writer, are invaluable for improving my knowledge and skill as a writer. So much so that I was able to pitch my novel this year. Whether it will be taken up is another matter, but just the knowledge that I’ve finished it and a publisher liked the premise of the story is a whole deal for me. Fingers crossed it’s good enough to be worked on and published. But if not, it was a learning experience I would not forgo.
Also being with fellow writers and fans who love genre fiction is, in and of itself, worthwhile. For four whole days I was with people who ‘got it’ – who thought the strange thoughts I did, and talked in stories and about stories and had fun with stories.
So Conflux 11 is over for 2015 but now the planning begins for Conflux 12 – Red Fire Monkey. If you’re a writer or fan of speculative fiction, set aside 30 September to 3 October 2016 and come and join in the fun. Put it in your diary.