suenicorn: (Default)
[personal profile] suenicorn
The last two days I have attended Continuum 13, the annual Melbourne convention, which was also the Natcon this year. Unfortunately, I had to miss about half of it due to family commitments, but at least I can say I have been to all of them.

Interestingly, there was one panel with a friend whom I haven't seen at a convention in quite some time, because he is strictly a media fan and objects to the other kind of cons because they don't have actors as guests. I tell him till I'm blue in the face that actors cost money, much more money than the average con committee can raise nowadays. They used to manage, years ago, but it was a different world then. Let's face it, the actors now go to events like Supanova and the expo that used to be called Armageddon, where the entrance fee is in the double digits, not the triple, as is the average fan-run convention. The fannish cons simply can't compete. As it is, they have to raise the money to pay for the air fares, accommodation and entertainment of a writer, without also having to pay an appearance fee. (I should add, I don't blame the actors for their appearance fees; it's the way they make a living, it's just another gig, and if they accept your invitation to a convention, they can't accept another gig, like a film or a TV show. It's just that we can't afford them).

So I was very surprised to see him there. I must ask him for details when we next meet on Thursday, at a mutual friend's retirement celebration. I did go to his panel, which was "Queering science fiction", about the obvious. I didn't really enjoy it - there was rather too much complaint about not being represented, which would be fair enough, except it was from people who had just told us that there have been queers in space opera since the beginning. And there was the person(gender-fluid) who complained because poor Ivan, in Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign didn't throw himself into the arms of the now-male Lord Dono(formerly Lady Donna) on his return from Beta Colony after a sex change. Well, why would he? Number 1, he's totally hetero; the woman he had an affair with is no longer available, but after his initial shock he helps Dono with his campaign to become Count, something he couldn't have done as a woman. Number 2, Lord Dono is not upset; he thinks it's hilarious, and Number 3, doesn't actually WANT Ivan to continue the relationship. He has other plans. Being a woman on the male-dominated Barrayar is no fun, and by the time Lady Donna left it, she was fed up with dealing with men. She became one without regret, though. Of course, then the panellist might have complained because Lord Dono is now a hetero male, but that would be another matter. The way it was decribed was, "Someone he(Ivan) had lusted after and..." Wrong. He had had an affair with her; she had been his sexual mentor. There's a difference.

There was a mention of the Trill from Star Trek and the assumption made that they take over the bodies of their hosts and squash the personalities. In fact, in Deep Space Nine, it was explained that far from being parasites, they were symbionts, who more or less had to beat off applicants with a stick.The successful ones got access to the memories and skills of all the previous hosts, as I recall, in return for the use of their bodies. In one episode, Jadzia was challenged by an unsuccessful applicant, who got her symbiont off her, and she was not at all happy!

My friend said afterwards that the panel hadn't turned out quite the way he had in mind.

Likewise, there was a lot of whingeing from a panel called "The Forgotten Mothers Of Science Fiction". Thing is, many of the women mentioned, such as Diana Wynne Jones and Andre Norton, are far from forgotten - and their works are still in print. I had read nearly all of the women whose works are supposedly forgotten. It may be because I'm older.

I did see the point about Grania Davis, whose work needs hunting up, and who is only remembered as the wife of Avram Davidson. And I did enjoy the panel despite the complaining about something that really isn't true, IMO. The subject matter, about women in SF, was interesting to me. Mind you, I was surprised that an urban fantasy writer like Seanan McGuire mentioned YA fantasy without mentioning Melissa Marr, whose urban fantasy stories with fairies(or, rather Faeries), the Wicked Lovely series, were based on a lot of research and traditional stories, by a PhD university academic - they were very popular in my library at one stage. But I guess she can't read everything. None of us can.

I was disappointed with the panel on fan fiction, which was run by four young things who were probably not born before the Internet and certainly would never have seen a printed media fanzine. I should have gone to the panel on "Humans are special." But I had such fond memories of fan fiction back in the days when I was writing it - I wrote about 150 fan stories!

My favourite panels for the con were "Kid Stuff" (on books that had inspired some authors on the panel, including the delightful Michael Pryor) and the one on filking, plus I thought Seanan McGuire's GoH speech was delightful. Also, the one on fairy tales and the Dr Who panel, the only one that had a chance for audience to interact - no, the filking one did too, now I think of it.

Anyway, I had a good time in general and met up with some friends I hadn't seen in some time.

Date: 2017-06-12 12:09 pm (UTC)
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
From: [personal profile] leecetheartist
I wonder if one of Swancon's GoH next year is media enough for your friend...Series concept creator and a producer of Cleverman.

Date: 2017-06-22 08:06 am (UTC)
kerravonsen: Cat staring upwards: OMG iz fulla starz (LOLcat)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
Sorry we didn't really get to talk at the con, just sort of wave...

I would have liked to go to the Fan Fiction and Fan Art panel, if nothing else, to get the Artist-GoH's opinion about it. But I couldn't because I was actually on the "Humans Are Special" panel! So if you'd gone to that, you would have seen me and other people rabbiting on about that. Best definition someone came up with for what the trope is: "Treating an entire species as a Mary-Sue."

Yeah, Seanan McGuire was great fun, wasn't she?

Date: 2017-06-22 10:51 am (UTC)
kerravonsen: stone egg on wood: "Simplicity" (simplicity)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
Remember all those over-the-top B7 stories we used to read in Susan Batho's naughty fanzine?

Nope. Didn't know she'd done one, and if I'd known, still wouldn't have been interested in reading it. I was much less tolerant of smut back then than I am now. Not that I go looking for it, but if there's smut amidst the plot, I don't automatically stop like I used to. Still not interested in smut-for-the-sake-of-smut, though.

Well, the type of stories these fans said they write sounded far worse.

"These fans" or just one or two? Because I know Liz Barr was on that panel, and she definitely doesn't write awful fanfic! She's done some brilliant Doctor Who and some good Harry Potter, and while I haven't read the stories she's written in fandoms I don't follow, such as Avatar:The Last Airbender, I would expect they would be just as good.

One cheerfully admitted to writing sadist porn! Using someone else's characters. Eeew! Yuk! Nope.

Someone else's characters as in someone else's original characters (as distinct from the characters from the canon of whatever fandom it was)? That seems rather odd. Using other people's OCs still tends to be taboo as far as I know. But that might depend on what part of fandom one is wandering in? Or maybe they were of the opinion that writing fanfic of other people's fanfic is no different to writing fanfic of other people's profic? (scratches head) Personally I feel that there is a difference, that there are several differences, one being that one can ask permission of the author in the case of fanfic authors, while you can't in the case of profic authors, because they could never give you permission anyway, since it would affect their living. (Sorry, a bit rambling there).
As for BDSM... I don't get that stuff, don't understand the motivation. Perhaps the best-selling-ness of "Fifty Shades of Grey" has made it more acceptable? (scratches head)

I'm still curious as to what the Artist-GoH would have said about fan art... ah well.

Date: 2017-06-22 12:13 pm (UTC)
kerravonsen: Liberator orbiting planet: One true ship (one-true-ship)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
When I say, "using other people's characters" I mean fanfic in general, because that's what it is. Using someone else's characters to fulfil your sexual fantasies is plain tacky, IMO.

Ah, I see.
Mind you, would there be any way to write porn that wasn't tacky? If one must write porn, at least using someone else's fictional characters is better than writing porn about real people (RPF (shudder)).

We originally wrote the stuff so we could have more Star Trek, or get around something that had bugged us about an episode, but mainly so we could have more of a show that had been cancelled.

And fans still do that.

Have you read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell? Recommended! It's about a girl who writes fan fiction in a sort of Harry Potter universe - and people have started writing Fangirl fan fiction and the author is delighted!

Cool! I'll look for it.

That reminds me of "A Pocket Full of Murder" by R.J. Anderson (also recommended!) It's set in a city based on 1930's Toronto (only with magic instead of electricity). There's a bit where the heroine has a favourite "talkie" (radio play series) and when she doesn't manage to catch an episode, she writes fanfic for it, imagining alternate episodes to fill in the gaps... Of course, that's not the main part of the story, but it's a little aside that I thought was fun.

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