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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

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The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as e-books from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

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Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

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Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've lived: High View, WV

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Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

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Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Satima, What's a Swancon?

This time last year I was in Europe. I attended the Easter Eve service in a little country church in the Rhine Valley with my dear friend and cousin-by-marriage, Elfriede. A week later, I was back in England, catching up with Diana in London, and after that I met up with my Canadian e-cousin, Alison. We spent a wonderful weekend in the lovely medieval city of Winchester. The beauty and magnificence of that town’s famous cathedral will linger in my heart and mind forever, as will the delightful time spent in Alison’s company. That trip was one of the highlights of my life to date, giving me, as it did, opportunities to meet face-to-face with people I'd communicated with via the internet through our mutual interest in family history. This year at this time, my focus is on another of my passions - speculative fiction.

Alison and I chat regularly on Facebook, and yesterday I received a puzzled message from her. “Satima,” she asked, “what is a Swancon?” She had noted my excited posts to all and sundry, counting down the days to my favourite Easter activity. But living in Nova Scotia, how could she know that Swancon is the annual convention held by Perth’s speculative arts community since 1975? The black swan, you see, is Western Australia’s animal emblem, and the word convention is universally abbreviated to “con” by the communities that raise and support them. Hence “Swancon”.

A report on Swancon can only be like a report from one of the Blind Men in the Buddha’s parable of the elephant. You can feel the trunk, the ears, a leg or the tail, but never all four at once. In fact, Swancon is even worse, for as well as four streams of games, panels and talks running simultaneously, there is an art show and an auction/market. And although the attendees are all speculative arts enthusiasts, none has yet managed the art of even bi-location, let alone sesqui-location, so it just isn't possible to attend everything.

It seems to me that attendees fall into categories, and I shall attempt to delineate them for you: the Flavell system of sorting con-goers. First, there are the Readers, many of whom aspire to write - I count myself in this category. Then there are the Academics: people who are studying for masters or doctoral degrees or who are involved in lecturing or the archiving of speculative materials. Next, we have the Gamers, who can discuss World of Warcraft (or whatever game constitutes their particular addiction) in minute detail and aim to thrash the pants off anyone else addicted to the same pastime. There are also the Professionals – writers, publishers, artists and retailers, who, as well as loving the speculative arts, obviously have an interest in promoting their wares. And the biggest category of all is made up of the Fans, who just love attending cons for their own sake. Many of them are not only widely read, but can also discuss movies, TV shows, comics and the history of the speculative genres in considerable depth. However, it is apparent that fellowship is their main reason for attending cons. Many fans seldom go to talks or panels, but hang out in the foyer or one of the other open spaces, catching up on gossip and discussing the latest trends in things speculative.

There is considerable overlap among these divisions – most attendees would fit into more than one of them. The true Fans, however, can be identified by their almost universal proclivity for black clothes. (At least this has been true of every con I’ve attended, so if it isn’t universally so, blame my ignorance for the sweeping statement.) One almost starts to think that black clothing is compulsory, for in the foyer and the panel rooms one is surrounded by a veritable sea of black garments, with hardly a flash of colour in sight. I learnt after my first con to wear at least one black article so as not to look too eccentric.

Fans are the wonderful, hard-working people who make up the committees, do the fundraising and organizing and oversee the smooth running of the event. And it takes some doing. Fans form teams that vie with each other for the privilege of organising the next-but-one convention: that’s how long it takes to pull all the elements together. I dips me lid to these guys. This year’s event was organised by Anna Hepworth, Elaine Walker, Linda Deegan, Grant Watson, Dave Cake and a strong support crew. They deserve medals, every last one of them. Planning for next year’s event, to be held from 9-13 April 2009, is in the hard-working hands of PRK and his team. They already have Guests of Honour lined up and are busy planning fundraising events for the coming year.

Next time, I’ll give you more on the panels I attended and the other activities available to con-goers, but that’s enough for one lesson. Class dismissed:-)

4 comments:

Jo said...

Boy you suddenly got very verbose there Satima, thanks for the explanation about Swancon and Natcon. I had figured out the con but not the first part. I enjoyed Glenda's pictures too - it was great to see you all and I didn't think you looked stunned at all.

Satima Flavell said...

Verbose? Moi? Never:-) I'm glad Glenda got some decent pics because mine are terrible of everyone!

phillberrie said...

Hi Satima,

Sounds like you had a great time. Must try to do the journey to Swancon one year it sounds like it could be a really great con. The idea of two years planning for the con sounds like a good one as well.

Hope you're not experiencing too much post con depression.

Phill.

Satima Flavell said...

I guess getting back to work and doing all the crits I owe will be one way of avoiding post-con depression!:-)

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