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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!

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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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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Another Easter, another Swancon


Easter in Perth means Swancon, Western Australia's state Science Fiction convention, has rolled around again. This year marked the 38th convention. The oldest SF convention in Australia, it was founded by Grant Stone, who has since become one of this country's top pop-culture gurus.

It is ten years since I first attended a Swancon, and in that time I've been to some seven or eight of them, and I've never failed to enjoy myself immensely. However, they do vary greatly in focus, and therefore, to some extent, in content.


There is almost always at least one Guest of Honour from overseas. This year it was author Charles Stross from the UK. His books are numerous and varied, and only yesterday he revealed on his blog that he is expanding into film-making.

Stross is a man of unlimited imagination. His series The Laundry Files, for example, consists of science fiction spy thrillers about a field agent working for British government agency 'the Laundry', which deals with occult threats, while The Merchant Princes is an alternate history series in which some humans have an ability to travel between parallel Earths. However, his works can all be categorised as either hard SF or Space Opera that sometimes borders on Fantasy.

Australian author John Birmingham was also a Guest of Honour.  Birmingham is best known, of course, for his first book, He Died with a Felafel in his Hand, which has since been turned into a play, film and a graphic novel. A sequel, The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco was turned into a play that went on to become the longest running stage play in Australian history.

For SF fans, however, Birmingham is best known for his Axis of Time Trilogy, an alternative history of WWII. More recently, he has produced another series, starting with Without Warning, set in an alternative world in which most of the population of America has disappeared on the eve of international war.  There have been two follow-up books - After America and Angels of Vengeance. Further books in the series will be released electronically by Momentum.

Other works by John Birmingham include a crime novel The Search for Savage Henry, and How To Be A Man, a semi-humorous guide to contemporary Australian masculinity. Nothing if not versatile, Birmingham spent four years researching the history of Sydney for Leviathan: the unauthorised biography of Sydney which won Australia's National Prize for Non-Fiction in 2002.

Birmingham gave one of the most entertaining GOH speeches I have ever heard. In the persona of a street-wise journalist blended with an old hippie put out to grass (and I use that word deliberately) he had us in stitches for a good half hour, then in more stitches as he fielded questions from the floor. One thing's certain - if Birmingham tires of writing he has a future in stand-up comedy. I suspect the hippie journo is just one facet of a complex and fascinating personality, which explains the enormous variety of his oeuvre.

Other guests included comics writer Gail Simone (I missed her panels, unfortunately) and Melbourne based author, editor and critic Lucy Sussex, whom I heard in a most enjoyable panel on Urban Fantasy with Charles Stross, Helen Duffill and Katherine Mc Farlane. Fan GOH's were my friends John and Sarah Parker, who have been active in fandom for almost as long as anyone can remember!

I must admit that as one whose interests lie in reading, writing, editing and reviewing, I was a tad disappointed  that there were no literary or academic streams in this Swancon. It was quite deliberately aimed at fandom, and while I and some other writerly types might have missed out, the convention brought in a younger crowd, some of whom, I suspect, might have come to fandom via the extremely popular commercial conventions run by Supernova. This can only be a good thing, since one of the big discussion points in SF circles in recent years has been the ageing of fandom generally. While there were few panels or talks of interest to writers, one that did impress me consisted of a group of young people discussing Young Adult spec-fic literature. They revealed themselves to be knowledgeable and discriminating (no Twilight fans here!) in the way they described how SF had helped them learn about the world and their places in it. I left the panel wondering if I had just heard the voices of tomorrow's writers.

I missed out on a Tin Duck, but was delighted that several of my friends were recipients. The winners included Adrian Bedford, Juliet Marillier, Sarah Lee Parker, Liz Grzyb, Talie Helene and Elaine Kemp. I was delighted, too, that my friend and fellow writer Sue Isle, who received a Tin Duck last year for her lovely YA book Nightsiders, gained her 33 years award for attendance at Swancon.

Congratulations to ringleaders Tom Eitelhuber, Andrew Sharp and their team for another fun-filled convention! Despite my aforementioned disappointment, I enjoyed the con a lot. As usual, it was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues. What's more, I left mollified by assurances from the convenors for 2014 and 2015 that the literary and academic streams would be reinstated at least for the next two Swancons!

PS. I should point out that the weekend did not entirely lack opportunities for professional development - time spent in the bar chatting with colleagues carries Brownie points, too! :-)

PPS. You can see the Tin Duck winners and shortlistees at
 http://wiki.sf.org.au/Tin_Duck_Award#2013

I feel really chuffed to see my name up there alongside those of so many gifted and hard-working people!

Picture credit: By Donell w (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

4 comments:

Carol Ryles said...

Thank you for the great report, Satima. I'm sad I missed it.

Satima Flavell said...

Helen and Keira and I had a great time (mostly sitting in the bar)but we missed you!

Helen V. said...

It was fun.

Satima Flavell said...

Yup, and we three will have more fun at Conflux!

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