Aussiecon 4

Today is Day Four of Aussiecon 4, the Australian Worldcon. I started with a nasty cold and while still a bit ill, I’m actually getting a little better each day. Surely this means that, against tradition, I should be in perfect health by Day 5, instead of a total wreck like everyone else.

I’ve done a few panels so far – I had a marvellous time with Bob Kuhn, Alison Croggan and Rob Shearman on a panel about Science Fiction and the Theatre, in which we more or less concluded that the two genres were made for each other and it’s a shame there isn’t more of it. And that there is probably more of it than anyone thinks, it’s just that no-one calls it SF cos they don’t want to frighten off the audience. Ben Ellis, Lally Katz and Robert Reid, Melbourne playwrights who incorporate a lot of SF concepts in their work, got a mention too, as did actor/director Scott Gooding, who was in the audience.

I also went onto a Friday panel on 10 minutes notice discussing whether or not there is an ‘Australian voice’ in SF, and if so, what is it?

Today I’ll be talking about the reason for writing horror when real life surely offers up enough horrors all by itself. It’ll be interesting to see what everyone has to say about it. I’m also doing a Dr Who panel straight afterwards, because my interests are nothing if not eclectic.

On Monday I will be participating in the zombie vs vampire smackdown, which should be fun. I’ll also be doing a reading from The Opposite of Life if you’d care to come along. I’m going to find a passage I haven’t read before, so even if you’ve already read the book, perhaps it will have entertainment value for you.

Either way, if you’re at the con and would like to say hello, please come up and introduce yourself. When not on panels, or attending panels, I’m often in the dealer’s room at the Doc Rat/Pink Iguana table next to Dymocks.

Melbourne Literary App: Guerilla Literary Launch!

It’s almost spring, the Melbourne Writers Festival is in full bloom, and here comes the Melbourne Literary iPhone app to crank up the literary vibe another notch!

Full details of the app are listed below, but we’re also having a last-minute literary launch to coincide with the Writers Festival.

Launch: 6pm on Wednesday 1 September 2010 at Softbelly Bar, 367 Little Bourke St, Melbourne.

It’ll be rough-hewn, last-minute, lots of fun and oh so literary. See you there! (BYO beret)

Even if you can’t make it, please let your friends, members, associates, customers, subscribers and/or literary heroes (delete as necessary) know about the Melbourne Literary app and its celebration of our word-obsessed city!

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The iPhone app that uncovers Australia’s City of Literature:

MELBOURNE LITERARY

THE SHORT STORY
What?
Melbourne Literary app for the iPhone
Why? To celebrate Australia’s only UNESCO City of Literature via an easy-to-use guide to the city’s bookshops, writers, publishers, literary events, literary locations, and literary-themed cafes, bars and public art.
How much?
Only $3.99.
Where? From the App Store.
More? www.iwriter.com.au/apps

THE FULL STORY
Whether you’re based in Australia or in far-flung foreign climes, this app created by Melbourne writer Narrelle M Harris will take you on an inspiring journey down Melbourne’s literary byways.

You’ll encounter great writers and entertaining books at every turn, be they fiction or non-fiction.

This app can be used in many ways. On a rainy day, curl up in a armchair at home and read about Melbourne’s fine writers, or use the list of books set in the city to compile your next library list.

When the weather improves, head out on Melbourne’s streets to discover literary locations, funky bookshops, forgotten monuments and cool “hip lit” cafes.

What’s in the Melbourne Literary app?

For about the price of a cup of excellent Melbourne coffee, (just $3.99) you will get 161 entries about books, writers, publishers, bookshops, locales to visit and links to online bookshops where you can buy all titles mentioned.

Your purchase will also include regular future updates, providing more rich information on Melbourne’s literary history.

Download Melbourne Literary from iTunes via www.iwriter.com.au/apps, or directly to your iPhone from the App store.

MELBOURNE LITERARY allows you to search by category, including Literary Locations, Poetry, Bookshops, Cafes & Bars, Young Readers, Set in Melbourne, Writers, Events, Indigenous, Queer Lit, Publishers, and Monuments & Memorials.

Each entry includes a slideshow and descriptive text. If the entry is for a place you can visit, maps will guide you to the literary wonders.

Narrelle created Melbourne Literary in association with San Francisco-based Sutro Media. Narrelle lives in the city centre of Melbourne, Australia, with her husband, Tim Richards, and their apartment-bound cat Petra.

GaryView: Get Vajazzled for $17!

This post is the result of seeing this very sign in front of a beautician’s in the city. I posted about it elsewhere, and Sally said I should GaryView the moment. So I did.

Gary: I saw something on a sign the other day that I didn’t understand.

Lissa: What was it?

Gary: It said “Get vajazzled for $17”.

Lissa: …

Gary: What’s ‘vajazzled’?

Lissa: …

Gary: Because it sounds like something they would do on that show you like. With all the singing.

Lissa: Glee. Ah. No. I don’t think so… well, Brittany and Santana maybe. Maybe Kurt, though I don’t think it’s called vajazzled when it’s a guy…

Gary: But what is it? I went in to the shop to ask but they just gave me that look I get sometimes. Like I was asking something weird.

Lissa: You asked? Sorry. Yes. Of course you would, that’s the scientific response. But… The reason for the look

Gary: Yes?

Lissa: Um.  It’s this thing where a girl gets rid of all her hair… there… (gestures vaguely around her pelvis) and then they stick on… bits of jewellery. Sparkly stuff. Crystals.

Gary: (Blinks) Like… sequins. On there…. (gestures vaguely around his pelvis).

Lissa: Yes.

Gary: Why?

Lissa: Beats me.

Gary: I mean you wouldn’t…. (gestures vaguely around his pelvis) …would you?

Lissa: Oh dear god no!!!

Gary: Cos that would be weird, right?

Lissa: And I suspect uncomfortable and unhygienic.

Gary: In the late sixties at uni, a lot of girls were all about being natural and stuff. Some of them didn’t even wear deodorant. Doing… that.. (gestures vagely around his pelvis) is like something in one of those science fiction novels about sex robots they wrote in the seventies.

Lissa: Well, that’s what it is. It’s jazzing up your…(gestures vaguely around her pelvis) … with sparkles.

Gary: Seriously? And they thought I was weird for asking what is was?

Lissa: It’s a weird world.

Gary: I don’t even think vampires are the weirdest thing in it.

Lissa: You have a point. This reminds me though – I have to print out those instructions I wrote for my seniors internet class on how to Google.

Gary: ‘Google’ sounds like what happens to your brain when you learn what vajazzled means. My brain is all googled. Like boggled only moreso.

Lissa: Actually, that’s a fairly valid definition of what often happens when you look things up on the internet.

*For newcomers, the GaryView is a review of books/films/TV/entertainment carried out as a conversation between Lissa Wilson (librarian) and Gary Hooper (vampire) , characters from my book ‘The Opposite of Life’.

Worldcon – September 2010

For anyone coming to Aussiecon, the Australian Worldcon being held 2-6 September here in my hometown, I’ll be in several panels during the con. I’ve also been given a slot to do a reading and signing!

The confirmed spots are:

Saturday 4th September:
10am –  Rm 217: Science fiction and the theatre
Science fiction and the theatre don’t seem to be the most obvious bedfellows, but science fiction has and continues to be presented on the stage from time to time. Every medium brings its own benefits and drawbacks. What are the challenges that face playwrights when creating science fiction? What can you achieve with the theatre that you can’t achieve in any other media?
Robert Shearman, Alison Croggon, Narrelle M. Harris, Bob Kuhn

Sunday 5th September:

1400 – Rm 204: But this is real!
Why are we attracted to fictional horrors when real life can be so much worse?
Paul Haines, Narrelle M. Harris, Gary Kemble, Chris Lawson, Carrie Vaughn

1500 Rm 212: We are all fairy tales: Doctor Who’s fifth season;
In 2010 Doctor Who returned to the screens with a new writer/producer, a new TARDIS,  a new companion and a new Doctor in the form of Matt Smith. How has Doctor Who’s fifth season differed from the four seasons before it? Has the transition from Russell T Davies to Steven Moffat been a successful one? A critical review of the most significant change in
Doctor Who since it returned to TV.
Kathryn Sullivan, Narrelle M. Harris, George Ivanoff, Rani Graff

Monday 6th September:
1000 Rm 207: 25 things I learned from SF
How much of what you know did you get from science fiction? Chromatophores and Kuiper belts, tesseracts and teratrogens—what Newton dreamt and how anarchy might work—we’ve all received numberless infodumps. What are your favorites? Your most exotic. How has science fiction shaped your life, your worldview, and the cool stuff you spout at parties?
Narrelle M Harris, Priscilla Olson, Jenny Blackford

1100 Rm 207: Reading;
1200 Rm 201: Signing;

1400 Rm 204: Vampire and zombie smackdown
Two kinds of undead, no holds barred.
Participants on the one hand – Scott Edelman, Rob Hood, Chuck McKenzie
On the other – Narrelle M Harris, George R. R. Martin, Faye Ringel

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Words are like oxygen