I love, love, love Swancon. During the four day Easter holiday break in Perth (the one in Western Australia) speculative fiction fans converge on the biggest annual convention in the state. This year it's about all things apocalyptic so it's rejoicing under the title of Doomcon.
Swancon is very much literature orientated so, as well as fans, many of those attending are writers, ranging from folk just starting out to professionals, and the Guests of Honour reflect that. This year they are American author, Brandon Sanderson (he was already well established as a science fiction and fantasy writer when he was chosen to complete the epic series The Wheel of Time following the death of Robert Jordan), Australian novelist and multi award winner, Marianne de Pierres, who writes science fiction, fantasy, young adult and crime (which she writes as Marianne Delacourt) and Fan Guest of Honour, Chris Creagh.
So what do you do at conventions? So far I have sat in on panels - What Do You Owe Your Readers, What's On in Perth and Gender Norms in Fiction, been a panelist on Rewriting the Manuscript, attended the book launch for the latest Ticonderoga Publications anthology Damnation and Dames, drunk coffee, gone to lunch with the Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction Writers group, attended a session with Brandon Sanderson, browsed the dealers' room and market place, drunk coffee, visited the art exhibition and chatted with publishers, authors and booksellers (Some I knew, some I didn't. It doesn't matter at a con. You just introduce yourself.). Then I caught up with old friends, bought too many books (according to Pisces. Probably just as well he doesn't know my plans for tomorrow.) and rubbed shoulders with other authors, publishers, elegant ladies and gentlemen in Steampunk costumes, at least one ewok and a very small and crankily tired fairy queen (the pacifier she was sucking firmly on did slightly mar the effect but when you're only three I think it can be forgiven). Did I mention drinking coffee? Not bad for a day and a half. There were other panels and book launches I wanted to go to but a disrupted night last night meant exhaustion won out by 2:00 PM today. A pity because I'd have liked to been around to see the costumes for this evening's Masquerade competition as well.
Tomorrow I'm on another panel - What Happens After I Finish the Manuscript. I'm not sure what I'll be contributing to that since my current experience is mainly just sending the novel and short stories out again and again with occasional highs and frequent lows depending on the response I get. But I suppose if you haven't been around the business even that could be informative. There's a bundle of other stuff going on too. The Poi Twirling Workshop has some curiosity appeal. It's certainly the most light hearted activity of the adult day. Otherwise there's much about surviving the Apocalypse, or you can learn about writing for video games, how to run a convention ( We KSPers have already been plugging our much smaller convention, the KSP Minicon, for later in the year. Flyers everywhere.) and in the evening there are the Tin Duck Awards - and there's still Monday to go.
Swancon has a family stream as well - on Friday the day there started with Aliens and Spaceships and TARDIS, Oh My! and involved small people, icing, sweets and biscuits (cookies to those of you in the US) to give you an idea of what can happen. There's also a games stream - all sorts running the gamut from video to cards and everything in between - and often (but sadly not this year) an academic stream.
Planning has already begun for the next Swancon 38 with details to be announced on Monday. I can't wait.