Friday, October 17, 2014

Conflux 2014

I've been very busy since I got home from Conflux, a Canberra based speculative fiction convention, so this is the first chance I've had to put a few thoughts down about it.

First, as always, let me say I had a great time. I've been to Conflux a few times now and it's never let me down. It's small, friendly and very much writer based so obviously it appeals to me from a writer's perspective but it also gives me a chance to catch up with my writerly mates on the opposite side of the continent. Perth has a lot going for it as a place to live and it has a thriving writing community but distance does limit face to face meetings with many of my fellow writers. This time I went with my good friend and fellow Egoboo WA writer, Satima Flavell. We stayed on for a day after the con finished to see some of the sights of Canberra when we realised that, by a quirk of air fare prices, it would cost us no more to stay and to fly home on Tuesday evening (even after factoring in accommodation costs) than to leave on Monday.

Conflux was held at Rydges Capitol Hill. This is a truly beautiful setting because the hotel has a huge tree filled atrium where you can sit and have a peaceful coffee and/or a chat. I tried to get a photo but it was beyond my phone to capture it. (Note to self: it really is time to buy a new camera). At night the whole area is lit with festoons of lights which add even more to its appeal. One of my memorable moments was when I looked out one morning to see three children, all dressed in bright red, playing among the trees. Quite magical.

Then there is the real business of the con, the panels. This year's panels were particularly interesting, I thought, covering a wide range of subjects. When you've been to as many cons as I have panels can be repetitive - after all there are only so many subjects you can come up with - but this time we were spoiled for choice making for some hard decisions when two excellent panels were on at the same time. I only volunteered as a panellist for one panel this year. This was The Art of Reviewing. My fellow panellists were David McDonald, Satima Flavell and Shaheen, and although I've been reviewing sporadically for some years now myself, I was most impressed by their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Another of the highlights for me was the reading of a very funny radio play (Useless Questions, written by my Clarion South mate, Laura E. Goodin) in front of a live audience. A cast of Cat Sparks, Nicole Murphy, Stephen Ormsby, David McDonald and Satima Flavell had a packed room in fits.

Naturally, I fell under the siren song of the Dealers' Room. I always do, of course, but this time there were so many wonderful books launched that were then available for purchase. The good thing was - because I am learning to travel ever more lightly - there was a huge amount of empty space in my suitcase, at least going to Canberra. Not so much on the way back, I have to confess. I'll be doing some reviews later when I've unpacked. See, I told you I'd been busy since I got home.

So all in all, a good time was had and I'm hoping I can organise myself to go again next year.

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