Aussiecon 4: Day 4

aussiecon4_logo_web Four down, one last day to go at Aussiecon 4.

Sessions Attended on Day 4

I made a few changes to the sessions I attended today, which ended up being:

Novellas: the perfect format

  • I attended only half this sessions because Gail Carriger’s reading started on the half hour
  • Novellas (a manuscript that’s 17,500-40,000 words in length) used to be harder to sell: you can’t sell them as standalone books and, though they’re featured in some SF magazines, there’s only one per issue
  • They’re becoming easier to sell thanks to the rise of e-books and publishers that are publishing two-for-one novella books or novella anthologies
  • Authors generally know, when a story comes to them, what its length is going to be; i.e. whether the idea will work best as a short story, novella, novelette, or book

Reading: Gail Carriger

  • This was a really fun reading from Carriger’s third book, ‘Blameless’, followed by a quick Q&A session
  • Fun tweet: @gailcarriger: Heard at #worldcon #aussiecon4 "I love Gail's fans all the men are quiet and gentlemanly and all the women are bold and obstreperous." 

How to review

  • There is a difference between ‘reviewing’ (with answers the basic question of “should I spend my hard earned money on this book?”) and ‘critiquing’ (which is a more in-depth, in-context analysis of a piece of work)

The short half-life of strange television

According to the panel and audience members, the following good TV shows were cancelled before their time:

Science fiction and the television industry

  • SF in the TV industry is complicated
  • For more about the entertainment industry listen to the podcast, The Business

The future of gender and sexuality

  • There are lots of speculative science fiction works in which authors have talked about possible gender and sexuality futures (including post-gender, post-human, post-sex-for-reproduction types of futures)
  • Some of these authors explicitly talk about the impact of such futures (including, for example, reactions and counter sexual revolutions) while, for others, the future gender and sexuality situation is part of the backdrop of the world they’re describing (so future earth is described much like an alien culture)
  • Unfortunately, this session ended up being more of a topic-raising discussion as opposed to a good topic-analysing discussion so I left halfway through
  • And, while author Cristina Lasaitis did have some really great things to say, sadly the level of conversation was too basic for her to have a good discussion about it

Taking it on the chin: authors and reviewers

  • There are three kinds of reviews – overly positive ones, overly negative ones, and properly considered ones – and authors should ignore all but the last kind
  • Negative reviews shouldn’t make you feed bad: you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) please everyone all of the time
  • Ignore reviews in which the reviewer is only using you or your work to promote their own agendas
  • There’s a difference between a bad review and a negative review
  • Never respond to a review

The Hugo Awards

  • The Hugo Award ceremony was really fun.
  • I’m really glad that Charles Stross won for ‘Palimpsest’ in the Best Novella category. That novella really blew my mind, as have all the other works of his that I’ve read.
  • The only other author that blows my mind as much as Stross does is Vernor Vinge

Sessions for Day 5

Here are the sessions I plan to attend tomorrow, which is the last day of the convention:

  • High stakes: the television world of Joss Whedon
  • The Grandfather paradox
  • Book signing with Charles Stross
  • Hand-waving, rule-breaking and other dirty tricks of hard sf
  • Whores and virgins: finding roles for women in fantasy ficition
  • Closing Ceremony

This con has been a blast so far and tomorrow shouldn’t be any different.