About Graham Joyce

Last week, the terrible news came through that Graham, so full of life, such a funny funny guy, had died of cancer.

Graham was the international guest of honour at Conflux 4, the first convention I chaired in 2007, and inviting him was the idea of Deb Biancotti and Kaaron Warren. I didn’t really have a guest I was dying to have, and after I read up on him I decided he’d be a perfect fit with the lineup of guests I had (which included Kaaron, Garth Nix, Simon Brown and Jonathan Strahan – the addition of Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta came later in the piece).

Graham graciously accepted the invitation, and arrangements were made. I remembered almost too late he’d need a visa, but that was organised and he arrived. I picked Graham up at the airport and took him to the hotel (Rydges Lakeside – I know some of you are shuddering right now – terrible venue). Graham instantly charmed me and set me at ease. He did that for everyone throughout the weekend.

One of the first things Graham said to me – “Trudi Canavan will be here, right?” His daughter was a massive Trudi fan and he’d been tasked with getting her autograph. It was the only thing that he HAD to do at Conflux. Otherwise, he was going to be all about the fun.

And he was. He made Canberra reviewer Colin Steele’s day by having lunch with him (Colin was a massive fan). He had lunch with a group of us Canberra folk at Gillian Polack’s house the day before the con, and that was a hoot! And at the con itself, he was open and available and funny.

I remember one time, I finally had a few minutes to sit (doesn’t happen often when you’re chairing a con). I went to bar and there was Graham, and Garth Nix, and there were some other folks but I can’t remember who. Anyway, the conversation turned to the fact after Conflux, Graham was going to stay with a family member who lived on a property between the Snowy Mountains and the South Coast. What followed was the typical Aussie ribbing about all the horrid creatures he was going to meet out there (I don’t think we resorted to a drop bear – we were writers, we can make the real horrific enough – hell, who needs a drop bear when there’s huntsman to scare the bejeezus out of you?) and Graham was having a rip-roaring time. We were laughing so much we were crying.

At the con, I bought one of Graham’s books and finally read him and realised not only was he and amazing human being, he was one of the most stunning writers I’ve ever come across.

So I can’t decide what I’m more devastated about – that we’ll never have another Graham Joyce book, or that Graham’s laughter will never be heard again.

My thoughts, and the thoughts of the extended Conflux family, go to Graham’s wife and children, his family and friends.

Nicole Murphy
President, Conflux Inc

Here are Graham’s answers to the questions posed to all our guests that year as part of our Progress Reports (our theme for the con was heroes):

Who are your real-life heroes?
The trouble with real-life heroes is they all turn out to have feet of clay, like the rest of us. Many years ago I paid a fat little barefoot Indian guru a week’s wages for a mantra. He had this beautiful and transcendent smile. The idea was that you paid for this mantra and you would end up with a similar smile. Later I found out that he was barefoot because he lived in deep-pile carpet in a luxury fortress in Switzerland, where he kept a dozen Rolls Royces and ate chikken tikka even though he was supposed to be a vegan. Well, you would smile, wouldn’t you? But if I have to name one it would be Oliver
Cromwell. Another would be Nelson Mandella. Then there’s Grace O’Malley, the Elizabethan pirate queen. But no-one can transcend their own humanity, and heroes are really about mythology, not humanity.

Who is more fun to write – villains or heroes? 
Well, I like the idea of heroes who turn out to be villains and villains who turn out to be heroes.

Heroes or heroines?
Heroines. They photograph better in the leather kilt.

Do you have a favorite fictional hero?
Yes. Dr Strange. Much more interesting than Spiderman and the rest.

What makes a hero come alive on the page?
Their frailties. If they are invulnerable or untouchable the outcome is secure. The bigger the heroic flaw or weakness, the more the outcome hangs in the balance.

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Why I created the Conflux Writer’s Day

By Nicole Murphy
Convenor, Conflux Writer’s Day

A couple of conversations have made it clear that some people don’t quite get the Conflux Writer’s Day. So let me attempt to explain…

My day job (yes, this is important) is as a professional conference organiser. The company I work for specialises in academic conferences. At these, you have a mix of keynote speakers (chosen by the committee) and concurrent presentations. The concurrents are chosen after a blind review process. They’re called concurrents because they run concurrently in the program. The keynotes don’t have to compete with anyone else.

The concurrent presentations are quite short – between 10-20 minutes – and are designed to present the latest research. Generally, each is done by one person (although occasionally two or three will present). It’s an overload of information.

My specialty is working with these speakers and running the process to pull these presentations together. It’s something I really enjoy.

Now, I happen to believe that writers need to get as much information from as many different sources as possible when deciding on things like career development. Everyone’s journey is unique, and if you get caught up with thinking that one person’s way is the only way to do things, you’ll damage yourself because you CAN’T have someone else’s career.

And what’s a good way to give writers a lot of information, I thought? The format of an academic conference would work really well.

And lo, the Conflux Writer’s Day was born.

Some of the presenters will have the opportunity for Q&A at the end of their presentations. Some are doing almost all their presentations that way. Some are going to have audience involvement.

But mostly, you’ll be sitting and writing copious notes and having your brain expanded and perhaps even a little overwhelmed by all the information being flung at you. You’ll have morning and afternoon tea and lunch (all fully catered) to take a breather and chat to people.

At 5pm, you’ll be exhausted but buzzing with everything that’s just happened. You’ll need a few days, maybe even weeks for it all to sink in but I’m confident that everyone that attends the Conflux Writer’s Day will find it one of the most valuable experiences of their writing career.

If you’ve not registered yet, don’t miss out! http://conflux.org.au/conflux-writers-day-2/registration/

NOTE: This is probably going to be the only Conflux Writer’s Day ever run, so if you don’t come this time, you’ll miss out – maybe forever!

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#conflux9 Our special guests

Here’s our guests as you’ve never seen them before, courtesy of our MC Craig Cormick.

special guest picture

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Vote for the Ditmars and you could be a winner too!

It’s not just the people nominated that are winners in the Ditmars – you too could win!

Every one who votes goes into the draw to win:

  • Copies of Suited by Jo Anderton and The Rat-Corpse King by Lee Battersby (courtesy of Angry Robot Books)
  • A copy of Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott (courtesy of Xoum)
  • A copy of Salvage by Jason Nahrung (courtesy of Twelfth Planet Press)

That’s four of the six books nominated as the best published by an Australian author last year! Awesome.

NOTE: you don’t need to vote in every category, so don’t stop voting because you can only speak to one, two, or a few of the categories. Every vote that comes in, even for just one category, ensures that the work considered most excellent by the members will be the one that wins.

***

The Ditmar subcommittee are pleased to announce the ballot for the
Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Award for 2013. Voting has now opened, and will
remain open until one minute before midnight AEST (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+11), Thursday, 25th of April, 2013.

Note – every category also contains the option to vote no award should be granted, as per the Ditmar rules.

The 2013 ballot is as follows:

Best Novel
————————————————————————
* Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
* Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
* Suited (The Veiled Worlds 2), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
* Salvage, Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Perfections, Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
* The Corpse-Rat King, Lee Battersby (Angry Robot)

Best Novella or Novelette
————————————————————————
* “Flight 404”, Simon Petrie, in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester
(Peggy Bright Books)
* “Significant Dust”, Margo Lanagan, in Cracklescape (Twelfth Planet
Press)
* “Sky”, Kaaron Warren, in Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story
————————————————————————
* “Sanaa’s Army”, Joanne Anderton, in Bloodstones (Ticonderoga
Publications)
* “The Wisdom of Ants”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Clarkesworld 75
* “The Bone Chime Song”, Joanne Anderton, in Light Touch Paper Stand
Clear (Peggy Bright Books)
* “Oracle’s Tower”, Faith Mudge, in To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft
Publishing)

Best Collected Work
————————————————————————
* Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth
Planet Press)
* Epilogue, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
* Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, edited by Alisa Krasnostein
(Twelfth Planet Press)
* Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon
Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
* Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, edited
by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
* The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz
Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Artwork
————————————————————————
* Cover art, Nick Stathopoulos, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight
Magazine 56 (ASIM Collective)
* Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Midnight and Moonshine (Ticonderoga
Publications)
* Illustrations, Adam Browne, for Pyrotechnicon (Coeur de Lion
Publishing)
* Cover art and illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for To Spin a Darker
Stair (FableCroft Publishing)
* Cover art, Les Petersen, for Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy
Bright Books)

Best Fan Writer
————————————————————————
* Alex Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian
Speculative Fiction in Focus
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Not If You
Were The Last Short Story On Earth
* Grant Watson, for body of work including the “Who50” series in The
Angriest
* Sean Wright, for body of work including reviews in Adventures of a
Bookonaut

Best Fan Artist
————————————————————————
* Kathleen Jennings, for body of work including “The Dalek Game” and
“The Tamsyn Webb Sketchbook”

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
————————————————————————
* The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
* Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex
Pierce
* Antipodean SF, Ion Newcombe
* The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
* Snapshot 2012, Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung et. al.
* Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani
Wessely, et. al.
* Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sean Wright

Best New Talent
————————————————————————
* David McDonald
* Faith Mudge
* Steve Cameron
* Stacey Larner

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
————————————————————————
* Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely, for review of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh, in ASIF
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy.
Let’s Unpack That.”, in tor.com
* David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely, for the “New Who in Conversation” series
* Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “The Year in Review”, in The Year’s
Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011
* Rjurik Davidson, for “An Illusion in the Game for Survival”, a review
of Reamde by Neal Stephenson, in The Age

The official ballot paper, including postal address information, may be
downloaded as a PDF format file from:

http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2013/2013_Ditmar_ballot.pdf

Once voting opens, votes will be accepted via email to:

ditmars@sf.org.au

However, if possible, please vote online at:

http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2013

Postal ballots will be distributed in the near future.

Voting for the Ditmar Award is conducted in accordance with the rules
specified at http://wiki.sf.org.au/Ditmar_rules, and is open to members
of Conflux 9 (including supporting members) and to members of
Continuum 8 who were eligible to vote in the 2011 Award. Voting in all
award categories is by the optional preferential system, and each
eligible individual may vote only once. All ballots (including emailed
ballots) should include the name and address of the voter. If you have
questions regarding the ballot or voting procedure, please email
ditmars@sf.org.au.

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Conflux Fan Fund Delegates

Conflux has two fan fund delegates coming to spend time with us.

Our GUFF (Going Under Fan Fund) delegate is Mihaela Marija Perković from Croatia. Mihaela is a Croatian fan who is downright crazy about Australia; she earned her degree with a paper on “SF tropes in Peter Carey’s short fiction”. Active in fandom since 2004, she has participated at Croatian conventions as lecturer, moderator and GoH host. She runs the SFERA Award Jury and writing workshops, is PR manager of SFera and SFeraKon, and coordinated Kontakt Special Track at Eurocon 2012. Enthusiastic, cheerful and chatty, she is an active blogger and lousy photographer. She plans to attend Swancon and Conflux, visit Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand. Her report will be fun to read.

She’ll be on a few panels, as well as doing a presentation on Croation and non-English European literature and fandom.

Our NAFF (National Australian Fan Fund) delegate is Emma Kate, from Tasmania. Emma attended her first con in 2011, Swancon/Natcon 50, and this lead to a hankering to be more involved in the Australian spec fic community. So, she became an Aurealis Awards judge! She read fantasy novels in 2011and horror novels and short stories in 2012. The chance to attend Conflux 2013 would afford her the opportunity to meet the amazing authors whose works she’s been reading as well as share her love of spec fic with other fans. She blogs at emmakate.me and tweets @waqem.

Emma’s not on any panels yet but she will be!

Raising funds for future delegates is an important part of both ladies’ jobs, so if you get the opportunity help out so you can support this great cause of sending deserving fans to great cons!

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Applications to pitch your work opening tomorrow

This year Conflux is offering attending members the opportunity to pitch their work to one of four people – agents Tara Wynne, Alex Adsett, Paul Landymore and publisher consultant Abigail Nathan.

To pitch, you need to be one of the first six people to nominate that you wish to pitch to that particular person.

How do you do that?

From tomorrow (Wednesday April 3), email conflux9 at gmail dot com with the three people you wish to pitch to, in order of preference.

Every opportunity will be made to give your first choice but as each person is only hearing six pitches in their session, that opportunity is limited.

Depending upon numbers, you may be limited to just one person.

To see what the pitch recievers are interested in considering, go to our Pitching webpage. Somethings to note – don’t waste time pitching your work to someone who is clearly not interested in your sub-genre or subject matter and pitch something that is ready to be read, or almost ready to be read, so if you are asked to send the manuscript you can get it to them as soon as possible.

Note – there’s a panel on pitching at 4.30pm on Thursday and Chris Andrews is running a workshop on developing pitches at 8am Friday April 26 to help you prepared. You MUST be an attending member of Conflux 9 to take up this opportunity.

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Need a roomie?

Are you looking for someone to share with for Conflux 9?

Use the comments on this post to put yourself forward – ask and hopefully thou shalt receive.

If you are happy to have a room-mate and share the costs, then please read and respond.

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Ditmar Awards – Voting now open!

The Ditmar subcommittee are pleased to announce the ballot for the
Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Award for 2013. Voting has now opened, and will
remain open until one minute before midnight AEST (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+11), Thursday, 25th of April, 2013.

Note – every category also contains the option to vote no award should be granted, as per the Ditmar rules.

The 2013 ballot is as follows:

Best Novel
————————————————————————
* Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
* Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
* Suited (The Veiled Worlds 2), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
* Salvage, Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Perfections, Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
* The Corpse-Rat King, Lee Battersby (Angry Robot)

Best Novella or Novelette
————————————————————————
* “Flight 404”, Simon Petrie, in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester
(Peggy Bright Books)
* “Significant Dust”, Margo Lanagan, in Cracklescape (Twelfth Planet
Press)
* “Sky”, Kaaron Warren, in Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story
————————————————————————
* “Sanaa’s Army”, Joanne Anderton, in Bloodstones (Ticonderoga
Publications)
* “The Wisdom of Ants”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Clarkesworld 75
* “The Bone Chime Song”, Joanne Anderton, in Light Touch Paper Stand
Clear (Peggy Bright Books)
* “Oracle’s Tower”, Faith Mudge, in To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft
Publishing)

Best Collected Work
————————————————————————
* Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth
Planet Press)
* Epilogue, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
* Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, edited by Alisa Krasnostein
(Twelfth Planet Press)
* Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon
Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
* Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, edited
by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
* The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz
Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Artwork
————————————————————————
* Cover art, Nick Stathopoulos, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight
Magazine 56 (ASIM Collective)
* Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Midnight and Moonshine (Ticonderoga
Publications)
* Illustrations, Adam Browne, for Pyrotechnicon (Coeur de Lion
Publishing)
* Cover art and illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for To Spin a Darker
Stair (FableCroft Publishing)
* Cover art, Les Petersen, for Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy
Bright Books)

Best Fan Writer
————————————————————————
* Alex Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian
Speculative Fiction in Focus
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Not If You
Were The Last Short Story On Earth
* Grant Watson, for body of work including the “Who50” series in The
Angriest
* Sean Wright, for body of work including reviews in Adventures of a
Bookonaut

Best Fan Artist
————————————————————————
* Kathleen Jennings, for body of work including “The Dalek Game” and
“The Tamsyn Webb Sketchbook”

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
————————————————————————
* The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
* Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex
Pierce
* Antipodean SF, Ion Newcombe
* The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
* Snapshot 2012, Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung et. al.
* Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani
Wessely, et. al.
* Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sean Wright

Best New Talent
————————————————————————
* David McDonald
* Faith Mudge
* Steve Cameron
* Stacey Larner

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
————————————————————————
* Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely, for review of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh, in ASIF
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy.
Let’s Unpack That.”, in tor.com
* David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely, for the “New Who in Conversation” series
* Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “The Year in Review”, in The Year’s
Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011
* Rjurik Davidson, for “An Illusion in the Game for Survival”, a review
of Reamde by Neal Stephenson, in The Age

The official ballot paper, including postal address information, may be
downloaded as a PDF format file from:

http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2013/2013_Ditmar_ballot.pdf

Once voting opens, votes will be accepted via email to:

ditmars@sf.org.au

However, if possible, please vote online at:

http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2013

Postal ballots will be distributed in the near future.

Voting for the Ditmar Award is conducted in accordance with the rules
specified at http://wiki.sf.org.au/Ditmar_rules, and is open to members
of Conflux 9 (including supporting members) and to members of
Continuum 8 who were eligible to vote in the 2011 Award. Voting in all
award categories is by the optional preferential system, and each
eligible individual may vote only once. All ballots (including emailed
ballots) should include the name and address of the voter. If you have
questions regarding the ballot or voting procedure, please email
ditmars@sf.org.au.

Prizes

This year, everyone who votes in the Ditmar Awards will go in the running for some cool prizes – so make sure you have your say on what you think was the best science fiction/fantasy/horror related work by an Australian to grace the world in 2012!

If you’re not yet eligible to vote, join Conflux 9 now! Membership form available on the tab above.

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Nalo Hopkinson in the Los Angeles Times

Get to know Conflux 9 Guest of Honour Nalo Hopkinson better thanks to this fantastic article from the Los Angeles Times.

http://www.latimes.com/features/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-nalo-hopkinson-20130324,0,4217315.story

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Ditmar Award nominations close THIS WEDNESDAY

At midnight on Wednesday, nominations close for the 2013 Ditmar Awards. Within a week, the finalists will be announced – stay tuned!

***

Nominations for the 2013 Australian SF (“Ditmar”) awards are now open and will remain open until one minute before midnight Canberra time on  Wednesday, 20th of March, 2013 (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+10). Likewise, postal nominations must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, 20th March, 2013.

The current rules, including Award categories can be found at:

http://wiki.sf.org.au/Ditmar_rules

You must include your name with any nomination. Nominations will be
accepted only from natural persons active in fandom, or from full or
supporting members of Conflux 9, the 2013 Australian National SF
Convention. Where a nominator may not be known to the Ditmar
subcommittee, the nominator should provide the name of someone known to
the subcommittee who can vouch for the nominator’s eligibility.
Convention attendance or membership of an SF club are among the criteria
which qualify a person as “active in fandom”, but are not the only
qualifying criteria. If in doubt, nominate and mention your qualifying
criteria.

You may nominate as many times in as many Award categories as you like,
although you may only nominate a particular person, work or achievement
once. The Ditmar subcommittee, which is organised under the auspices the
Standing Committee of the Natcon Business Meeting, will rule on
situations where eligibility is unclear. A partial and unofficial
eligibility list, to which everyone is encouraged to add, can be found here:

http://wiki.sf.org.au/2013_Ditmar_eligibility_list

While online nominations are preferred, nominations can be made in a
number of ways:

1. online, via this form:

http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2013/nominations.html

2. via email to ditmars@sf.org.au; or

3. by post to:

Ditmars
6 Florence Road
NEDLANDS WA 6009
AUSTRALIA

So make sure you nominate to get your favourite Australian work for the year 2012 onto the ballot.

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