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Not the End for Slow Glass Books
One of Melbourne's most important speculative fiction outlets closed its doors as a bookshop on October 26th, transforming into a mail-order and catalogue supplier as of November 12th.

Owner Justin Ackroyd, well known to convention-going fandom on both sides of the continent from his presence in numerous Hucksters' Rooms and his lively auctioneering, will continue Slow Glass Books as before, but without his rented premises at 305 Swanston Street, which itself changed hands in June for more than AUD$2m. Many readers have fond memories of Slow Glass Bookshop's sheer range of speculative fiction, and the shop was the site for several major book launches, signings and Aurealis Award ceremonies. (Older customers will also remember when the ground floor section was leased by infamous B&D/Fetish establishment Peril 305, which guaranteed that a visit to the bookshop's second floor roost was always an experience.)

To join the mail order or catalogue list, call +61 3 9639 1511 or check the web page. Justin will next be found at Multiverse's Amanda Tapping day (see article) on November 16th . . . selling books.


A Score for Anti-SF
Reliable monthly fiction webzine AntipodeanSF has delivered two bumper issues in a row, with #53 (September) and #54 (October) together including no less than twenty pieces of highly readable flash fiction, of which most is Australian.

Issue 53's crop of Australian stories includes:

The Australian content in Issue 54 consists of:

Editor Ion Newcombe promises that the bounty will continue for another few issues yet.


Collective Announce Gender&SF Fanzine
Perth's Gynaecon Collective are planning to expand their activities in 2003 with the launch of a new fanzine of gender and science fiction, submissions for which are welcomed.

Gynaecon* was launched during Swancon 2000 as a means of expressing women's issues and feminist thought within science fiction fandom. Previously operating as a "guerilla style" convention-within-a-convention, the new fanzine marks the first major expansion for the collective.

The fanzine, due for publication at Swancon 2003, is seeking work with an emphasis on woman-centred fannish experience and considerations of gender and science fiction. They are particularly keen to receive submissions on what it is like to be female in fandom, as well as what Gynaecon has meant to people in the previous few years.

Fiction and essays of no more than 3000 words can be forwarded to:

9/36 Cape Street
Osborne Park WA 6027

or e-mailed to or Submissions should be received by 15th February 2003.

* As of September 2002, indexes only one site mentioning Gynaecon in any form: a Swancon 2000 trip report.


Australian Worldcon in 2010?
Australia's fourth World Science Fiction Convention may take place in eight years' time, if a bid launched at ConJosé is successful.

The bid, which was organised spontaneously at a ConJosé "room party" around August 31, originated as a joke on Australian Worldcon attendee and AussieCon 3 (Australia's last WorldCon in Melbourne, 1999) committee member Stephen Boucher. It had been suggested that Melbourne might host a NasFIC (the US National SF Convention) and Boucher had commented sarcastically that he would rather run a Worldcon. This inspired several American and British attendees to begin organising the bid on the spot, to ensure his wish came true. (The Worldcon Constitution, which explains official "site selection" bid procedure, can be found on their website.)

Despite or perhaps because of its unusual origins, the bid attracted over AUD$8,000 in pre-supporting memberships and "firends of the bid" (sic) donations, sold out two print-runs of promotional t-shirts and ran its first "bid party" at ConJosé. While the bid is currently made up, with the exception of its reluctant chair, of non-Australians, reception from the Australian "fan community" seems largely positive. It remains to be seen if what began as a joke will turn into a genuine Worldcon bid or merely a series of well-funded parties, but the enthusiasm and support seems to be genuine.

The Australia in 2010 bid, as perhaps befits it origins, currently faces opposition from:


More Flash Fiction Online
Sunday, August 4 saw the publication of the the 52nd issue of monthly webzine AntipodeanSF.

The Australian stories in the most recent issue are:

This issue's Ionospherics editorial promises an expansion to ten stories per issue for at least four issues, and includes a recent snapshot of the editor and friends.


Hails Dead at 45
New South Wales author Ian McAuley Hails died on Friday 2 August, 2002.

Hails, whose socially-conscious writing includes Ditmar-nominated slipstream spy thriller Back Door Man (1992) and sf novella "Crowd Control" from Aphelion Publications' 1994 collection Alien Shores, suffered from a congenital heart condition, which was ultimately responsible for his death.

Hails' funeral took place on Tuesday, August 6.


Stargate Star Enters the Multiverse
Multiverse has secured Canadian actor Amanda Tapping (Stargate's Samantha Carter) for a one day mini-convention on Saturday, November 16th 2002 in Melbourne.

"A Day with Amanda Tapping" will be an opportunity for TV SF media fans to get together for a day of fannish socialising, and the chance to meet a star from the perennially favourite Stargate SG-1. Like other successful Multiverse "Day with" conventions, the full day will include autograph signing, a video stream, panels, workshops and a trivia contest.

After winning the role as Major Carter four years ago, Amanda is now completing the fifth season of SG-1. She has also been involved in other TV shows including The X-Files, Millennium, Forever Knight and Kung Fu–The Legend Continues. She will be "walking the earth" with the fans on Saturday November 16th 2002, from 9am to at least 6pm at the Ella Latham Theatre, situated in the Royal Childrens hospital. (Look for the big yellow "M" in Flemington Road, Melbourne.)

Tickets can be ordered online: $50 for Multiverse-affiliated club members, and $60 for non-club members, $20 for children under 15.


The New Fanzine?
The invite-only "Mount Lawley Mafia" mailing-list has seemingly spawned a new craze: blogging.

Jonathan Strahan began publishing a journal-style weblog in May 2002, and in the last fortnight three other members of the list have begun "blogs" of their own. Robin Pen's The View from Mt Pootmootoo, Chris Lawson's Frankenblogger and Grant Watson's The Angriest join Strahan's Coode Street News in presenting personal opinion and reflection with occasionally science-fictional content.

Of course, weblogs are nothing new (obligatory sub-cultural code), and this kind of behaviour has a long history in Australian science fiction; for decades "fanzine fans" have printed their random thoughts and musings about the weather, the telly, problems moving house, recovering from 'flu and getting the zine out, to the delight and fascination of their friends. (Even Australian sf web-logging is an old phenomenon; Strahan was himself involved in keeping this page up to date during 95/96.) But the ability for anyone and her dog to publish to a global audience—often in a readable layout designed by someone else—may well see this DIY phenomenon surge in popularity in the next couple of years.

If the fashion spreads, can a Ditmar for Best Weblog or Online Journal be far away?


A Day of Fantasy
Fantastic Fictions: Medieval and Modern, a one-day symposium at the University of Sydney Womens' College offering "serious critical comment and debate on ... the fantastic in literature ... film, television, art, and other media", will take place on Friday 27 September 2002.

US guest speakers Professor Brian Attebery and Scott Westerfield will be joined by Terry Dowling, Sophie Masson, Sylvia Kelso and Justine Labellestier in discussing "the sources, influences and concerns of fantastic fiction and its relevance to the modern world".

Registration for the day, which includes "lunch and refreshments", is $25 before 14-September and $30 thereafter ($15/$20 concession). Enquiries to Melissa McMahon, ph 02 9351 5344, fax 02 9351 5700.


Genre Overtones at MWF
The 2002 Age Melbourne Writers' Festival (August 23–September 1), subtitled "Telling the Truth", will "examine the real and the perceived and the great divide that often falls between them" and feature a strong genre contingent amongst its guests.

Hugo-winning UK fantasy writer China Miéville will be joined by Australian authors including Gary Crew, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Peter Goldsworthy, Alison Goodman, Kerry Greenwood, Sonya Hartnett, AL McCann, Sean McMullen, Natalie Jane Prior and Sean Williams.

"[T]he international climate where conflict, terror and exodus have become almost everyday occurrences," continues the theme page, "will inform numerous festival sessions looking at truth and lies and just how different—or alike—fiction and non-fiction are." The programme features Miéville prominently, a Harry Potter-themed quiz night, panels on subjects including myth, yarns, truth in history and ectoplasm, and a number of genre author readings and book launches. Three of the four Schools Programme childrens' events at the festival include genre authors.


Australian Filming to Proceed
Darren Aronofsky's upcoming science fiction film The Fountain, previously rumoured to be threatened with cancellation, is set to film once again in Australia.

The film, which stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, will shoot on location on the Gold Coast before moving indoors at Sydney's Fox Studios. The Fountain, a Warner Bros production, is yet another American genre picture to be made in Australia, and follows recent titles such as Star Wars: Episode II, Scooby Doo and The Matrix Reloaded.

Aronofsky's previous films include Pi and Requiem For A Dream.


Flash Theatre
Recently opened at Perth's Blue Room Theatre are Strike and One Year Earlier, two one-act science fiction plays by newcomer Scott Martin.

In this double-bill performance—the first for Martin's company UC Productions—"the audience is propelled 101 years into the future as four people struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic and anarchic world where governments are dissolved and worldwide strikes ensue."

Strike and One Year Earlier opened at the Blue Room on July 25th and will be playing until August 3rd. Tickets are $18 full and $12 concessions, and can be booked on the web.


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