Monday, March 24, 2008

Con Men

Just back from Swancon, the Western Australian sci-fi and fantasy convention, which has been running in the city since last Thursday. What with one thing and another I only got along for Sunday and today, but it's been none the less interesting for my not attending the earlier sessions.

Having missed out on chatting to acclaimed writer Rob Shearman at the London launch of his book earlier this year, I was pleased to hear from the ever-helpful Jonathan that Rob would be the guest-of-honour at the convention here in Perth. Rob and I have a mutual friend in Melbourne-based scribe Ian Mond, so a meeting was set up and I'm extremely pleased to say it all went very well indeed. Rob is a strong contender for the title of Nicest Man Alive and unfeasibly talented to boot. His book of short stories, Tiny Deaths, sold out at the convention (it's unavailable elsewhere in Australia) and while I've only dipped into it so far, already I can't recommend it highly enough. And as well as being an absolute pleasure to hang out with, Rob was also very helpful and encouraging to Mondy and I about progressing with our writing in a rather different direction. More on that in coming weeks when I've got my ideas together.

Highlights - and lowlights - of the convention itself also centered on Rob and a couple of events in which both he and Mondy were involved. Rob's live commentary over his Doctor Who episode Dalek (moderated by Mondy) was a great success, touching on earlier drafts of the script and some entertaining anecdotes about behind-the-scenes naughtiness. Less amusing - but equally memorable - was a panel on which Rob and Mondy sat, about working for publishing company Big Finish.

Both writers were ideally qualified to talk on the subject - Rob's responsible for some of the company's most critically lauded releases, while Mondy's short story output across their various ranges is in double figures. So it was irritating - and disrespectful - of a writer with a single short story under his belt to talk over the top of both of them, interrupting and putting himself forward at every turn as an expert on the subject.

I have no doubt that much of this was down to the man's uncontainable joy at having a Doctor Who story published. Then again, if you were to believe this particular writer, working for BF is like pulling teeth, with multiple rewrites and drafts required before the work is acceptable. Those of us who read the writers' guidelines that invariably come with the invitation to pitch, however, know that more than half of those rewrites could have been avoided ...

All that aside, though, I think a good time was had by all. Tomorrow it's back home for the interstate and international guests. And for me it's back to work, re-enthused by what I've learned over the last 48 hours.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've published more than one story with BF I'll have you know!

Oh, it was at Swancon, ah, then forget what I said, I'd never do anything like that...

Cool to hear about the new directions, you going to be trying them out on the ole sekrit project then?

10:49 PM  
Blogger Peter Pan said...

So thats where you have been swanning off to ... and other awful puns ...

6:43 PM  

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