September 9, 2010, Posted by Cat in News 8 Comments

my con report

It’s probably a bit late for a con report. I’ve been back at work two days, hack coughing like a Gitanes smoker and feeling that sense of dislocation one always experiences when emerging from the magical back-of-the-wardrobe convention wonderland.

Aussiecon 4 was big and it had its problems but in my memory it remains firmly etched as five fun-filled blurry days and nights of exuberant conversation with friends I don’t get to see nearly often enough. I did three panels and a play reading/performance, missed half the panels I really wanted to see, got my picture took with China Mieville, and generally ran around like a headless chook trying to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to be doing when I was supposed to be doing it.

Things I learnt last weekend include:
– I need an iphone
– My wardrobe contains way too much black
– Skirts are comfortable – why do I rarely ever wear them?
– Man, there are some really fucking rude, entitled Yanks out there
– Rob Shearman is still the sweetest man alive
– Kaaron Warren is a muppet
– Don’t do fan panels, even if the topic is sound and you consider yourself a genuine fan
– It is possible to take too many photos
– It isn’t possible to have too many Ditmars
– Blogging is tricky when your senile cat is headbutting your hand. (OK, so that last one has nothing to do with the con).

The highlight of the con was, of course, Peter’s Hugo win — I don’t think he’s ever going to come down from that high. The perfect end to a visit that, jetlag and patchy broadband aside, ran as smooth as silk. He was everything you want in a houseguest and con buddy and none of the things you don’t. Smart, funny, charming, kind. I was truly saddened to pack him back off to Toronto (it’s illegal to kidnap Canadians, right?) He wrote a lovely blog post about his Australian experience here.

To everyone who threw some money into the pot to bring him out here, know that your efforts resulted in a profoundly happy man and, just maybe, restored a little of his faith in human nature.

July 6, 2010, Posted by Cat in News 4 Comments

and the winner is…

Folks, I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the ‘Bring Peter Watts to Aussiecon’ State of Grace fundraising tuckerization is… DAVE LUCKETT! Vonda McIntyre’s beaded nudibranch goes to Jean Weber. Chris Barnes, Jess Irwin, Jacque Marshall and Ewan Clark scored the signed Ticonderoga Publications hardbacks.

All up, AUS $3,156.88 was raised. Peter’s flights, hotels and other traveling arrangements have been sorted. Now all we need is for his country to let him out and my country to let him in. Thanks again to the Aussiecon committee for donating his membership, to Sean Williams for his help behind the scenes and to all the people around the world who passed the word around the interwebs and/or kicked some cash into the pot.

Hope to see a bunch of you at Aussiecon!

June 20, 2010, Posted by Cat in News 4 Comments

nearly there!

I got the biggest thrill this week when I checked my email and found a message from author Vonda McIntyre. She and I have never met or previously corresponded, but when I was a teenager I utterly adored two of her novels: Dreamsnake and The Exile Waiting. I’ve met so many well-known authors over the years but it’s always such a thrill to connect with one of your own personal heroes. I hope I never loose the capacity for small moments of fangirl squee.

Anyway, Vonda was emailing to offer me one of her beautiful beaded marine creatures as a prize in the Bring Peter Watts to Aussiecon appeal. Behold the mysterious and alluring beaded nudibranch!

It’s a cell phone piccy so you have to click and embiggen to see just how beautiful it is.

But that’s not all. Russell B Farr from Ticonderoga publications has most generously donated four signed hardcovers to the cause:

So if you were umming and ahhing about whether or not to donate, there are now five extra reasons to give it a go. Flick AUS $10 to via paypal. You gotta be innit to winnit, as they say in showbiz.

disclaimer: technically speaking, this is not a raffle because Paypal does not allow raffles. I am asking for donations, then randomly posting items to people. Despite appearances, the two events are entirely unrelated…

June 16, 2010, Posted by Cat in News 4 Comments

tally update

Hi folks,
I’m really thrilled to report that the fundraising effort is going well. We’re only a few hundred dollars off our target and all thanks to you awesome folks out there in cyberland.

Encountered some argy-bargy with Paypal yesterday — apparently running a raffle constitutes ‘internet gambling’ or some such thing under their regulations. As a result, the ‘bring Peter Watts to Aussiecon’ campaign is no longer officially a tuckerisation raffle. It’s a straight out donation affair. At the conclusion I will present Peter with the names of those who contributed. Should he wish to throw all those names into a hat, draw one out and use it in his next novel, that will be his business…

June 14, 2010, Posted by Cat in News 44 Comments

the bring peter watts to aussiecon campaign

Ok, so here’s my sekrit project

Many of you will be familiar with this story already but for anyone who isn’t:

Last year Canadian marine biologist and science fiction writer Dr Peter Watts underwent a terrifying ordeal at the hands of over zealous border crossing guards in Port Huron, USA. While leaving the United States on December 8, 2009, he was subject to an exit search, then beaten, maced and arrested when he tried to find out what was going on.

A full account of the incident and what was to follow is up on

Or hear him interviewed about his experience, podcast at Starship Sofa

Even though all he did was fail to promptly comply with border guards’ instructions, he narrowly escaped a prison sentence and is now officially a convicted felon and therefore no longer able to attend US conventions.

Peter’s short story ‘The Island’ from The New Space Opera 2, edited by Gardner Dozois and our own Jonathan Strahan has been nominated for a Hugo award. What with Worldcon being on Aussie soil in September this year, I thought it would be a good thing if he could fly out here for both the Hugos and Aussiecon itself.

To that end, with Peter’s permission, I am raising money for his airfare and accommodation via tuckerisation in his next novel State of Grace. Peter says:

“make sure that all entrants realize that their namesakes will most likely come to a really painful and unpleasant end.  And they may not be especially cuddly as characters before then…”

The Aussiecon committee has very kindly donated Peter’s membership. The rest is up to us. If you think the guy deserves a break, how about taking part in the raffle or making a donation?

I’ve never met Peter face-to-face but we’ve been email buddies since I sent him a gushing fan letter after reading his first novel Starfish some years back.

He is well known as an excellent value panelist and would be a fantastic asset to the ‘hard science fiction’ end of the con’s literary stream. He has also consented to participating in Dudcon where he will hand out the Ditmars and generally partake of other silliness as required.

To have a chance of being tuckerised in State of Grace send AUS $10 via Paypal to

Email me privately if you’d prefer to participate via some other medium: cat at

If you’re not into tuckerisation but would like to sling a few bucks into the pot, that’s awesome too.

Any funds raised surplus to requirements will be donated to a reputable charity of Peter’s choice.

Feel free to re-post this message on your own blog if you consider this to be a worthy project

Thank you!