Continuum 9

I got home from Continuum 9 in Melbourne last night, after a short overnighter trip I only decided to make about a week and a half ago! I’ve been to Melbourne cons before, but not Continuum. I’ve managed to make two cons and the Aurealis Awards this year, which is a change (there has to be a silver lining for husband’s redundancy from work!), and I’m glad I got to go.

photo 1 (1)Before I even arrived, David, Tansy and I had won a Chronos Award for our Doctor Who review series! I was very excited, because the Chronos trophies are so very pretty. We let David keep it though, because to be fair, it IS an award for Victorians, and we wouldn’t qualify without him!

While it is the first convention I think I’ve been to that I wasn’t almost exclusively chained to the Dealer Room, I only went to a couple of programmed items. To be honest, I mostly hung out with friends, old and new. I did a very short duty on the table for Justin of Slow Glass Books, who is so generous to us small press folk. I have to say though, that NK (Nora) Jemisin’s Guest of Honour speech was a definite highlight and I’m very glad I attended. She has posted it online to share with the world, and I think the world should read it. Really enjoyed the John Richards and Ben Mackenzie program items – disappointed I had to leave before the end of both (once for noisy baby, once to get to the airport on time for my flight home!). If you aren’t listening to the Splendid Chaps podcast, I highly recommend it! And I also had to leave the Writer and Critic recording because of noisy grumpy bubs, but at least I can listen to that one later too :) I’m very sad I missed the launch of Caution: contains small parts, Kirstyn McDermott’s Twelve Planets collection, as I had already left to come home, but I was lucky enough to sneak my subscriber copy beforehand!
The Splendid Chaps recording: John, Ben, Petra, George, Kirstyn.

The Splendid Chaps recording: John, Ben, Petra, George, Kirstyn.

I was asleep by 8.30 on Saturday night – babies are both a blessing and a curse… And I enjoyed breakfast with Cat and Rob at the hotel both mornings – and everyone was rather tolerant of the grumpy tired baby I had in tow!

WA-ish fans were relatively prolific – spent time with Ju and Sarah, chatted with PRK and Elaine, saw Michael and a couple of others. As always, there were people there I only saw very briefly in passing, and didn’t even get a chance to say hello to – sorry!

The venue was a bit disappointing. The location was excellent – a nice walk from Southern Cross station (from Skybus drop off), and right in the thick of shopping/cafes etc, with a HAIGHS in the hotel foyer! However, inside was a bit different. My room was great (I was upgraded to a Superior King room!), the staff service excellent (as always, in Melbourne), but there was no lift access to the convention rooms level (except by the freight elevator) and one of the two hotel lifts to the upper floors (including the breakfast restaurant) was out of action. Tricky with a pram, can’t imagine how difficult for people with mobility issues. There was no tea/coffee within the hotel (a number of people who attended Conflux recalled the strategically placed hotel coffee cart there with much fondness!), and sure, it’s not far away to get some, but once you leave the hotel, you tend to wander off for a while, which means it’s not very cohesive. Interestingly, there were also no baby change facilities within the hotel, which I thought was really unusual. And the panel rooms were too small! A lot of the panels were overflowing and people couldn’t come in.

Bubs and I with Kirstyn and the first copy of Kirstyn's new book, personally inscribed!

Bubs and I with Kirstyn and the first copy of Kirstyn’s new book, personally inscribed! Photo courtesy of Cat Sparks.

All that said, it was a pleasant congoing experience in general – the committee seemed on the ball and were helpful and friendly at every turn.

Glad I went and have to say, BRILLIANT GUEST – Nora was excellent.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Continuum 9

  1. Congrats on your Chronos Award!!! :)

  2. Ditto on the rooms! Convention + Social issues did make for a well-attended con. The Ether may be too small…

  3. I can’t say I loved the stairs either, especially after I did something to my knee at the Maskobalo. (Awkward nerd dancing is more dangerous than it looks.) There was an accessible entrance, but it was through the staff-only section.

    Anyway, we’re starting to wonder if we’ve outgrown the Ether, much as it’s been a really good space for us in the past. A LOT of panels we expected to be tiny were overflowing, and part of that is down to me, as a new programmer, making mistakes, but also there seems to have been a minor shift in interests in the last few years.

    But thank you so much for coming!

    • Outgrowing the venue is a good problem to have! Although I know it creates problems of its own… :) I didn’t get to a lot of programming, and what I went to was entirely to do with the panellists presenting as much as the actual topic – I doubt I would have even thought to look at the excellent Doctor Who non-fiction panel except that John and Ben were on it (not that you and George weren’t also great, but I wouldn’t have KNOWN that!) :)

  4. I’ve been to all the Continuum cons and the Ether is indeed small and the problem with the lift is something that bothered me too, though I have no priam to push. It started life as an Asian food court, would you believe! I have become used to the smallness of the venue, but I admit it will be nice to be somewhere bigger next year when it’s the Natcon. The Ether is nicely central, though, and you can rush off for a meal at the nearby food courts, or get chocolate at Haigh’s and then catch a tram home. I am not fond of the Swanston Street Rydges, which I remember as the Town House. It’s bigger, but also has cramped venue rooms and there’s nowhere decent to eat nearer than Lygon St, although you can get a tram down into the central shopping centre. It was the venue of the last Continuum Natcon.

    The con was very enjoyable, with some great panels (I was on some of those! ;-D) and it was terrific to catch up with friends, even though I missed a lot and didn’t get a Chronos (but I did vote for you guys). I have already booked for the next one.

    Justin is lovely., He brings my novel with him every time and says, “As if I wouldn’t!” A very supportive gentleman and the best auctioneer I know; I always go to at least past of the fan fund auction because of him. :)

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