This Again: “Asian Flavours” in SFF

It was a big weekend, and Liz and Steph were pretty distracted by the AFLGF (and also Steph had a busy Singapore weekend), so somehow we managed to miss the theme of Canberra’s SFF con, Conflux, this year with three white guests:

Chinese watercolour-style design of a monkey and some poorly-painted mountains forming the Conflux 12 logo

Three white guests, and the theme ‘Red Fire Monkey.’

Continue reading “This Again: “Asian Flavours” in SFF”

Con or Bust: Brisbane edition

2b-Green-dino-only-smaller-whiteCon or Bust is an American fan fund created to assist People of Colour to attend SFF conventions.  It’s an excellent project funded entirely through donations and an annual online auction, and we at No Award are very excited that it has come to Australia.

Contact, the 2016 NatCon (this year in Brisbane), has donated two memberships, and there is up to $550 of assistance available for accommodation.

The catch: if you need assistance beyond membership and accommodation — ie, airfare — the deadline for applying is before 11:59 pm, Thursday 25 February, US Eastern Standard Time.  (Yes, my fellow lolstralians, that is working out in our favour, thank you, time zones.)

Go forth, lolstralians of a non-white persuasion, and apply!!

[Con or Bust logo was designed and created by an anonymous artist.]

Stephanie says: Liz will be attending NatCon as the NAFF delegate, so you should definitely find her and yell with her.

Vote 1 Liz Barr NAFF 2016 RIGHT NOW

Fan Fund: a fan-run fundraiser to enable the elected delegate to attend a con that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

NAFF: the National Australian Fan Fund, created to send a fan to the Australian National Convention (aka the Natcon, because that’s a mouthful).

As it happens, I’m a NAFF 2016 candidate!  (Hamilton interlude: “I was chosen for the Constitutional Convention!”) What does that mean?  If you vote for me, I’ll be able to attend Contact 2016, a one-off con held in Brisbane.

(Further Hamilton interlude: “You’re openly campaigning.  That’s … new.”)

(Further interlude: A CONVENTION IN BRISBANE, WHAT IS THIS MIRACLE?  I could take my mum!  I mean, I actually can’t, because $$$$, but it would be geographically feasible!)

Now, this is one of those years where there’s a strong field all around, and I wouldn’t begrudge any of the nominees if they won … but you should vote for me because (a) I am the only one who has a Harold Holt joke in her candidate bio; (b) HALF A NO AWARD ROAD TRIP (Stephanie will be going to Swancon, maybe, as is her Perthie duty); exciting things seem to be happening in Brisbane, fannishly, and I would like to investigate in person.  MAYBE I WILL WEAR A DEERSTALKER but probably not.

Voting costs $5, and closes Wednesday 23 December (TOMORROW).  GET IN QUICK.

GO HERE AND VOTE 1 LIZ BARR.

are you from linkspam or Mars?

We’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks, so some of these links are, uhhh, vintage!

Liz is a candidate for the 2016 NAFF race, which sends the successful candidate to Contact 2016, the one-off Brisbane con running over Easter.

I’ll talk about this in more detail in the near future, but if you’re already convinced, voting costs $5 and you can do so at this link.

Stephanie adores Clueless, and just watched it last weekend, and loved this: ‘Clueless’ style: a fashion analysis of the best teen movie of all time

Steph cried with laughter at this: 46 Things That Would Be Different If “Love Actually” Were Set In Australia

Uncovering Australia’s Indigenous past: Forgotten 1920s photos reveal insight into coastal Aboriginal people

When there’s no room at the inn for victims of domestic violence (Don’t read the comments – sadly the ‘most liked’ comments are on the right-hand sidebar, putting them directly in view.)

Does YA fiction need to check its privilege?  On class, and the lack of working class YA protagonists who aren’t leading a revolution.  (Liz agrees strongly with this article, and sadly notes that some of the worst depictions of class are from OzYA.)

An Open Letter to JJ Abrams  – Did you know that girls can be Star Wars fans? Apparently JJ didn’t.  But what made this blog post particularly enjoyable was the author’s account of becoming a science fiction fan in Hong Kong.

Stephen Nothling, vision-impaired artist, brings unique perspective to Brisbane suburban streetscapes

Great piece at Overland on the shit going on against the CFMEU and Australia’s Unions: Black bans and blackmail, and why it’s important.

That’s why having workers’ representatives monitoring safety matters. Last month, when a concrete slab crushed two men to death on an East Perth worksite, it transpired that the CFMEU had been refused entry to the site sixteen times.

No Award reminds everyone that the voices of women (and genderqueer people) are frequently silenced by the medical fraternity and endometriosis is a real thing suffered by Friends of No Award: My Doctors Said My Crippling Menstrual Pain Was “Fine”.

Melbourne history business: The little blue building

Here’s What It’s Like To Go Through Gay Conversion Therapy In Australia

Peter S Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, screenwriter for the TNG episode “Sarek”, is suing his business partner.  Jim C Hines breaks down the issues as we know them. 

Writing Business

Great point at The Wheeler Centre’s notes: It’s Not Easy Being Green: when young writers meet opportunistic editors.

As Parkhill noted in a response to Kilbride’s piece on Facebook, the core issue was not simply that the piece was ‘garbage’, but that it passed the editorial process at all. ‘Perhaps worse than the article’s content is the fact that [New Matilda] have exposed a very young and inexperienced writer’s ill-formed thoughts to a large audience,’ Parkhill said. ‘This article was by no means ready to go live, and I’m sure in the fullness of time its author won’t thank [New Matilda] for the opportunity or “exposure” but will regret the fact that [they] were willing to publish such asinine crap to which his name will be forever attached.’

Right Place, Right Time: How the Melbourne Voice shuts writers out (as in being in Melbourne, not some publication called Melbourne Voice, as Steph first was confused by)

Steph nearly called this section Gross White People Business

NOPE: No criminal charges over pig head dumping at University of WA Muslim prayer room. GET IN THE BIN.

Seven News reported on Wednesday that police know the man, believed to be a former university student, responsible and found a second pig’s head in his home.

But he reportedly won’t be charged because technically no laws had been broken.

IT’S CALLED RACIAL VILIFICATION GET IT TOGETHER WA COPPERS COME ON.

Inadequate white man gets appointed to important political role; admits he loves revenge: Joe Hockey gets job as ambassador to US, admits staying in parliament would have been about payback. Fucking get it together, come on.

Australians head to Colombian village for cocaine ‘special tour’. ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME RIGHT NOW.

“When I came on this trip, there were a lot of things I hadn’t done at home,” said Rose, 32, from Western Australia.

“There was a bucket list and I always said that if I came to Colombia I would try cocaine.

“In Australia, it is a rich man’s drug and sells for about $300 a gram. Here we have had it for as cheap as $US5. People give it away because it is so accessible.”

GET IN THE BIN

 

 

Liz leaves the house: West Writers Our Stories Forum

The West Writers Our Stories Forum was first held in 2014, and continued this weekend just past. It’s held out in Footscray, in Melbourne’s mid-West, yay! (Very brown territory) Its concept is examining “what story means to a wide range of communities and how we can represent the diversity of stories and voices in Australia’s literary scene.”

[Liz attended on her own, because Steph had a prior engagement.]

Continue reading “Liz leaves the house: West Writers Our Stories Forum”

science fiction saves the future

Stephanie was invited to speak at the Speculative Fiction Festival at the New South Wales’ Writers’ Centre last week. It was curated by Cat Sparks, and it was excellent!

The blurb for Steph’s panel:

Can Science Fiction Save the Future? (11am-12am)

This panel examines science fiction as an agent of scientific and social change, serving as a cultural primer, preparing us for new inventions, moral arguments or major events, such as catastrophic destruction or the possibility of transhuman consciousness. Should SF shake us out of complacency regarding genuine threats to society, as well as inspiring compelling new possibilities?

Steph was on this panel with Joanne Anderton, Marianne de Pierres, Bruce McCabe, and Keith Stephenson.

Stephanie has so many feelings climate change and speculative fiction, news at eleven.

There was a feeling that spec fic isn’t for evangelising because the reader doesn’t want to be lectured at. But I disagree – science fiction is for evangelising. I write climate change fiction because I’m inspired in my day job, and I want everyone to know it and be converted.

Scientific accuracy is as important as being able to write well and to convey your meaning. If we’re to inspire, what’s the point in inspiring things that can’t scientifically happen because they defy physics? There’s an argument to be made for inspiring people to move beyond the known science but there’s only so far one can go with that. Don’t be suggesting our climate change future in Australia is going to be full of, like, coral and white people unless you can prove it.

Scientific accuracy is important in my own work, and preferably in the work of others. There’s no shame in throwing the book against the wall when the science is wrong. And half the fun is creating a fantastical world within scientific bounds.

But also: what’s the point in inspiring when you’re doing it on false pretenses?

But can’t you trust the reader to tell the difference between possible and impossible? Can’t you trust the reader?

Continue reading “science fiction saves the future”

Something something lyrics linkspam

What lies beneath: Sydney gets the southern hemisphere’s first body farm Australia

We Need To Talk About Fairy Bread – Please note that Stephanie has chosen to take “you can’t gentrify fairy bread” as a challenge. But also, what counts as gentrification? As a lower-middle-class person from Perth’s dodgy suburbs, is it gentrification if I take my favourite childhood snack and change it up?

The Future’s Been Here Since 1939: Female Fans, Cosplay and Conventions

Favourite pieces from this weeks’ AusPol: Abbott coins “doing an Abbott” to mean making a mistake; on the impacts of Sir Prince Phillip; on Adam Giles and the NT.

New site Future Black, decolonising design in Australia’s built environment.

One for stationery nerds and people with Khe Sanh earworms: The illustrious history of the yellow legal pad

The article title is misleading, but about how talk of Polyamory is white, when Polyamory isn’t. (Surpriiiise)

MAPS of the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Notes on the Melbourne Free Trams. We were just going to link this with no commentary, but it turns out Steph has some feelings. The entirety of the City of Perth is a Free Transit Zone (FTZ, for those from Perth), and it a) takes in a huge chunk of the tourist attractions, and b) is used a lot by workers who drive to work, and then would ordinarily take taxis or cars between meetings at different ends of the CBD. The FTZ and the ubiquity of the buses, as well as the existence of the Cats (buses that exist solely to do laps of different sections of the CBD), means they do get used. And don’t end up with the overcrowding issue that Melbourne’s CBD trams were already experiencing. I don’t have a solution, I’m just saying.

Attitude round-up

Last year, the ABC axed RampUp, its excellent site for discussion around disability.  A short time later, comedian/writer/disability advocate/all around hero Stella Young passed away.

That quote, ‘the only disability in life is a bad attitude’, the reason that’s bullshit is … No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. No amount of standing in the middle of a bookshelf and radiating a positive attitude is going to turn all those books into braille. – Stella Young

Now, the ABC is airing New Zealand show Attitude, a series of short documentaries about people with disabilities.  There is also also a crowdfunding project for an Australian version.

Unfortunately, Attitude doesn’t seem interested in prioritising the experiences and views of people with disabilities.  Here’s a round-up of posts about why it’s not great.

The problem with ABC’s new disability series, “Attitude”

Disability voices have to be heard to change attitudes

Disability media and Attitude TV — Carly Findlay discusses her hopes for the Australian version

Attitude series and the power and responsibility of portraying disability on mainstream TV

More favourable:

Graeme Innes, formerly Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, writes in favour of Attitude.  

I respect Innes a lot, but I strongly resent that Attitude seems to be entirely aimed at an able-bodied audience.

A different kind of attitude

(note: this post talks a lot about the so-called third world, and basically trades disability inspiration porn for poverty inspiration porn)

For my part, the whole concept of “attitude” is fraught.  My rheumatologist constantly praises me for improving my chronic conditions by having a good attitude, and it makes me quite uncomfortable.  It’s easy to exercise and practice self-care when you have a full-time job, a functional bike and access to an affordable public swimming pool.

And it’s distressing to realise that you’re being classified as a Good Patient just because you have these advantages — while, for example, your mother is classified as a Bad Patient because she has no energy to exercise, no access to a pool, and the public rheumatologist who sees her intermittently assumed she was an alcoholic.  (She’s a teetotaller.)

And I don’t even have that great an attitude.  “Yes, I have multiple chronic illnesses.  It’s very dull.  Let’s get on with it.”  That’s me on a good day.  In a bad week, I can and will bore everyone I know with my incessant complaints about being in pain — but my rheumatologist doesn’t see that.

Adam Baldwin/Supanova/GamerGate round-up

Adam Baldwin is an actor, best known for Firefly, who also holds some very conservative opinions, coined the term “GamerGate”, and facilitated the doxxing of game developer Zoe Quinn.  Here’s a handy round-up of his behaviour.

Supanova is one of the very few pop culture expos in Australia. Adam Baldwin will be a guest at the Sydney and Perth events in June. Suffice to say, lots of people are unhappy about this.  There is a petition to revoke his invitation.  (You should sign it!)

People discussing the matter have been doxxed, abused, driven from their preferred social media platforms, and generally treated badly.  (Liz got off lucky with some rather tedious mansplaining.  Nice try, guys, but I work with lawyers.)

Supanova, meanwhile, has engaged in some epic fence-sitting, also some general rudeness, also tried to manipulate a feminist comedian into supporting them. (The original article, published in Fairfax’s Daily Life, has been removed; the link is to an archived version.)

A summary.

The thing is, this isn’t about Baldwin’s politics.  Hell, Star Trek: Voyager‘s Roxanne Dawson quotes Bill O’Reilly on her Twitter, but I wouldn’t say she’d be an inappropriate guest at a nerd convention.  It’s Baldwin’s behaviour, and that of the people he supports, that’s the problem here.

As a small, fat, feminine and female nerd, I would not feel safe at an event as attractive to misogynist bullies as Supanova with Baldwin as a guest.  And I wouldn’t want to give money to a company that engineers that situation.

Baldwin himself is easy to ignore and avoid — I’ve attended a whole lot of Supanovas, and accidentally encountered a guest once. But the men he attracts?  Most are just keyboard warriors, mired in self-hatred, lashing out at women to compensate for their problems.  But as Brianna Wu’s experience would attest, some are dangerous.  And Baldwin feeds them. That’s why I don’t want Adam Baldwin to be a paid guest at Supanova.