I’m back in Melbourne, not for school visits but the Continuum convention. The weather is dry and sunny here, whereas it’s rainy and cold and miserable back in Wollongong.
First night of the con was hectic, because my plane was an hour late and I had to rush out, find a supermarket and buy things for the launch of Liberator. I had the smart idea of using my wheely suitcase to transport all the bottles of sparkling apple cider (non-alcoholic, because the hotel wouldn’t allow alcohol brought in), which turned out not a totally smart idea, when wheeling the suitcase over the pavement shook up the fizz! I had a disaster with the first bottle opened – after that I unscrewed the caps just a little and let the fizz escape gradually. Still made a bit of a mess but not so bad.
The launch was an uphill battle – so many people gathered in the foyer, but not for a launch. Luckily I had Jack Dann to do the launching – the one person who can rise out above a hubbub and focus a crowd’s attention. So he got everyone listening, said some great things about Liberator, then we did a short reading, Jack and Janeen and myself. We had a big stuffed toy dog to represent Murgatrude, and a doll with hair cut off labelled Antrobus to represent Col’s baby brother. Plus a wastepaper bin to represent Murgatrude’s basket – as Mr Gibber, I had to sit in it. I think everyone enjoyed it, though we had to really raise our voices when a new surge of people talking came into the foyer.
What wasn’t so good was when we had to cut short prematurely. Confusion among the organisers, because we’d been told we could run over time, but then one organizer started giving wind-up signals exactly on the hour. Jack reckoned he didn’t have the chance to follow through properly, that is, convert people’s interest into actual book buying. I was disappointed with the sales – not as many Liberators as I’d expected, though more Worldshakers. Perhaps because Justin offered a discount on both books, but not on Liberator alone. Maybe my expectations were too high, because Justin seemed satisfied enough.
Later the same evening was the Great Debate, on whether immortality would be a good thing. I proved scientifically – with the aid of a graph – that it wasn’t, but we lost anyway. All good fun and humorous, of course.
Later again, a steampunk panel, with Janeen Webb and Dave Freer and myself. We wandered off into other subjects at times, like the increase of fishing stocks during wartime – but hey, that’s interesting too!
More panels tomorrow.