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Call for NAFF Delegates for Natcon 2016

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Welcome to the NAFF race for 2015. The National Australian Fan Fund (NAFF) was created to assist fans to travel across Australia to attend the National Science Fiction Convention (Natcon). NAFF assists fans to travel to the Natcon and covers the costs of airfares and accommodation. The Natcon donates a convention membership. This year’s NAFF race is to the 55th Australian Natcon, Contact, which will be held in Brisbane during Easter, 25– 28 March 2016. It is expected that the winner will produce a report of their trip, engage in fundraising to support future NAFF races, and to help administer the NAFF race for the following two years.

But to run a race, we need delegates! If you would like to take your fannish self to Brisbane for Natcon next year, and live anywhere in Australia but Queensland, download a copy of the nomination form and get a-nominating!

Any problems, concerns or queries, please contact Tehani at editormum [at] gmail [dot] com.

NOMINATIONS CLOSE NOVEMBER 30, 2015.

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My NAFF Journey to Swancon 40 (Natcon 54)

I was very excited to win the NAFF race this year, which allowed me to attend Natcon 54 (Swancon 40). I’d thrown my hat in the ring for the 2014 race but lost by one vote to Matt Lindus, who came over from Perth to the Melbourne Natcon at Continuum. This year it was a bigger race, with four great candidates (you can find more information here, and I was very chuffed to be declared the winner. While I had been to Swancon before, of course (I was even on the organising committee in 2011!), I hadn’t been back since we left Western Australia the following year.

Due to work and family commitments, I could only attend the convention Friday through to Sunday night, leaving Canberra very early on Good Friday to catch my first flight. While I had reading material and my own viewing on my device, I somehow got sucked into watching Orange is the New Black on my flight from Melbourne to Perth – compelling and engaging and just a bit confronting. I can see why it’s so popular! Continue reading

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Into the NAFF race, once more…

Even though I was beaten (by the slimmest of margins) for NAFF last year, I thought I throw my hat in the ring once again. Glutton for punishment, me! I’ll let the blurb below tell you more about it, but if you would like to help me win the race, please feel free to vote! You can download the voting form right here or to make it super easy, you can vote online here with just a few clicks and Paypal 🙂 It costs $5.00, with all vote proceeds going to the fan fund, so it’s a good cause!

NAFF 2015

Welcome to the NAFF race for 2015. The National Australian Fan Fund (NAFF) was created to assist fans to travel across Australia to attend the National Science Fiction Convention (Natcon). NAFF assists fans to travel to the Natcon and covers the costs of airfares and accommodation. The Natcon donates a convention membership. This year’s NAFF race is to the 54th Australian Natcon, Swancon 40, which will be held in Perth during Easter, 2nd– 6th April 2015. It is expected that the winner will produce a report of their trip, engage in fundraising to support future NAFF races, and to help administer the NAFF race for the following two years. All Australian fans are eligible to vote.

The voting process contributes to the fundraising so each vote costs $5. You are more than welcome to donate more than this amount! Votes are being collected by: Matt Lindus (WA) and the candidate(s). For more information please contact Matt at ratticus@msquared.com.au.

Voting is closed.

Voting opens Sunday 1st March 2015 and concludes on Monday 16th of March 2015. Your candidates for this year:

Paula McGrath

My first convention was Aussiecon3. I stage-managed the Hugos and my memorable moment was convincing Terry Pratchett to hand out awards to ‘fat Americans’ (his words). Since then I’ve helped organise Convergence2002, was on the committee of Aussiecon4, failed in a DUFF race (sympathy play), saw a Worldcon in Chicago, attended almost 10 Continuums, been on and off various committees. What I love most about fandom is the lifelong friends you make and the joy of squeeing about your favourite things and not seem weird. I’ve never been to a Swancon, so this would be a great experience.

Nominated by: Sarah Lee Parker (WA), Rose Mitchell (Vic), and Julian Warner (Vic)

Candice Schilder

I’ve been an active member of the SwanCon community for a long time, including being committee for 23 and convenor of 25. Despite having moved away from WA more than a decade ago, I have continued to make my way to SwanCon, so far without fail. I’m such a familiar face at the convention that I have stopped being surprised when people still think I live locally. I’ll bring to the con the same things I always do; a friendly smile, energy, enthusiasm and a well planned Masquerade costume.

Nominated by: Greg Tannahill (ACT), Desiree Heald (WA), and Samara Morgan (WA)

Greg Tannahill

I am an ACT-based fan, an attendee of multiple Swancons, Continuums and Confluxes, and am well-known in the related community of Australian Roleplaying Conventions. As NAFF delegate I would like to see stronger ties between Australia’s gaming and SF communities, and to cross-pollinate the lessons and experience of each community to help all fans. Both communities need new ideas and new blood, and this is a great place to start. Due to family commitments I cannot otherwise afford to be in Perth on the weekend of Swancon and the NAFF funding would make my attendance possible.

Nominated by: Stuart Barrow (ACT), Julia Burns (ACT), and April Rutkay (WA)

Tehani Wessely

I’ve been involved in the Australian speculative fiction scene since 2001, attending my first convention in 2002. I’m a book geek, a Doctor Who nerd and have volunteerism issues. I was part of the Natcon 50 organising committee, had several years of working with the Andromeda Spaceways crew, helped run the ASif! reviews website, and have judged or acted as judging co-ordinator for the Aurealis Awards since 2007. I love working on ways to improve the prominence of Australian spec fic creators, such as the Australian Spec Fic Snapshot project and by openly wearing my geek cred loud and proud!

Nominated by: Ju Landesse (Vic), Cat Sparks (NSW), and Alisa Kranostein (WA)

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Thoughts from Outland

This is not a review of the new ABC show Outland. It’s only aired a third of the episodes at my time of writing, and I’m enjoying them so far, but I’m not reviewing it here. I think it’s good – if you have some similar tastes as me, you might like to try it (check out the episodes so far on iView). But this is not a review. Instead, Outland has inspired me to think a bit about fandom.

According to some people in the Australian spec fic community, I’m not a fan. I’m not quite sure what that means, exactly. I’ve liked fantasy (and to a lesser extent, science fiction and other related genres) books and movies since I was a kid. I became hardcore about my preferred reading genre when I was about nineteen, and for many years, read exclusively in spec fic. I did assignments at university on Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Raymond E Feist, Seaquest DSV and Terminator 2. I helped start a small press magazine ten years ago, devoted to furthering the prominence of the genre in Australia and overseas and to providing a market for writers and artists who might not otherwise have an outlet for their work (I didn’t get paid for the thousands of hours of work I put into the magazine. Volunteering for passion = fan?). I started my own indie press and have worked with others in the same field in many ways, for the same reason. I have been reviewing and judging for almost as long as I’ve been publishing. I’ve helped run a convention. I’ve spoken on panels and dressed up for book launches. I’ve become addicted to writers, tv shows and film franchises. If that’s not what being a fan is, well…

Artwork by osmosis8 on Deviant Art

And I think that brings me to my point; the point of this post. You want to know what the coolest thing about fandom is? I think it’s the same as the coolest thing about humanity. Diversity. I’ve seen some criticism by people in fandom saying that Outland is not representative of fandom. Or it’s poking fun at fandom. Or is too generic about fandom. I find that position so very odd, because fandom, like humanity, infinitely diverse. We are all people, and hence we are all completely different. We might have points of commonality. I might love Doctor Who, but my love of the show manifests differently from your love. I might write DW fanfic. I might not. I might cosplay DW characters. I might not. I might create DW fanart. I might not. I might write reviews of DW episodes to spread the love. I might not. But what’s cool about my love of Doctor Who is that even though it might be different from yours, it still makes both of us fans.

Fandom is made up of hundreds, probably thousands, different points of commonality. You might be an SF film fan, or an anime fan, or a podcasting fan, or a Twilight fan, or a big fat fantasy fan, or a comic fan, or a Whedon fan, or a Fringe fan, or any one of, or combination of, so many different individual fandoms. You might be an extrovert fan or an introvert fan, a cosplayer, a fanfic writer, a fan film maker, a volunteering-type fan or an academic-type fan. We’re all different, but our points of commonality (even that one very central point that we all are mad about something geeky!) are what make us a community. Which is why it makes me sad that people within this community are sometimes not willing to accept that just because others don’t fit their own personal view on fandom, doesn’t make them any less fans.

Picture from Qwertee

The characters in Outland may or may not be over the top (personally, I have met fans in real life who are a lot like each of them – there’s very probably a little bit of each of them in me!). They are fictional creations, written by people who are fans themselves (and who thus actually have experienced fandom in all its glory), and they are not MEANT to be representative of every fan. However, I think that what they do well is represent some ASPECTS of fandom. Again, not all, because you can’t possibly do that in a six episode show (or probably in six THOUSAND episodes!), but some. The creators of Outland have made a show with science fiction fans at the heart of it, which I think is pretty cool, and I’m glad that it’s out there, showing even a small part of what fandom is to those who have never experienced it. You don’t have to love it, just like you don’t have to love every part of every fandom. But being accepting is nice. It’s okay for us all to be different, and for us all to like different things. That’s what makes us human.

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Australian Spec Fic Events Calendar

Thanks to hosting by [info]girliejones  over at ASif, we now have an Australian Spec Fic Events Calendar. I’ll be adding events as I run across them, but such a thing works best when folks send in details, so please do! Updates and new events welcome 🙂

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