2020 DUFF Race is Open

Paul Weimer and Marlee Jane Ward, Administrators of DUFF, the Down Under Fan Fund, announce that the 2020 Race is now open, to send a fan from North America to ConZealand, the 2020 Worldcon in Wellington New Zealand and become the North American Administrator of the Fund.

Nominations open from 1 December 2019 until 17 January 2020 (23:59 Eastern Standard Time) and candidates will be announced soon after. Voting will then run until 23:59 on 27 March 2020 with the winner announced online as soon as possible after voting has closed.

Nominations should be sent via email to jvstin@gmail.com (Paul Weimer) AND marleejaneward@gmail.com (Marlee Jane Ward). Send the nomination request to us both. (We’re busy people and want to make sure your nomination is seen).

You will need three North American and two Australasian nominators (who will each need to independently confirm their nominations to us via email), a platform of no more than 100 words to appear on the ballot, a bond of US$20/CAN$25 [The bond can be sent by PayPal to jvstin@gmail.com ] and a guarantee to attend the 2020 Worldcon in New Zealand if you win.

Vale Lesley Shane Robertson

By David L. Russell

Les Robertson was a science fiction fan. He lived in Moe in the east of Victoria with his parents Charlie (Chas) and Kath Robertson.

Like his father, Les worked at a coal-fired power station. Most of Moe’s men did the same.

He was one of the problem-solving techs that fandom produces in abundance. At one convention the movie Short Circuit 2 was to be shown on a large cinema screen just prior to the finish of the con. But an essential cable was missing, so impatient fans were waiting en masse getting increasingly annoyed at the delay.

Les was asked for help and had the needed cable to link the two recalcitrant bits of technology. Les saves the day!! At the closing ceremony Shane Morrisey gratefully thanked Les.

You see, Les always lugged around a HUGE amount of kipple with him when he attended conventions — far more, frankly, than any other reasonable person would bother bringing. Seeing him with all of his paraphernalia I was always reminded of the over prepared beaver from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark “The beaver brought paper, portfolio, pens, And ink in unfailing supplies”(1).

As the person who had to, on occasion, help move all of these essentials around later in Les’s life, I often thought when he was repacking at one or two am that life would have been easier for both of us if we’d gone minimalistic rather than the fannish everything-and-the-kitchen-sink and a spare-kitchen-sink-and-essential-repair-materials-if-either-sink-should-spring-a-leak way of doing things.

One time, a ring that he owned went ‘missing’, causing much searching of packed bags and luggage; given the lateness of the hour I was heartily sick of relooking through possible hiding places, using a torch to make sure it hadn’t gotten underneath his hotel room bed and making plans to phone house keeping the next day in case they found it after we’d checked out and caught both our early morning trains home. All of this while wanting only sleep after a three-day convention.

I phoned him after arriving home. His mother Kath answered the phone, “Did the ring turn up?” Yes. It was stuck to some duct tape he’d used to seal up some luggage. Les always had duct tape and a sewing kit and superglue and a leatherman tool and…

We met through both of us belonging to The Melbourne Science Fiction Club back when it was located at Saint David’s Uniting Church Hall in 74 Melville Road, West Brunswick. I’m sure I attended a few meetings without paying much attention to Les. If you chucked a rock back then you’d hit a dozen slightly overweight, bearded, affable enough, male fans at any well-attended meeting.

In talking to James ‘Jocko’ Allen I’d learned that Les would happily get milk or perhaps fish and chips from a nearby shop in Melville Road if someone was too busy to get them for themselves but that getting the change from these purchases out of him was a little difficult.

Read moreVale Lesley Shane Robertson

Chandler Award Nominations Open

Nominations for the A. Bertram Chandler Award will open in December and close 1 February 2020.

The A. Bertram Chandler Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction”, was established in recognition of the contribution that science fiction writer A. Bertram Chandler made to Australian Science Fiction and to Australian fandom in general. It is Australia’s premier award for lifetime achievement in science fiction.

The Award will be announced at the Natcon — which is Swancon over the Anzac Day weekend 2020.

You are encouraged to nominate a person who fulfils the criteria on the nomination page here at ASFF.

Please read the guidelines carefully before making a nomination.

John Scalzi to Q&A at Conflux

Image credit: Gage Skidmore <CC BY-SA 3.0>

Conflux, held in Canberra later this year, reports that it will feature a Q&A session with John Scalzi hosted by Cat Sparks.

Scalzi is a former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is best known for his Old Man’s War series, three novels of which have been nominated for the Hugo Award, and for his blog Whatever, where he has written on a number of topics since 1998. He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2008 based predominantly on that blog, which he has also used for several charity drives. His novel Redshirts won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel. He has written non-fiction books and columns on diverse topics such as finance, video games, films, astronomy, writing and politics, and served as a creative consultant for the TV series Stargate Universe.

John Scalzi is also a well-known “Twitter Machine”, and you can follow him or find out more <@scalzi>.

Conflux will be held over three days in 2019, October 5 to October 7 at the Gungahlin library in Canberra. Find out more about Conflux at <https://conflux.org.au/>.

Read moreJohn Scalzi to Q&A at Conflux

Hugo Awards 2019 Announced @ Dublin Worldcon

The 2019 Hugo Awards were presented on the evening of Sunday, August 18, 2019 at a ceremony at the 77th World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin, Ireland.

Doblin 2019 received 3,097 votes on the final ballot (3,089 online and 8 paper) from the members of Dublin 2019.

Best Novel

  • Winner: The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga/Corsair)

Read moreHugo Awards 2019 Announced @ Dublin Worldcon

New Aussie SF Podcast “Two Chairs Talking”

Two Chairs Talking is an interesting new Aussie podcast from David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss with a literary and SF bent. While it’s mostly focused on speculative fiction books and stories, the hosts are not afraid to leap into entertaining discussions about other genres and media formats.

David was the chairman of the 43rd World Science Fiction Convention held in Melbourne Australia in 1985. Perry was the chairman of the 57th World Science Fiction Convention in 1999 and co-Chair of the 68th Worldcon in 2010. Two chairs, get it?

Read moreNew Aussie SF Podcast “Two Chairs Talking”

Conflux 15 Short Story Competition Opens

The Conflux Committee has announced the 2019 CSFG / Conflux Short Story Competition.

Conflux want your stories of 4000 words or under, in any speculative fiction genre, on this year’s theme, What Lies Beneath.

The competition is open to all Australian residents and members of either the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild or Conflux 15. Entry is $5, unless you are a member of the CSFG or Conflux 15 or you are aged 16 or under, in which case it is free!

Read moreConflux 15 Short Story Competition Opens

Kaaron Warren Wins the 2019 Peter McNamara Achievement Award

Kaaron Warren – Photo by Cat Sparks

The 2019 Peter McNamara Achievement Award, judged this year by Kirstyn McDermott, was presented to speculative fiction author Kaaron Warren at Continuum 15.

Congratulations to Kaaron, who has won numerous speculative fiction awards for her writing. Kaaron’s most recent novel is “Tide of Stone”.

The Peter McNamara Achievement Award, formally The Peter (the ‘Mac’) McNamara Award [for] Lifetime Achievement and Contribution towards Australian Speculative Fiction, is an award presented in honour of the late Peter NcNamara at the Australian National SF Convention awards ceremony. The award was inaugurated by Robert N. Stephenson, and is made and named for the year in which it is presented.

Bruce Gillespie Receives The “Eternity” Award

Bruce Gillespie, Helena & Merv Binns (Photo by Cat Sparks)

Bruce Gillespie (pictured) received the Continuum Foundation’s “Eternity” Award 2019 on Friday June 7 at the opening ceremony of Continuum 15, Natcon 58. This extraordinary award, featuring an hourglass trophy, recognises those who do a huge amount of work for SF fandom over an impossibly long period of time — in this case more than fifty years.

Bruce Gillespie thanked all of the people who helped to get “SF Commentary” off the ground in January 1969, including Lee Harding, John Foyster, John Bangsund, Leigh Edmonds, George Turner, and Tony Thomas in particular.

Read moreBruce Gillespie Receives The “Eternity” Award

Continuum Foundation Awards a “Gunny” for 2019

Photo by Cat Sparks

The Continuum Foundation announced joint winners, Julian Warner and Lucy Sussex of the special, rarely-given, Ian Gunn Memorial Award at Continuum 15, Natcon 58, at the opening ceremony on Friday June 7.

The Ian Gunn Memorial Award, or “Gunny”, is an irregular Victorian award, only given out on years when someone suitably deserving is put forward to the Continuum Foundation committee.

It recognises the ‘unsung heroes’ of fandom — people who consistently work in the background for no other reason than the work needs doing, and who never expect any recognition of their efforts.

Ian Gunn was good at noticing such people.

The trophy, designed by Lewis Morley, incorporated a plastic spaceman in memory of the many plastic spacemen hidden in other fans’ homes by Ian Gunn and Karen Pender-Gunn.

Congratulations Julian and Lucy!