Belinda Morris

Continuum 11 Wrap Up

It’s been a week and a half since Continuum finished but it feels like a lifetime! I had a great time at the convention meeting fabulous authors and sitting on a number of panels. It had a good cosy feeling this year, right in the heart of the city.

I was on two panels during the convention – Crossing Genres and Weird Fiction. I’m going to do a big write up of the weird fiction panel with Rob Hood and Michelle Goldsmith, which was an excellent discussion of the definitions of weird fiction, whether it’s a genre (or not) and how to write it.

The crossing genres panel provided some passionate discussion on how genres are crossed in fiction, particularly relating to the fantastic, with Lindy Cameron, Margo Lanagan and Amanda Pillar. One thing that really struck me about the discussion was that Australians are very open to mixing up genres, whether it be steampunk westerns, prehistoric sci-fi, paranormal romance, you name it, we’ve done it. For me, some of the books that stand out in this category are:

  • Finch by Jeff Vandermeer
  • Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
  • The Shining Girls, Zoo City and other works by Lauren Beukes

I also got to talk a little about my own work, and whether or not genre crossing is intentionally done. When I wrote Double Exposure it was a definite choice to cross genres (hardboiled noir with weird fiction) as I’d enjoyed previous works in this area, but more too that in exploring a strange plot, readers would have a familiar framework to understand the story. It’s very difficult to throw a reader in the deep end, especially in the limited space of a novella, so I made a definitive choice to hang those ‘weird’ elements off the familiar tropes of hardboiled noir (while trying to deconstruct them at the same time).

Other highlights include:

  • Meeting new authors and illustrators, including the very talented Belinda Morris and Kathleen Jennings.
  • Attending the Elder Scrolls panel, it was pretty freakin’ awesome for such a late night sesh and I got to share my pain and joy of playing the Elder Scrolls with like minded people. Also, there was fairly good gender mix at this panel which made my heart very happy.
  • Having a session on Thomas the Tank Engine. You had to be there.
  • Hearing RJ Anderson talk about hope in her guest of honor speech, because there isn’t enough of it these days and we should work harder to bring the hope in fiction.
  • Signing my first books ever! Which is a surreal experience I tells ya. I had to figure out how to sign my name in a way that wouldn’t be purloined for future bank fraud. I really appreciate everyone who came along to my mini-book launch at Continuum and bought a book.
  • Getting the inside word on Worldcon from people who had been. I can’t wait to go to Spokane in August.

I finished Continuum tired and happy, with a box full of books to add to the reading shelf…