Worldcon – September 2010

For anyone coming to Aussiecon, the Australian Worldcon being held 2-6 September here in my hometown, I’ll be in several panels during the con. I’ve also been given a slot to do a reading and signing!

The confirmed spots are:

Saturday 4th September:
10am –  Rm 217: Science fiction and the theatre
Science fiction and the theatre don’t seem to be the most obvious bedfellows, but science fiction has and continues to be presented on the stage from time to time. Every medium brings its own benefits and drawbacks. What are the challenges that face playwrights when creating science fiction? What can you achieve with the theatre that you can’t achieve in any other media?
Robert Shearman, Alison Croggon, Narrelle M. Harris, Bob Kuhn

Sunday 5th September:

1400 – Rm 204: But this is real!
Why are we attracted to fictional horrors when real life can be so much worse?
Paul Haines, Narrelle M. Harris, Gary Kemble, Chris Lawson, Carrie Vaughn

1500 Rm 212: We are all fairy tales: Doctor Who’s fifth season;
In 2010 Doctor Who returned to the screens with a new writer/producer, a new TARDIS,  a new companion and a new Doctor in the form of Matt Smith. How has Doctor Who’s fifth season differed from the four seasons before it? Has the transition from Russell T Davies to Steven Moffat been a successful one? A critical review of the most significant change in
Doctor Who since it returned to TV.
Kathryn Sullivan, Narrelle M. Harris, George Ivanoff, Rani Graff

Monday 6th September:
1000 Rm 207: 25 things I learned from SF
How much of what you know did you get from science fiction? Chromatophores and Kuiper belts, tesseracts and teratrogens—what Newton dreamt and how anarchy might work—we’ve all received numberless infodumps. What are your favorites? Your most exotic. How has science fiction shaped your life, your worldview, and the cool stuff you spout at parties?
Narrelle M Harris, Priscilla Olson, Jenny Blackford

1100 Rm 207: Reading;
1200 Rm 201: Signing;

1400 Rm 204: Vampire and zombie smackdown
Two kinds of undead, no holds barred.
Participants on the one hand – Scott Edelman, Rob Hood, Chuck McKenzie
On the other – Narrelle M Harris, George R. R. Martin, Faye Ringel

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Where’s the pound of flesh?

Writer and food historian, Gillian Pollack, has sent me some recipes for Election Cake in honour of the Australian election being held this weekend. I was joking that we needed cakes full of nuts to represent our conservatives, or a hollow cake in honour of the policy-free zone that has led up to polling. She sent me three recipes, none of which include the requisite pound of flesh, though one of the recipes did include wine and brandy, which I would have thought were pre-requisites for getting through the tension of watching the results come through on election night television. Or for wiping out all the miserable memories if some of those nutters actually get into power.

The one I’m fondest of is this, from The Frugal Housewife, mainly for the book’s dedication: DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT ASHAMED OF ECONOMY

Election Cake
Old fashion election cake is made of four pounds of flour; three quarters of a pound of butter; four eggs; one pound of sugar; one pound of currants, or raisins, if you choose; half a pint of good yeast; wet it with milk as soft as it can be and be moulded on a board. Set to rise over night in winter; in warm weather three hours is usually enough for it to rise. A loaf, the size of common flour bread, should bake three quarters of an hour. — The Frugal Housewife LMF Child 1830.

There’s a certain economy of description here as well – though I suppose when this was written in the first part of the 19th Century, there weren’t that many options on what temperature you should set your oven to. You just stuck in the block of wood and cooked things till they were done. My grandparents had one of those stoves for decades, right up to the end of the 20th century. Perhaps they should have voted for whoever would bring them more modern amenities?

I’m also charmed by the idea of wetting my mixture with milk until it’s ‘as soft as it can be’. How soft *is* that exactly? In the current climate, I imagine as soft as the promises made on funding.

Perhaps for the recipe to really work in honour of the 2010 election, with its lack of policy and vision from the major parties, this particular election cake should only be half baked as well.

Given the number of ex-leaders loitering in the vicinity to queer the pitches of the current leaders, perhaps we should also add some grapefruit peel, to make it more appropriately bitter.

Words are like oxygen

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