Perceptions (of Conflux et al)


Conflux was an unusual thing. It was a con grand with promises and fraught with debillitations but it worked. Despite my general wordiness, I’ll keep this post to the barest minimum of what could be considered a con report.

Conflux was probably the most enjoyable convention Angela and I have been to. The niggles (such as the split venue) actually brought people together. So too did the squad of Imperial Stormtroopers and the marauding band of Daleks who fought each other for control of the National Museum.

Yes, I could name all the different types of Stormtroopers, but so what? 😛 Yeah, me = Star Wars nerd. I’d hoped to hide that under the leather jacket.

The highlight with these things is always catching up with mates. In my particular case, it was a convergence of the Clarion crew, the horror writers, the WA contingent (Lee, Lyn, Russell etc), and various others. As usual, it was great to talk shite with Nathan, Mark, Susan, Rob, Kate, Anne, and Rju of the Clarion bunch (word to the wise: Don’t wear a mesh shirt, especially if your surname rhymes with ‘foge’ and you are near Nathan’s tongue). It was just as affirming to feel a strengthening bond with Australia’s dark cadre: Andrew, Rob, Marty, David, Kyla, Kaaron, Jason etc. Even more affirming was a HorrorScope get together of sorts, with Andrew and I meeting up with Matt for the first time. It was good to put a name and a handshake to Matt, who was enjoying his first con.

I think Angela may have found a kindred spirit in Ellen. I shudder to think what would happen if these two dark ladies put their editing brains together. It was good to catch up with her (Ellen) outside of the Clarion environment and for it to feel like Clarion and the friendships therein had all happened just a few weeks prior. Similarly, it was a delight to catch up with Rob and Cat, Richard, Sean (especially the chance encounter at Melbourne airport), and too many more to name.

Perhaps the best of Conflux was meeting more new people than ever before and having the time to share between old acquaintances and new. Angela and I met with Leigh Blackmore, The courteous and delightful Triffits (Iain and Lynn – excuse the misspellings), had chocolates, bubbles, dinner (and tentacle sex – metaphorically speaking!) with Gillian Polack, and an insightful and disarming evening with Ben Payne at the dead dog party. Yes, I come across as a prat from time to time on this blog, but hey, it IS called Smoke and Mirrors after all. Can I be held accountable if my online persona doesn’t quite sit well with my in-person one? (don’t answer that!) Anyway, prat is not a dirty word. 🙂

We attended fewer panels than we would have liked, although Angela’s webzine panel with Ellen, Russell, and Andrew (and me in the background working the light show) was kick arse. My zombie panel was okay, and very much saved by Rob’s most exhaustive list of zombie movies ever made. I swear, in the time it takes to sneeze, twelve more zombie movies will need to be added to that list, but somehow, Rob found them all. The man should be titled the Patron Saint of the Corporeal Undead!

Ange was on the ‘Dark Women’ panel with Ellen, Kaaron, and Deb, which looked to be sensational, but as the first panel of the con, probably suffered a little for it. She was also reeled onto the ‘Back to Basics’ writers panel and did well despite the impromptu grabbage.

We didn’t see any of the comm link interviews, but that’s okay. There were always faces, new and familiar, to occupy our time with. And Stormtroopers. And Daleks. And a mediaeval feast (with puffy shirt and Elizabethan dress, for myself and Ange respectively). And stuff. Good times.

I won’t persist in naming names and talking up the talk. If you were there, you rocked, and you know it!


Yeah, book buying was involved. I couldn’t help myself. Here’s the damage:

Carnies by Martin Livings
Prismatic by Edwina Grey
Reserved for Travelling Shows by Trent Jamieson (some amazing stuff, too. I read much of it on the plane home)
The Outcast ed. Nicole R Murphy (+ bonus Encounters antho)
Epiphanies of Blood by Bill Congreve


Okay, here’s the thing. I didn’t do the 3-day novel race as I wanted to. Conflux preparations and some stern but wise words from Ange forced me to postpone the thing. However, I did expand end up with a 25,000 word novella that weekend through expanding an existing story for a deadline. Very cool. I love novellas. I’d like to have more of them. I guess I’ll have my chance when I tackle this novel race thing in a few weekends down the track.

At Conflux, Stephen presented me with my copy of Borderlands #7, which contains The Garden Shed Pact. This story is my first Clarion-written effort to see print. It’s a damn satisfying experience too. Rju also has a Clarion story in the issue, which I’m sure makes the issue well worth checking out.

Here’s a sample:

I know she will kill me.

She knows it too.

She gave me such a fright when I first saw her. I hate spiders with a passion. The sight of them freezes my gut. Damned things can drop into your mouth when you’re sleeping, or crawl into your ears, or they lurk under the toilet seat, waiting to sink their fangs into your arse. I hate the way they move, their stiletto crawl. I hate their legs and their bristly feel. They’re nature’s sick joke, just looking for a chance to mess with your life.

I tried ignoring her at first, but every time I reached for the pruning shears, she dangled like an acrobat, lowering herself toward my outstretched arm. She toyed with me. Forced me to snatch my hand back every time. I hated that feeling of powerlessness.


Okay, our little girl has found one of the best uses for the Internet – to semi-pornographically pimp herself! In this case, on a website called Hot or Not? We’re so proud.

(I particularly like the somewhat demented look in her eyes, myself. I’m glad she cropped the knife she’s holding out of the picture…)

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