Conflux is Canberra’s annual Speculative Fiction conference, run each year by members of the excellent and enormous writing group, the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG). It runs over the October long weekend, which this year and last year has included September. Because life is confusing.
This year for the first time the venue is the Vibe Airport Hotel. It’s very pretty inside and out, and surprisingly easy to get to (whether you’re coming from the airport—it’s about a ten-minute walk) or from Canberra. The best parking option is $10/day at Brindabella Business Park (again, a ten minute walk away). I haven’t checked that for myself since I park in the little 2-hour carpark with my disability permit. There’s also parking underneath the hotel, but I think it’s $23/day or guests only. (Please confirm your plans with someone less vague.)
I really like Vibe’s layout. As soon as you walk in the door you’re in the bar (“Huzzah!” from the chorus), facing the Conflux rego desk, with the hotel reception to the left and all the conference rooms on the right. The restaurant is behind the bar, and the entire hotel foyer is filled with a delicious range and fluidity of chairs and couches and stools and tables.
One of the best things about Vibe is that the conference rooms in particular have excellent sound design (that sounds like a minor thing, but it’s not). The down side is that we don’t get free wifi. We do get free tea and coffee, and all the staff I’ve had contact with were very helpful. I’m pathetically jealous of the people that get to stay there (who I’m sure are pathetically jealous that I can go to my own family and bed to sleep).
Friday is a work day, but we still managed a highly respectable crowd, which bodes very well indeed for the rest of the conference.
This is probably about the point in proceedings that I should mention my flaws as a conference blogger: I almost never go to panels, unless I’m speaking. What I love is hanging out in the dealer room, emerging periodically to eat and drink and hang out some more in the food area, then going to hang out in the dealer room some more.
I could tell you that the panel I was on with Dion Perry, Madeleine D’Este, and Kathryn Gossow was pretty cool, but what would I know? (Also, if you like my books I can pretty much guarantee you’ll like Madeleine’s. Evangeline and the Alchemist is the first one, and I think it’s free all weekend. It’s Aussie steampunk set in Melbourne with a inventive but frequently idiotic heroine.)
So how’s the dealer room? It is nice. The tables include music (Meri Amber, who somewhat corners the market on nerdy singing); the launching-at-Conflux Never Never Book Box subscription series; a range of hats and other gear; and of course many many delicious books.
Speaking of which, guess what I beheld for the first time today??
That’s right. My second published novel. I approved the final edits oh…. about a week ago. So I was a teensy bit worried I’d have no books to sell at the launch on Sunday.
But it’s here, and it looks beautiful, and I think it probably even has my words inside.
(The severed hands belong to my children, who spent much of the day hiding under the Odyssey Books table.)
Is this a face that makes you want to buy books?
Tell me your answers below!