Meet our guest Jim C. Hines

Jim kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to do a five question interview with us. If you enjoy reading it, come see Jim speak at our convention this weekend!

1. For those who haven’t come across your work before, how would you describe your stories?

THEY’RE THE VERY BESTEST STORIES IN THE WORLD AND YOU SHOULD RUN OUT AND BUY THEM ALL!

Ahem. Sorry. I should never let my id answer interview questions.

The second goblin book opens with a nose-picking injury, which probably tells you everything you need to know about that series. As a general rule, I want my stories to be fun. I like a fair amount of action, and I’ll almost always try to work some humor into them. I like clever characters who can outthink the bad guys. My second series was all about the kick-ass fairy tale heroines. I wrote those books for my daughter when she was going through her princess phase, because I wanted her to know heroes didn’t always have to be big, strapping, straight white dudes.

I do try to work with more serious issues and struggles in the stories–and humor can be a great tool for that–but one of my main priorities is that I want people to have fun reading them.

2. Some people might know you from your cover poses which raised a fantastic amount of money for Aicardi Syndrome Foundation and awareness about sexism in book covers, what did you learn from the experience that surprised you most?

The first thing I learned was that I’m not as flexible as I used to be. Some of those cover poses were physically impossible, while others were completely possible … but would leave you with tight or cramped muscles for hours afterward. The fact that women are often sexualized and objectified in cover art in ways that men generally aren’t wasn’t a surprise, nor was some of the backlash, and the insistence that showing a shirtless man in a comfortable, dominant pose was exactly as bad as showing women in helpless, fetishized, powerless poses.

I did learn that I needed to be more precise in how I talked about this sort of thing, and to make it more clear that I wasn’t trying to say that sexism in book covers (and elsewhere) is all the fault of the artists, but was instead a problem with countless layers, including editorial, marketing, sales, buyers, and yes, even writers.

3.You wrote a series of books about goblins, and often tweet about them when travelling, what do you love about them?

I think my favorite thing about Jig and his fellow goblins is that they’re so unapologetic about who and what they are. They’re crude, rude, ugly, and uncivilized, and they’re completely okay with that. Life makes sense to them. Life may be brutish and way-too-short, but they’ve got a kind of Zen-like awareness and acceptance of themselves as goblins. They fight, they die, they eat random adventurers, they stab each other in the back, and it’s all completely out in the open.

Plus Jig has a pet spider named Smudge who sets things on fire, and that’s just plain fun.

4. You are a tireless campaigner for more diversity in genre writing and a more inclusive fandom. What makes you so passionate about these issues and what do you feel fandom does right?

Fandom has been very welcoming to me, both as an author and as a fan. Like a lot of us, I didn’t exactly fit in with the cool kids growing up. Apparently sewing a Star Trek patch onto your jean jacket doesn’t make you popular in junior high school. Who knew? So when I found conventions and fandom and people I could just geek out with, it was a wonderful experience. In some ways, it was like coming home.

The problem is, fandom isn’t as welcoming and inclusive as we think we are. I started listening and seeing that, while I felt wanted and welcomed here, others didn’t, for very real and valid reasons. And I want people to feel welcome. I want a larger, broader, more diverse fandom, both because I want people to have that same feeling of coming home that I’ve got, and because–selfishly–I think it makes fandom far more interesting and exciting.

I think there’s a lot fandom is doing right, starting with the fact that we’re having the conversation. We’re struggling with these problems instead of ignoring them. There will always be people who assume these problems are made up, and don’t want to deal with them, but I think we’ve got a critical mass of folks who aren’t going to be silenced, and those voices are having an effect. More conventions are taking sexual harassment seriously, for example. More authors and fans are pushing back against whitewashed cover art. More people are pointing out those groups that have traditionally been excluded from our stories, and are taking steps to change that.

5. If you had a TARDIS where and when would you go and who would be your companion?

I’d want to check out the future, probably jumping ahead about a hundred years at a time in the beginning, just to watch how we grow as a species. (And to take advantage of some of that future medical tech. They should be able to cure diabetes by 2114, right? As soon as I get a working pancreas, I’m taking everyone out for ice cream sundaes!)

I’d love to see humanity growing up and spreading out, to visit us on the moon, Mars, and wherever else we end up. Assuming we don’t all wipe ourselves out, of course. In which case I’d go a bit further into the future to see how the superevolved cockroaches are doing in our place.

I’d have to take my wife and kids as my companions, because otherwise they’d never forgive me 🙂 Besides, the TARDIS has a pool, and the kids would love that.

Fairground Friday!

Roll up, roll up, roll up! Once again, Continuum is pleased to announce that Friday is gold coin entry!

That’s right, cross our palm with a gold coin (or silver coins that add up to a gold coin), and you can experience all that Friday has to offer.

Not sure if Continuum is something you want to attend? Gamble a gold coin! We are sure you will get your money’s worth. Gasp in excitement at the Spicks and Speckulations, sigh in wonder at Anime: Revenge of the Tropes, gaze in astonishment at the Last of the V8 Interceptors, and much, much more!

Programme Revealed!

The programme is here!
We know you have been eagerly awaiting the programme and the programming team have been working furiously the last few weeks pulling it all together. So without further ado to see the high flying Continuum X programme just click here!

Code of Conduct Update

We at Continuum strive to make our convention the best possible experience for everyone. Part of this process involves constantly looking at how to improve the way we do things.

We recently revised and updated our Code of Conduct to make it clearer and easier to find specific information. Everyone coming to the convention is expected to be familiar with and abide by the Code of Conduct which includes our anti-harrassment policies. Please take a moment to read through it, especially if you joined as a member before last week when it was updated.

In addition to being on the website, the Code of Conduct will also be printed in the con book, on display in the foyer and available at the registration desk.

If you have any concerns or issues please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@continuum.org.au.

Jack Dann Writing Workshop Deadline Extended

There are still spaces available for Continuum’s workshop, What Writers Must Do To Write Professional Fiction: A No-nonsense Workshop with Jack Dann – so we’re extending the sign-up deadline by another week!

Believe it or not, there is a secret to writing professional fiction. This 2 1/2 hour intensive with Nebula, World Fantasy, and Shirley Jackson Award winner Jack Dann is a results-oriented workshop that can change the way you approach the craft of writing. It offers participants a hands-on, step-by-step writing strategy and a unique opportunity to broaden their working understanding of speculative fiction with a writer of international renown. More information about the workshop can be found here.

To attend Jack’s workshop, you must email us at programming@continuum.org.au by Sat 31st May to register. A reminder: this workshop costs $70 to attend and is available to Continuum members only. Contact us now to secure your place!

Programme Items For Aspiring Writers!

Continuum X Presents:
Tame Your Dragon! New Writers’ Day

On Sunday 8th June, Continuum X celebrates all aspiring authors with a day of events to ignite your imagination, teach you the tricks of the trade and even give you the opportunity to present your own manuscript to a panel of publishing industry professionals.

What Writers Must Do To Write Professional Fiction: A No-nonsense Workshop with Jack Dann
Believe it or not, there is a secret to writing professional fiction. This 2½-hour intensive with Nebula, World Fantasy, and Shirley Jackson Award winner Jack Dann is a results-oriented workshop that can change the way you approach the craft of writing. It offers participants a hands-on, step-by-step writing strategy and a unique opportunity to broaden their working understanding of speculative fiction with a writer of international renown. More information about the workshop can be found here.

Punching Above Their Weight: Small Press in Australia
They take chances. They go where no big press dares. They publish new writers and veterans alike. They publish SF, fantasy, horror, humour, YA, anthologies. How and why can Australia’s vibrant small press do things large ones can’t?

Pitch Your ‘Script!
For the first time, Continuum is able to offer author attendees an opportunity to pitch their unpublished manuscripts to agents, editors and publishers. Gather your courage, and your manuscript, to spend five minutes pitching to industry professionals. If successful, you will have the opportunity to submit your full manuscript for representation or publication. Featuring: Alex Adsett (Alex Adsett Publishing Services), Kate Cuthbert (Escape Publishing), Russell Farr (Ticonderoga Publications).

Live Slushpile
Ever wondered how that story got chosen – or rejected? Our panel of editors will read out the openings of a few SF stories complete with real-time analysis, explaining at what point they would decide to keep or dump a story and why.

Guest of Honour Speech: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Ambelin Kwaymullina is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator from the Palyku people of the dry, vividly beautiful Pilbara region of Western Australia. Ambelin has written and illustrated a number of award-winning picture books as well as writing a dystopian series – ‘The Tribe’ – for Young Adults.

Continuum day membership for Sunday costs $95 for first-time Continuum membership /concession, or $120 full (purchasable on the day or on Trybooking now). Included is access to all regular speculative fiction and pop culture programming, all New Writers events (excluding Jack Dann workshop) and the presentation ceremony for the 2014 Ditmar Awards for achievement in Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror. The Jack Dann workshop requires pre-registration and is additional $70 to attend. Please email programming@continuum.org.au to register. Registration closes Friday 23rd May.

 

Day Membership Rates

If you can’t attend Continuum for the whole weekend never fear, we have single day tickets for you!

They are available to buy through Trybooking now or at the con on the day and are priced as follows:

Saturday or Sunday

Adult Day Membership $120.00
Concession/First time $95.00
Youth Day Membership (Ages 13-17) $35.00
Junior Day Membership (Ages 5-12) $15.00
Cub membership (Under 5) Free

Monday

Adult Day Membership $60.00
Concession/First time $50.00
Youth Day Membership (Ages 13-17) $35.00
Junior Day Membership (Ages 5-12) $15.00
Cub membership (Under 5) Free

And if you only want to get your groove on at the ball, Maskobalo tickets are also available to purchase online here.

We hope to see you at the con!