Steve and Sue Back from Down Under

Steve and Sue Francis are back from the Aussie NatCon and have very kindly sent along a preliminary DUFF trip report:

“We have just completed our trip to Australia as DUFF 2008 representatives. New friendships were made with fans from Perth, Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Melbourne. We also visited with people that we knew from our previous trip to Australia in 1999. One of the requirements of the DUFF representatives is to attend a major Australian convention during their trip Down Under. This year it was the Australian NatCon/Swancon 33 in Perth.

“The second task that falls to the current DUFF representative is to prepare and distribute a trip report for the year in which travel is completed. That report is now a work in progress. We hope to have it finished before the end of the year. Copies will be available for $5.00 wherever you find us or by mail.

“The third task we will be undertaking is to raise funds during the next two years thru auctions, table sales and by collecting any donations from fans who are willing to support the DUFF fund. To that end we will be attending the following conventions around the country:

ConGlomeration Louisville KY April 18-20
MidWestCon   Cincinnati OH June 26-29
WesterCon   Las Vegas NV July 3-6
Denvention   Denver CO  Aug 6-10
Armadillocon    Austin TX Aug 15-17
The FranHurst Family Reunion Relaxacon  Louisville KY Oct 3-5
SmofCon 26    Columbus OH Dec 5-7
ConCave 29.5 (New Year’s Eve Party)  Horse Cave KY Dec 26-28

“There will be a DUFF table at Denvention next to the Australia in 2010 bid table and the Xerps in 2010 table. You might hear some tall tales of our Australian fannish tour at the table, so come by and say G’day Y’all. — Sue and Steve Francis 2008 DUFF Representatives.”

Gillespie Wins McNamara Award

In the wake of  Swancon 2008, the Australian National SF Convention,  Bruce Gillespie writes, “You might be interested that I won at the weekend Australia‘s other ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ (that is, other than the A. Bertram Chandler Award, which is usually for people who were part of Australian SF before the 1980s). It’s the Peter McNamara Award, named in honour of publisher, entrepreneur (the Aurealis Awards) and general good person Peter McNamara, who died of a brain tumour only a year after John Foyster. I haven’t actually seen a copy of whatever was said at the weekend, but here’s the message I prepared in advance to answer it:

“Robin Johnson accepted the Big Heart Award in Japan last year, he said that he was ‘gobsmacked’ to win, and nobody understood the word. If I say I’m gobsmacked at receiving the Peter MacNamara Award this year, you’ll know what I mean. And even that’s an understatement. Not only am I honoured to receive an award in the name of Mac, the most congenial, hardworking bloke in Australian SF in the last 25 years, but I’m very much honoured by the distinguished company I’m now keeping. Thanks very much to this year’s judging panel, and everybody in the Australian SF community.

“I’ve rarely made any money out of my interest in SF and publishing, but I can claim to have been around a long time. I published my first magazine at school at the age of 14, before I had heard of fandom. When in 1963 I heard about these little magazines called fanzines, in which I could publish whatever I wanted, I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My thanks to all the people who have helped me since January 1969, when SF Commentary first appeared. Thanks to John Bangsund, Lee Harding, John Foyster and George Turner, my  original mentors, the many people who have contributed reviews, articles and letters since then, and in recent years, the amazing people, such as Thomas Bull and David Lake, who have kept alive my magazines through their financial contributions. Thanks also to my international co-editors of Steam Engine Time, Paul Kincaid and Maureen Kincaid Speller for the first few issues, and Jan Stinson recently. Thanks also to Carey Handfield and Rob Gerrand, my partners in Norstrilia Press, which blazed the trail from 1975 to 1985 for Aphelion Books and the many small-scale publishers that came after. And thanks most of all to Elaine, my wife, who has put up with all this publishing for the last thirty years.”