Help Boost Aussiecon 4’s Wattage

Undead Backbrain wants to help Canadian author Peter Watts get to this year’s World SF convention!

Why? Read on.

Peter Watts has written some of the best hardcore science fiction available today. On reading his first Rifters novel, Starfish, I became an instant admirer, blown away not simply by the detailed and convincing tech and the compelling story, but by his ability to integrate real science into his fiction without turning the prose to stodge and while allowing vivid characterisation to drive the narrative. His work is dark, technological and grim, yet it is also profoundly humanistic, and thus ultimately a source of light and hope. It is smart and original, rather like the man himself.

As a example, check out Peter’s brilliant take on John Carpenter’s classic SF monster flick, The Thing — entitled “The Things” — a re-telling of the story written from the point-of-view of the alien itself. Unbelievable! It’s available on Clarkesworld here.

Apart from anything else, Starfish and its sequels would make a great movie franchise in their own right. Are you listening, Hollywood? Critics often comment on all the unimaginative SF remakes and sequels that are hitting our cinema screens these days. Why not consider these books for something both new and thrilling?


But I digress.

As you may or may not know, Peter Watts recently found himself at the receiving end of an example of law-enforcement gone berserk. After being bashed by US border guards and spending a fearful six months dealing with the US justice system, Peter was cleared of most charges but found guilty of failing to comply with an order quickly enough — despite the fact that almost everyone concerned considered him the victim in the affair. It’s a scary story for those of us who consider ourselves decent folk who, like Watts, deserve to be protected, not victimised, by our respective governments’ representatives.

The experience drained Peter emotionally and financially. My partner, Australian writer Cat Sparks, wants to help him get to Australia for this year’s World SF Convention, Aussiecon 4, which is being held in Melbourne in September — especially as his story “The Island” has been nominated for a Hugo. I’m certainly right behind her endeavour, for Peter’s sake and my own — hey, I’d love to meet the guy. So listen up and if you’d like to help as well, you’ll learn how you can do so.

Cat writes:

Many of you will be familiar with this story already but for anyone who isn’t:

Last year Canadian marine biologist and science fiction writer Dr Peter Watts underwent a terrifying ordeal at the hands of over zealous border crossing guards in Port Huron, USA. While leaving the United States on December 8, 2009, he was subject to an exit search, then beaten, maced and arrested when he tried to find out what was going on.

A full account of the incident and what was to follow is up on

Or hear him interviewed about his experience, podcast at Starship Sofa.

Even though all he did was fail to promptly comply with border guards’ instructions, he narrowly escaped a prison sentence and is now officially a convicted felon and therefore no longer able to attend US conventions.

Peter’s short story ‘The Island’ from The New Space Opera 2, edited by Gardner Dozois and our own Jonathan Strahan, has been nominated for a Hugo award. What with Worldcon being on Aussie soil in September this year, I thought it would be a good thing if he could fly out here for both the Hugos and Aussiecon itself.

To that end, with Peter’s permission, I’m conducting a raffle to raise money for his airfare and accommodation. First prize is tuckerisation [inclusion of your name] in his next novel State of Grace. Peter says:

“make sure that all entrants realize that their namesakes will most likely come to a really painful and unpleasant end. And they may not be especially cuddly as characters before then…”

The Aussiecon committee has very kindly donated Peter’s membership. The rest is up to us. If you think the guy deserves a break, how about taking part in the raffle or making a donation?

I’ve never met Peter face-to-face but we’ve been email buddies since I sent him a gushing fan letter after reading his first novel Starfish some years back.

He is well-known as an excellent-value panelist and would be a fantastic asset to the ‘hard science fiction’ end of the Con’s literary stream. He has also consented to participate in Dudcon where he will hand out the Ditmars and generally partake of other silliness as required.

To participate in the State of Grace tuckerisation raffle send AUS $10 via Paypal to

Email me privately if you’d prefer to buy a ticket via some other medium: cat [at]

If you’re not into tuckerisation but would like to sling a few bucks into the pot, that’s awesome, too.

Any funds raised surplus to requirements will be donated to a reputable charity of Peter’s choice.

Feel free to re-post this message on your own blog if you consider this to be a worthy project.

Thank you!

Source: catsparx Livejournal site

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1 Response to Help Boost Aussiecon 4’s Wattage

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