My DUFF credentials – a history of Paula in fandom

As the countdown gets closer to the cutoff for DUFF voting, I thought I would write a little bit about my DUFF credentials for those of you DUFF voters who may not know me.

For most of my life I have been a fan of fantasy and science fiction but the reason I joined the MSFC was purely financial (I wanted the 10% discount offered at Sybers Secondhand Books that they gave all MSFC members)

After a year of being a member but not actually attending the club I thought it was time to check out what I had been missing.  (All this was back in 1994 so it was late ’95 before I officially moved into the fandom world)  I discovered this wonderful thing, a group of like minded people who loved the books I loved, who were not ashamed of being science fiction fans, in fact people who loudly and proudly proclaimed their love to anyone who would listen.  Having grown up in the eighties and attended a Catholic School where obsession to anything remotely fantastic was frowned upon, this was a new thing for me.

Over the next few years, I immersed myself in the happenings of the club.  After spending a year overseas I came back to find out that most of the people I knew were involved in the planning of the 1999 Worldcon, Aussiecon 3.  I had never been to a convention before so I didn’t know what to expect.  My very good friend Michael Jordan asked me if I would help him organise the Hugo Award Ceremony.  Having read science fiction all these years I certainly had heard of the Hugos so I was extremely honoured to be involved.

The ceremony was a complete success and I could enjoy the rest of the convention.  I think starting your convention going life with a Worldcon is something special.  After that I began to get more involved with the organisation of the MSFC, being on committee for a couple of years and then being on the organising committee of Convergence, the 2002 Natcon.  After many years of convention going and volunteering, the 4th Aussiecon was approaching.  I helped out the very competent Steve Francis with organising the dealers room and I believe the convention was enjoyed by everyone who attended.

I hope to win DUFF as I have never attended a Worldcon overseas.  If the specialness of the Aussiecons is any example of the experience that it will be then I can imagine what an American convention will be like.  Cross fingers that I will see you all there.

Paula

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

I mentioned in my last post that ‘The Last Werewolf’ was going to be the next book I was reading.  As my previous review was for a teen werewolf romance Juliet Marillier commented that readers should be aware that this book is definitely not for teens.  All I can say is boy was she right!

At first I did not like this book.  I couldn’t work out what it was I didn’t like.  It was well written, although, again, another first person point of view (which in a recent writing workshop I was told never to write in as it doesn’t sell).  It was intriguing, with a rich mythology and a cast of interesting characters.  It was bittersweet, the death knell of the last of his species, the culmination of 200 years of monsterhood.  But finally I worked out why I was having trouble liking it, it was written for adults.

For the last few months I have been reading a lot of YA fiction.  Whether it be supernatural romance or high fantasy, it seems most of the fantasy fiction being released at the moment is aimed at the YA audience.  There is nothing wrong with that and in fact a lot of what I read was incredibly good and some of them are favourites of mine but there is something about a book written for adults.  The no holds barred approach to morality and the adult concepts are certainly missing from YA fiction.  After I realised that what I was reading wasn’t making any presumptions about me, about needing to put issues in the book, about worrying whether a school library is going to purchase it, the result is quite freeing.

Again, a warning, the content of this book is not YA.  It is a dark relentless, ride of a book, with no care whether you like the protagonist or not.  It is written diary style, with the protagonist Jake Marlowe learning that he is the last werewolf.  He has lived for 200 years and has had enough.  He learns that WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena) is gunning for him, and he is quite okay with that, thinking that it was time to die.  He decides to let them kill him, but his nemesis, Grainer, wants him to put up a fight so puts various obstacles in his way to make the final showdown a fight to the death.

The book starts off a little slow but after a few chapters the action hots up and things start moving quickly.  I can recommend this only to adults.  There is strong language, dark themes and high level sex scenes.  Just the thing for a night in!