Gutterbreed is released in two days as I write this. June 21 is the big day, when Skinner Reynolds is unleashed upon the world, and I have pre-release jitters. I hate releasing books because once it’s out there, people can say what they want about it, and you as the writer just needs to suck it up. But I’m proud of the book, so that’s all that matters. Good luck, wee book! Go get ’em!

Anyway, I posted recently on Facebook about the idea of organising an Australian Horror Con, and there was a lot of positive feedback about it. I’ve wanted to do something big for a while, but that ‘something big’ has only existed as a nebulous idea before now. An ill-defined shape that was driving me slowly bonkers, and keeping me from sleeping.

But now… Ohhhh boy, now I have a plan… And it’s a big one, all right. An annual Australian Horror Con… Reckon we can do this?

Oz Horror Con 2021? Hell yeah!

We have a couple of spec-fic cons each year in Australia: Continuum, Conflux, and Swancon being the big three (there are, of course, Comic-Con and Supanova, but they’re slightly different kettles of fish).

The big three are great cons that have been going for years, although Swancon is the smaller of the three, no doubt because it’s based in Perth, which is a bloody long way from anywhere (I live in Perth so I know this intimately).

And while these cons have horror aspects (and on rare occasions, a horror theme, or even a horror stream of panels), there has been no dedicated horror con in Australia since the one and only Oz Horror Con in January 2013. That was organised by Steve Dillon, a hard working fella if ever there was one. And by all accounts, the con was a big hit.

Oz Horror Con had a wide variety of exhibitors too, including make-up artists, gothic/cosplay costumes and accessories, clothes, jewellery, signed books, graphic novels and comics, original artwork, DVDs, psychics, paranormal investigators, photographers, tattoo artists, and all types of performers. There were also free movie screenings. And all of that is what I envision for 2021.

Chatting to Steve recently, he was all for us keeping the name Oz Horror Con (although unfortunately, someone else owns that domain now), and suggested teaming up in some way with Monsterfest, which is a cool idea. I definitely want the Oz film industry involved, so that’s one area to explore.

There was also a suggestion that this con could become the home for the AHWA’s Australian Shadows awards, which I love. Could have a big ceremony each year to announce the winners, no doubt followed by a big party. And I’d also hope the AHWA would run writing panels.

Another idea I had was that each year, the con sponsors or organizes or something (all of these ideas are still very much in their infancy) a big project – no idea what, or how, but yeah. Something more than just an anthology. Something cool and exciting and different.

Cos that’s the thing: I want this to be a forward-thinking kind of con, utilizing digital technology (ie, video interviews with those who couldn’t travel over, or a behind the scenes live video tour on set of some movie somewhere etc). Things like that. Make it a full experience, not just a set of panels and a neat fancy dress dinner trapped in Australia.

Use it as a way to push the horror genre. To create ideas and grow.

I am a dreamer though – but I’m already pretty excited about the possibilities. We’ll see how we go, but for now I will at least begin chatting to those who have already offered to help.

And if anyone else is keen, in one way or another, let me know at martyyoung2002 [@]! I suspect we’re gonna need all the help we can get!

Fancy more of my mad ramblings?

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