I’m just coming out of a very busy – but delightful – fortnight where I was a guest at Supanova Gold Coast and Melbourne. It’s good to see this popular culture extravaganzas having a healthy reading and writing stream (thanks to Ineke Prochazka) with so many fans flocking to chat with authors and have books signed. For me, it’s a chance to catch up with people I’ve known a long time, like Isobelle Carmody or David Cornish, but also to meet people I’ve known about for ages, like Jim Butcher. We do panels together, we chat between sessions, we share seats on the bus – it’s a very convivial time in a world of books, reading and writing, which is one of the many reasons I have the best job in the world. At least, for me it is.
Even though Supanova (and the other similar festivals/conventions/hootenannys) have their celebrities, guests and megastars, the days really belong to the fans who come along in stonkingly great numbers. Tens of thousands of them roll up in their finery and have a couple of days of sensory overload.
While there, I get to see many, many, many of these fans as they stroll past the author area. I’m always impressed by the effort that many put into their costumes. Many hours of dedication is needed to achieve the perfection that they attain, and their reward is the approbation of their peers.
Ulimately, these festivals are a celebration of enthusiasm. In a world where showing too much passion is considered uncool, Supanova is a haven where is fine to squeal with excitement if you happen to see someone/something/a costume that you’re really keen about. There’s a marvellous air of camaraderie in these vast arenas. Everyone has come along with the express purpose of having good, harmless fun. The people who walk through the doors immediately understand that they are among thousands of like minds, which can be an uplifting experience.
Mainstream media – never a bastion of thoughtful consideration – usually covers these events with the condescending ‘geeks at play’ sort of angle, subtly denigrating the knowing spirit of playfulness that is very much part of these gatherings. Without trumpeting, these days go about celebrating diversity, tolerance and acceptance in practical and generous ways. Everyone is welcome to highlight their enthusiasms – and they’re bound to find someone else who will share it.
I’ve put together a few photos that might give some idea of the joy and fun of Supanova.