Now that “The Headstone and the Hammerstone Kings” ( aka The Story That Almost Wasn’t) has been finalised and sent up the wire for the Sabbat Worlds Crusade anthology, I’m feeling slightly less devoured and have been able to turn my nights to some other things for a while, like thinking about how I really ought to blog something again.  I’ve got a few topics saved up, but here’s a nice and worthy one to mark the fiftieth Nocturnalist post with.

The excellent Cat Sparks, author, photographer, editor and publisher*, is running a campaign to get Canadian author Peter Watts to this year’s Worldcon which will be held in Melbourne in September by crowdsourcing the money for his fare.  This is a show of support for a writer who’s had a bad run this year – for those of you who don’t know the story here’s the nutshell version from Cat’s blog.

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 Tor.com

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 am raising money for his airfare and accommodation via tuckerisation 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 participating in Dudcon where he will hand out the Ditmars and generally partake of other silliness as required.

To have a chance of being tuckerised in State of Grace send AUS $10 via Paypal to watts2aussiecon@gmail.com

Email me privately if you’d prefer to participate via some other medium: cat at catsparks.net

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!

This has evolved slightly since then, owing to certain strings that attach to the use of the word “raffle” (to do with Paypal and what they define as online gambling, apparently).  So it’s now a straightout donation drive, although Peter will be presented with the names of the donors and may, completely of his own volition, choose to tuckerise some randomly-determined donors.

There are now other raffle prizes items that may or may not be posted to a randomly-selected donor to the drive, including hand-beaded sea-creatures made by Vonda McIntyre and signed hardbacks from Ticonderoga.  Check them out at Cat’s latest blog post here.

More posts along soon, including steampunk, roller derby, Enforcer signing dates and some reviews.

*But not table-tennis goddess, no matter what she might tell you to the contrary.

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