Who knows how long NZ's blessedly virus-free status will last? The borders remain closed to all but returning citizens and permanent residents, who must complete a 14-day mandatory quarantine under Ministry of Health supervision. Yet one slip-up in quarantine procedures could lead to a disastrous new outbreak like the one Australia is currently struggling to contain. I'm glad the NZ government has a plan for how they'll stamp out new flare-ups (hooray for competent leadership!), but as Kiwis get complacent and testing rates fall, I worry NZ won't be able to detect viral spread before it snowballs.
I can't control the future, but I can seize the day while it's here. We've been exploring and enjoying as much as we can. The first 3-day weekend after lockdown ended, we headed down to the Catlins, an area on NZ's wild and rugged southern coast full of gorgeous waterfalls and sea cliffs and wildlife.
|Abel Tasman NP (I can never get over the color of the water!)|
|Split Apple Rock|
I'm interested to see how well ConZealand will work as a virtual convention. I know the conrunners have put a ton of work into making it happen, and I know from friends who attended the SFWA Nebula con that online cons can still be a really fun experience. So, I'm excited to try it out, and if you too are attending, I hope to see you there! Here's my schedule:
Panel: Can Living in a Small Space on Earth Prepare You for Living in Space?
29 Jul 2020, Wednesday 16:00 - 16:50 New Zealand Time, Programme Room 3
Could you live in a self-contained space that must supply food, water, and protection from a hostile environment for days and weeks at a time? Some people have done this on sea, others on land. Can these experiences help us survive in space or on another planet? How can off-earth living spaces be engineered based on what we learn from building and living in small spaces here?
Katrina Archer (M), M. Darusha Wehm, Courtney Schafer, David D. Levine
Panel: Juggling for Writers: Making Progress When You've Got a Million Responsibilities
30 Jul 2020, Thursday 16:00 - 16:50 New Zealand Time, Programme Room 4
In addition to writing, many authors work a day job and/or have child or elder care responsibilities. Tips and tricks from people who have been there, and are there, on balancing multiple roles and finding your balance.
(Note: I'm moderating this one, and boy am I interested in hearing what the panelists have to say, since this is definitely something I've struggled with in the last years!)
Erin Wilcox, Jen Zink, Courtney Schafer (M), Holly Black, Sam Hawke
Panel: Access to Space
31 Jul 2020, Friday 16:00 - 16:50 New Zealand Time, Programme Room 1
It's hard to go into space ... but it's getting easier. With reusable boosters, increasingly capable robots, better space suits and now the first steps toward asteroid mining, is the tomorrow of yesterday's sf finally just around the corner?
Courtney Schafer, Bill Higgins, Dr. L. Suzanne Casement (M), Dave Taylor, Dr Stephen Dedman
Meetup: SpecFicNZ Get to Know Us
31 Jul 2020, Friday 19:00-19:50 New Zealand Time
Are you a Kiwi or Pasifika writer interested in meeting other SFF writers from the region? SpecFicNZ is the association for creators, writers and editors of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror) in or from New Zealand. If you're not yet a member, come find out what resources and opportunities we have to offer. If you're already a member, come hang out with friends both old and new.
Reading: Courtney Schafer
2 Aug 2020, Sunday 11:00 - 11:25 New Zealand Time, Reading Room 1
If you've been wondering what the heck I've been up to writing-wise these last few years, now's your chance to find out. I plan to read a short bit from The White Serpent (the Cara novella) and another short bit from my brand-new fantasy novel, The Dreaming Sea.
Anyway, hope to see some of you next week at CoNZealand, and if you want to do some virtual travel by looking at more pics of our NZ adventures, I've been posting some on Twitter.