This is just a taste of what we hope to bring you at Continuum 13. So as not to overwhelm, we’ll be updating the list with new panels every month, make sure to keep checking back!



The Art and Science of Publishing

Indie, small press or the big four? How do you choose? How do you succeed? What happens if you fail?

The Belt and Beyond: Exploring The Expanse

It’s a working class view of the colonisation of the solar system, it’s Raymond Chandler in space, it’s a bestselling series of novels and now a successful TV adaptation. Let’s talk Mars, marines, Belter lingo and women in refrigerators and not whitewashing the characters.

Boxed In

People are often tagged with labels as a shorthand to identity. The problem is, this can reduced people who are labelled to the expectations and assumptions about that label, when the reality is that a label is only part of an identity. We’re looking for people to discuss the labels that books and movies use, how they affect the people who are identified by them, and how it’s possible to move past the shorthand and see a more interesting story.


When fiction deals with climate change, is that science fiction? Or just realism? Talk about the classics, the tropes, the cliches and the politics of climate change in fiction!

Comfort Reading/Watching

What books, movies and tv shows do you return to again and again, and why?


The DC TV universe is self-contained and completely different in tone and style to that of the movies. Does this make it harder or easier for new fans to jump into the comics? Which series is best, and which do we want to see improve? What’s the crossover event of our dreams?

Experts v Everymen

Against the rise of the Ordinary Hero, we present recent fictional characters who are qualified for the job at hand and experienced in their field. Who are the new experts and how do they differ from the old? What challenges do they face in the current climate?

Fae in the City

Does the Unseelie Court run on espresso? What happens when a hipster eats the food in fairyland? The rural tradition of the fae collides with contemporary urban sprawl. Shenanigans — and a hugely successful urban fantasy subgenre — ensue.

Fantasy Food

You can eat a Gobstopper and wash it down with Soylent Green — sometimes the food and drink of speculative fiction becomes real. How do fans develop recipes for foods that don’t exist?

The Faster Than Light Barrier

How can realistic SF deal with this immutable physical law in a way that doesn’t involve magic “Hyperjumps” or other kludge devices? Anyone want to talk about the technologies and energy expenditure required to travel even even short interstellar distances?

Genre Conventions: prison bars or artist’s scaffold?

There’s a longstanding tension between “literary fiction” and “speculative fiction”. How do genre styles and tropes assist authors, and how do they hold them back? Is the whole Lit v SF division entirely artificial? (Spoilers, yes. Maybe? Probably? This is why we need panellists!)

Hey, where’s my space age future?

Science fiction, rather than creating amazing new assistive technologies, tends to erase disability by cure. But this means disabled people are never represented or have a place in the future. We discuss the impact of that, disability in science fiction and how sci fi can imagine a better future for people with disabilities.

Humans are Special

“Humans,” says the alien with the bumpy forehead, “humans are special. They can build alliances across diverse cultures! They’re problem solvers! They invented souvlaki! No one in the galaxy is like humanity!” Sure, or maybe that’s just lazy worldbuilding. Haven’t we moved past this kind of storytelling?

In Defence Of…

Here’s the format: the moderator calls on the audience to suggest widely derided media, and the panel has to defend it. We need panelists who are familiar with a wide range of media, and who can come up with plausible-sounding reasons why a pig’s ear is in fact a silk purse.

In Parallel

Parallel universes: many-worlds, alternative timelines, the one where everyone’s evil and has a goatee. What are the best? The smartest? Does anyone have really strong feelings about Sliders?

Keyholes and Secret Doors

Do you really have to outgrow a fantasy world? Let’s talk about the obsession with childhood and innocence in portal fantasies, and keeping your magic into adulthood.

The Magic of Cats

From ancient Egypt to witches’ familiars to Catwoman, felines have always had a significant place in our mythology. It’s not a question of if cats are magic, it’s just how powerful they are. Although the venue will not allow pets, cat pictures are welcome.

Panels and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged… Don your regency gown and fetch a dish of tea while we talk Jane Austen’s works and fandom, and her influence on speculative fiction.

Podcasting Killed The Radio Star

Does podcasting offer writers new outlets for audio stories not offered by traditional mass broadcasting, or is it too fragmented and disorganised to be successful in this space? Which speculative podcasts are most successful, and does success match up to quality?

Pokemon Going

The battery-eating smartphone sensation of 2016 … now in panel form! If you have stories, tips, hilarious or terrible experiences, thoughts on the future of augmented reality games, or strong opinions about Magikarp, volunteer for this one!

The Problem of Susan

At the end of The Last Battle, we are told that Susan is “no longer a friend of Narnia”. The ensuing decades have seen debate, rebuttals and even fiction about the place of adults — and adult women — in Narnia.


It’s Archie Comics … but with a Twin Peaks twist and a dash of Gossip Girl. Sacrilege? Or the best comics adaptation on TV right now?

Secondary worlds in Weird Fiction

While much weird fiction takes place in our world, secondary worlds hold a large and memorable place in the canon of the Weird. What differentiates this work from dark and epic fantasy? We talk Bas Lag, Ambergris, Gormenghast and all the tentacles you can take.

Subscriber Blues  

Outlets like Patreon and Twitch are great ways for creators to be paid regularly for their work. But with so many, as a fan there’s a financial limit to the number you can give to. How do you choose which to subscribe to and how do you handle the guilt of not being able to support everything you love. Is it furthering the divide between low and high incomes by offering exclusive content for those who can pay? Will there be a saturation point or have we already reached it?

Supernatural Detectives

Why do detectives and the supernatural go together so well? What makes a great supernatural detective and how to write one.

Super Women

There are a lot of fantastic women creators and characters populating the current comic scene. Come discuss super women through the ages and who you should be reading now.

Twisted TV Tales

Classic TV series like The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents used surrealism and fantasy to shed light on contemporary issues. Now we have Black Mirror — will it be as influential as its predecessors? What does the future hold for the genre?


Some of the most interesting and successful modern science fiction is being written for teen audiences, but works for young readers are often overlooked by genre gatekeepers. As Worldcon prepares to introduce a new award for genre YA — separately to the Hugo Awards — we ask, why is that the case? And what are fans who don’t read YA missing out on?

Bogan Avenging Living Legends Squad 

We’re inundated with Superheroes, mostly American, but where are our Australian ones? Come create and debate a league of our own, including nemeses, and some uniquely Australian super powers.


Are all chosen ones by their nature Mary Sues? Do we care? How much does it suck to be a chosen one? Is the trope overplayed? You don’t have to be a humble peasant destined for greatness to sit on this panel, but it might help.

Cityscapes: fake cities, real cities, aspirational cities

Australian lit talks incessantly of death by landscape; Scandinavia brings us cold murders and the USA brings us the lie of the wild west. How does the construction of space impact our reading, our writing and

our worldviews? We want people to talk about design, urban infrastructure, feng shui, landscape paintings and speculative fiction.


With Coal Hill Academy sitting on the alien equivalent of the hellmouth, and the Doctor off running around the universe, can this group of misfits keep earth safe? Come discuss the new generation of Doctor Who spinoff and how they stack up to the rest.

Clone Club

Canada’s feminist biopunk drama is coming to an end. While Tatiana Maslany gets ready for a long stretch of playing one character at a time, we want to know your thoughts on its successes, failures, and where you think it will end.

Communicating with other lifeforms: starting with life on Earth

Never mind the aliens. Dolphins might have near-human intelligence, and octopi can use tools. How close are we to communication with animals, and how would society change if we achieved that? (Bonus points to any prospective panelists who can talk about seaQuest!)

Cosplay for Everyone

If you love cosplay, put your hand up for this panel, where we want to share tips on purchasing or making, screen replicas, gender swaps, everyday cosplay and more.

Fannish Legal Shenanigans

Would the Enterprise pass OH&S inspections? Should parents sue Hogwarts for child endangerment? Are unicorns on the protected species list? We’re looking for people to discuss the legalities often overlooked in SFF. Legal professionals and OHS officers are especially welcome to volunteer.

Filing the Serial Numbers Off

We’re looking for writers to to discuss turning your fan fiction into pro fiction.

Filk and Fan Music

Are you a filker? A wizard rock aficionado? A creator or consumer of extremely nerdy music? We would love to have you on this panel.

Forgotten and Overlooked Women of SFF

There is a rich and huge back catalog of SFF written by women but when best lists, history of the genre and influence are discussed they are left out in favour of their male counterparts. We’re looking for fans to talk about their favourite books and  importance of these oft neglected authors.

Horror in the 21st Century

Technology has advanced rapidly in the last decade, but what new horrors lurk within and how are writers, filmmakers and other creators using these new frontiers to scare us?

I Had Novels to Write So I Wrote Them

Come celebrate, discuss and explore Octavia Butler’s work and legacy.

It’s Okay to Quit

Sometimes we fall out of love with a series — but breaking up can be hard to do. How do we know when it’s time to move on? What happens if you’ve stayed too long?

Melbourne Urban Legends

Know all about the secret morgue at Crown Casino? The ghost of the Princess Theatre? Share some stories of the weird, inexplicable, creepy and just plain improbable legends of Melbourne.

Once Upon a Time…

Fairy tales were dark and not for children, they are being reclaimed with empowered female protaganists or being told from a different pov. What role do fairy tales have in 21st century and how have modern sensibilities changed, for good or ill, these enduring stories?

Put Your Damn Underwear On The Inside – Superhero Burnout

Superheroes are dominating the pop culture landscape, so what do you watch if you don’t like them? Join us to talk about all the great non superhero stuff out there.

Queering Space

From the unintentional subtext of classic Star Trek to the outright rejection of gender in Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch books, queer people have always been a part of space opera.

Safety Lights are for Dudes: Ghostbusters 2016

Sure, we could talk about the controversy (women? busting ghosts?! OUTRAGEOUS!) — or we could talk about the important things: will there be a sequel? Will Kevin ever figure out how a telephone works? Come on in and ruin a childhood!

Saving the Future with Science Fiction!

Could the new crop of sci-fi writers generate ideas for technological innovations or solutions to some of the world’s major problems, such as climate change?

Space Oddity: the Bowie panel

From Starman to a Goblin King, come talk about David Bowie’s love of and influence on SF.

Stealth Cosplay: nerdy nails, Disneybounding and more

Want to rep your Hogwarts House at work … without violating the dress code? Want to know what Disneybounding is? (Yes, you can google it if you want.)

Superstitious Writers

Truman Capote wouldn’t begin or complete a piece of writing on a Friday. Isabel Allende, however, always starts a new novel on the same date (January 8). Many more are the authors who will avoid speaking about works in progress lest they “Jinx” them, or adopt special procedures when sending in submissions. Come talk about yours!

Tabletop Renaissance

With tabletop gaming more popular than ever we’re looking for gamers discuss the current state of play, their favourite games and what new games to look out for.

Talking Books

We’re looking for people to discuss the current role of book blogging and BookTube in the publishing industry.

The Franchise that Lived

After a few years of dormancy, the world of Harry Potter is coming back to life. Did Cursed Child restore your fannishness to life? Or did you never leave Hogwarts? Was it Fantastic Beasts that finally made you a fan? Or do you wish it would just finally come to an end? Let us know!

The Legacy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Arguably the first true SF novel, we’re seeking panelists to talk about the influence of this seminal work and the recent resurgence of adaptations.

The Marvel Netflix Universe

Netflix shows us a much more diverse and grittier MU with reluctant heroes. Come chat all things Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil.

The Panels Men Don’t See

Thanks to the recent biography and Letters to Tiptree, iconic feminist SF writer James Tiptree Jr is back in the spotlight. We want panelists who can talk about her work, her influence and her place in the modern spec fic landscape.

The Problem of Susan

At the end of The Last Battle, we are told that Susan is “no longer a friend of Narnia”. The ensuing decades have seen debate, rebuttals and even fiction about the place of adults — and adult women — in Narnia.

The Upside Down

Stranger Things tapped into a deep love of 80s movies and nostalgia, we’re looking for fans to discuss the Duffer Brothers’ Netflix sensation and ponder what adventures season 2 will take us on.

To be continued…

Serialized fiction is making a comeback facilitated by modern technology like blogs and Wattpad, how does the reading experience change when you can only read so much of the story at a time and does it change the writing process?


The classic 1973 Hugo and Nebula nominated movie (based on the novel by Michael Crichton) has been turned into a stunning HBO series. What was great about the original, what’s changed and been modernised for the series and is this our future?

When spec fic becomes reality

Science fiction has been known to predict the future, for instance Octavia Butler wrote about a zealot who promised to “make America great again” in Parable of Talents, and how relevant Synners by Pat Cadigan is to current day. We’re seeking people to chat about books that are far less fictional now than they were when written.

Women in Star Wars

If you have strong opinions on Padme’s role in Revenge of the Sith and Leia’s slave costume in Return of the Jedi, or anything else to do with the female characters of the Star Wars universe, this is the panel for sharing them.