Cat Sparks is using her powers for good...

...and fighting evil. (Such a fabulous name could only belong to a true superhero. Moreover, it's actually her true, real, parent-given name. So she was BORN to be a superhero.) I'll let her tell you about it in her own words:
Many of you will be familiar with this story already but for anyone who isn’t:

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....

Note: this is not a photo of Cat Sparks

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’m conducting a raffle to raise money for his airfare and accommodation. First prize is 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 participate in the State of Grace tuckerisation raffle send AUS $10 via Paypal to watts2aussiecon@gmail.com

Email me privately if you’d prefer to buy a ticket 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!

There you have it. Repost, contribute, spread the word. I as an American am humiliated at Dr. Watts's treatment. Rather than tsk tsk-ing and being glad I'm living overseas, I'm attempting to counterbalance the actions of the evil few by contributing to the actions of the good many. And I am gratified that the good many are an international many. The more we can disempower the idea of nationalism, the less this sort of crap will happen to anyone.*

*You may spot the inconsistency: I decry nationalism and yet consider myself responsible on a nationalist level for the sins of my people. I figure it this way: I'd rather take responsibility for righting American wrongs than conveniently shirking this responsibility by saying nationalism doesn't matter. It does, and while it does, it can at least minimize its own evil works by also motivating people to step up to the plate (as we say amongst my people) and do something worthwhile.


At 8:22 PM, Blogger Flinthart said...

Laura: as another Yankee born - and one who also loathes nationalism and the concept of nations - I'm in a similar situation. But I've lived out of the US for so long that I really don't feel I have anything like a USAnian perspective; like most of the world, I simply don't understand how the US can function as it does.

But regardless of one's opinion of the concept of nations, they do exist, and they do create havoc. We owe it to ourselves and the rest of the human race to do what we can to bring them to heel, and try to offer some kind of sense as an alternative.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Houston Dunleavy said...

As one who grew up, for a while, caught between the guns of two different ideas of what a nation was supposed to be (and where both sides believed themselves to be nationalistic in one way or another) I can say, with great conviction, I'm heartily sick of it unless it involves sport or geography.

I remember, back in the days when I was an historian, that one of the major causes of World War One was always listed as being Nationalism (or, to put it in 19th century terms, imperialism).

Nuff said I reckon.


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