After a 4am wakeup and 6am flight from Adelaide to Brisbane, and then checking into my hotel I turned up at GenCon Australia feeling rather tired. However, excited to be there, I soon explored all the trade showrooms to be amazed at the number of gaming stores still selling role-playing games in Australia, despite my impression that the genre had been dying in Australia. Talking to store owners I soon discovered that games like Dungeons & Dragons selll well, and games like Call of Cthulhu don't, although this is not the trend in the United States. There were some Call of Cthulhu products, mostly Ken Hite's Trail of Cthulhu line from Pelgrane Press, which has excellent production values. I couldn't find any of my books, including Chaosium's most recent release, Terrors from Beyond featuring my scenario "The Burning Stars". In fact there was almost no representation of Chaosium products at all.
I'll freely admit I haven't been to a gaming convention like this one before. What first struck me was the number of people dressed as characters from their favorite science fiction and fantasy movies and television shows. I saw the Tenth Doctor, Stormtroopers (with excellent production values on their costumes), a transformer, wizards, fairies, elves and a whole host of Anime characters I couldn't even begin to identify. Star Wars characters by far were the most popular costumes, and far less Star Trek than I would have expected.
There are some impressive looking computer games, but not being a computer gamer myself, I just watched others play them (my time on the computer is spent writing).
I met several of Australia's leading speculative fiction writers including Karen Miller, Marianne De Pierres, Kylie Chan, Rowena Cory-Daneils, Peter M. Ball and Warhammer 40K author Matt Farrer, who are amongst the nicest people you could meet. I'll say that the Australian speculative fiction community is very friendly and encouraging when you get to meet them face to face. We sat on several panels talking on the business of writing speculative fiction, and attendance was much higher than I had expected.