2014: Danny Danger Oz

A. Bertram Chandler Award 2014 presented to Danny Danger Oz

In the beginning…

Danny Oz (in front of the blackboard on the right) at a Continuum Panel
Co-chairs Rachel Holkner and Paul Poulson face Continuum Foundation convener Danny Oz at the Continuum 5 (2009) opening ceremony. Seated are the Guests of Honour, Narelle Harris and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

Danny was born in 1968. Early on he was Danny Heap, but many years later in 2003, after much thought and taking account of events in his life, he decided to change his name to Danny Danger Oz.

Yes Danger really is his middle name. He is married, has two children, is a stay-at-home Dad and helps care for his sick mother. He has worked as Santa Claus, has dressed as the Easter bunny and given out Easter eggs at various Easter conventions.

He came to love science fiction, fantasy and horror stories as a child. Being especially interested in Doctor Who, he joined the Doctor Who Club of Victoria in the early 1980s. He joined the Melbourne Science Fiction Club at age 14 in 1982 and has been a member since. He started the fund-raising trivia quiz nights on the first Friday of each month, which continue to help the club keep going.

In those halcyon days of youth, Danny co-edited the Get Stuffed fanzine with MSFC stalwart and long-serving librarian James ‘Jocko’ Allen, under the pseudonym ‘Jacob Blake’.

He attended Syncon ’83, the 22nd Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Sydney (June 1983) disguised as his fictional alter ego Jacob Blake, complete with an artificial leg to demonstrate to Sydneysiders just how eccentric are Melbourne science fiction fans.

Services to the Western Australian science fiction community as Danny Heap

In 1989, with Jocko and Hugo Award-winning fan artist, the late, great, Ian Gunn (1958–1998), Danny drove across Australia to his first Swancon, which was Swancon 14, the 28th Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Perth (March 1989). There he was presented with the ‘Best Fanzine’ Ditmar Award, for his fanzine Get Stuffed.

In myriad ways Danny has made enormous contributions to the Western Australian science fiction community. He has been to most, but not all, Swancons, since 1989, also attending other Western Australian science fiction conventions such as GenghisCons (which are student-priced conventions filled with games, panels, discussions, and workshops covering science fiction, fantasy, role-playing and board games, held in January each year to cater for bored street kids and other people with no money, principally to ensure they are well fed in body and mind).

Although he was not always the prime mover in GenghisCon activities, the inspiration and enthusiasm his efforts have engendered among local SF fans are evidence that Danny has indeed a heart of gold. He usually drives to and fro across Australia, although he has also travelled by train and airplane.

In 1989 he co-chaired Conjunction 1 with Beky Tully-Gibbens and, in 1992, chaired Conjunction 3, both being Melbourne regional conventions. In 1994 he was Fan Guest of Honour at Swancon 19.

In 2000, at Swancon 25/Natcon 39, he won the ‘Best Fan Production’ Ditmar Award for producing the Opening Ceremony video for Aussiecon 3 (57th Worldcon in Melbourne in 1999). He and Sydney artist and Archibald Prize finalist Nick Stathopoulos were also jointly nominated for the same award for producing the Aussiecon 3 Masquerade Ceremony. It is not often that one manages to upstage oneself.

Services to the wider Australian science fiction community as Danny Danger Oz

In 2003, steeped in wisdom and administrative experience from his labours in the West, Danny took stock of events in his life and changed his name to Danny Danger Oz.

He founded the annual Continuum Melbourne convention series in 2003 and, in 2004, established the Continuum Foundation Incorporated (ConFound) not only to run Continuum conventions but also to provide the organisational framework for the ongoing training of convention committee members. That cadre of convention organisers is remarkably stable, with its members taking on different roles from one Continuum convention to the next. Each year, the most able and experienced member of the team is chosen to chair the next Continuum convention.

Danny Oz chaired both Continuum 1 in 2003 and Continuum 2 in 2004. He has been to most Continuums and usually moderates the panel that welcomes convention ‘newbies’, in addition to other panels and talks.

He edited a fanzine called Strangely Deformed Round Thing and co-edited with Aaron Jacks a fanzine called Aaron and Danny on the shonk.

Cover of 'Doctor Who Short Trips: Monsters'
Cover of 'Doctor Who Short Trips: Monsters'

In 2004 he co-wrote with Ian Mond the essay ‘Best Seller’ featuring the eighth Doctor Who and Charley in the anthology The Doctor Who Short Trips: Monsters edited by Ian Farrington. In the same year, he also co-wrote with Ian Mond ‘Of The Mermaid And Jupiter’ in the anthology Short Trips: Past Tense edited by Ian Farrington.

Danny moved to Canberra in 2006 where, on 1st April, he suffered a stroke caused by a Basilar migraine.

In 2006 he was Australian Guest of Honour at Renaissances/Swancon 31.

In 2007 he won the ‘Best Fan Writer’ Ditmar Award for his ‘Fandom Is My Life’ column in Ethel the Aardvark.

In 2008, at State of the Art/Swancon 47, Danny Oz was the recipient of the third Silver Swan Award for his contributions to science fiction in Western Australia. It is supposed to be given only to West Australians for exceptional merit, but Danny is an honoured exception.

At Continuum 5 in Melbourne in 2009, Danny presented ConFound’s inaugural Chronos Awards under rules formulated by fellow Canberra resident John Samuel. He also presented the Ian Gunn Memorial Award to Murray MacLachlan, for his work in revitalising the Melbourne Science Fiction Club. The trophy, incorporating a plastic spaceman, was designed by NSW artist Lewis P Morley.

At Continuum 8 in Melbourne in 2012, Danny presented ConFound’s inaugural Infinity Award to Mervyn Binns for lifetime service and beyond, hence the name Infinity Award. It is a special award in the form of an hour glass, given sparingly and reserved for significant achievement in science fiction.

Danny Oz is a science fiction fan who does things to make fandom better for all, and to invite more people in to enjoy it. His blog is at http://dalekboy.com/about/.

James ‘Jocko’ Allen, June 2014