Worldcon - the world SF convention


This particular Worldcon is called Loncon3 as it's the third one to be held in London. On the morning before I went I put a photo of my Star Wars T-shirt on Facebook and commented how it would make me fit in. Not that I needed to fit in. I saw:
  • a large green cat like figure
  • several top hats, some with brass goggles
  • several Terry Pratchett hats
  • a spoon headdress (worn by a space scientist)
  • a Tardis dress
  • a dragon on someone's shoulder
  • just the one fez
The breadth of the programme is amazing. It runs from Thursday to Monday. There are 600 items which means at any given time there are about ten things to choose from. All sorts of types of SF are represented: literary, film, graphic, TV, young adult, music and science too. 

As well as all those items there was an art show, dealers stalls, a games tent, a library and a fan area. What I was looking forward to was seeing some authors I've read or certainly heard of, in the flesh. Like a twitcher I ticked off Cory Doctorow, Kim Stanley Robinson, Paul McAuley, Alastair Reynolds and Chris Foss, the artist. The list of people who I've heard of, or read books by, but didn't see in person, was longer. Headed by Charlie Stross, it included George RR Martin, Brian Aldiss, Ben Bova, Lauren Beukes etc. etc.


One popular format on the programme is the panel. One moderator, four other people, usually authors, and a question to consider. I went to one on ideas vs. story, one looking at Elysium and Gravity, and other space films, and one on that age-old question "what is SF". Or to be more accurate:
SF as a genre is both loaded and contested, bringing with it decades of controversies, assumptions, prejudices, and possibilities. What do the genre's various practitioners and consumers think SF is? Are we speaking the same language, or talking past each other? How do perceptions of SF - in terms of who can write it, who can consume it, and what kinds of stories can find a market - create or reinforce realities? Is 'core' SF still about space exploration and colonisation, or is there room for other types of stories? If SF is 'dying', as we're frequently told, what does that mean and in whose interests are the preparations for its funeral?
Some people who are more fannish than me are probably bored of the question, but I found it interesting.

Moderating a panel is a skill and those that I saw did it well, though there was one famous author who seemed to take over the questioning. There was also a Q&A with Chris Foss, the artist. I enjoyed it, but at the end I thought that he does do quite a lot of spaceships. When a van passes me with diagonal stripes on the back I'm now thinking of him. The art exhibition showed just what a vast breadth of SF&F artists there are.

There was a really good writeup in The Guardian and a picture gallery. I saw the Waggott family in that first picture and a couple of the other people there myself. I went on a Friday. On the Saturday they had the costume show - Masquerade - so there were probably many more people in costume around the place.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Cardboard seven inch tablet stand

My desert island disks