The Best of Conrunner is a distillation of the articles written by myself and others concerning the nuts and bolts of running science fiction conventions. It has been produced, believe it or not, because of public demand. Just who that public is I cannot be sure. Does it consist of those brave souls about to embark on their first convention? Or is it the more experienced convention organisers, looking for new ideas or different approaches to problems? All I know is that at conventions I keep being asked for back issues of Conrunner, the fanzine for convention organisers. Now that issues 1-3 are out of print it seems a good time to consolidate what has already been published. Here it is.
When the first edition of Conrunner was distributed at Novacon in November 1984 I wasn't sure who to give it to. Should I give it to people I knew to be involved in running conventions, or would they know it all already? If I offered it in exchange for other fanzines would the "fanzine fans" be interested? In the end I simply handed out the 100 copies to anyone who was nearby! I didn't expect much response, as I am well aware that those involved in running conventions rarely have time to spend writing letters of comment to fanzines. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of letters I received, but disappointed that most of them simply said how glad they were that someone was producing such a useful publication! However, enough articles arrived for Conrunner 2 to appear for Easter 1985. Since then there have been a further four issues and I have a good selection of articles ready for Conrunner 7. All this and running a Worldcon too!
Any articles that are not credited are written by me. I went to my first convention in Glasgow in September 1980 and four weeks later was asked to join the committee of the next one. Since then I have been involved in most aspects of running Glasgow conventions - first called Faircons, now Albacons. Until I was invited to join the steering committee of Conspiracy '87 my experience was limited to these annual Glasgow conventions. So I cannot claim to have wide experience of running different types of conventions - Albacons are heavily programmed conventions designed to cater for every aspect of science fiction and aim to attract newcomers as much as experienced fans. What organising Albacons has given me is the opportunity to try out new ideas and see if they work, refine them for the following year, then try them again until they work. Therefore, my articles draw heavily on Albacons for examples because that is what I have experience of and because I know what has actually worked and what hasn't. In other words, they are not articles on the theory of running conventions, but on the practise. As the Central Hotel has ben the venue for 8 conventions so far the management are used to catering for the peculiar demands we place on them and have been extremely co-operative in providing the drink consumption figures given in the Appendix which other committees have found useful when talking to other hotels. I hope you find all the articles interesting, possibly even stimulating. Please feel free to disagree with anything you read, just so long as you write it all down and send it to me for future publication!
Most of the articles in this publication are revised and updated versions of pieces that appeared in the first six Conrunners. I would like to thank Jim Barker for the illustrations, Roger Robinson and Beccon Publications for publishing this booklet, and, of course, all of the contributors for sharing their knowledge and experience with us.
I look forward to learning more from them and you in the future about that most exciting, exasperating and rewarding hobby - Conrunning.