Welcome to CONRUNNER 10, the British convention runners' fanzine, from Ian Sorensen, 7 Woodside Walk, Hamilton, ML3 7HY. Telephone 0698 282288 or at work on 041 637 1071 (9am - 4pm). This edition published in November 1988.
PLEASE NOTE THE NEW ADDRESS!
|Follycon Staff Handbook||Mike Abbott|
|Thoughts on The Programme Problem||Steve Glover|
|Problems at Albacon||Alistair Reid|
|Who Runs Conventions?||James Steel|
|More Impressions: Follycon||M T Day|
You may be aware that there are plans afoot for a Scottish Eastercon bid for 1991. It is to be called SPECULATION. The aim of the bid is to restore the primacy of the Eastercon by making it the best, most interesting convention of the year. While smaller conventions can cater to special interests, the Eastercon should provide a programme with items of interest to all science fiction fans. The intention is to ensure that everyone will be stimulated by some programme item or other each day, with this hopefully leading to the programme becoming the main talking point in discussions over the weekend.
The intention is that the convention should be a showcase for the very best science fiction has to offer. Anyone who considers themself a science fiction fan (by their own definition) should be able to enjoy the weekend by both attending the programme and socialising. Every programme item will be the very best example of its kind, or be a novel item expected to appeal to a fairly large number of fans.
The initial hope was for an Edinburgh site, but the only suitable hotel is upgrading to 5 star and won't quote rates below £45 per person sharing a twin. So the bid is for the Hospitality Inn, Glasgow. One reason for choosing the Hospitality Inn is that it has more function space than the Central, and the Central is not really available for conventions: Albacon '87 and '88 had a lot of trouble with the management who have made it clear they do not want to continue hosting science fiction conventions as currently constituted. (They reckon they bring down the tone of the refurbished hotel).
The bid is being put together by myself in consultation with a widely distributed group of experienced conrunners, most from outside Scotland. Over 30 people have expressed interest in the idea, and an organising committee and a bid platform will be announced at Novacon. As far as is known, the rival bid "Penguin Days" announced at Follycon for the Liverpool Adelphi in 1991, has been called off.
The Conspiracy bankruptcy has been averted for the meanwhile as efforts are made to generate funds to pay off the last bills and post out the Souvenir Books to supporting members. I've been selling merchandise (mugs, T-shirts etc.) at conventions, as has Steve Lawson (and congratulations on your engagement Steve!). People have been kind enough to make donations as well as buy stuff but we still have a long way to go to generate the £4000+ required by December. Help from all quarters has enabled a charity auction to be planned for the 17th December at the Cafe Munchen in London. Items of artwork, rare books, manuscripts etc. have been donated and will make excellent Xmas presents for your loved ones! Details from Linda Pickersgill. If you wish to help bail out the Worldcon send your donation to Linda Pickersgill, 7A Lawrence Rd, London W5 4XJ (payable to Conspiracy) or if you only want to help post out the books send it to Mike Christie, Ty-Lyn, Llangorse, Powys, LD3 7UD (payable to Conspiracy Programme Book Fund).
The 1988 Worldcon in New Orleans was by all accounts a shambles. The programme director was sacked a month before the con when it was discovered he'd done nothing for two years and the replacements did their best to get a whole worldcon programme organised in 4 weeks. It was still being done during the convention - the only way of knowing what was happening was through the daily newsletter, and it often got it wrong! Still, people liked New Orleans (despite the constant rain) and it did make Conspiracy look good! The general level of disorganisation has prompted a number of American fans whose reports I've read to state that in future their main priority in assessing the suitability of a Worldcon bid will be the experience of those involved, and not the facilities, costs, location etc. which have dominated most bid discussions of recent years.
The Next British Worldcon
Following the presentation about the new Birmingham conference centre given by ICC representatives at Conscription a flier has been printed announcing the intention to hold a British Worldcon there in, possibly, 1994. Vince Docherty (26 Larch Close, Balham, London SW12 9SY) is the moving force behind it and has asked for those also interested to contact him. I must say the conference centre looked very good (and at a "don't quote me on this" price of £35,000 for five days it's cheap!) The main problem I foresee is not having large enough numbers of bed-spaces nearby. I would also say that what any serious worldcon bid needs is a suitable figurehead who is respected on both sides of the Atlantic and prepared to sell Britain hard. There are very few fans I can think of that would be suitable and I doubt if any of them would be interested! For all the abuse that has been heaped on Malcolm Edwards I believe that Conspiracy couldn't have happened without him - simply because he was well known on both sides of the Atlantic, had lots of contacts (both fannish and professional) and could discuss business in a businesslike manner. That is what is needed from any future bid. After getting a good "front-person" I think that the major part of any British bidding committee's work will be in convincing the Americans that we have learned from our organisational mistakes, and be able to prove it by putting out something like Noreascon's "Mad 3 Party" which gives positive indications of thought about the problems.
One of the beneficial outcomes of Nolacon has been a groundswell of support for the notion that a "Guide to Running the Worldcon" should be produced by those who know most about it for the enlightenment of those who know little. This would benefit European bids particularly as we simply don't have our hands on the con often enough to build up the corps the experienced people available to USA cons.
On the whole though, I still favour the idea proposed by Mike Molloy: if you want to run a big, big con just go ahead and run it - don't worry about WSFS or Eurocon bureaucracy: just plan well, sell hard and watch the fans sign up. All you need is nerve and as many experienced people as you can find.
Wolf had a camcorder at Conscription on which he recorded about 8 hours of discussions. He will make a copy of this material for anyone interested for the cost of the tape - £8 for standard VHS and £4 for long play version. You can contact him at his new address: 20 Lake St, Oxford OX14.
Is There Life After Albacon?
Albacon '88 was, for the present anyway, the last Albacon. There are currently two conventions planned in Glasgow for 1989 - Fantasia and Prefab Trout. Fantasia will be a media based convention run by a committee most of whom have contributed to Albacons in the past (mostly running the video rooms), but now want to have a go on their own. As yet they have not secured a hotel deal, but hope it will be in Glasgow in the summer of 1989.
Prefab Trout is described as a relaxed summer convention in the Autumn and will be held in the Bellahouston Swallow Hotel September 22-24, 1989. The committee of Lilian Edwards, Bruce Saville, Linda Toal and Malcolm Reid have all expressed great enthusiasm for the project, but have not yet agreed on what it will be about.....
Those of you not attending Contrivance for some reason or other might be interested in going to Elydore Too at the Shepperton Moat House Hotel on Saturday March 25 and Sunday 26th 1989. It is the sequel to the very successful Galacticon and Elydore with guests invited from comics, film, theatre, radio and TV as well as writers and artists. Not surprisingly, it is billed as a multi-media weekend! Attending £20 (£10 day). Information from Mr & Mrs Bougourd, "Bracknell", Grand Buet, St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands.
This edition of Conrunner is out ahead of material it was meant to contain: namely the transcript of the Conscription seminars. The transcribing has taken somewhat longer than anticipated so will appear as a separate publication. Meanwhile, Conrunner celebrates its 5th anniversary with issue 10. Coincidentally, Novacon is my 50th convention, so I'm sure someone out there will buy me, or Conrunner, a drink. My sincere thanks to all the people who have contributed articles and letters to this and all the previous editions. I expect it will soon be time to do another "Best of Conrunner" compilation and, who knows, by sending in an article now it might just get into that prestigious journal!
It's not often I indulge myself, but to fill up the space at the end of this page I'm going to list all the conventions I've been to (conventions in brackets were visited too briefly to really count!) Starting with Hitchercon in September 1980; Yorcon 2, Faircon 81, Unicon 2, Novacon 11, Channelcon, Faircon 82, Unicon 3, Silicon 82, Novacon 12, Racon, Albacon 2, Beccon 83, Invention, Novacon 13, Seacon 84, Mexicon 1, Albacon 84, Conquest, Silicon 84, (Galileocon 2), Novacon 14, (Santacon), Siliclone, Yorcon 3, Sol III, Albacon 85, Beccon 85, Lazlar Lyricon, Silicon 85, Novacon 15, Galileocon 3, Albacon 3, Mexicon 2, Monstercon, Fifteencon, Unicon 7, XIIcon, Novacon 16, Conception, Beccon 87, Rubicon 2, Sol III, Albacon 87, Conspiracy, Novacon 17, Clonespiracy, Follycon, Albacon 88, Conscription, (Decaid), Concert, Novacon 18.
Of them all, I reckon the best one (for all sorts of reasons) was Clonespiracy, followed by Unicon 2 and Fifteencon.
I wonder if I'll ever reach 100? I expect I'll have lost count long before then.