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CONRUNNER 12 - Editorial

Welcome to CONRUNNER 12 - the 5th anniversary edition of the fanzine devoted to issues affecting conventions and their organisers. It is available while stocks last to anyone who wants it. Issue edited and published November I989


Cover   Michael Molloy
Editorials This issue  
The Last Worldcon   Vince Docherty
Why Run a Worldcon?   Henry Balen
Revenge of the Techies   Pat Brown
in the Beginning Was the Word   Dave Langford
Return To Owens Park   Helen McCarthy

Conrunner 12 - What's in Store

A few days after Mexicon 3 I received the article by Dave Langford called "In the Beginning Was the Word". In it he analyses the SPECULATION flier which was distributed at Mexicon and finds a few minor faults in it - and a great many major ones. As you will read in his introduction, he believed that I was the author of the text. I am pleased to say that I was not responsible and give you a few clues as to who was at the end of it. I'll leave it up to you to seek out those who were and congratulate them on producing the inspiration for such an amusing, yet educational, article.

The last CONRUNNER was to have had an article on the preparations for the next British worldcon. but it wasn't available in time. In this edition there are two articles by members of the group setting up the bid and my analysis of the worldcon situation generally.

Much of the rest of this issue is taken up with Helen McCarthy's writing - first on UFOria 2 which was held at Manchester's Owens Park site this summer and secondly in a letter written earlier in the year in which she discusses, amongst other things. why people become conrunners. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank her for her many consistently interesting contributions to CONRUNNER She also provided typescripts that went through the text scanner I was using without a mistake, making my work so much easier Please, if you are sending a letter or an article, put a new ribbon in your printer.

Another person who has contributed to this fanzine many times is Mike Molloy. Yet again he has provided the cover illo - and yet again it's late! As I type this I haven't yet clapped eyes on it, despite asking him about it every week for three months. Still. it's usually worth the nail-biting wait. I had hoped to be able to scatter illos throughout CONRUNNER as I've now got the technology to do it but inspiration did not strike in time to commission any. However, if you have any cartoons or cartoon ideas that you think might be relevant I'd be very interested in them for the next issue.

Lastly, I have to thank my colleagues at my school who help get this out each time, especially Phil Speedwell who has all but mastered the Pagemaker programme to allow this to be printed out so neatly. Nancy and Carol, mistresses of the photocopier also deserve a mention, as they regularly stop printing trivia like exam papers to enable me to get fanzines out In time.


The most exciting news I've heard recently Is that Mr Fred Hutchings, erstwhile manager of the Brighton Metropole and part-time fan hater, has at last retired. He has been replaced by a Mr Branridge who, surely, could not be any worse. This may open up the possibility of Brighton being considered for the British worldcon bid in preparation. but I hope not.

Another unfriendly manger who has gone away Is Mr Moir of the Central hotel In Glasgow. It was he who made life for the Albacon '87 and '88 committees so unpleasant that not even Mike Molloy could be bothered arguing with him any more and gave up the idea of running cons in what had become the home of Glasgow conventions. There are no plans as yet for a return to the Central. This year saw PREFAB TROUT take place at a suburban hotel and PILOT (a one day fund-raiser for next year's FANTASIA) happen in a student union. FANTASIA will take place next June 23-24 in the Kelvin Park Lorne hotel, a little way out from the city centre. There are also rumours of someone approaching the Hospitality Inn (venue for SPECULATION In 1991) regarding a convention to be subsidised by money from the "European City of Culture" slush fund. L am still trying to find away to get the 'Culture City' season extended to Easter '91 to enable SPECULATION to contribute its little bit to the spiritual uplifting of the city. Oh, and to grab some cash for the convention coffers.

CONSCRIPTION (the conrunning convention) has just published Its post-con report. The wonderfully titled "Eagle Book of Conrunning" contains the results of the discussions and transcripts of the keynote speeches made at the con last year. If you weren't a member then you will probably have to offer big money to get hold of a copy. It makes very interesting reading and, taken along with the excellent programme book given out at the convention, provides the sort of textbook material that all conrunners need to look at to help put what they are doing Into a conceptual framework. (Sony about that last phrase, it just sort of slipped out.) Henry Balen Is currently sounding out people and places for CONSCRIPTION 2 and will no doubt be informing us all about it real soon.

I noted with interest, indeed amazement, that In Martin Tudor's fanzine listing In CRITlCAL WAVE 12 he used a *star rating" going from one (recommended) through two (highly recommended) to three (essential) in which only two zines rated a three, CONRUNNER being one of them. Either this shows a complete lack of critical facility by Martin, or a fortuitous typographical error! Writing In GROSS ENCOUNTERS, Alan Dorey was less enthusiastic, but probably nearer the truth, when he describes CONRUNNER as "a fanzine which Is necessary but one I just cannot read". I'm definitely coming closer to Alan's viewpoint as the deadline for this issue approaches. Who knows, If I stick at It maybe I'll pick up a Nova Award sometime.

I expect that by the time you read this you will be aware that EASTCON has moved venue from Birmingham to the Adelphi hotel in Liverpool - details of the background to the move are given later In this issue in a letter from Lisanne Norman. I'm sure that everyone Is pleased that the loss of the Birmingham venue didn't mean the cancellation of the con, but it does serve as a timely reminder that the biggest problem facing conventions these days is finding the right site. The move to two year bids for Eastercons was fuelled by the need to grab the few suitable sites before they were booked up - but it is still possible to be gazumped!

Still on the subject of EASTCON, I received a copy of a letter from Lisanne which I have reproduced below in which she gives her reaction to being refused permission to distribute EASTCON fliers at a convention run by the same people who also run ELYDORE at Easter. Here is Lisanne's letter.

"Those of you who met Stu and me at Sol 3 may have been wondering why, when we attended the Greenwood Convention recently, we weren't handing out leaflets for EASTCON 90, next year's National Easter Science Fiction Convention, especially as we did so at Sol 3. The answer Is very simple. We came to Greenwood hoping to be able to hand out fliers for EASTCON, only to be requested by Donna Laughlan not to do so as we were in direct competition with her for members for the ELYDORE convention, also held during the Easter weekend.

Sadly, I have to say that this is the first convention we have ever attended that has actively requested us not to distribute our con details.

The magazine CONCATENATION - an SF publication brought out at the Easter science fiction conventions - carries an advert for ELYDORE showing that the SF world Is supportive of their con despite the fact that it is held over the same weekend.

I am astounded and concerned that we have not met with a reciprocal attitude from Ms Lauchlan. Is this the new face of fandom, that there is censorship of which upcoming cons can advertise at each convention? This attitude to a sad blow to us. especially because one of the points on which we won the bid for EASTICON was to build bridges between the different areas of fandom. This is only possible with (???) help.

Far from trying to poach members from ELYDORE. we were merely trying to let Greenwood attendees be aware that here is an alternative convention over the same weekend, one that Is trying to unite, not divide. fandom: one that in happy for you. the congoer, to read our information and make the decision for yourself which con you would prefer to attend rather than censor the information available to you."

Helen McCarthy comments on the incident In the letters' page. I think that Jonathan Cowie and Tony Chester of CONCATENATION would probably like it pointed out that their magazine has always been distributed at both the Eastercon and ELYDORE.


This page updated on 09 July 1999