This is the page where you can read up-to-the-minute news about the Great British Worldcon. In the past it has been largely as a service to Conspiracy staff members, all of whom get Conrunner (whether they like it or not). Since February though I have been sending out summaries of news gleaned from steering committee minutes on a monthly basis to all staff. So far there have been two issues of "The International Conspiracy Journal" and it seems to have been welcomed by information starved staffers throughout the world. Communications is definitely a major problem with something the size of Conspiracy and we are trying to alleviate the problems which have come to light. Regular informal meetings in London of any staff members interested in getting together have been planned starting in May, and there will be other "get togethers" organised before August. Much of the following is lifted from the aforementioned Journal, so staff members should have read it already. If not, I want to know why!
NOT SO MUCH THE PROGRAMME, MORE A WAY OF LIFE
There have been mutterings for a while that nobody knows what's happening with the Worldcon and to an extent that's been true - we've not had much to say until there was a programme to publicise. Now we've got a programme, provisional as yet, but participants have all been contacted and we are awaiting their replies. One bit of really great news is that Ursula Le Guin has agreed to appear on the programme - as far as I know she hasn't been at any conventions for a few years now. Other celebrities confirming include Diane Wynne Jones, Louise Cooper, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Norman Spinrad, Kim Stanley Robinson, Fred Pohl, Hal Clement, Iain Banks and Richard Cowper.
Geoff Ryman has agreed to repeat his performance of "Performance" (first seen at Conception) for the fan programme. In addition Geoff has adapted some Bester short stories into a play sequence.
Here are just some of the items we intend to put on that aren't mentioned in PR3:
|What Made the Athenians So Smart?||Gene Wolfe|
|The Unnatural History of the Vampire||Matheson, Milgrom|
|Visions of the Near Future||Roberts, Cowper, Coney|
|Children's Books are More Adult||L Cooper,D Wynne Jones|
|Ethics of Organ Transplants||Niven,Gould|
|Tomorrow Belongs to the Illiterate||Bayley, Haldeman, Robinson|
|SF is History's Dustbin||Silverberg, Wolfe|
|All that and the Big Bang Too||Gribbin, Pohl|
|Magical Sex||Carter, Garner, Charnas|
|What Dunnit?||Niven, Macavoy, Varley|
|Building a Better Man||Clement, Gunn, Dixon|
|Hacking at the Enterprise||Ford, Hambly, Bear, Duane|
The programme is deliberately set firmly in science fiction as literature, mainly to increase the contrast between Conspiracy and the Amercan style Worldcons. There are fewer film/TV oriented items, though there will be films and videos showing throughout the convention. We're currently trying to get the Odeon cinema next to the Brighton centre to let us use its screens for morning and late night showings of the Hugo nominated films and the movies we hope to premiere. These include the animation film "Robotech" and, if we're lucky, the new Mel Brooks film "Spaceballs", which might be ready by then.
THE MAIN EVENTS
The big events of the convention will be: Thursday 2pm Opening Ceremony, Friday 8pm Rock Concert, Saturday 6pm Masquerade followed by Masked Ball, Sunday 8pm Hugo Awards Ceremony followed by Fireworks on the beach.
The opening ceremony is being organised and M.C.'d by John Levene who played Sgt. Benton in the Pertwee days of Dr Who. It will be relatively short (30-40 mins) but stunning. John has got Laser Creations to agree to bring along their state-of-the-art laser equipment to provide an opening to the convention that will rekindle that old sense-of-wonder in us all.
Anne Page who is in charge of the Masquerade has had over 70 requests for entry forms already. This could cause problems as that number of participants could lead to the event lasting 4 hours! Until the forms are returned there is no way of knowing how long it will last but contingency plans for pre-judging entries may have to be drawn up.
There has been a lot of speculation as to who will appear at the Friday rock concert. As yet nobody has been booked, but it will not be Peter Gabriel as rumoured a while ago.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING FAN ACTIVITIES
The fanroom/fanarea will have a repro room, hopefully fitted out with a network of Apple MacIntoshes allowing very high standard publications to be produced during the convention. There will be a party sponsored by Cabana Boys Inc. - the company making the film of "Neuromancer".
Both "Punch" and "Time Out" magazines are planning special SF editions at the time of the convention.
There are two main types of membership we are punting at present: Attending @ £38.00 (as of April 1) and Advance Day membership @ £10.00 (Children age 8-14 half price for both). We haven't yet settled the "on the door" attending rate as it will depend on the financial situation at the time but it should be between £45.00 and £50.00. The day membership rate will be £15.00. By Beccon we should be in a position to accept payment by Access and Visa card.
Rumblings of discontent are still being heard from fans whenever these rates are quoted - after all an Eastercon only costs £15.00 on the door. The higher rate for the Worldcon is simply to cover the cost of the increased standard of provision for things like security, technical equipment and expenses for speakers. Unfortunately, a Worldcon is so big and the technical requirements so complex that it simply cannot be run entirely by volunteers, and professional help is expensive! The budget is prudently based on the situation as it actually is, rather than what we think (or hope) it will be. We do not want to finish up with either a massive profit like LAcon II or a loss like Constellation. As things stand at present nearly all our expected outgoings can be covered by membership and advertising income. As and when sponsorship deals are concluded we can revise the budget and the membership rates - but they are unlikely to drop, simply not increase by as much as first thought.
The registration desk will be operating on Wednesday to try to reduce queues on the Thursday when the convention actually starts.
THE OPERATION WAS A SUCCESS BUT...
If you have any experience at operating or repairing equipment - projectors, videos, p.a. etc - let Jan Huxley know as soon as possible as she is very short of people competent with a soldering iron.
Volunteers are also required for helping disabled fans, a number of whom have written to say they would be interested in any services we can provide for them.
A number of people have not yet received either a hotel booking form (a little folded-over glossy brochure) or a Hugo nomination form. We are sorry about this, but as far as we can determine they all got posted out correctly and just got lost in the postal system. Please let us know if you have had problems getting your PRs etc.
If you want more information or wish to contact any of the committee write care of PO Box 43, Cambridge CB1 3JJ, UK.