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CONRUNNER 8 - Editorial

Welcome to CONRUNNER 8, the convention runners' fanzine, from Ian Sorensen, 304a Main St, High Blantyre, Glasgow G72 0DH. Telephone 0698 826207 (eve) or 041 637 1071 (work). This edition published in March 1988.


Editorial 1 - News Ian Sorensen
Editorial 2 - Eastercon Bids  
Running a Repro Room Mike Gould
Films Shown At Conventions Peter J R Smith
Impressions of Novacon 17 Michael T Day
Sample Hotel Contract - Seacon '84  
Con-munications Your letters


CONSCRIPTION, the convention for convention organisers, will be held in the Codben Hotel Birmingham from 24-25 September 1988. The committee has changed somewhat since the last Conrunner with Steve Miller resigning to leave Henry Balen, Hugh Mascetti, Laura Wheatly and Gary Stratmann shouldering the burden. They have already recruited a second tier of management including Martin Easterbrook to handle operations. The new International Conference Centre being constructed in Birmingham will be described in a presentation given by its backers. It should be ready by 1991 - any Eastercon bids interested should make a point of attending Conscription. Membership at 2 will get you pre-con publications, supporting membership of 6 will get you the programme book and other publications as well. Full attending membership is 10. All are available from Henry Balen, Flat 4, 8 West Avenue, Walthamstow, London, E17 9QN (Phone: 01 509 2331 (eve) or 01 387 7050 ext 2092 (day)). The results of the discussions and workshops will be published either as part of Conrunner 10 or as a supplement sent with Conrunner 10 to Conscription members - the details are yet to be finalised. As can be seen from the membership structure, publications are a major part of Conscription's ambitions. Hopefully Conrunner 9 will contain articles which will provide "starter papers" for the various discussions and seminars at the convention but Henry would like people to write short starter pieces on themes they would like discussed and send them to him as soon as possible.


The 1990 Eastercon will either be in Birmingham or Nottingham. The EASTCON bid from Lisanne Norman, Stuart Andrews, Helen McCarthy and Doug MacCallum has given up on the holiday camp idea and settled on the Cobden Hotel Birmingham, along with its sister hotel across the road while extra function space is provided by meeting halls next door. Overflow accommodation, if required, is available close by. The site is on Hagley Road, one of the main roads leading out of Birmingham, about a mile from the city centre. Apparently the Eastcon flier lists me as part of the committee which is not the case: I have undertaken to organise their fan programme should they win, on the understanding it will not involve committee level input.

CONTRAVENTION has also found a site - the Albany Hotel in Nottingham. It is situated just off the main shopping area and overflow accommodation is close by. The committee has undergone some changes with Paul Oldroyd, Chris Donaldson and Chris Atkinson dropping out leaving John Fairey, Paul Kincaid, Maureen Porter, Linda Pickersgill, Kevin Anderson and Chrissie Pearson steering the bid.


So, who's going to win? It looks like there are two strong bids and the race is wide open. As both bids have experienced so many problems finding venues they haven't had much opportunity to publicise themselves. This means that they will both be selling "cold" at Follycon. Victory will therefore go to the bid that can drag more people into the bidding session and put forward the more convincing presentation. I hope both have read David Bell's comments on the bidding at Beccon I published in Conrunner 7 and are aware of the importance of getting it "right".

So who do they have to appeal to? Norwescon (last year) lost a lot of support, I feel, because they insisted they were going to provide a "real science fiction convention". I'm not sure whether that's a convention with real-SF or a real SF-convention, in any case it was seen as being too bookish and possibly elitist by many. I think they made the mistake of imagining themselves to be the last bastion against the hordes of sword waving Star Wars fans that fandom is meant to be accumulating. The term "media fan" is bandied about without much thought being given to who it would apply to. True Media Fans attend their own conventions where they have a programme devoted to one or many TV shows or films. Yes, some will attend an Eastercon, but only a very few: they will mostly be attending Elidor. The media fans at an Eastercon are those fans who like to see films/videos at a convention and have little interest in panels of authors talking about aspects of novel writing and publishing deals. I include myself in this group. That said, I don't attend many programme items at all and I think this may be the case with too many of conrunners nowadays. One of the reasons I have steered clear of any conrunning this year is so that I can enjoy a few conventions as a punter and hopefully gain some insight into what makes a programme appealing.

"Straight" Sf fans will also be found watching films but their principle love is reading. I would question whether a programme largely devoted to the writing of SF will necessarily appeal to its readers. In any case, I don't reckon there will be enough "straights" at any Eastercon now for them to be able to vote in a "bookish" bid, though they are a sizable minority. They are, I think, the last remnants, in attitude, of the pre-Seacon '79 convention goers. The reality of Eastercons these days is that they are very big, do not have a homogenous membership and will require a committee to supply a wide range of entertainments. Maybe not bread and circuses, but a multi-stream, wide ranging programme. Some people have said that Follycon will appeal mostly to "media fans" but a careful examination of the membership listed in PR3 shows all the usual names I would expect to see at any convention.

Both bids claim they will be providing something for all tastes and are not basing their appeal on any one part of fandom. Eastcon looks to have the better facilities, albeit on a split site, and Contravention have a committee which is better known for conrunning than the Eastcon committee members. I reckon the better bid will win.


This issue has somewhat fewer articles than usual but has a somewhat larger than usual letter column (keep those letters coming!) and I'm taking this opportunity to publish both Peter Smith's excellent films list and a sample of what hotel contracts can look like. If anyone is interested I also have contracts for Seacon '79 and Conspiracy which I'll copy on request.

Just time for a reminder that Conrunner 9 should be out in September and Conrunner 10 at Novacon. Keep sending those articles and letters.


This page updated on 09 July 1999