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By Mark Nelson and Ian Sorensen

This year's Unicon, Lunicon, was held in one of the halls of Leeds University in July. The bid had been won by a three person team which, in the course of the year, became a one man team only intermittently available for conrunning duties between final exams.

As a consequence there was very little information available for anyone wanting to attend. I got a PR1, but nothing subsequently. The contact address and phone number became invalid long before the convention and it was only when someone told me there was a message on e-mail saying the convention was still on that I decided to attend.

The remaining committee person, Barry Traish, deserves a lot of credit for getting it together at all, and facing the barrage of criticism from attendees. The programme was what you'd expect at a Unicon and the GoH Roger Zelazny turned up and did his stuff. The function space was badly designed for convention use as the two main areas were overlooked by throughways causing occasional problems hearing what was being said during items. There was a large bar and games area which doubled as a dealers' room. Despite all the problems, most attendees had a good time and the Unicon series continues unbroken - but only just. I had always imagined that the standing committee that supervises the handing on of funds and preserves the constitution of the cons was set up to step in in just such a situation as Lunicon presented, but apparently they didn't consider it necessary.

Here's another view of Lunicon from a Leeds veteran: Mark Nelson

"Even by Leeds standards the pre-con running was a thing of wonder. There I was, a member of the University SF soc, trying to register a few weeks before the con and I couldn't get hold of the organisers. Eventually a message was passed down from the great and good that 'it will be easier for us if you register at the con on Friday night'.

I followed orders and arrived at 6pm on Friday evening to be told that "We can't give you a badge because the badge-machine doesn't work, if it was working we couldn't give you a badge because we don't know how to use it and don't blame us because we're not even on the committee."

No convention badge? No convention badge? NO CONVENTION BADGE! How can I ever show attend a SF convention in the future knowing that I have incomplete collection of badges. Although, come to think of it I'm worried by those fans who wear their badge collection on their hat/belt/coat as status symbols and in smoke filled rooms conduct illicit dealings to obtain rare badges. Is there a secretive "SF convention collecting fandom" in our very midst? Perhaps it is sufficient to wheel Freud out to explain this previously unknown (to me) phenomenon.

I never thought that I would look back to Lucon (1988) and Iconoclasm (1989) as representing the "golden age" of Leeds conventions (not being around to speak in hushed tones of the Yorcons). I suppose it would be more accurate to say the golden year of Iconoclasm. OK, I never thought that I'd want to look back at Lucon - Iconoclasm remains the best Leeds convention in recent years.

When I was an active member of the University group (87-89) conventions served one useful purpose: they provided an excellent excuse for in-fighting, feuding and bitchiness. Ah! Sweet idiocy!"


This page updated on 09 July 1999