Eastercon

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Eastercon
Genre Science fiction
Venue varies
Location(s) London
Country United Kingdom
Inaugurated 1948
Attendance ~800
Website
http://www.eastercon.org/

Eastercon is the common name for the British national science fiction convention. From 1948 until the 1960s, the convention was held over the three-day Whitsun bank holiday at the end of May. Since then it has been held over the four-day Easter holiday weekend. The pre-1960s conventions are generally considered to have been "Eastercons" even though they were not held over Easter.

Future Eastercons[edit]

  • 2015: Dysprosium will be held at the Park Inn Hotel, London Heathrow.
  • 2016:

Organisation[edit]

British science fiction fandom is far too disorganised to have anything so formal as an organisation to arrange its conventions. The British Science Fiction Association does not have anything to do with organising conventions. Instead, groups of fans (typically 5-8 in number) get together to form "bid committees" and plan where they want to hold the Eastercon, who they want to be their guests of honour, what the theme of the convention will be, etc. The winning bid is chosen by a vote among the people who attend the bid session at the Eastercon two years in advance, or one year if no bid was successful at the bid session two years out. Until the early 1990s there were commonly several bids to hold the Eastercon, but since then the realisation appears to have grown that putting on an Eastercon involves a lot of hard work, and now it is normal for there to be only one serious bid. There may also be a number of joke bids - it is rumoured that in 1989 the joke bid for Inconceivable narrowly beat the serious bid for Speculation on the initial show of hands, but the chair arranged a lobby vote which then went the "right" way. In some years e.g. 2005, 2009, no serious bids are made, but one usually emerges in the following year (See "Two Year Bidding" below) The concom for the 2003 Seacon'03 was put together in the bar shortly before the bidding session at the 2001 convention, in the absence of any other bidders - the Seacon name was extremely ironic as the convention was held in Hinckley which is about as far from the sea as it is possible to get on the British mainland.

As Eastercons are fan-run/not-for-profit events, the money raised by membership, advertising etc. is spent on running the convention. It is traditional that any surplus is used for the benefit of the convention members, fandom in general or donated to charity. This may include sponsoring items at other conventions, buying equipment for use by other conventions, donating to the RNIB to get works of SF literature converted to talking books for the blind, donating to the Science Fiction Foundation to fund a variety of educational projects relating to science fiction, and funding international fannish visits (often through The League of Fan Funds).

Certain Eastercon host venues have fallen in and out of fashion at various times. Often a particular hotel offers a good package for several years, then either the management prices itself out of the market (perhaps trying for more lucrative conference customers instead), or fans get bored of the location and demand to go somewhere different. For example the Liverpool Adelphi was used five times between 1988 and 1999. It was due to be used again in 2007 but that convention was forced to cancel, in part because of the hotel's poor reputation among fandom. Glasgow was used four times between 1980 and 1991, then there was a break until 2000. Hinckley was used three times between 2001 and 2005 and was seriously considered for 2008 before Heathrow was chosen instead, but it has since come under new management who carried out extensive renovation work and then decided not to host Redemption in 2009.

Finding suitable venues for an Eastercon (enough function and social space of the right types, enough bedrooms, low enough rates, not in a city that's already hosting a big event on the Easter weekend, willing to put up with Eastercon's numerous unusual requirements such as supply of real ale, etc.) is a difficult job. Every year people say "there must be somewhere else we can go," and a lot of effort is put into trying to find new venues - usually with little success. There are plans to document the results of some of the most recent venue searches at Eastercon.org. If you know of a hotel that hasn't been used before and may be suitable, please mention it on the Eastercon Yahoo group or the Eastercon Livejournal community.

Two-year bidding[edit]

Some people claim there is little need to actually have a two-year lead time as the convention can be organised in less than a year. Others point out it is hard enough finding venues with more than two years to go, so potentially losing some of those makes it even more difficult. It also means only one year to get people to join, so the committee can't predict the number of members (and hence their budget). There are banking and taxation implications to take into account if bidding over a one-year period as some bank accounts have restrictions on how much money can be paid into an account without incurring further charges and if the convention financial year is only 12 months, they are at greater risk of breaking the VAT threshold, thus increasing the costs and administration for the convention. This is a contentious issue and a frequent subject for debate.

Eastercon traditions[edit]

The Doc Weir award is voted on and presented each year at Eastercon to an "unsung hero" of British fandom.

The George Hay Memorial Lecture, a presentation on a scientific topic by an invited speaker, has been held every Eastercon since 2Kon in 2000. The lecturer and subject are selected and paid for by the Science Fiction Foundation who offer this programme item to each year's Eastercon. Since 2009 the British Science Fiction Association has presented a similar lecture, drawing speakers from the arts and humanities (with a declared bias towards history).

Trademark[edit]

In 2003 at Seacon, in a momentary lack of disorganisation, a fan offered to obtain the UK trademark for "Eastercon" on behalf of UK fandom and this was agreed by the small percentage of that year's convention who attended that programme item. This trademark was subsequently obtained and so any group that now wants to run an "Eastercon" and use that name must clear it with the trademark holder first. This is not so much to control fans running an Eastercon as to prevent its takeover by large commercial companies who have no idea what an Eastercon should be about.

List of Eastercons[edit]

Year Location Name Guest(s) of Honour Size
1 1948 London Whitcon Bertram Chandler ?
2 1949 London London William F. Temple ?
* 1951 London Festivention Forrest Ackerman, Lyell Crane ?
3 1952 London Loncon ?
4 1953 London Coroncon ?
5 1954 Manchester Supermancon John Russell Fearn ?
6 1955 Kettering Cytricon ?
7 1956 Kettering Cytricon II ?
8 1957 Kettering Cytricon III see note below ?
9 1958 Kettering Cytricon IV ?
10 1959 Birmingham Brumcon Ken Slater ?
11 1960 London London E.J. "Ted" Carnell, Don Ford ?
12 1961 Gloucester LXIcon Kingsley Amis ?
13 1962 Harrogate Ronvention Tom Boardman ?
14 1963 Peterborough Bullcon Edmund Crispin ?
15 1964 Peterborough RePetercon Ted Tubb ?
16 1965 Birmingham Brumcon II Harry Harrison ?
17 1966 Yarmouth Yarcon Ron Whiting ?
18 1967 Bristol Briscon John Brunner ?
19 1968 Buxton Thirdmancon Kenneth Bulmer ?
20 1969 Oxford Galactic Fair Judith Merril ?
21 1970 London Scicon 70 James Blish ?
22 1971 Worcester Eastercon 22 Ethel Lindsay, Anne McCaffrey ?
23 1972 Chester Chessmancon Larry Niven ?
24 1973 Bristol OMPAcon Samuel R. Delany ?
25 1974 Newcastle Tynecon Bob Shaw, Peter Weston ?
26 1975 Coventry Seacon Harry Harrison c.550
27 1976 Manchester Mancon 5 Peter Roberts, Robert Silverberg ?
28 1977 Coventry Eastercon '77 John Bush ?
29 1978 Heathrow, London Skycon Roy Kettle, Robert Sheckley ?
30 1979 Leeds Yorcon Graham and Pat Charnock, Richard Cowper ?
31 1980 Glasgow Albacon Jim Barker, Colin Kapp ?
32 1981 Leeds Yorcon II Tom Disch, Dave Langford, Ian Watson ?
33 1982 Brighton Channelcon Angela Carter, John Sladek ?
34 1983 Glasgow Albacon II Marion Zimmer Bradley, Avedon Carol, James White ?
35 1984 Brighton Seacon '84 Pierre Barbet, Waldemar Kumming, Josef Nesvadba, Chris Priest, Roger Zelazny ?
36 1985 Leeds Yorcon III Gregory Benford, Linda Pickersgill ?
37 1986 Glasgow Albacon III Joe Haldeman, John Jarrold ?
38 1987 NEC, Birmingham BECCON87 Chris Atkinson, Keith Roberts c.800
39 1988 Liverpool Follycon Gordon Dickson, Gwyneth Jones, Greg Pickersgill, Len Wein ?
40 1989 Jersey Contrivance Avedon Carol, Rob Hansen, M. John Harrison, Don Lawrence, Anne McCaffrey ?
41 1990 Liverpool Eastcon Iain Banks, Anne Page, SMS 1100
42 1991 Glasgow Speculation Robert Holdstock ?
43 1992 Blackpool Illumination Geoff Ryman, Paul J. McAuley, Pam Wells ?
44 1993 Jersey Helicon John Brunner, George R. R. Martin, Karel Thole, Larry van der Putte ?
45 1994 Liverpool Sou'Wester Diane Duane, Neil Gaiman, Barbara Hambly, Peter Morwood ?
46 1995 London Confabulation Lois McMaster Bujold, Roger Robinson, Bob Shaw ?
47 1996 Heathrow, London Evolution Jack Cohen, Colin Greenland, Paul Kincaid, Bryan Talbot, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Vernor Vinge ?
48 1997 Liverpool Intervention Brian Aldiss, Octavia Butler, David Langford, Jon Bing ?
49 1998 Manchester Intuition Ian McDonald, Martin Tudor, Connie Willis ?
50 1999 Liverpool Reconvene Peter S. Beagle, John Clute, Jeff Noon ?
51 2000 Glasgow 2Kon Guy Gavriel Kay, Katherine Kurtz, Deborah Turner-Harris ?
52 2001 Hinckley Paragon Stephen Baxter, Claire Brialey, Lisanne Norman, Mark Plummer, Michael Scott Rohan ?
53 2002 Jersey Helicon 2 Brian Stableford, Harry Turtledove, Peter Weston ?
54 2003 Hinckley Seacon03 Chris Baker (Fangorn), Christopher Evans (author), Mary Gentle ?
55 2004 Blackpool Concourse Mitchell Burnside Clapp, Danny Flynn, Sue Mason, Christopher Priest, Philip Pullman ?
56 2005 Hinckley Paragon 2 John Harvey, Eve Harvey, Ken MacLeod, Robert Rankin, Ben Jeapes, Richard Morgan ?
57 2006 Glasgow Concussion M. John Harrison, Brian Froud, Elizabeth Hand, Justina Robson, Ian Sorensen ?
58 2007 Liverpool Convoy Judith Clute, Robin McKinley, Peter Dickinson, Sharyn November ?
58 2007 Chester Contemplation Sharyn November c.450
59 2008 Heathrow, London Orbital 2008 Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, China Miéville, Charles Stross, Rog Peyton 1300+
60 2009 Bradford Eastercon LX Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Tim Powers, Dirk Maggs, David Lloyd, Bill Burns, Mary Burns 850
61 2010 Heathrow, London Odyssey 2010 Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Liz Williams, Mike Carey, Carlos Ezquerra, Fran Dowd, John Dowd 1300+
62 2011 NEC, Birmingham Illustrious David Weber, Peter F. Hamilton, David A. Hardy, Vince Docherty, Roz Kaveney 956/877
63 2012 Heathrow, London Olympus 2012 Steph Swainston, Paul Cornell, Cory Doctorow, George R.R. Martin, Tricia Sullivan, Margaret Austin, Martin Easterbrook 1400
64 2013 Bradford EightSquaredCon Walter Jon Williams, Freda Warrington, Anne Sudworth and Edward James 800[1]
65 2014 Glasgow Satellite 4 John Meaney, Juliet McKenna, Jim Burns, and Alice and Steve Lawson, Special Guest Terry Pratchett 777
66 2015 Heathrow, London Dysprosium Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Caroline Mullan, Herr Döktor ?

Notes:

  • Early conventions did not always have a particular name, and sometimes were given a name retrospectively when another Eastercon was held in the same town, e.g. Brumcon only acquired its name when Brumcon II was held in Birmingham.
  • The 1957 convention held in Kettering has recently acquired a semi-mythical status among British fandom, since at a distance of nearly 50 years nobody who might have attended can definitely remember actually attending this one, as opposed to the other Kettering conventions in 1955, 1956 and 1958, and there does not appear to be any surviving contemporary documentation from the con itself; however, there is just enough evidence from fanzines of the time and other fannish memorabilia to suggest that it did, in fact, take place.
  • The official numbering of the conventions has been somewhat adjusted, following the naming of the 1972 convention as "Eastercon 22" which necessitated the counting of 21 previous Eastercons, which is why the 1951 Festivention is not counted.
  • Convoy, the 2007 Eastercon elected by members of Concussion, was cancelled at the end of October 2006. Contemplation was formed at the 2006 Novacon by Chris O'Shea and Fran Dowd as a very short notice emergency replacement. Convoy's guests of honour were invited to attend, and Sharyn November initially accepted, but she was ultimately unable to attend due to work commitments.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Membership Numbers". Four Cubed. 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 

External links[edit]