This article possibly contains original research. (April 2016)
Eastercon is the common name for the annual British national science fiction convention. The convention is organised by voluntary self-organising committees, rather than a permanent entity.
Eastercon attracts 800-1200 fans of science fiction, fantasy and similar genres. Programme events usually include panels, workshops, talks, quizzes, competitions, an art show, and a Dealers room selling books and other items. Events range from hard science through writing workshops to the fun and silly. People are encouraged to take part.
The very first British science-fiction convention was held in Leeds on 3 January 1937. Similiar events were held in London on 10 April 1938 and 21 May 1939, Leicester as "Midvention" over the Easter bank holiday weekend of 23-26 April 1943, and in London over the Easter weekend of 8-9 April 1944.
Eastercon sees its first official convention as being held in 1948 in London. It was held over the three-day Whitsun bank holiday at the end of May with an attendance of 50 people. The conventions were held annually over Whitsun until the 1960s, when the decision was made to move the event to the four-day Easter holiday.
The pre-1960s conventions are generally considered to have been "Eastercons" even though they were not held over Easter.
Eastercons are fan-run/not-for-profit events, with the money raised by membership, advertising, etc., 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 fan visits (often through The League of Fan Funds).
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. They circulate their proposals and 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 organising this event involves a lot of resources, and now it is normal for there to be only one serious bid - Reclamation in 2022 saw the first contested bid (for 2023) in some 30 years.
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 and an award, drawing speakers from the arts and humanities.
In 2003 at Seacon, a fan offered to obtain the UK trademark for "Eastercon" on behalf of UK fandom and this was agreed by that year's convention. This trademark was subsequently obtained, meaning that any group that now wants to use the "Eastercon" name must obtain permission from the trademark holder first.
List of Eastercons
|Year||Location||Name||Guest(s) of Honour||Size||Web|
|2||1949||London||Loncon||William F. Temple||?|
|3||1952||London||London SF Con||?|
|5||1954||Manchester||Supermancon||John Russell Fearn||?|
|11||1960||London||London||E.J. "Ted" Carnell, Don Ford||?|
|16||1965||Birmingham||Brumcon II||Harry Harrison||?|
|20||1969||Oxford||Galactic Fair 1969||Judith Merril||?|
|21||1970||London||SCI-CON 70||James Blish||?|
|22||1971||Worcester||Eastercon 22||Ethel Lindsay, Anne McCaffrey||?|
|24||1973||Bristol||OMPAcon '73||Samuel R. Delany||?|
|25||1974||Newcastle||Tynecon||Bob Shaw, Peter Weston||c415|
|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||815|
|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, Solihull||BECCON87||Chris Atkinson, Jane Gaskell, 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|
|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||?|
|59||2008||Heathrow, London||Orbital 2008||Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, China Miéville, Charles Stross, Rog Peyton||1300+|
|60||2009||Bradford||LX||Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Tim Powers, David Lloyd, Bill Burns, Mary Burns||850|
|61||2010||Heathrow, London||Odyssey 2010||Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Liz Williams, Mike Carey, Fran Dowd, John Dowd||1300+|
|62||2011||NEC, Solihull||Illustrious||David Weber, Peter F. Hamilton, David A. Hardy, Vince Docherty, Roz Kaveney||956/877|
|63||2012||Heathrow, London||Olympus 2012||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|
|65||2014||Glasgow||Satellite 4||John Meaney, Juliet McKenna, Jim Burns, and Alice and Steve Lawson, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Terry Pratchett||777|
|66||2015||Heathrow, London||Dysprosium||Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Caroline Mullan, Herr Döktor||1185|
|67||2016||Manchester||Mancunicon||Aliette de Bodard, Dave Clements, Ian McDonald, Sarah Pinborough||?|
|68||2017||NEC, Solihull||Eastercon 2017/Innominate||Pat Cadigan, Judith Clute, Colin Harris||?|
|69||2018||Harrogate||Follycon||Kieron Gillen, Kim Stanley Robinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Christina Lake||949|
|70||2019||Heathrow, London||Ytterbium||John Scalzi, Frances Hardinge, Sydney Padua, DC||1119|
|71||2020||(online)||Concentric||convention cancelled except for bid session||846*|
|72||2021||(online)||Confusion||Dan Abnett, Nik Vincent, Dave Lally||466|
|73||2022||Heathrow, London||Reclamation||Zen Cho (cancelled), Mary Robinette Kowal, Philip Reeve, Tasha Suri, Nicholas Whyte||797*|
|74||2023||Birmingham||Conversation||Zen Cho, Niall Harrison, Jennell Jaquays, Kari Sperring, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ursula Vernon|||
|75||2024||Telford||Levitation||Jackie Burns, Genevieve Cogman, Michelle Sagara /(Michelle West), Tade Thompson|||
|76||2025||Belfast||Reconnect||Lauren Beukes, Derek Landy, (Jeannette Ng), Rebecca Roanhorse, Will Simpson (comics), Ian McDonald (British author)|||
- 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, eg, Brumcon only acquired its name when Brumcon II was held.
- The 1957 convention held in Kettering has acquired a semi-mythical status among British fandom, as 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 fan 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.
- Pasgon was elected at Dysprosium to be the 2017 Eastercon to be held in Cardiff, but had to be cancelled in March 2016 due to issues with its planned venue. Eastercon 2017/Innominate in Birmingham was elected in its place at Mancunicon.
- The 2020 convention, Concentric was cancelled less than a month before it was scheduled, due to recently announced UK Government guidelines related to the coronavirus pandemic. An online bidding session was held, with ConFusion selected for the 2021 Eastercon. 846 members had registered before the convention was cancelled.
- The 2021 Eastercon, ConFusion was originally planned as an in person event, but was converted to an online event when it became clear that an in person convention would not be possible. 466 people took part in the online convention.
- The 2022 convention, Reclamation had 797 registered members. 659 were physically present. 80 people viewed streamed panels, 41 of those were not present at the convention.
- 2024: The 2024 Eastercon, Levitation, is planned to be held from the 29th of March to 1st of April weekend, at Telford International Centre. This is the first time the convention will be at that location, and marks a divergence from tradition, in that the convention will be in a conference centre rather than in a hotel.
- 2025: The 2025 Eastercon, Reconnect, is planned to be held in the Hilton Lanyon Place in Belfast, Northern Ireland; this is the first time the convention will be held on the island of Ireland. Guests announced include Lauren Beukes, Rebecca Roanhorse, Jeannette Ng, Derek Landy, Will Simpson and Ian McDonald.
- ^ https://conversation2023.org.uk/what-is-eastercon/
- ^ SF Encyclopedia website
- ^ SF Encyclopedia website
- ^ "Doc Weir Award".
- ^ SF Encyclopedia website
- ^ "Case details for trade mark UK00002330357". Intellectual Property Office of the UK Patent Office. 26 September 2003. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- ^ "Membership Numbers" (PDF). Four Cubed. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- ^ Glyer, Mike (6 April 2015). "Two Future British Eastercons Selected". File 770. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- ^ SF Encyclopedia website
- ^ David, Langford (1 May 2022). "Ansible 418, May 2022". Ansible. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
- ^ "Levitation 2024".
- ^ https://file770.com/belfast-wins-eastercon-uk-2025-site-selection-vote/
- ^ Eastercon Belfast website, Retrieved 2023-04-13
- Eastercon.org - the central Eastercon website
- Eastercon Trademark - FAQ (Revised 2013)
- THE WHITCON (1948) - surviving documents of the first 'Eastercon' before they became Eastercons
- SciCon70 - the 1970 Eastercon
- Convoy - the cancelled 2007 Eastercon (see Contemplation above)
- Illustrious 2011 - the 2011 Eastercon
- Olympus 2012 - the 2012 Eastercon
- EightSquaredCon - the 2013 Eastercon
- Satellite 4 - the 2014 Eastercon
- Running the Eastercon - a "how to run an Eastercon" guide by Steve Davies, Chair of Reconvene
- The Conbledegook File - a glossary of Eastercon related jargon
- Where's the Eastercon? - a link to the current venue via what3words.com