Loncon3 – the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention

Where to start?

It’s when that meet-up with your friends in the pub gets a bit big. So it turns into a day, with stuff organised. We can get Connie to talk about writing and Kate can lead the discussion on Marvel movies and didn’t Jody edit a fanzine?

And then it gets a bit bigger because somebody suggests a mega meet-up with all the other meet-ups across the country. It turns into a weekend.

At that point, world domination is inevitable.

Even though a Worldcon is a really really big meet-up of friends – some of whom you’ve never met yet – it still feels like those original meetings with your mates. It’s acquired more talks and panel discussions than you could possibly attend, an art show, a market size collection of dealers in all things (at least vaguely) SF related, its own bar and a small village of tents. But it just feels like the pub meeting got a bit bigger. Okay, a lot bigger. Okay, it’s a Douglas Adams description of space bigger. Really, really big.

This is my first Worldcon. And it still feels like a meet up in a pub. Loncon3, the pub at the end of the universe.

Loncon3 003

Day One- rush, rush, rush, panel, panel, panel
Because I was helping out with the Move-In, I managed to officially register on Day -1, something I was grateful for when I saw the Registrations queue. You don’t realise how many 6000+ people really are until you see them in a queue.

I meant to go to a panel on ‘Does The Future Need To Be Plausible’, but that was standing room only with no more room unless you were standing on someone else.

Willis and Martin 001

[A slightly less crowded room… in which I’m probably the only person going ‘No, I’m here to listen to Connie Willis’]

So I went to my second choice ‘Hobbits! Rabbits!’ Somebody must have been hoping for controversy, but it turns out the Tolkein Society quite liked the rabbits. One of them did mention that hares might have been better…

Then an Opening Ceremony with an introductory show of every theme tune of every British SF show/film/concept album, accompanied by comedy mime. @Phaseshift will be pleased to note that they started with Blake’s Seven. The Doctor Who sketch included a Dalek made of a laundry basket, a plastic bucket and the obligatory sink plunger. The opening speech was a Hogwarts spoof, the Hugo base was revealed, there was a minute’s silence for Iain Banks, and then the gavel was officially struck to open the Convention.

@Fatmaninabox would be delighted to know that the panel on Minecraft was titled Diggy Diggy Hole! I didn’t go to that one – I was at a panel on the Urban Fantastic. Did you know Paul Cornell has a new series of novels out? The first one is called ‘London Falling’.

The panel on Doctor Who Fandom could have been subtitled ‘a chat between fans’, being mostly about ‘how did you discover Doctor Who?’ The panel discussed the wilderness years, the difference between Commonwealth fans (who usually discovered Who as kids) and U.S. Fans (adults). Most bootleg tapes in the U.S. and Britain, it seems, came from Australian fans – they filmed the frequent repeats and sent them to more deprived countries. You could tell how important you were in the fandom by what generation of copy your tape was. If the Fifth Doctor’s celery was pink, you were a bit down the pecking order. If you were going ‘what celery?’, a lot down…

Recommendation: as well as Paul Cornell’s new book series, Jody Lynn Nye suggested a Doctor Who game for Android, Ipad, Google Play and Facebook called ‘Doctor Who: Legacy’.

Don’t do it. Don’t, I tell you. I blame Jody Lynn Nye for a considerable amount of time wasting. Addictive, it is. 🙂

A panel on the Cinematic Universes (conclusion, DC is rushing it too much), and it was off to do Front of House for one of the theatre productions.

Oh, yeah, and I actually did get into a panel with Connie Willis, something I really wanted to do. She was very funny. She was sharing the panel with some bloke called George R. R. Martin – also a very witty bloke. Anyone heard of him? What books has he written? Sure I’ve heard the name somewhere…

Willis and Martin 007

[Paul Cornell. Scriptwriter, novelist, comic book writer. And moderator. And party host. Is there anything this man can’t do?]

Day Two
By now I’d worked out the convention rule. Never try to see everything. Firstly, you can’t. Secondly, you’ll kill yourself. So I went to panels in the morning – The Science of Diskworld (or how it got written) and Religion in Fantasy.

Quote shamelessly stolen from The Pigeon Post (con newsletter): overheard at a committee meeting. ‘Can someone keep an eye on the TARDIS? Last time we had one it vanished.’

The TARDIS 004

Then I wandered contentedly around the Dealers Room, or possibly the ‘Dealers half of a giant aircraft hangar’. I managed to get in to the Missing Believed Wiped screening thanks to idiot-who-can’t-keep-their-beer-in-their-glass. Wet chair plus plastic bag equals seat for Bluesqueaks. 🙂 (yes, I know, it should have been a towel. But the plastic bag worked, I tell you.)

They had no Who clips, but they did have ones from Moonbase, 1984 (the 60’s one adapted by Nigel Kneale), and a long clip from Adam Adamant Lives! that had Patrick Troughton in it. HTPBDET, I was thinking of you.

Day Three

Mainly involved theatre. 🙂

I also had time to attend a panel on epic fantasy. If you want an idea of the humour involved, please see Liz Bourke’s review of Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan. Sadly, she didn’t win the Hugo for Best Fan Writer – that was won by Kameron Hurley. Kameron also won a second Hugo for Best Related Work: We Have Always Fought.

Day Four

Started with a Quidditch match.

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[But what you really need for a Quidditch match is a very high speed camera]

As a spectator, all I can say is that Quidditch is fast moving, somewhat violent, and very entertaining to watch. And just a tiny bit dangerous… it’s apparently the only contact sport in Europe which has mixed gender teams.

Then a more business orientated panel about the facts and figures of SF publishing, a chance to listen to Robin Hobb being interviewed, a chance to listen to a real Cosmonaut and some more theatre. Followed by the Hugo Awards ceremony. While the TV program I wanted didn’t win [boo!], I agreed with most of the other wins.

Day Five

Started with some more theatre. 🙂

And then a panel on logistics. Which needed to move to a bigger room. No, seriously.

It was a discussion of the old saying ‘Amateurs Talk Tactics, Professionals Talk Logistics’ as applied to SF and Fantasy, and it was astonishingly popular. I was pleased to hear Elizabeth Moon’s Paksennarrion series recommended for ‘how to use logistics in a fantasy setting’ – it’s an Epic Fantasy trilogy which follows the heroine from raw recruit to heroic paladin.

I finished my Worldcon with, appropriately, a panel on world fandom. 😀

What else? Too much to mention. I’ve left out spray painting nerf guns, the fight with some very heavy staging (I lost), the discovery that Croatians really know how to party, the panel where the moderator didn’t know how to moderate and nearly ended up getting strangled by the other panellists… the kids building their own TARDIS, the SCA doing demonstration melees on the green …

oh, and the Dalek. Who, like everyone else, was on holiday.

Dalek on holiday 001


  1. Thanks for the great review @Bluesqueakpip. Really enjoyed reading it, and several passages were read aloud for the enjoyment of “he who lurks”, as he is currently too preoccupied playing Legend of Grimrock to read for himself.



  2. Oooohhh. I love it @bluesqueakpip. Actual front line reporting! Thanks for doing this.

    Great to hear you enjoyed it. It’s something that I’d love to have had time to go to myself.

    Even better is the news they kicked off with the Blake’s 7 theme. Dudley will be proud, and it makes up for those philistine readers of SFX completely ignoring the show in their recent poll. 😉

    A panel on the Cinematic Universes (conclusion, DC is rushing it too much), and it was off to do Front of House for one of the theatre productions

    Actually, if you get time a bit later, I wouldn’t mind a bit more on this point. I think I know what you mean by “rushing it”, and it’s a bit concerning. I actually always had a bit more time for DC’s universe than I did for Marvel. If DC did it right, a lot of their properties (and I’m particularly thinking of Vertigo) have long term potential. I can’t help but think that a few too many cases of “Devlopment Hell” (Preacher and Sandman come immediately to mind) are prompting some unwise collaborations at the moment, just to get “product” out there.

    And I love the Hula Dalek. That’s awesome. 😀

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