Eastercon Highlights

Following in the footsteps of Paul and Shaun, here are the bits of the Eastercon programme I’m particularly looking forward to. Of course, no plan survives contact with the convention, so I’ll undoubtedly miss some of these, and end up going to others.


What makes a good book review?
What makes a good book review? Do you read book reviews? Do you take any notice of them? Do writers and publishers take notice of them? Do they serve the reader, the industry, or no one at all? Do you give a flying squid? (18:30 to 20:00, Edward 1)

Should be a lively way to get things started.

The Great Clomping Foot of Nerdism
M John Harrison sparked debate with his statement that “Every moment of a science fiction story must represent the triumph of writing over worldbuilding”, that “…worldbuilding is not technically neccessary. It is the great clomping foot of nerdism. It is the attempt to exhaustively survey a place that isn’t there. A good writer would never try to do that, even with a place that is there.” (20:00 to 21:00 Charles 1)

Alas, I will be having dinner during this panel. But I’ll be there in spirit.

Current SF, a Fireside Chat
Paul Cornell, author and scriptwriter, chats with Dave Bradley, editor of SFX magazine, about the current world of British SF.’ [And from Cornell’s blog: We’ll have to build that fire. And isn’t it a bit warm for that? We’re planning to cover everything and offer a kind of overview, and give an insight into SFX itself. Really pleased we got this together.] (22:00 to 23:00, Edward 1)


Universal Donor
Is it time for science fiction to stop bleeding? Other genres – fantasy, technothriller, historical – have been recently reinvigorated by taking a science-fictional approach: the New Weird in fantasy, the recent work of (e.g.) Greg Bear, the resurgence of alternate history and time travel. Authors identified with SF have ‘bled’ towards the mainstream or other genres. Science fiction has become the default multimedia landscape. Is SF making a blood donation – or bleeding to death? (15:00 to 16:30 Kings)

Again via Paul Cornell’s blog, apparently the full panel for this is Jo Fletcher, Freda Warrington, Graham Sleight, and Ian Watson, with Cornell moderating.

Un-American Futures
SF has traditionally had a white western bias, in literature and in the fanbase. That’s changing rapidly. British SF has been described as “the most dynamic movement in global science fiction of the past decade and arguably one of the most important forces in world culture during that period” – why us and not the Americans?(16:30 to 18:00, Kings)

This panel description looks a bit odd to me — I have to wonder where that quote comes from, and the way it’s written makes it sound like they’re claiming British sf isn’t white and Western, which is clearly daft. So I assume the panel will be about debates like this.

BSFA Awards
Presentation of the BSFA Awards (21:00 to 22:00, Kings)

Those of you not going to Eastercon have all voted, right?


Is UK SF publishing overly masculine?
“I hear that a number of women writers have felt that the atmosphere in the UK is very hard science, hard men at present — not that all the editors of male or whatever, but that the culture seems to be be for quite macho type books.” True? (11:00 to 12:00, Kings)

Again with the unsourced quote. But again an interesting issue.

Post-BSFA Awards discussion. The panel look at the results of yesterday’s vote. (15:30 to 17:00, Charles 1)

And I heckle from the crowd. Possibly.

There are many conventional images of artists (in whatever medium they work). For example, there is the iconoclast, the rebel, the self-absorbed and so on. To what extent are these archtypes reflected in SF and fantasy? Are there different archetypes that are unique to these genres? (17:00 to 18:30, Edward 1)

Potentially fascinating, potentially rubbish.

What would you like to see at Orbital?
Come along with programme suggestions for next year’s Eastercon. (18:30 to 20:00, Roodee)

Because I am a minion on the literary programme for next year, and my boss will be elsewhere, watching …

Not the Clarke Awards.
A discussion of the 2006 Clarke shortlist. (18:30 to 20:00, Edward 1)

.. Which is always one of the highlights of Eastercon for me, except that this year I can’t go.


Politics and Ethics in Battlestar Galactica
Spoiler Alert – this discussion will be wide-ranging, and may well cover episodes of Season 3 you might not have seen on Sky, even if you can get Sky any more, who knows. (12:00 to 13:00, Edward 1)

Of course, this assumes I manage to watch the finale between now and then.

And that’s it. My train back is mid-afternoon on Monday, so I won’t be around for the Dead Dog. But hopefully there will be plenty of hanging out in the bar and in the dealer’s room over the course of the weekend, maybe even an expedition to the cinema to see Sunshine. See you there?

2 thoughts on “Eastercon Highlights

  1. Somehow I find myself on the panel of the post BSFA Awards thingy – it seems to me like a perfect opportunity to lose friends and alienate people, especially if I end up not agreeing with the winner as voted for by the massed ranks(ish) of the audience…

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