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Saturday, 23 August 2008


Just bought my ticket for Newcon4, 11th and 12th October 2008. Looks like it's going to be a really good gig, with Iain Banks, Storm Constantine, Ian Watson and Ken MaCleod amongst others. And of course, much beer :-) And Mark Newton's humorous shirts!!
Below is a write-up of Newcon3, last years event, just to whet your appetite:
On October 1st and 2nd, in Northampton’s gorgeous NeoGothic Guildhall, the members of Northampton SF Writers Group presented NewCon3, a convention on the theme of progress through time. Consequently H.G. Wells was present, and the compère throughout was the jolly and effervescent official Town Jester of Northampton (sometimes on stilts of bendy metal) who brought along his ladder of swords and his bed of nails, which made a considerable impression on those who volunteered to try it out, such as Simon Bradshaw and Ian Watson, about 200 impressions each in fact. Strolling players strolled and played, with Andy West like a Pied Piper on his flute and giant Irish whistles. A merry Ceilidh occurred, where Gwyneth Jones tried to strangle Ian Watson for whistling Vivaldi, the background music to her lengthy telephone dispute concerning her computer. Gwyneth was one of the finalists for the Booktrust Teenage Prize, with Siberia by her alter ego Ann Halam; and also present was another finalist, Sarah Singleton, for her Gothic Century; but they declined to engage in armed combat despite a vigorous sword-fighting demonstration conducted by Neil Bond, leading to Jon Courtenay Grimwood revealing a hidden yearning to be Errol Flynn. (A while later, Sarah won the award.) Cambridge historian, and soon to be DAW novelist, Kari Maund gave a talk on Viking towns and also won the NewCon3 short story competition with “Saltus Lunae,” the prize being publication in Matrix (Jan-Feb 2006). Phil Nanson from Cambridge discoursed on damascening. Virgin Spaceways sent a promotional video to anchor a panel on holidays in space, the world première of this video. Lots of stimulating panels took place, starring amongst others globe-trotting Paul Billinger and ace cook & gourmet Ian Whates, mainstay of the NSFWG. (NWSFG Treasurer Ian Pursey is another mainstay. Many members are called Ian, though this isn’t a requirement of membership. Sword-wielding Susan Sinclair is the Secretary). Luminary Peter Weston participated with stars in his eyes, discoursing in a panel upon “The Birth of Science Fiction”. Other panels discussed “What if Time Stops but You Can Still Move Around?” and “How Has 20th Century SF Predicted the Future?” and “Space Opera and the Re-emergence of British SF”.Steve Cockayne demonstrated his giant puppets, one of which bears a startling resemblance to himself, which inspired characters in his Legends of the Land novels. Cardinal Cox interviewed Liz Williams. Claire Weaver interviewed Jon Courtenay Grimwood. Fangorn presented a slide show featuring concept sketches for Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, although H.G. Wells felt obliged to tick Fangorn off for this collaboration, once more relocating a version of his masterpiece to America. Feasting occurred in Chinese and Indian restaurants. The real ale didn’t run out. H.G. Wells became custodian of the NewCon award for best time travel book, a surreal inside-out clock created by Neil Bond. An art show delighted the eyes.
NEWCON4 tickets can be reserved online at: and I am reliably informed the program of events is soon to be complete. There are still hotel rooms available as I write!! I know. I booked one.

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