Plans for the year

I am currently planning on visiting two international Conventions, Eastercon and Worldcon.

Eastercon is the British national convention, and moves around the united kingdom every year, with different groups organizing it. This year will be in Scotland and is called Satelite 4 I have applied to be on the program, but doubt i will get much. Most of my time will be pushing Shamrokon.

Worldcon, is a convention that moves around the world, though tends to be US based. This is a historical thing, and this is changing. This year is in London, Loncon 3, next year is in Spokane (Washington state),Sasquan. This is basically one of the longest running Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions in the world. the First one occurred in 1939 at the New York Worlds Fair, this is where the name originally came form.

So my two international cons this year are both in the UK. I had hoped to make it to Swecon (Swedish National Convention) in June, or to Finncon (Finnish National Convention) in July,  but looking at finances that is almost certainly not going to happen.

Locally I will probably get to a number of Dublin Gaming and Anime cons. Will try to get a Ticket for Dublin Comic Con as well.

I will also be at Shamrokon which is taken place at the end of this August .

Octocon in 2015

Since the end of the 2013 Octocon I have not really been working on the next Octocon, which will be in 2015. We had a meeting were we laid out some general plans for 2015, including something that will be great fun if we can pull it off.

However nothing serious has actually been done. I dropped an e-mail off to the hotel to start the process of negotiations for the rooms we want to use. It will hopefully be a painless process, but is an important part of the Budget, as the hotel takes up a large part of our spend.

Once we have an actual date, it will most likely be in October of 2015, set we will move onto organizing an actual website. Some of you may have noticed that the Octocon website had a fatal error at some stage in December. Rather than try to fix the old web site which we intend to replace anyway, we decided to just put a holding page in place.

Hopefully we can get some good help with the website, and continue to grow the convention as it has over the last few years.

Chinese Worldcon

So a few days ago a friend discovered information about a bid to run a World con in Beijing in 2016. Here is the website, it is in Chinese, But a translate program is interesting.

People who have friends in Chinese fandom have identified the parties, and where the idea came from. Without going into too much detail, it is unlikely that such a bid would win at the site selection this year. However i think a Chinese World con would be a very interesting thing to have happen.

While there may be issues around how much control the Chinese government might have over programme, these are questions that we should wait until we have an actual bid team around to ask questions of.

For me, i would love a Chinese Worldcon as I would love to visit Beijing and the surrounding area. There is also a chance to meet some Chinese fans and see how Chinese fandom works.

of course this then leaves us wondering when would be best for them to bid?

If you look at the bid years that are around, there are no open years for a long time (There is a declared intention to bid for every year out until 2022)

So doing some analysis on the best year for such a bid, I think we can ignore 2017, as four bids is already more than enough, and I don’t think we want the War of the Five Bids.

2018 has two US bids, and China might have a chance there, However this is a case where the voters for two US bids would be more likely to Stay in the US.  At the Site selection in 2013 votes transferred from Orlando at a rate of approximately 2 to 1 to the other US Bidder. So avoiding 2018 is probably a good idea.

For obvious reasons I would prefer not to have them enter the 2019 bid race. Though this is the first year without a US bidder in the Race. The same can be said for 2020, for which New Zealand declared an interest in a long time ago. No one is bidding against them as yet and they have a lot of popular support among regular Worldcon attendees/voters.

the bids in 2021 and 2022 only have a single bidder each, Texas and Chicago, who hosted the 2013 and 2012 world cons. Which means they are also good places to bid.

I think the earliest that a Chinese bid would have a chance would be 2019. However as people who have not had much of a presence at a worldcon, it might be better for them to spend a few years running small parties and introducing themselves around, with a target to bid for 2021 or later.

Seven years sounds like a lot, but it means they have two years to introduce themselves at London and Spokane, then three years of bidding, with a vote in 2019. That is of course if they can actually get entrance Visas to the US…

Grey Days

It is yet another drab, wet grey day.

This of course is perfect weather to curl up and read books. I have been working my way through a pile of books I got myself as a little birthday present just before Christmas. So I thought I would throw up some short reviews

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

This is the first book in a new series from this great writer. The basic premise is that something has caused people to manifest superpowers, however so far only evil people seem to have gained powers. The book is set in a Chicago that has been taken over and controlled by one of these villains.

A really good book, with a story that moves along nicely, but that still has time to set up a great world and also throw in a few twists. I highly recommend this one.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

A story set in an alternate history Seattle. In this world the US civil war is still ongoing after 20 years.  Seattle is a city completely changed by the “Boneshaker” which was a tunnelling device that dug a tunnel under Seattle that released a heavy gas that effectively causes zombism. The authroies built a big wall around the old core of Seattle, and people don’t go there anymore.

At least that’s what the main protagonist of the story believes, until her son goes into the walled town to prove his fathers innocence in the Bone Shaker incident. She has to follow, and learns all about the hidden community that still exists inside the walls.

An interesting read, with a very different world. It has a very strong Steam punk vibe and a very good set of characterisation of its main characters.

The Prince of Lies by Anne Lyle

This is the third and final volume in the Nights Masque trilogy. The trilogy is based around a set of characters mainly focused on an alternate Elizabethan England, though the second volume is set in Venice, where the characters have travelled.

This book is the climax of the trilogy, and ties up a lot of loose ends that have been introduced in earlier books. The book itself covers a large period of time as the various antagonist forces plots progress until a quite stunning climax.

I do recommend the entire series, as a good fun read.

The Shambling guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

I was unable to find a physical copy of this book, and so i got myself the audio book version, read by Mur Lafferty. The book focuses on a woman who finds herself working for a company producing a tourist guide to New York city for the mystical community.

This book is a great mix of funny, scary, and weird. I don’t want to go into it too much as the book is so good, and anything i say would probably ruin a couple of surprises! i will say that i loved the concept of the Welsh Death Goddess who had to start working as a writer because all the followers of her religion had switched to other religions.

A new Something or other

So we are here, the first Monday of 2014.  Work was very busy just before Christmas, and I expect it to take off again very shortly. So i shall take some of this time, where nothing is happening to write some thoughts.

This is a rest year for conventions for me. By which I mean I am working on conventions, but in positions of lower stress. Having been a chair of a convention every year since 2010, a break where other people have final responsibility is nice.

At the moment my main focus is Shamrokon, where I am currently in charge of Membership. This has been busy over the last while, as we had a price increase on New Years Day. This is probably a bad time for a price increase, but there are also worse. People are aware of key dates, and New years day stands out.

After the price increase we were expecting a complete drop off of memberships, however it has been not at all that bad. no where near the rush it was, but still higher than it was in previous months. At this point, as people begin booking there travel plans, it makes more sense to get a membership.

I am still trying to work out what to do with the Historical Stuff i have for Irish Scifi, however I think I will probably create an archive site off of the main Scifi.ie Domain, as that seems logical. I will be thinking some more on this, and of course will continue scanning, Though will need better software than the in built stuff.

Other things, Convention list for this year is much much smaller than I hoped. I will be limited to two International events, Eastercon and Worldcon. Ireland wise, will probably make it to most Dublin based gaming conventions, and of course will be at Shamrokon! I may make an appearance at a couple of the other Dublin cons (Anime and Animation) in an effort to advertise or at least see  if there are things I can learn.

[History] First Contact – May 1993

So before Christmas I got a large collection of various documents that are related to the now defunct Irish Science Fiction Association. So I have selected one document to scan and am putting it up on dropbox.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0ze6sszry5uwq6n/FirstContact_1_7_may_1993.pdf

I am hoping to put together a proper archive document and share more of these later.