Satelite 4

So I have been away from the blog for about two months, apologies work just got really busy.

This coming weekend is Easter, which for me means Eastercon, the British National Science Fiction Convention, Which this year is in Glasgow.

I am on two programme items:

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Cluedo Friday 16:00 – 17:00

A deep and incisive exploration as to why, in this age of complex, sophisticated, interactive video games, some people still enjoy playing board games.

Great Expectations, or Dealing with Unreasonable Fannish Demands Monday 10:00 – 11:00

Conrunners discuss the evolution of fannish expectations, from a time when it was appreciated that Cons were run by amateur volunteers, and a few logistical hiccups were accepted, to modern demands of essentially a professional conference level of service.

I am looking forward to both of these panels, as I think that there will be some good discussions had. You should check out the full programme!

Anyway, I hope to see some of you at the convention.

Bejing in 2016

It is official, a bid to bring Worldcon to Beijing in 2016 has been formally filed. This means that they will appear on the ballot at the site selection vote in London in August.

Normally I would be all for a bid that is outside the United States, as Worldcon has been too often in the US. However I am a supporter of the rival bid to bring the Worldcon to Kansas City.

Beijing have appeared very late, they only declared they intended to bid at the start of this year(see earlier post). This makes it quite hard for people to have had a chance for us to ask questions, and for them to come up with answers for some of these questions. It makes them seem a little disorganised. When Helsinki in 2015 appeared late, they still did it a full year before the Site selection vote.

I hope that the Bid team will not be discouraged by some of the response that some fans have had, and consider coming back at a later stage.

A Chinese Worldcon would be very different, and I would love to attend one. The current bid committee have impressive  facilities.

More information on the bids, along there formally submitted bid documents are available:

http://www.loncon3.org/2016_bidder_filing.php

So it is worth having a look at both, and if you are voting make an informed vote.

Work Life Balance

So a lot of the time I have from conventions is that normally I can do all the work involved in my job in about 4 hours a day. However that is usually spread out over the day, with flurries of work every half hour to an hour. That normally allows me to sneak in about 90 minutes of convention work during the work day, and still have a relaxing evening.

However, just before christmas an urgent project landed on my manager. Which of course filtered down to the rest of the team. It was a project with an impossible deadline, by the time my boss took it on we had pretty much missed our first deadline! we have gotten a lot of work done over the last few months, and are on track to meet our start of March Deadline, however technical issues may mean that we can’t get it into the release pipeline until the start of April.

All of this has meant that i have no time for conventions during the day, and so more of it ends up been done after hours. This is normally fine as it is only about 90 minutes of work, except at the moment i am trying to learn how someone else did something on a website so that I can work out how to make changes to it without breaking everything. Turns out i may have to break everything!

It just brings home how much i hate web design. We are stuck in browsers because people won’t download standalone applications. Of course more and more enterprise applications are going that way, which is also a bit annoying!

I think i have rambled a little here, i think the main upshot is that i am very busy on all fronts, so may be slow to respond!

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.

Thoughts on Conventions

I have been going to conventions since 1998. my first ever convention was Octocon Lite, a one day event that to a certain extent has had a very lasting influence on my life.

The first time i heard of Octocon was just after the 1997 Eurocon in Dublin, and I regretted not having heard of it in time, as i am sure it would have been brilliant for me to have attended that event.

Either way 1998 was my first event, and since then I have tried to explain why I love going to conventions.

In those early days it was not the people I had met and become friends with, as I had still not learnt how to handle  my shy and socially akward self. Instead it was the panels.

Here were people like myself who were interested in these topics, whether they were Star Wars or Star Trek or Willow or Lord of the Rings or well anything really, and could talk about in smart ways. It was an eye-opening experience, to see these topics that i rarely had any deep conversation about, been treated so respectfully, though with a bit of comedy thrown in.

While now people can find people of a similar mindset available on the internet, i don’t think there is anything better than a panel for getting into a topic.

If you are wondering why you should go to a convention. It is not about who the guests are, though they are usually awesome, it is about the discussions you will get to watch and be a part of, that is what makes conventions great.

Of course these days I am so busy at conventions, I rarely make panels, and then usually only because I am on them. However that’s a different story for another day!

An update

So part of the reason i started this blog was to talk about conventions that i went to, however i was so busy having fun at Eastercon and Eurocon i never updated, and then i got busy in work.

The biggest piece of news around here is that I have I have been elected to the board of the ESFS as the Secretary. Which is going to be fun. We are currently working on updating the website, and laying a few other foundation stones to hopefully modernise and streamline the organization.

We do hope that we can then keep up with the original purpose of the ESFS, to promote Science fiction in Europe, and European Science fiction to the World.

Exciting times eh!