Convention Review

Odyssey2010 - UK National Convention & Euroconference

The 2010 British national SF convention was held in Heathrow outside London
Roberto Quaglia was there.


Science fiction fans who attend SF conventions are divided in two: those who go to SF conventions to attend as many panels as possible, for listening to someone talking to them for as much time as possible, and those who attend SF conventions to spend as much time they can speaking with other other people. Possibly, at a bar with some real ale - or cider with 7.3 alcoholic degrees - at hand. I belong, and have always belonged to the second group of people. Therefore I am definetly the wrong person to ask which was the quality of the panels of the Heathtow Eastercon in 2010. I hope nobody would expect this from me. I have attended just a few of them, only to listen to the talks of a few friends, and I took active part in a few myself, so as to balance things on a cosmic plain. But I can give you a glimpse of the moods that were to breathe at Eastercon.

Big attendence (around 1,300) meant that there was more than enough people around with which to chat . And so it was. Indeed for me from 6 to 8 at night a visit to Gerry Webb's room party, for drinking champagne and vodka, soon became a tradition (but not for people who did not know about it). Other cool room parties happened as well: one of them has even involved a book lauching.

At the bar there was only one real ale type, one fact which was slightly unfortunate, but they had a very good and stong cider, and this compensated. However I did touch upon the nine-parallel streamed programme. On Friday evening I missed what could have been my first practical lesson about bondage and bdsm (one of the programme's most curious items), to go instead to a local fancy pub where I had been told food would deserve my attention. Well, it didn't! It was tasteless and expensive; bondage would have been more funny without any doubt and more dietetic as well.

During the convention, I have often gone outside the hotel complex for some passive smoking. I do not smoke myself, but all my friends do, and I have become a compulsive passive smoker. To go regularly outside in the cold for some cool passive smoke has caused me to encounter many new folk. People tend to socialize when they smoke in the cold outside. And they socialise with willing passive smokers, because, unlike other categories of people, they don't really discriminate against smokers. Going outside the hotel for reasons of smoking allowed also us to listen to the beautiful sound of roaring planes taking off from nearby Heathrow airport (literally across the road) every few minutes. This was a surreal experience, because since I was at a science fiction convention I could easily imagine that these sounds where instead caused by gigantic spaceships taking off, heading to distant planets.

Speaking about passive smoke I am tempted to say a word on passive steam too. The steampunk party has generated a nice atmosphere, even though I noticed very little steam and no punk at all! But the fancy dress costumes were good looking and the live music was OK. It is still unclear to me what this has to do with hardcore science fiction, but from the aesthatic point of view it is a trend which makes perfect sense: more so than traditional masquerades anyway.

So, this briefly has basically been my subjective perception of the UK Eastercon. Great chats with a lot of old and new friends, sustained by the necessary collateral drinks. It was about the fellowship genre afficionado engender and that is what in the end matters most. Meanwhile, I have done tons of pictures and even shot videos, a part of which should be at one point become visible on my personal website. You can visit Quagliaspace at Meanwhile I am sure somebody else will tell you about the panels and talks...

Roberto Quaglia

Other news (talks and panels and stuff) from the 2010 Euroconference and British national SF convention can be found here in our seasonal newscast. Peter Tyers also has a different Odyssey 2010.

Roberto Quaglia only hinted that in the midst of the Euroconference he was on a panel himself but did not mention that at the convention he co-won a British SF Association (BSFA) Award for a short story jointly written with Ian Watson that appeared in their anthology The Beloved of my Beloved from NewCon Press. His work has been published in his home country Italy as well as Romania and Britain. He is currently (2010) an officer of the European SF Society (ESFS).

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