!- - Mini-biogs of the principal team members behind the Science & SF Concatenation, a European window onto the world of science ficiton and its interface with science. Alan Boakes, Jonathan Cowie, Graham Connor, Tony Chester, Antuza Genescu, Silviu Genescu, Nicu Gecse, Paul Brazier, Pete Tyers, Nick Rowsell, Richard Edwards, Roberto Quaglia Tony Bailey - ->
See also our editorial introduction, history and introduction to the philosophy of this site.
And if you want to contribute articles, have a link exchange,
or get a book reviewed then read our contributors guidance carefully.
Alan Boakes is an systems engineer by qualification who worked in the UK telecommunications industry (retired 2008). If you have ever made a phone call from British public phone box in the 1990s and 2000s, then you will have gone through his system. In addition to his professional career as an electrical engineer, he also has an interest in industrial heritage and has been engaged in a number of heritage conservation projects over the years. One of these manifests itself with him being co-owner of a river tug (occasionally referred to by some of as the SF² Concatenation yacht). He is a friend of the NW Kent SF Society (Phoenicians), to which a number of the SF² Concat' team belong, and has had an active interest in NW Kent community activities being: a school governor; active in community representation to the local Council; and restoring a local industrial heritage site. For a number of years early in the 21st century, Alan has organised his borough's annual real ale festival. Though interested in SF films, his first convention was the Romanian 2001 Eurocon when he met Joe Haldeman: this prompted him to read his first SF novel Forever War, closely followed by his second, Forever Free. In addition to formerly looking after his local real-ale society's website, in 2001 Alan took over from Matt as the SF² Concatenation webmaster ensuring that everything is uploaded and working. If you ever e-mailed us (2001-2018) then he was be the guy forwarding your enquiry as appropriate. Alan's own website is www.boakes.net. After 17 years, Alan stood down as webmaster in 2018.
Tony Chester is a writer by inclination and in the past a lighting and marketing consultant by necessity. He produced a number of fanzines during the eighties, as well as being active on the convention scene, often bridging the gap between SF and media (SF TV) conventions, and, infamously the 1980s Rocky Horror convention 'Denton'. Some years ago, after a stint designing and implementing new systems for financial institutions, he turned his attention to his main love, writing. He has written two novels, Best Friend and Heart, with the former being published in a Romanian edition; he has also written a graphic novel, The Well of Souls, a film script, Batsclaw, and numerous short stories. These last are awaiting an eagle-eyed publisher. Meanwhile he co-compiled with Jonathan (below) Essential SF: A Concise Guide which was published in 2005 by Porcupine Press of Porcupine Books, London. Aside from SF books, comics, graphic novels, and SF films, Tony's other main love is music. His knowledge of 20th century rock is virtually encyclopaedic. Tony was with SF² Concatenation back when it began as a print edition in 1987. In 2009 he formally 'retired' from the editorial team after over two decades but still occasionally contributes the odd item.
Graham Connor is also one of the original three editors. He is a physicist by qualification (with a personal interest in gravity) and a builder of onboard spacecraft communications systems (microwave wave guides) by profession. The chances are that you will have seen a picture or made an intercontinental phone call through one of his systems (for example an international call going through a satellite's aerial receiver and transmitter): as such he is the one of us who has been closest to outer space. His SF activities began way back as editor of Warwick University's SF Society's zine Fusion (1977), before being involved with the early Hatfield Shoestringcons (1978-81). During this time he was also active in Hatfield's PSIFA (and on its campus radio show Radio Free Entropy), as well as with Keele U. SF that started the Unicons, and indeed he was a finalist in their first two short story competitions. Graham first started going to conventions in the late 1970s including the British Eastercon (Britain's national convention or natcon). Through the '80s Graham could be found at a number of conventions (including the British Eastercon) manning the film projector, while between 1987 and 1997 he showed himself to be a whiz with scissors and paper in laying out the early print editions of SF² Concatenation. He also was the specific issue editor of the 1988 paper edition. He provides advice on the physics scene as well as the occasional book review. Outside of SF² Concatenation these days, up to the mid-2000s he still went to the occasional convention and was a semi-regular attendee of the Festival of Fantastic Films. In-between all of this he engaged in the more serious business of enjoying Irish stout. Graham with Donna have hosted biennial gatherings of a number of SF² Concatenation core team. Sadly, from the late 2000s ill-health has prevented Graham from participating in much, let alone SF² Concatenation activities, though he still keeps very much in touch and occasionally contributes the odd piece and suggests new directions for the site to explore: for example, SF² Concatenation's 'My Top Ten Scientists...' series of articles from 2017 onwards, by scientists-turned-SF authors, was Graham's idea. Graham died aged 61 Boxing Day 2018. There is an article on Graham's life here.
Jonathan Cowie, was the lead editor on the original Concateantation team, is an environmental scientist by qualification and a science communicator (science writer, event organiser, policy analyst and consultant) by profession both with UK learned science societies and on a freelance basis. Following a three-year stint at the British Medical Association, in the main during the 1980s he was a bioscience publication manager, and 1990-2006 he compiled bio-scientists' views for Governmental and Parliamentarian policy consultations. The greatest part of his career was some 15 years with the Institute of Biology, for the latter half of which as Head of Science Policy & Books up to 2003. He has an interest in Earth systems science (biosphere science) and human ecology. As a result (among many scientific activities) he is the author of the science text on the greenhouse effect (Climate & Human Change: Disaster or Opportunity? from Parthenon Publishing (1998)) as well as Climate Change: Biological and Human Aspects (2007, from Cambridge University Press that has had a second updated and expanded edition in 2013). With regards to SF he: founded Hatfield college's SF group PSIFA in 1978; was on the committee of the BECCON series of London region SF conventions (1981-87) that included the 1987 Eastercon with a Midlands venue; has assisted with most international UK-venued SF conventions of the 80s and 90s by providing science contacts and press liaison services. (Notably, he ran the British Eastercon's first dedicated science programme stream in 1990 and also provided the press liaison for Britain's 1984 and 1993 Eurocons: the former event being the only British Eastercon to have a full half-hour radio programme devoted to it broadcast nationally (BBC Radio 4).) He regularly gave exotic science talks at UK conventions from the late 1970s to early 1990s and thereafter at many Eurocons. He also helped to co-ordinate the Anglo-Romanian Science & SF Cultural Exchange and fan fund (1995 to 2003), as well as co-authoring with Tony Chester (below) Essential SF: A Concise Guide (2005). His personal website, science-com.concatenation.org, focuses more in his science activities and a copy of this satellite site also resides within The British Library Web Archive life science section.
Dan Heidel is an Information Technology expert who specialises in financial work stations and their system interfaces within an office network environment for major businesses in the City of London. Previously he has worked for a number of learned scientific charitable bodies as well as other organizations. From 2001 to 2018, he advised the rest of the SF² Concatenation team on IT matters, helping sort out some of our emergency back-up arrangements, and has provided some of the team with office system maintenance. Dan also helped out with The 2nd International Week of SF in 2003 that SF² Concatenation supported. He has a passion for tortillas: both the digestion as well as culinary creation thereof. And is also interested in Korean culture.
Peter Wyndham is a hard SF and a fantastic film fan. In real life he is a molecular biologist modelling pharmaceutical action. He provides some admin and team support for SF² Concatenation. He also has an interest in steam engineering (though strangely not in steampunk), curry, and is an active member of his local SF group.
Roberto Quaglia is an Italian SF writer who is very well known in Romania as he spends his time divided between Italy and Bucharest. He is also known in Russian fandom. Roberto can occasionally be found at the Eurocon and so frequently rubs shoulders with a number of the SF² Concatenation team and has worked with Concatenation on a number of Anglo-Romanian Exchange projects. A couple of his convention reports are on this site and he occasionally provides Concatenation with news of continental European goings on. He has been an Officer for the European SF Society (ESFS) from 2002 - 2013. (So if ever anything had happened to the ESFS Chair then Roberto would have been responsible for Europe's SF: a surreal thought if ever there was.) In recent years (since 2009) he has had SF collections of short stories published that have been written jointly with Ian Watson, one of which won a BSFA award in 2010. He is also the author of the 'Paradoxine' diptych duology Bread, Butter and Paradoxine. In 2013 he was awarded the title of SF/F Grandmaster by Aelita, Russia's longest-running SF convention, for his contributions over the decades to the genre.
Tony Bailey is a photo-print technician and was editor of the former The Contact newszine primarily for the LOTNA London-based SF media groups. In real life Tony owns a reprographic business in London. As a friend of SF² Concatenation Tony has provided typesetting and print for the Anglo-Romanian SF Exchange as well as the pre-production for Porcupine Books for the first edition (2005) of the Concat' guide to best SF. He also helps SF² Concatenation with its stationery needs: so if you have ever had a Concatenation business card or new year card from one of us then Tony was responsible for its production. In addition he provided a back-up option (fortunately not used but it was good to have the safety net) for uploading the site during the 2020 CoVID lockdown.
William (Bill) Parry was a science journal and magazine layout editor before becoming a photojournalist in 2006 specialising in Palestine. He currently works in university college administration. However, for SF² Concatenation he has since 2006 been editing our 'Best of' Nature 'Futures' story PDFs. This is because our generic agreement with Nature, and specific agreements with respective authors, does not cover artwork copyright. Consequently, Bill masks the artwork with a logo agreed with Nature. Bill also sorted out the photo montaging of the cover for the 2nd International Week of SF programme book's cover.
Boris Sidyuk is best known among the Ukrainian SF community as its unofficial Minister of Foreign Affairs in that he liaises with many people and SF groups outside the Ukraine. He founded at the age of 14 (1979) an SF group - Antares - for his school friends. He has worked on a number of Ukrainian national conventions and was on the committee of his country's first Eurocon in 2006. He is currently the foreign editor of 'SF Reality' the only SF magazine in Ukrainian. In real life he is the marketing director of a computer publishing house. His contribution to SF² Concatenation is in providing one of its webspaces (from 2006) and the sponsor links.
Pete Tyers a computer operator by trade, Pete was a member of the BECCON convention organising team (1982 - '87). In UK SF circles Pete was the convention photographer for all the major UK (national and international) conventions of the 1980s and early 1990s. He continues to provide this service for UK venued international conventions. He also contributed photographs for many of SF² Concatenation's paper editions. He has also over the years provided many convention reports for the site. These days he still provides the odd pic and has assisted with the audio-visuals for some of the mini-international European and other events with which SF² Concatenation and its team members have been associated. Since his retirement he has been part of Concatenation's book review team. He also is our principal Worldcon reviewer. Away from Concatenation and SF, Pete enjoys real ale and travelling to the US.
Matt Freestone is a qualified mathematician who has turned to the dark side of commercial applications programming for a living. His SF activity began at Cambridge University, where he contributed regularly to TTBA, the multi-titled zine of the university's SF society. Many of his current interests are reflected in the contents of the early versions (1998-2001) of this website which he created. His personal website, www.furthermore.org.uk, is now dormant. 2001 saw him return from London to Cambridge and start a family and hand over the webmaster reigns to Alan (above). Nonetheless he is still in occasional contact with the rest of the team. The 2010s see him working on mathematical models for the finance sector.
Antuza Genescu was the Romanian co-ordinator of the Anglo-Romanian Science & SF Exchange and a former English teacher, currently working as a copy translator. Of the many works she has translated into Romanian, perhaps the one that tested her skill the most was Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun. In her spare time she has helped out with Romanian conventions and translated material for the 1994 EuRocon as well as the 1st and 2nd International Week's of Science & Science Fiction (1999 and 2003) for which SF² Concatenation was a principal sponsor. She continued to provide translation services for Romanian publishers as well as fandom up to 2013.
Silviu Genescu is an SF writer by night, and news reporter by day. Silviu's D is for End was nominated for the Romanian equivalent of the Booker prize: the only SF novel ever to be so favoured. He also occasionally translates English SF books for commercial Romanian publishers. For SF² Concatenation he has helped translating for the Anglo-Romanian Science & SF Cultural Exchange and on the Romanian end of joint Anglo-Romanian projects. He occasionally passes on alerts of our new seasonal edition postings to the Romanian SF community.
Paul Brazier was a typesetter and layout editor by profession. In SF circles he was known for his mid-1990s semi-prozine SF Nexus and his work on the SF literary zine Interzone (which subsequently subsumed Nexus). With regards to SF² Concatenation he not only worked on the 1993 paper edition but excelled himself on the 1994 tri-lingual edition for which he created a special font to address eastern European characters (as then none were available from downloading from the then barely existent internet). His final issue of SF² Concatenation was the 1997 final paper edition which was produced both in English and Romanian versions. Paul sadly died in 2016.
Harry Nadler was a cinema manager before becoming a print manager and then a computer games design manager, who grew up and worked for much of his life with his friend from his school years Charles Partington. Much of his life he was a member of MaD SF (Manchester & District). From 1957 through to the 1970s, he, Charles Partington (see below) and Tony Edwards were members of the Delta SF group that made SF documentaries and short films. Harry, Charles and Tony also produced the fanzine Alien between 1963 and 1965 with the last three issues morphed into a semi-prozine called Alien Worlds. With Charles, Harry organised three UK national Eastercons before (with others) moving on in 1990 to found and run a series of 13 hugely successful Festival of Fantastic Films. These were small but attracted attention from many countries including from as far away as the US and Japan. Harry was inducted into the Knights of St Fantony at Britain's second Worldcon, Loncon 2, in 1965. With Charles, he provided rough-and-ready printing of the first edition (1987) of SF² Concatenation free of charge. Also, as Fantastic Film Fest organiser, he welcomed Romanian SF personalities Antuza Genescu and Cristian Lazarescu to a Festival (see the reports Made in England and Antuza's UK Visit Report). Harry was a tremendous friend of SF² Concatenation. In addition to helping produce its first edition, he also supported Charles (see Charles Partington below) in providing some publications for the 1980s BECCON run of SF conventions that culminated with BECCON '87 (that year's Eastercon) at which SF² Concatenation was launched and for which Charles and Harry's Manchester Print Centre produced the full colour covered programme book: BECCON '87 was the first Eastercon to have a programme book with a colour cover! Unfortunately, Harry suddenly died in March 2002 having started work on the 13th Fest. Harry was a true 'Secret Master of Fandom' (SMOF). 'Secret' because, not only was he a quiet soul, you had to be at the heart of British SF to realise exactly how much he contributed to so many projects to do with SF in both its written and cinematic forms. 'Master' because he did so much from running the national SF Eastercon to involvement in regional and local SF groups. One of that extremely rare breed, a true SMOF. He is hugely missed. See 'In memoriam Harry Nadler'. That the Festival of Fantastic Films continued, long after his passing through to 2019, is a testimony to Harry's contribution to British fandom.
Charles Partington worked alongside school friend Harry Nadler. With Harry he was involved in running Eastercons of yore. Other than his work with Harry, he was a co-founder of the Manchester-based Savoy Books publishing house and helped set up (with Dave Britton) Manchester's former 'House on the Borderland' bookshop (in Port Street). Of particular SFnal note, Charles and Dave together published James Cawthorn's graphic interpretation of Michael Moorcock's Stormbringer (the first Savoy book). Shortly after Stormbringer appeared, Charles left the company to start up in business partnership with Harry. In addition to the Alien fanzine and Alien Worlds semiprozine (see Harry Nadler above), Charles' semi-prozine, irregularly produced in the 1970s and 1980s, was literally Something Else. Charles was made a Knight of Saint Fantony in 1967 at Briscon, that year's British Eastercon. With Harry, he roughly printed, free of charge, the first edition (1987) of SF² Concatenation and so played a pivotal role in getting us going. (Any blame attached to SF² Concat goes to Charles.) Charles also worked with a couple of team members on publications for the 1980s series of BECCON British SF conventions (see also Harry Nadler above). Of some computer gaming historical note, around this time Charles and Harry established Red Rat Software Ltd that devised and published approximately thirty 8-bit, 16-bit and IBM PC compatible computer games at the very start of the software games industry. (Its games included a Tilt d'Or prize in 1992 for Best Puzzle Game.) These days Charles is better known as a writer of fantasy (among other genres) who has had numerous short stories published in magazines and anthologies, and is currently seeking to break in to novels. Charles sadly passed in 2022 -- tribute here.
Nick Rowsell is a psychologist by qualification but used to work in selling advertising. Nick sold advertising space for hard copy SF² Concatenation in 1988 and 1989 which paid for their printing. These days he applies his psychology to care work. He still keeps in touch with some of SF² Concat's core team.
Richard Edwards is a computer scientist by qualification and created the 1985 award-winning computer game Advent. He is currently a computer consultant. He is known in UK SF circles for being part of the BECCON London region convention-organising team (1982 - '87) and provided the typesetting for SF² Concatenation between 1988 and 1992.
Simon Geikie and Elaine Sparkes have contributed to a number of SF² Concatenation ventures since 1990. Simon has even done a few reviews and both have made major contributions to a number of SF² Concat'-sponsored Anglo-Romanian Science and SF Cultural Exchange ventures. They also provided hosting and hospitality for these ventures. Simon is a conservation biologist who has spent a number of years working in one of Britain's National Parks, while Elaine works in industrial relations for British physiotherapists. 1990 up to 2005 they hosted gatherings for a number of the SF² Concat' team and Simon was an occasional book reviewer. In addition these days both are busy raising their son (and creating a low-fossil-energy house) but they still stay in touch with the SF² Concat' team and join us for some of our occasional gatherings.
Brian Ameringen was, like Jonathan C., Richard E., and Pete T., was a member of the BECCON team that provided biennial London region SF conventions and the UK Nat Con in 1987.. He is an SF antiquarian book dealer running Porcupine Books that has since 1999 joined up with SF² Concatenation promoting both ventures to a number of UK conventions. Porcupine Books, as Porcupine Press, published the 2005 edition of the Concat' guide to best science fiction. In addition to the BECCON '87 Eastercon, he was also on the committee of the 2023 Eastercon, Conversation, that -- like BECCON '87 -- was held in Birmingham in the same hotel.
Nicu Gecse is a chemist by qualification, and has been active within the Romanian SF community for many years; for instance he was on the organising committee of the 1994 Eurocon. When he was not purportedly producing the 1997 Spanish Concat' edition, Nicu makes glass sculptures. Alas we have not heard from him since 1998.
Book review team. In addition to the above there are a number of dedicated souls who regularly provide additional book reviews. These currently include among others: Mark Bilsborough, Arthur Chappell, Karen Fishwick, Steven French, Ian Hunter, Duncan Lunan (fiction to 2015 and currently astronomy & space non-fiction only), Ash Millard, Roseanna Pendlebury, Mark Yon and Peter Young.
Past reviewers (well, we have been going a few decades and people move on) have among others included: David Allkins,Vicki Bailey-Whatson, Chris Bursey, Mike Christie, Joao Duarte, Connor Eddles, Susan Griffiths, Julie Harper, Jason Jarvis, Kaz Makin, Nadia Mook, Caroline Mullan, Andrew Musk, Jane O'Reilly, Sebastian Phillips, Marcus Streets, Allen Stroud ,Susan Swasey and Peter Thorley. Some of these reviewed back when we were an annual print magagazine and some have reviews on this site, SF² Concatenation's internet e-incarnation.
Finally, the SF² Concatenation science fiction news page relies on a semi-regular band and a wider network of kind individuals sharing news with us (hence some of your good selves) of what is going on. If you go to the 'Thanks' paragraph at the bottom of the Spring news page each year you will find a full list of those who contributed to Concatenation the previous year.
The SF² Concatenation site's SF awards.
SF² Concatenation entry here at the SF Encyclopedia.
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