Concatenation began as part of the BECCON* 87 UK National SF Eastercon celebration in 1987 marking the 50th anniversary of the World's first Science Fiction convention. BECCON 87 (Birmingham) marked this 50th in a number of ways, and the production of Concatenation was just one. It appeared as a freebie printed fanzine distributed mid-convention with articles and reviews on topics of interest to science fiction fans. This hotpotch mix bemused some, and even outraged two, but was received with the enthusiasm of many: the pick-up rate at subsequent UK natcons through to the mid-1990s quickly grew to, and stabilised at, in excess of 80% of convention attendance. Soon after our 1987 launch Concatenation started receiving SF books for review from publishers and invitations to attend press showings of new SF films. It even began to take advertising that after two editions covered our print costs. We were also pleasantly surprised when some SF notables offered to write articles. The following year the organisers of, as it was then, both the two UK Easter national SF conventions (the book and film Eastercon and the cinematic and TV SF Elydore) offered to transport copies to their respective events for distribution...(We wont go into the distribution confusion that was caused by the score of fans visiting one event the first half of Easter before moving on to the other convention: those were the days when the UK SF community was more united) And so we found ourselves working on subsequent editions.
Concatenation soon acquired somewhat of a mission. It always was intended to cover the principal topics that hard 'science fiction' fans are interested in, and this includes science and exotic science. In the late 1980s Concatenation team began to be a focus for the inclusion of a solid element of science within the UK Eastercon as well as helping to promote the event. And so we worked with Eastercon organisers (from the late 1980s through to the early 90s) helping identify possible programme participants, and a number of the team regularly gave presentations on aspects of astronomy, physics, biology and environmental science. We even provided scientific information to a few authors and assisted SF publishers. The team also ran the press liaison operation for a number of conventions including the UK-hosted 1984 and 1993 European SF conventions. We aimed to secure good coverage on radio and in the press from local to international level (and not "look-at-the-geeks" reportage SF has been known to attract). Meanwhile Eastercon organisers were beginning to take the science part of their events seriously and the 1990 and 1993 both had a solid body of science events, as independently did the 1995 UK hosted World SF Convention (Glasgow). So Concatenation's role here began to look superfluous and we stopped getting involved with helping organise UK national conventions.
Of course there is a cost to producing what became a typeset, glossy zine with a four-figure print run. A couple of profitable Eastercons kindly provided some initial sponsorship, as did a couple of other generous conventions, and publishers took out advertising. We were fortunate that this, together with the donation of SF fan resources (such as transport) enabled us to cover our costs. For this we remain most grateful. Though the first edition (1987) was not, it has to be said, of particularly high production standard, and subsequent editions improved markedly. These, though, were pre-desktop publishing days without home computers, Microsoft, and where usually the typewriter ruled. We became inventive in ways to get typesetting done and for a few years the BBC home PC was the starting point for copy generation. (If you are aged under 35 you probably will not know of this IT landmark.)
* BECCON stood for the 'Beccon EasterCon CONvention'. BECCON 87 was the fourth BECCON, the other three being biennial London region summer conventions where BECCON stood for the Basildon Essex Centre CONvention.
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