SF convention-goers wanted

Do you have a favourite convention you go to time and again?
Stuck at home? Want to make an SFnal mark?
How about giving them a promotion puff
by writing something for SF² Concatenation?



With hundreds of thousands avidly following lead SF/F authors and literally millions going to the cinema to watch SF/F films and many, many millions internationally watching SF each and every week on television, the few hundred or thousands that go to an SF convention, or even ten thousand plus for a large Worldcon, SF convention-going is the small beer end of the SF population at large.  Yet for many of those that go to SF/F conventions, they are hugely enjoyable and so they come back to them time and time again.

One of SF/F convention appeals is that there is a huge variety of them: from those purely focussed on books; those on art-house film, those on TV series and a huge range of combinations in-between not to mention music and a plethora with a focus on a particular sub-genres.

Another is their varying degree of regionality.  Most invariably attract locals. Yet there is a range of conventions: from local, regional, national, continental to almost World.  And so regulars also enjoy a community whose origins have a spatial dimension.  Indeed, continental-level conventions such as Eurocons enable regulars to sample a remarkable diversity of towns and cities if not cultures.

Yet there are worries that some convention communities are beginning to grey and lack new, young blood.  Even Eurocons and Worldcons are not immune as, though both regularly see a respectable proportion of young members, the regulars that return most years to attend in a different venue city are arguably becoming elderly.

Other, more specialist conventions (be they focussed on a sub-genre, or costuming, or whatever) may become established but not sufficiently enough to ensure their longevity, or stumble due to the profitability or an unexpected cost of a particular event in their series of conventions. (London's 'Nine Worlds' being just one fairly recent example.)

So here's the thing. Given the next few months many of us are going to be largely housebound, how about those of you who regularly go to a particular series of conventions give a shout out to that convention series?

There are a number of articles you could write and we'd be delighted to post.

Possibilities include, but not restricted to, writing an outline history (or recent history) of the series of conventions you wish to share.  Alternatively, if you are feeling creative, you could write a convention review of a convention that has been cancelled this year.  If you have been to two or three previous conventions in the series you can mine events that took place at those earlier cons paraphrasing them. You can check out the Guests of Honour that would have appeared at this year's event and write a short paragraph on each.

If you decide to go down this alternate timeline convention review avenue, then articles might be headed something like this…

Such-and-such-a-con 2020

Was due to be held on [date] at [venue] but was cancelled
due to the 2020 virus pandemic.  However, in an alternate, virus-free timeline
it was held.  Here [insert reviewer's name] reviews of that alternate event.
(The names of people are purely coincidental and not strictly related to this timeline.)

Yes, this may sound strange but think of it this way… If there is such a thing as a multiverse of parallel worlds then there is one world – indeed many Earth's – that did not see a global viral pandemic in 2020.  On some of those worlds one of the many 2020 SF conventions now cancelled on our Earth still went ahead on an alternate timeline.  You could review that hypothetical convention and in that way give a shout out to then convention series in this world.

Your article might include the following elements (among others) to give a feel for the convention series:-
          - the convention's focus [films, books, TV progs, cosplay etc]
          - a little about the convention series history [how long has it been going, associated SF groups, etc]
          - approx con size [there's a difference in feel between a 200 local con and a 5,000 Worldcon]
          - the con venue host city [if it's been held there before you'll have an idea]
          - number of programme streams
          - the Guests of Honour [cancelled events may previously have announced these, or you might add – as this is an alternate timeline – an invented list of guests and write a paragraph of each and what they are noted for]
          - programme content [screenings, talks, panels, signings etc]
          - any special regular events [awards, con dinner, performances etc.]
          - the best regular things about the con
          - perhaps make up an occurrence that took place a the event [possibly loosely based on one that previously took place in the con series?]
          - a concluding paragraph as to whom the con might appeal and would be welcome to attend future events.

Do not be restricted by the above.  You can expand on it any way you want.  Perhaps by including a wish-list of things you'd like to see at future events but present them as if they already took place on this alternate timeline.

Aim for 600 words (max 1,000 words).

Submit by e-mail as a Microsoft Word.doc.  Remember, we will only be able to get back to you once the 2020 UK anti-virus lock-down ends and we regain access to our office.

And there you have it.

Finally, even if the above is not for you (maybe you are not into writing) but you'd like some sort of promotional puff for a convention series you regularly attend, then why not suggest to a friend who also goes to those cons to submit a piece?  Alternatively, if you know the organisers you could e-mail them and they might arrange for someone to write a piece from their pool of regulars. (It is perhaps best for organisers themselves not to write a piece lest the temptation be for it to be overly self-congratulatory.)

And now something else.  For the past couple of years we have been running a series on scientists who are also commercially published SF authors on their scientist heroes born in the 20th century (so avoiding Newton, Darwin, Einstein, etc).  If you know of a scientist SF author then why not drop them a line suggesting they contribute and sending them the afore link.  You'll need to remind them that we will not be able to reply to any e-mail to us until after UK 2020 lockdown ends and we can regain access to our office.

In this time when we are all self-isolating the above might give you an SF fan-project to help occupy you.  It might also give you a small piece of immortality as any piece you do do, and we use, will eventually be archived by the British Library web archive: we are currently in the process of being archived by them.

In the unlikely event we are swamped with useable articles, then we may space out their posting over a number of seasonal editions.

And a reminder, we will look at all offerings sent and get back to you once UK lock-down ends and we regain access to our office.


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