Helicon 2: Eastercon 2002

[Programme Book]

The 53rd British Easter Science Fiction Convention
29 March--1 April 2002, Hotel de France, Jersey

GoHs: Brian Stableford , Harry Turtledove, (fan) Peter Weston.

This was my first trip to Jersey, and both the Hotel de France (including indoor trees and clouds , and alien table decorations ) and the weather were splendid -- but the ferry trip was an exercise in sleep deprivation, in both directions. If there's another Jersey Eastercon, I'll be back, but I'll fly!

The theme of the con was "Alternative History" (AH)

Programme highlights

Panel -- What is Fandom that Thou Art Mindful of it?

Eve Harvey, John Harvey, Tobes, Mike Scott

Panel -- Easy Fusion -- here we go again


Simon Bradshaw, John Bray, Steve Rothman, John Dallman

The original Cold Fusion story broke at Contrivance. 13 years on Science is prepared to publish articles on it again.

Panel -- Is Nit-Picking a Legitimate Critical Technique in SF?

[Ian Watson, Justina Robson]

Ian Watson, Justina Robson , Dave O'Neill, Chris Amies

In a genre based on extrapolation, to what extent does the artist have to "show the workings" in the margin?

Panel -- Alternative History: Choosing a Point of Departure


Jon Courtenay Grimwood , Mary Branscombe, Harry Turtledove, Peter Garratt

Panel -- Shifting the Paradigms: How Science Changes

Julian Headlong, Judith Proctor, Roy Gray

Panel -- Points of Departure: the Reformation


Laura Turtledove, Vincent Docherty, Richard Stephenson, Peter Garratt

If the American Civil War is the twist of choice for USan AHs, then the Reformation is for ours. Would the continuation of the Roman Church here have meant the suppression of science?

Panel -- If We Knew Then What We Know Now: Futures that are Past it


Simon Bradshaw, Alistair Reynolds , Judith Proctor, Peter Hamilton , Roy Gray

What is the value of SF that has been overtaken by events? Are the old books still readable, the old shows still watchable?

Panel -- Points of Departure: the American Civil War, 1861--1865


???, Peter Weston, Eddie Cochrane, Harry Turtledove, ???

This is the big turning point in American history -- if you don't count the Revolutionary war.

Panel -- Through Poverty to the Stars! -- desperation at the root of progress

???, ???, Eddie Cochrane, Simon Bradshaw

Are low cunning and survival instincts more useful than deep pockets?

[Gerry Webb]

Gerry Webb -- Space Launches

[This was originally planned to be a home movie show of various launches -- but Gerry had forgotten to bring the films! So instead he gave a deeply fascinating impromptu account of his involvement in the current Russian space programme -- this is where the future of the commercial space programme is at!]

Panel -- Assumptions, McGuffins, and Dei ex Machina

[Peter Hamilton, Chris Amies]

Justina Robson , Peter Hamilton , Chris Amies

Is it worse to have your hero come up with just the right gadget out of thin air, or to have him briefed on every bit of equipment he will need, in the order in which he will use it?

Panel -- Can a Subtle Story Survive a Big Budget?

[Brian Stableford] [Ian Watson, Kim Campbell, Liz Counihan, Peter Garratt]

Brian Stableford, Ian Watson, Kim Campbell, Liz Counihan, Peter Garratt

Panel -- If This Goes On: the inventing of political fiction

[David O'Neill, Cheryl Morgan]

Paul Cray, Bridget Wilkinson, David O'Neill, Cheryl Morgan, Mike Cobley

One criticism of future SF is its failure of imagination in coming up with new models for societies

Panel -- Checking Universal Constants: build your own reality detector


Simon Bradshaw, Michael Spiller, John Bray, John Dallman

What do you need to determine the rules of physics in whatever reality you find yourself in?

, ...
  • lower level constants -- the easiest to see changing

  • [Brian Stableford]

    Brian Stableford -- GoH talk -- Moral Responsibility in a Heterocosmic Universe

    Panel -- Future History: Cut and Shut Sagas

    Liz Counihan, Mike Cobley, Kim Campbell, Alistair Reynolds, Mike Scott Rohan

    Why do some authors feel the need to make a common future history for all their stories?

    Panel -- The Consumers Guide to Superfluous Technology


    Pat Murphy, Peter A???, John Bray, Ben Jeapes, Charlie Stross

    A strange title for a panel about ePublishing

    Panel -- Should Scientists Write Science Fiction?

    Charlie Stross, Alistair Reynolds, Simon Bradshaw, Ben Jeapes

    Does being a scientist make you a better SF writer? Or a worse one?


    Panel-- Bored Mindless in Utopia


    Brian Stableford, Martin Easterbrook???, Mike Scott Rohan

    Utopias simply aren't as much fun as dystopias. I s there a utopia we should be striving towards?

    Panel -- Not the Clarke Award


    Claire Briarley, Cheryl Morgan, Tanya Brown, Farah Mendlesohn, Charlie Stross, Caroline Mullen

    A discussion of the shortlist for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award

    [ Bold as Love won the ACC award]

    Panel -- If I Ruled the Universe


    Mike Allum, Chris O'Shea, Vince Docherty, Sue Mason, SMS

    Four diverse creatures try to persuade the audience to vote them in as new Ruler Of The Universe