Contemplation: Eastercon 2007

[Read Me]

The 58th British National Science Fiction Convention
6--9 April 2007, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chester

Originally, the 2007 Eastercon was to have been Convoy, at the Adelphi, Liverpool. But unfortunately it had to be cancelled. (Official Convoy: Eastercon 2007 pages.)

Then, at Novacon 2006 a rescue bid was put in place, for Contemplation, in Chester. So, organised in four months, rather than the usual 2+ years, it was necessarily smaller and quieter, with few official "big" evens such as GoHs, masquerade, etc. But it was still good fun, with great panels and talks, and a good hotel. And great weather!

Programme highlights


Panel • Climate change -- fans and carbon footprints

Charles Stross , Judith Proctor, Pat McMurray, Dave Clements

What can we do as a community to reduce our carbon footprint? Should we consider offsetting funds to match air travel for the fan funds, for example? Or are we just kowtowing to the latest puritan fad?


Panel • What makes a good book review?

John Jarrold, Jon Courtenay Grimwood , Penny Hill, Niall Harrison, Paul Raven

Do you read book reviews? Do you take any notice of them? Do writers and publishers take notice of them? Do they serve the reader, the industry, or no one at all? Do you give a flying squid?


Panel • The great clomping foot of nerdism

Farah Mendlesohn , Richard Morgan , John Richards, Tanya Brown, Graham Sleight

M John Harrison sparked debate with his statement that "Every moment of a science fiction story must represent the triumph of writing over worldbuilding", that "... worldbuilding is not technically necessary. It is the great clomping foot of nerdism. It is the attempt to exhaustively survey a place that isn't there. A good writer would never try to do that, even with a place that is there."


Panel • Continuity of identity

Charles Stross , Richard Morgan , Fran Dowd, Colin Gavaghan, Chris Beckett

Questions about continuity of identity have long intrigued philosophers and psychologists, but they have a habit of cropping up in SF too. Is the Doctor still the same Doctor after a regeneration? Is an uploaded mind the same person as its flesh-and-blood predecessor, of just a really good copy? And is a Star Fleet transporter room more like a bus depot -- or an execution chamber?


Panel • Climate change -- planning our environment

Peter Westhead, Judith Proctor, Nik Whitehead, John Dallman, Peter Harrow

Can we design our living environment to reduce the effects of climate change? and should we try?

[Guillaume Thierry]

Guillaume Thierry • George Hay Memorial Lecture

What we take for "reality" is an illusion constructed by our brain, a mental representation that can be deceived and distorted.


Panel • Universal Donor

Ian Watson , Ian Whates , Paul Cornell, Freda Warrington , Graham Sleight

Other genres -- fantasy, technothriller, historical -- have been recently reinvigorated by taking a science-fictional approach. Authors identified with SF have 'bled' towards the mainstream or other genres. Science fiction has become the default multimedia landscape. Is SF making a blood donation -- or bleeding to death?

Phil and Jill Bradley • Urban Exploring

The art of spending time in abandoned buildings, be they industrial, commercial, medical, military, educational -- in fact, any building that isn't being used any longer.


Panel • Is UK SF publishing overly masculine?

John Richards, Jo Fletcher, Graham Sleight, Liz Williams , Gareth Powell, Jaine Fenn

"I hear that a number of women writers have felt that the atmosphere in the UK is very hard science, hard men at present --not that all the editors are male or whatever, but that the culture seems to be for quite macho type books." True?


Panel • Glorifying terrorism

Ian Watson , Ian Whates , Kari Sperring , Ian MacDonald, Farah Mendlesohn , Charles Stross

"Glorifying Terrorism" is a recently published anthology of sf short stories written in protest of the Terrorism Act.


Panel • But that's not SF!

Dave Lalley, Phil Nansen, John Richards, Jane Killick, John Dallman

What's SF really? What's not SF that we think we should claim?


Panel • Military -- reality vs fiction

Martin Easterbook, Richard Morgan , Simon Bradshaw, Charles Stross

Digicams and email bring modern soldiers' views of war right onto our computer screens. How do their experiences compare with sf's depictions of future conflict?


Panel • Not the Clarke Awards

Claire Briarley, Farah Mendlesohn , Caroline Mullan, Iain Emsley, Tony Cullen

A discussion of the 2006 Clarke shortlist.

[ Nova Swing won the ACC award]


Panel • Hey Dude, Where's My Ice Age?

Dave Clements, Nik Whitehead, Fran Dowd, Vincent Docherty, Stephen Cooper

Social and scientific predictors have been warning us of a coming catastrophe for all of history -- in the late nineteenth century it was gridlock and and nine metres of horseshit in the streets, and not so long ago it was the coming Ice Age. Why should we believe them this time round?

[Sarita Robinson]

Sarita Robinson • Human factors in space travel

The human side of space exploration, from spaceship design to the practical issues surrounding sex in space.

[Peter Wareham and Gwen Funnell]

Peter Wareham and Gwen Funnell • If the Swan had sunk

What would the world be like if Shakespeare had not existed?.