Orbital: Eastercon 2008


The 59th British National Science Fiction Convention
21-24 March 2008, Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow

GoHs: Tanith Lee China Mieville Charles Stross • Rog Peyton (fan)

Official Orbital: Eastercon 2008 pages.

[infinite corridor]

The third con I've attended at the "Radisson Non-Euclidean", and the geometry is as confusing as ever -- for example, there are disjoint parts of the fourth floor which require traversal via the third floor; the corridors are all identical and infinitely long; the stairs are covered in black and white stripes that are not correlated with the actual edges of the steps, and many walls are covered in mirrors. However, I'm thinking of renaming it the Radission Non-Equilibrium, as function rooms were either freezing cold (being actively air conditioned) or sweltering hot, at least to start with.

Programme highlights


Panel • Judging a Book by its Cover

Dave Hicks, ???, Rog Peyton

How important is artwork when selling books? Do modern publishers get it right? Who are the artists that have produced the best covers for a range of SF, and why?


Panel • When It Changed

Juliet McKenna, Tanith Lee , Kari Maund, Jaine Fenn, Liz Williams

As female authors of SF&F, has anything changed within the industry over the years? Is there anything that should be changing, and what can we do to help?


Panel • The Use of Mythology in Fantasy

Liz Williams Sarah Singleton, Neil Gaiman , Nic Clarke?, Maura McHugh

New interpretations and retellings of mythology in fantasy novels abound. What attracts authors to this material, and what responsibility do they have to the source material?

[China Mieville]

Guest of Honour • China Mieville

"For God's Sake It's Just a Story! A Readers Guide to Ruining SF"

[David Southwood]

Prof David Southwood • 9th George Hay Memorial Lecture

Space Programmes in Fact and Fiction


Panel • The Fall of Night 451

Edward James, Tom Womack, Adam Roberts, Justina Robson, James Lovegrove

Utopia implies central control and repression -- is this a good thing? Is it always implied?

[Brian Ameringen]

Brian Ameringen • Out of Space and Time

Perils and pitfalls of book collecting


Panel • Books on the Web

Simon Bradshaw, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Cory Doctorow , Jo Fletcher, Paul Raven

How should authors be using the internet? Is a blog a useful tool to attract new audiences? Does fame on the internet translate into sales and awards? Do eBooks and creative-commons-licenced works have any impact on the sales of paper books?


Panel • Not the Clarke Awards

Claire Brialey, Roz Kaveney, Edward James, Graham Sleight, Tony Keen

[ Black Man won the ACC award]


Panel • Writing the Near Future

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Charles Stross , Paul McAuley , Matt Browne, Justina Robson

Why is it harder to predict 50 years in the future than 500? What do you get when events overtake your novel? Who gets it right, and are we all predicting the same future?


Panel • The Death of UK Physics

Phil Lucas, Inge Heyer, Dave Clements, Simon Bradshaw

UK astronomy, particle physics, and space science face £120M cuts, threatening Jordrell Bank, UKIRT, etc. Why? How can we stop it?


Panel • Don't Cross the Streams

China Mieville , Peter Weston, Graham Sleight, Dave Clements, Colin Harvey

Where does SF end and fantasy begin? Is telepathy SF or fantasy?

[Nicholas Jackson]

Nicholas Jackson • The Mathematics of Knots


Panel • Infinity Welcomes Careful Thinkers

Iain Coleman, Nicholas Jackson, Colin Fine, Susan Stepney

Why my infinity is bigger than yours.