Intuition: Eastercon '98


The 49th British National Science Fiction Convention
10-13 April 1998, Jarvis Piccadilly and Britannia Hotels, Manchester

GoHs: Ian McDonald, Martin Tudor, Connie Willis .

This year's Programme Book's cover again wins no awards for its artwork!

The Britannia and Piccadilly hotels exhibit changing hotel design brilliantly: Britannia has a marvelous broad central staircase, vertiginously running the entire height of the building, and a couple of inadequate lifts discretely off to one side. The more modern, but freezing cold, Piccadilly has a shabby back stairwell hidden in a maze of twisty little access passages, presumably because the three centrally positioned lifts are intended to be the only transport system to the ground floor (naturally the main entrance is on the first floor, in from the car park, not on the ground floor, in from the street). Lifts are designed for a steady trickle of passengers, not the entire population of the hotel changing floors every hour on the hour.

And why are the chairs always scrunched up too close together?

Many of the panels seemed rather ill-prepared, and so tended to meander a bit aimlessly, or re-cover well-covered ground. A panel needs a good chair, who can let the panelists talk when they're being interesting, but can fill in awkward gaps when the flow of ideas dries up, and can draw out some of the quieter panelists. And Intuition was a good name for this convention, being the faculty needed to work out where rather too many of the programme items had been rescheduled to, often annoyingly back in the other hotel where one had just run from. Quite a few items were cancelled completely, partly due to non-arrival of speakers, because much of the south of England was a few feet under water at the time...

Programme highlights

GoH Panel -- Why does SF exist?

The role of SF in literature, science, the media, advertising, fandom, art, and elsewhere

Iain M. Banks -- Taking the Fantastic out of Fiction

Iain M. Banks (SF writer) and his alter ego Iain Banks (mainstream writer) discuss crossing genres

Panel -- When the Aliens Land

Are we projecting our worst qualities onto aliens?

Panel -- How to Save the Universe

Why do we like blowing people up?

Iain M. Banks and Peter Hamilton -- The Empire Has Struck Back

Why are interstellar civilisations always empires?

Amanda Baker, Anne Gay and Stan Nicholls -- Sex in the New Millennium

The gory biological details

Jack Cohen -- Just How Likely are Alien Minds?

mainly on Figments of Reality

Ian McDonald and Ken MacLeod -- Growing the Future

any future must have its roots in the past

Dave Clements, Stephen Baxter and Connie Willis -- The Despised Bastard Love Child

the relationship between science and fiction

[one of the better prepared and run panels]

John Meaney -- I Sing the Body Eclectic

the ways there are to be human in science fiction

Colin Jack -- The Future of Getting Into Space

how to get into space without being strapped to high explosive

John Jarrold -- Short Stories Never Sell

a polemic

Panel -- Moving On

what is the minimum we could take off planet to preserve our culture?

Simon Bradshaw, Stephen Baxter , and Ken MacLeod -- Closing the Doors to the Future

recapturing the optimism that got us to the Moon

[one of the better prepared and run panels]

Molly Brown and Connie Willis -- I Just Make It Up...

the value of research