Bristolcon 2011

Today I had the pleasure of attending Bristolcon at the Ramada hotel, Bristol. It’s not a big con, but it is an interesting science fiction convention.

My day started with a panel discussion on when did science become the bad guy? Some very interesting points were made, including the current effect of dumbing down the explanations of science so that everyone can understand it and the ancient greeks could have had a steam engine had they so wished. Also that we do not have the wherewithal to invent and build the internet today. Yes, you did read correctly. [We almost lost the ability to build steam engines – by the way there were two engines side by side outside Bristol Temple Meads station in steam this morning – wonderful sight.]

My penultimate panel looked at inventions that could have been inspired by science fiction and those that weren’t. There were a lot of comments about how children who watched the moon landing were promised that they would one day fly in space and have holidays on the moon. It was interesting to note nearly everyone in the room still wanted to have a holiday on the moon!

Another panel of interest to me was the Genesis Panel – which turned out to be how does a single novel turn into trilogy or more. It seems it’s usually at the behest of the publishers wanting more of the same, and not the author planning for more books.

There were several panels for budding writers giving us tips and insights on how to become better writers. All good practical common sense stuff. As to the perennial question of what next for science fiction? Nobody had any idea. So what was new in that? There was also a panel on literary versus genre. What raised my eyebrow here was that when it came to YA, the boundary seemed to be rather blurred, whereas it did not seem to be so for the adult fiction. Not sure I really understand why this should be the case.

There was an artists room with pictures and the like and of course the dealers room.

It was a well run convention and everyone seemed to be having a good time. There were certainly a lot of smiling faces. The only sad note of course was that one of their founders, Colin Harvey died suddenly in August. So at next year’s convention on October 20th, as a mark of respect, they are going to have a Colin as the ghost of honour.

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