Bristolcon 2015 – Another Success


I thoroughly enjoyed Bristolcon 2015. It’s one of those nice friendly small local science fantasy cons – if you can call going on for 300 attendees small! And I know a lot people who attended weren’t local either!

One of the reasons for this success is the hard work done by the organisers behind the scenes to make it all run smoothly on the day. They start the year by organising guests and ghost of honour and build up to it. A BIG THANK YOU to all those involved to make things run smoothly, and an especial thank you to the organising committee who coordinate things (despite the best efforts of traffic snarl-ups and other similar gremlins to make things otherwise).

Bristolcon has two panel streams and a kaffeeklatsch room. So obviously I can’t report on everything, nor did I try to rush around like a mad idiot trying to get to everything – a mistake in previous years.

I attended Crossing the Genre Boundaries, which discussed the implications of literary writers coming into the genre and winning the prizes. The general feeling was that, whilst the literary works were indeed beautifully written, they tended to have less emphasis on what makes a science fantasy book genre specific. There was concern at the ‘watering down’ of the genre. But – yes there was a big BUT – science fiction is now the genre to be writing. Look at the way the film industry is concentrating so many films in this area. In the end, whilst it is nice to win prizes, the financial impact for the author tends to be minimal, with one exception. If you win a short story prize, you are looked on far more favourably by publishers if you are pushing to get a novel published.

Personal Note: Having seen what technology is around the corner for our society, our society is going to need all the help it can get to cope with it. This includes writing science fiction to introduce people to what they can do. And even then, science fiction is going to need all the help it can get – and that includes the use of literary techniques to help explain what the tech is doing and how it is going to change society.

I then stayed for half of the the Libraries, Past, Present and Future (because I had to be somewhere else). The panel reminisced about their libraries of the past and their favourite libraries in science fiction. What I found interesting was a lot of the libraries tended to come from the fantasy end of the genre, rather than the science fiction end. Hm…

Next up was me running a workshop in the Kaffeeklatsch room on ‘Real Technologies Futures Report and Discussion’. This was a report back on the Future Technologies Summit in London held on the Thursday and Friday beforehand, followed by a discussion and workshop to develop a story line based on the report. I was rather pleased that it was a fully signed up workshop – and I have a suspicion that a local builder will be using some of the technology I talked about in his work, and someone else was going to take the ideas of another technology away to help her personally. 

Lunch followed with a calming down after all the workshop excitement. (You’ll be hearing more about this in due course, said she with a evil grin!)

I attended the talk by Professor Ian Stewart on Time Travel and Real Physics. After introducing us to how time travel science fiction stories came about in science fiction, he took us through the issues of the faster than light limitation, black holes, white holes and the impact of quantum physics on trying to build a faster than light travel machine.

Having other stuff to do, I didn’t do anything until I was up on the panel, Faster Than Light moderated by Gareth Powell (though we did not get up to any monkey business). We went through the various faster than light themes in fiction and edged a little bit into reality. All I’m going to say is that I hope I gave the audience some interesting thoughts (said she with another evil grin).

The Reboots panel where amongst the fun questions were some serious questions. What sticks in my mind is that everyone agreed that a reboot should not be done unless there was something fairly different about the reboot e.g. going from black and white film to colour film, and the basic characters should remain the same.

The evening was light-hearted entertainment – quiz and film.

I met and caught up with a loads of friends in between times. And that is part of the beauty of Bristolcon… it has room to let you do just that!

Bristolcon next year will be going back to its normal October slot – October 29th. Keep that date! Be there! It’s fun or as they say up t’north, it’s a grand do.

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