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Sailing the Clyde #1

30 November 2002

Sailing the Clyde - September/October 2002

The behind-the-scenes newsletter for Interaction, the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention

Welcome to the first issue of "Sailing the Clyde", the behind-the-scenes newsletter for Interaction. Sailing the Clyde replaces our bid newsletter "From the Smokeless Backroom". We aim to publish one around every other month in the early stages of the convention, providing a means for those who are interested to keep track of how the con is developing.

The Bigger Picture

As everyone knows by now, this Convention is called "Interaction". Of course, there's a nice symmetry with "Intersection," but beyond that this choice says something about the nature of the convention we want to run. We want to break down borders and boundaries - between different types of fans (art, literary, media, fanzine ...); between different nationalities; and between the fans and the professionals. Our programme will explore interactions too - science to science fiction; SF genre work to mainstream; books to films; and more.

The second thing that you should all know is our Guest of Honour line up. Picking the Guests is one of the most exciting parts of the Bid, even though we had to keep our choices to ourselves for the past few months. So we are especially delighted to be able to talk about them now. Our Guests are eclectic, international, and in keeping with our theme of Interaction. Our three professional Guests - Christopher Priest, Robert Sheckley and Jane Yolen - have among them written traditional SF, fantasy, YA fiction, slipstream fiction, detective stories, satire and more. Greg Pickersgill's extensive fan activity includes the innovative 'Mexicon' series of conventions and the 'Memory Hole' fanzine archive, which he currently administers. And we are particularly pleased to have in renowned Swedish fan Lars-Olov Strandberg, the first ever Scandinavian Guest of Honour at a Worldcon!

ConJosé Report - Vince Docherty (Interaction Convention Chair)

The weekend during which your bid finally comes to the vote is arguably the single most intense experience of running a Worldcon other than the event itself. For some of us it was the second time! Despite being unopposed on the ballot we took the approach that we would bid as if we were opposed and ran a full programme of bid parties, a bid table and presentations. In addition we helped to staff the site selection desk, under the capable hands of Jim Briggs, plus many of our staff worked on ConJosé itself.

We ran four parties during ConJosé. Our location - opposite the Consuite - and offering single malts (plus generous donations of Guinness and aquavit!) meant that we were always very very busy. This led to some crowding issues, but I think everyone had a good time.

Our bid table was in a good spot and with the help of our friends from the Glasgow Tourist Board and the SECC we were able to set up a very distinctive display in addition to all the bidding paraphernalia. Many fans came to our table to offer support and by the end we had taken more 'Friends' of the bid than we expected - or anyone else had ever done!

The bid officially ended at 7pm on the Saturday when voting closed. It was fun to get rid of the left-over materials, although of course being conservation minded we were happy for the emerging Australia in 2010 bid to recycle our old bid receipts.

The vote was counted quickly and we learned that we had won overwhelmingly. On Sunday morning we put on a big show at the WSFS Business meeting at which we announced the con name with the help of a huge banner, thanked Jim for his efficiency by giving him an extra-large bottle of beer (he had missed out at our parties), announced our Guests of Honour and covered any questions. Many fans told us they were looking forward to coming to Glasgow again and in particular were glad of the earlier dates. Our con desk opened immediately after and we took steady business till ConJose ended. By Sunday night we were all pretty tired so our 'Thank you' party was a fairly relaxed affair. We closed up on Sunday afternoon and allocated the piles of paper- work to be taken back to the UK and the money to be deposited in the US.

It was a very successful weekend for us and I'd like to thank again everyone who worked and/or supported the bid at ConJosé!

Photos of the ConJosé effort will be available on the web site soon.

Organisation and Staffing

Our initial organisational structure has been announced and is published on our website at http://www.interaction.worldcon.org.uk/staff.htm. Vince Docherty chairs the Operational Convention Committee, supported by Colin Harris and myself (Paul Treadaway) as Vice-Chairs. Over 30 other staff are already in place in specific areas and as many more are providing general and ad-hoc support.

Our UK company - needed to handle the commercial and accounting requirements of a Worldcon has been established successfully. Special thanks go to Alice Lawson and to Pam Clarke, who also helped us in 1995, for sorting this out.

Situations Vacant

Whilst the first year after the vote is in many ways relatively quiet, there are still some jobs to be filled. At the moment we are especially looking for the following:

  • a recruitment and volunteer coordinator
  • an international marketing and promotions coordinator
  • inward and outward advertising managers
  • UK regional contacts and agents.

Anyone interested in these jobs should email volunteers@interaction.worldcon.org.uk in the first instance. Of course anyone who is interested in working with us, at any level, is welcome to get in touch (via the same address) at any time. We have a staff email discussion list and a staff website through which we intend to build up the real community and team spirit needed to make the convention a success - why not get involved ?

Sorting Out the Admin

As expected, most of the last two months has been spent on the administrative infrastructure required to support the convention. Although much had been done prior to the vote in ConJose, many things could not be finalised until after Interaction was officially seated as the 2005 Worldcon.

Amongst the many things that are in hand are: completion of the initial membership database (more of which later); creation of our company, business bank account and credit card facilities; appointment of our accommodation booking partner and the signing of contracts with the main site providers (the SECC and the on-site Moat House and City Inn Hotels); launch of our website and new fliers, receipts and other publications; work on our timeline and plan for the next 3 years; and plans for our first staff weekend in mid-2003.

Our biggest challenge at the moment appears to be with credit card processing. Given the current business climate we have had some difficulties in getting our credit card facilities in place. Though we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel we haven't yet able to process all of the credit card payments taken at ConJosé, and this is naturally causing some concern in the outside world (e.g. queries from members who haven't seen the debit arrive on their bank account yet) as well as internally. Hopefully this will be resolved in the next 2-3 weeks.

News From Our US Agents (Steve and Sue Francis)

As usual, we took a large amount of money at ConJosé in bid and convention memberships. All of the funds collected by cash, check, or travellers check have subsequently been transferred to our bank account. AMEX, Visa and Mastercard credit card payments are unfortunately delayed (see above) although Discover card charges have been processed.

We are making arrangements to do most of our publication printing and mailing in the US, which will save us a great deal of money. We have established a bulk mailing permit for our newsletters and PRs; printing and distribution will be coordinated by Steve and Sue from Louisville. We have already had 5,000 copies of the new membership receipt printed and are currently preparing to mail PR0 to everyone in our database (Presupporters, Friends and Supporting Members) who hasn't already converted to Attending - about 1,300 people in all.

Publications and Merchandise (Andrew Adams)

We're currently finalising our publications plan for the three year run-up to the convention. As with the Bid, we expect to alternate Newsletters and PRs. Our first Newsletter is planned for the Spring and our first full PR for Torcon next Autumn. Editors for these will be confirmed shortly.

Unfortunately, our final box of Bid merchandise was held up in US Customs and didn't make it to ConJosé, but it's now been returned to the UK. A large part of the remaining material will go to the Friends who signed up at ConJosé (in record numbers !) but there will still be some left over - which we hope to sell off at Eastercon next April. The first Interaction convention merchandise should also be available by then.

Now that the Convention is "official", we are naturally stepping up our promotional and advertising activities, for instance with more advertising in programme books and PRs for other conventions. We also hope to have adverts placed in new books by at least one publisher in the UK. As mentioned above, we're looking for volunteers to help out with advertising placement, particularly for researching professional publications (such as magazines).


The latest figures for memberships (as of 29th November 2002) are just available, and are as follows

Attending (inc. Children): 806
Supporting: 517
Unconverted PreSupports and Friends: 811

Total 2,134, spanning 27 countries. A detailed breakdown is available on the website at http://www.interaction.worldcon.org.uk/demograp.htm for anyone who wants to know more.

What Happens Next

In the coming weeks and months it's important that everyone on the staff does what they can to get members to get new members to sign up - there's the incentive that the membership rates will go up after Easter 2003 to help with this.

We expect the administrative activities to be resolved by the end of this year, and in the first part of 2003 we intend to focus on three areas: marketing to build up our membership level; outreach to recruit potential staff, especially in the UK; and the development and promotion of our vision for the convention.

We will be holding another open meeting in Glasgow early in 2003. The date and venue are not yet finalised, but we are looking at early spring. Look out for an announcement in the next issue of Sailing the Clyde, due out for Hogmanay !


These are the forthcoming Conventions we will have a presence at:

ConSaint (Beneluxcon) - http://www.detank.nl/consaint - Vince
SmofCon 20 (San Diego) - http://www.fopaws.com/smofcon/ - Vince, KIM, Ben, Joyce, Margaret et al.
Redemption '03 (UK) - http://www.conventions.org.uk/redemption/
Seacon '03 - http://www.seacon03.org.uk/ - Lots of people

Addresses and E-dresses

Convention Office -
379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S2 3HQ, UK, or
PO Box 58009, Louisville, Kentucky KY 40268-0009, USA

General Queries - info@interaction.worldcon.org.uk
Memberships - memberships@interaction.worldcon.org.uk
Site Project - JJones@interaction.worldcon.org.uk
Interaction Merchandise - merchandise@interaction.worldcon.org.uk
Volunteers - volunteers@interaction.worldcon.org.uk

Con Website - http://www.interaction.worldcon.org.uk/
Worldcon Website - http://worldcon.org/

"WSFS", "Worldcon", "World Science Fiction Convention" and "Hugo Award" are registered service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.

Paul Treadaway
Vice-Chair, Interaction

© UK 2005 Ltd, 2002-2004. All rights to content reserved to UK 2005 Ltd, unless otherwise indicated. This page maintained by webmaster@interaction.worldcon.org.uk.

Page last updated 26th July 2004