6 October 2003
Sailing the Clyde - July - September 2003
The behind-the-scenes newsletter for Interaction, the 63rd
World Science Fiction Convention
Welcome to the latest issue of Sailing the Clyde, covering July to September 2003. This has been a busy period for us, including a Worldcon, a Eurocon and our first Staff Weekend. All are featured in articles below. We also continue to develop our organisation and in this issue focus on some of the work going on in our Programme and Extravaganzas Division. Other Divisions will be featured in future issues - look for the next one in January 2004.
Torcon 3 Report - Vince Docherty
Torcon 3, the 61st Worldcon, was held in the Metro Toronto Convention centre and Fairmont Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. There were about 3,750 fans in attendance.
This was our first full Worldon after winning the bid, though with two years (minus a month) still to go our activities were modest compared to ConJosé. Despite that, more than 20 of our staff were active in various ways.
We ran one official party at Torcon, on the Saturday night, which meant those of us working on it missed the Hugo ceremony, though there was a chance for some to visit the Hugo Losers party later in the evening, which was ably run by the Noreascon 4 committee. By tradition this party is run by the following year's Worldcon, which means that we get to run it next year in Boston! We decorated our party using flags of the world, though at busy times we couldn't see the walls and our selection of European cheeses, other snacks and of course our 'tasting table' of single malts meant that we were always very busy. The party went extremely well, not closing till 03:40, and we got a favourable mention in the newsletter the next day.
Our con table was in the exhibits hall, along with dealers and artshow, and was ably managed by Steve Cooper. Everything was close together which made for a nice cosy feeling, and we socialised with the other seated Worldcons and bidders. Many fans visited us and in fact even before we fully opened on the Thursday we had a line of people eager to join. In total we took 190 memberships of various types over the weekend as well as numerous volunteers and requests for information. We were also able to begin distribution of our new publication - Progress Report 1 - with its great colour cover by Jim Burns. This is now being posted from our US office to those who weren't at Torcon.
It was a very successful weekend for us and I'd like to thank again everyone who worked at the table, the party and of course who helped with the running of Torcon itself. Our staff were very visible, especially in areas like newsletter, programme, exhibits, facilities and ops.>
Photos of our activities at Torcon will be available on the web site soon and in Newsletter 2 due out early in 2004.
Finncon - the 2003 Eurocon - Colin Harris
Vince, Colin, Bjorn and a number of Agents attended the 2003 Eurocon, Finncon, which was held at the beginning of August in Turku, Finland. Finncon has a very different feel to most Conventions - to start with it's free to attend! Large numbers of people therefore pass through over the weekend - an estimated 4,000 this year - to sample programmed talks and panels and an array of dealers desks.
This year's Guests included Michael Swanwick from the US, Jonathan Clements (UK Anime expert and translator), Steve Sansweet from LucasFilm, and of course our own Bjorn Tore Sund as Fan Guest of Honour. Some interesting conversations were had with Steve Sansweet about future tie-ins - Star Wars Episode III is of course due to open in May 2005. Our main reason for attending however was to bid for Interaction to be the 2005 Eurocon. This decision was taken by the European Science Fiction Society (ESFS) Business Meeting, to which we had to make a presentation on our ideas. Although we knew our bid was looked on favourably, it was still important to confirm that we took the Eurocon role seriously and would be reflecting it within our plans.
Vince did his usual excellent job of presenting Interaction to the Business Meeting, noting that Intersection also acted successfully as the Eurocon in 1995. Our commitments to the Business Meeting included:
Construction II - Paul Oldroyd
Just to let everyone know that the next Construction will be held on 28/29 February next year. Get the date into your diaries!
The Construction events are staff weekends designed to ensure that information is passed on, discussion entered into, and decisions made about all aspects of running Interaction. There will be five in all. One was held in Cardiff earlier this year, there will be two next year (one in February, the next in October) and two in 2005 (one in February and one in June).
Following feedback at the last Construction, we will be again holding Construction II over an entire weekend and in a hotel. We did consider other options (such as one day only meetings to dispense with the need for a hotel) but decided that - given the geographical spread of our committee - the two-day meeting was the only viable option.
We haven’t got a venue yet - we’re looking at hotels from Swindon to Sheffield - but will let you know further details as soon as we get them. We also haven’t got a programme yet, but will be taking on board comments following the last Construction that there was too much formal programming, too much being “talked at”, not enough small groups, and not enough fun. (Apart from Sparks' manic SF Challenge. We hope to persuade Sparks to do something similar this time ...)
As usual for staff weekends, there will be no charge for attending, although we would like to know who will be coming as we will need to know numbers for discussion with the hotels we are considering.
Any questions about Construction or suggestions for programme content, should be sent to me (Paul Oldroyd) at Paulfrazer@btopenworld.com, as should notifications that people are attending.
News from Programme & Extravaganzas - Paul Oldroyd
The Programme & Extravaganzas division has been staffing up over the last two months. I’d like to welcome Farah Mendlesohn as the Area Head for Literary Programme and the SFF track, and Margaret Austin who will be pulling together the Media Programme for us. Chris Donaldson will be Programme Co-ordinator, responsible for scheduling the programme and deputising for me as necessary. The Plokta Cabal will be running Fan Room and Fan Programme. We’ve still got a number of senior posts within the Division to appoint (I’m hoping to have most of these filled by the end of the year) and I will be approaching people over the next few months.
Because we haven’t got a full team in place yet, and particularly because we’re still two years out from the convention, there’s little to say about the programme itself. There will naturally be an overarching, if somewhat loose, theme of Interaction, and I intend that it will have a very British flavour to it. There will be a variety of types of programme item and …… but you’ve heard all this before, haven’t you? The only thing that we are settled on is that there will be a Science Fiction Foundation track running alongside the standard Worldcon programme. Farah explains more about this track:
That neatly sums up the sort of way we will be using the British and Interaction themes. This is not to say that we’ll be exclusively concentrating on British issues (try keeping Margaret away from doing something (if not an entire stream) on Buffy) but there will be a definite bias in this direction.
As we’re the 2005 Eurocon as well as the 2005 Worldcon, we will also be exploring current SF issues across the wider continent. I’m looking for contacts across Europe who would be in a position to either be on programme or advise on programme, and - thanks to John Jarrold - have several editors willing to do this. I’ve so far not had any response from fans outside of the UK. If anyone out there would like to get in contact, please do so via email@example.com.
I’d also welcome any general feedback about the above to this email address.
(Yes, I know that I’ve not said anything about Extravaganzas. We’ve no people in post for this side of the Division as yet. I hope to have more news next time...)
WSFS Division - Pat McMurray
WSFS stands for World Science Fiction Society, and this is the society which you join when you buy your Worldcon membership. Like every other Worldcon, Interaction has a small set of actions that we're required to carry out by the WSFS Constitution, like Site Selection, Hugo administration, organising a Business Meeting, and appointing someone to the Mark Protection Committee, which oversees trademarks, domains and other common intellectual property. We've chosen to put all these into one division, along with one or two other similar matters such as the Eurocon Business Meeting.
L.A.con IV was selected as the 2006 Worldcon and will be held from 23 to 27 August 2006 in Anaheim, California. This should mean many of their staff working with or shadowing ours, in the same way that we have shadowed Torcon this year and plan to shadow Noreascon 4 next year, to build experience. Guests of Honour are Connie Willis, James Gurney, Howard DeVore and Frankie Thomas. http://www.lacon4.org/
The NASFiC, by just six votes, went to Seattle, which will hold Cascadiacon on the first weekend in September 2005, a month after Interaction. Guests of Honour are Fred Saberhagen, Liz Danforth, Toni Weisskopf and Kevin Standlee. http://www.cascadiacon.org/
The Business Meeting
The Business Meeting is considering amending the lead time on Worldcon voting from three back to two years. If this amendment is ratified next year, then the Site Selection for the 2008 Worldcon will be held in 2006 at L.A.con IV, and there will be no Site Selection at Interaction. However, there is a proviso in the amendment that any member of Interaction will be allowed to vote in that Site Selection, if they are not a member of L.A.con IV. It's still one person, one vote though, so you won't get two votes if you're a member of both conventions.
We think the impact of this on Interaction will be pretty neutral - conventions bidding for 2008 will still need to have a real presence at Interaction, and we'll have to find some way of administering the vote for those who are Interaction members but not L.A.con IV members.
The Business Meeting is open to all members of the Worldcon, and it's where we agree the rules by which Worldcons live. Some of the most important of these concern Hugo administration.
For several years now, the Business Meeting has been considering one problem that affects those of us in the UK very strongly. It's obvious that under the current rules any work first released in English outside North America is disadvantaged, because circulation can be too low to reach many of the voting membership (which is predominantly based in the US) in the first year after publication.
To deal with this problem, the Business Meeting has done two things:
Even if a permanent solution was agreed upon this year, the ratification process means that it would not be in place in time for 2005. As for the additional year of eligibility, only the Business Meeting can decide on this. In the past this has typically been done for US Worldcons, where the problem is most pronounced (the proportion of US members being highest of all when the Worldon is held there). There may therefore be an interesting discussion at Noreascon next year as to whether this type of positive discrimination is still needed for an overseas Worldcon such as Interaction.
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