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Novacon News

Novacon 40 open for registrations

Membership rates for Novacon 40 are now £40, payable to "Novacon 40" at 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ. Please note this is likely to rise immediately after Easter 2010.

19 November 2009

Novacon 40 launched

Novacon returns to the Park Inn, Nottingham, next year, when our guest of honour will be Iain M Banks. The programme will also feature Brum Group co-presidents Brian W Aldiss and Harry Harrison.

The dates are 12-14 November 2010. Full membership details will be announced very shortly.

17 November 2009

2009 Nova Awards presented

Sunday evening at Novacon 39 saw guest of honour Justina Robson present Nova Awards to Banana Wings (best fanzine), Claire Brialey (best fan writer) and - in her absence - Sue Mason (best fan artist).

17 November 2009

Urgent update for those staying at the Park Inn

Steve Lawson writes: "As some of you will already be aware, the hotel has started to send out confirmations of rooms booked as we requested. One bit of small print we were not advised of until we received our confirmation is highlighted below.

"Please note that your room is guaranteed for arrival up until 4pm on the day of arrival. If you are likely to arrive at the hotel after this time please contact the hotel directly in advance with credit or debit card details to guarantee your room for late arrival.

"I have spoken to the hotel and advised them that we could have members arriving at all times on the Friday, they have replied that this is their normal procedure.

"I don't think it is likely that we will lose any bookings if anyone arrives late but if you are concerned you can phone the hotel on 0115 935 9933 or email conference.nottingham@rezidorparkinn.com and give them your details."

5 November 2009

Keep watching the skies!

From PR#3: "Dave Lally is willing to lead a group to observe the night sky from a nearby open space during the con. If you're interested, then bring any binoculars / telescopes you have to hand and speak to Dave at the convention."

27 October 2009

Lift off for our final progress report

Novacon 39's third and final progress report is being posted out this week. Whilst approximately half our members have chosen to receive electronic copies, hardcopies will be distributed via Royal Mail, which is currently in the midst of an industrial dispute.

PR#3 will be downloadable very shortly from this website, as will a ".doc" version of our hotel booking form for last-minute members.

Go to our publications archive

27 October 2009

Novacon is PartyCon!

More from our programme team: "Novacon would not be Novacon without a knees-up and this year we have two. On Friday night, we are delighted to be launching Chasing the Dragon, the fourth book in Justina Robson's Quantum Gravity series. If that's not enough, we have a second launch party on Saturday, for Dave Hutchinson's new book, The Push. Come along, have a drink, buy a book, get it signed.

"There will be all the usual fun and frolics - panels, discussions, Big Quizzes and silly games plus the ever-popular beer tasting. We expect the kaffeeklatsches to be just as popular this year the last few and we have Ian Watson and Ian MacLeod, amongst others, confirmed to take part. So come along, bring a book to chat about and lift a glass while you're talking.

"Novacon is about participation and the best programme will be nothing without your input. We look forward to seeing you."

27 October 2009

Latest programme news

Our programme team, Helena Bowles and Richard Standage, writes: "we have some great stuff lined up. Justina is proving herself prepared to work very hard for your pleasure. Steve Green will grill her during the ever-popular Room 101 challenge and Pauline Morgan for the regular guest of honour interview. She will be taking part in a panel discussion about the necessity - or desirability - of the purity of genre fiction. She has also created her own programme item (we like it when guests do that...) called The Good Book Hour. Justina will be hosting a space where people bring along their all-time favourite book, plus a recent discovery, and talk about each for a few minutes. This way, we get to share people's pleasure and find books we might not have otherwise picked up. NB: There will also be cake!"

26 October 2009

Whither the Nova Awards?

The Nova Awards, the UK's longest-running celebration of excellence in the field of sf fanzines, celebrate their thirty-sixth birthday this year -- but do they retain any relevance for today's fandom?

The future of the Novas will be hotly debated during a special item late on Saturday evening. If you have any interest whatsoever in the preservation, promotion or demise of these awards, please come along!

Read this year's Nova Awards longlist

26 October 2009

Novacon regains web domain

Thanks to the vigilance and swift action of Novacon 39 webmaster Kevin Clarke, the internet domain novacon.org.uk is back under the convention's control, approximately five years after an administrative error led to its seizure by cybersquatters.

Its repossession ensures the same address can be used for all future Novacons.

1 October 2009

Sunday science scheduled

Richard Standage writes: "Dr Somak Raychaudhury, our astronomy science speaker, has just confirmed that his presentation is going to be entitled Five Ways to Find a Black Hole.

"He'll be discussing how in the last decade, technological advances in observational Astronomy have made it possible for us to indirectly observe black holes and incontrovertibly prove their existence."

The talk is scheduled for 10:30am on Sunday.

1 October 2009

Brum Group announces new venue, guest speakers

The Birmingham Science Fiction Group, organisers of Novacon since 1972, has switched venue to the Old Joint Stock, Temple Street. Meetings will continue to be held on the second Friday of each month.

Future speakers include the science fiction author Alistair Reynolds (9 October) and TAFF winner Steve Green (6 November).

1 October 2009

Novacon 39 guest of honour 'among best British writers today'

The Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson has lambasted those judging the Man Booker Prize for ignoring the genre when producing their influential shortlist.

Among the authors Robinson points to as being among those producing "the best British literature of our time" are Justina Robson (guest of honour, Novacon 39), Geoff Ryman (Novacon 19), Gwynneth Jones (Novacon 31), Graham Joyce (Novacon 24), Ken MacLeod (Novacon 36), Stephen Baxter (Novacon 23) and Ian McDonald (Novacon 32).

The chair of the judging panel, James Naughtie, admitted Robinson "may well have a point", but accused sf publishers of failing to promote their authors.

Read the complete article

24 September 2009

Darwin programming evolves

Richard Standage writes: "Unfortunately Professor Mark Pallen is no longer able to present his Darwin talk. In his place we are very pleased to welcome Dr Alison Pearn, Assistant Director or the Darwin Correspondence Project in Cambridge , who is going to talk about Darwin from the point of view of his private letters and papers (and whether he really looked anything like Paul Bettany!)"

Find out more about the Darwin Correspondence Project

23 September 2009

New Novacon community on LiveJournal

Novacon now has its own community on the social network Livejournal. Membership is open to all.

Novacon on LiveJournal

19 September 2009

Real ale, family hotel rates announced

Novacon 39 has negotiated with our new venue to have real ale on tap in the convention bar, most probably Black Sheep. This is a new venture for the Park Inn, so make sure you've exhausted their stock by Sunday evening!

The management has also agreed to designate a small number of connecting rooms as family suites (one double plus one twin, £120pn; one double or twin plus fold-away bed, £80pn). Contact Steve Lawson at once if you want to take up this offer.

9 September 2009

Novacon on Wikipedia

As well as this website, you can also read more about Britain's longest-running regional sf convention at the online resource Wikipedia.

Wikipedia entry on Novacon
Wikipedia entry on the Nova Awards
Wikipedia entry on the Brum Group

Wikipedia entry on Novacon 39 GoH Justina Robson

25 June 2009

Membership rate rises to £39

Attending membership for Novacon 39 was increased to £39 following Eastercon. No further rises are anticipated.

Join Novacon 39 now

30 April 2009

Novacon at Eastercon

Novacon will be running a table at this year's Eastercon, LX, which is being held at the Cedar Court Hotel on 10-14 April.

If you haven't signed up for Novacon yet, don't forget that membership rates are likely to rise after Easter.

Read more about LX 2009

8 April 2009

Novacon 39 announces first science speaker

Richard Standage writes: "We are pleased to announce that our first science speaker for Novacon 39 has been confirmed. In honour of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Professor Mark Pallen, author of the Rough Guide to Evolution, is giving a talk on Sunday morning based around his book. For more information on Mark and his work, you can view his blog here."

1 April 2009

Justina Robson's fourth Quantum Gravity novel due November

Chasing the Dragon, the fourth book in Novacon 39 guest of honour Justina Robson's Quantum Gravity series, is due out from Gollancz on 19 November. The hardcover is cover-priced £18.99, the paperback £12.99 (US$15.98).

From Amazon's synopsis of Chasing the Dragon: "Lila Black returns in the fourth volume of high-octane, high-magic, high-tech adventures.

"For ten years now mankind has lived in Otopia - our world, but our world changed. Ever since the Quantum Bomb our dimension and realms of faerie, demonia, of the elementals and of death have been intermingled. We live alongside creatures from our myths, dreams and nightmares.

"Lila Black, half-robot, all attitude works for Otopia's secret service. In love with a half-elf, half demon, and carrying the spirit of another elf inside her, her life is quite complicated enough already. But other complications, other loves, other fears, other deaths wait just around the next dimensional corner.

"This is bright, fast moving and accessible SF that mixes in fantasy and a cool cult-lit sensibility to create a series that will appeal to all fans of Laurrell K. Hamilton and Peter Hamilton alike."

Check out Justina's page at Fantastic Fiction

30 March 2009

Hugo nominations for past Novacon guests

Charles Stross, guest of honour at Novacon 37, has received a Hugo nomination for his novel Saturn's Children, whilst Novacon 32 guest Ian McDonald's "The Tear" is shortlisted for best novella.

Farah Mendelsohn and Paul Kincaid are both vying for the "best related book" Hugo, with Rhetorics of Fantasy (Wesleyan University Press) and What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction (Beccon Publications) respectively.

The UK is also well-represented in the "fannish" categories: Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer, with their Nova-winning fanzine Banana Wings; fanwriters Cheryl Morgan and Dave Langford (himself guest of honour at Novacon 15, as well as a Nova laureate); Nova-winning fanzine artist Sue Mason.

The results will be announced in August at Anticipation, the Montreal worldcon.

Visit the Anticipation homepage

30 March 2009

Novacon 39's first progress report now online

The first Novacon 39 progress report is now available to read or download from this website.

Contents include reviews of Justina Robson's novels Silver Screen and Keeping It Real, information on Novacon's new venue and an introduction to a few of the themes in this year's programme.

Read our first progress report

23 March 2009

Novacon 39 needs YOU

Novacon 39 chair Alice Lawson writes: "We cannot have a Novacon without you. We need your membership to enable us to plan the best programme we can. We also need volunteers to help us keep the convention running during the weekend. In the next PR we will have a bit more about volunteers. In the meantime if you want to help please contact us.

"As before, we'll be rewarding the efforts of good-heated fans who help out with 'GRoaTs' (Gopher Reward Tickets) redeemable at the bar for food and drink."

23 March 2009

Novacon 39 announces new venue, unveils programme plans

Novacon 39 chair Alice Lawson writes: "We are on the move. Although the staff at the Quality have always been great, unfortunately the change of management has led to problems. It seems they assumed we'd accept any decision they made as we would not want to move after so long. That was a mistake on their part as move we did."

Helena Bowles and Richard Standage add: "What are we planning this year? Well, quite a lot, actually, but we if we tell you we'd have to kill you. Seriously, one of the things we are passionate about is arranging items that put the science back into science fiction. There was long a tradition that Novacon started Saturday and Sunday with Serious Science Speakers. Last year we worked hard to resurrect this as a regular programme slot and we intend to continue this at Novacon 39.

"There are two events that as a science fiction convention we feel must be commemorated. The first is that, as I'm sure you all know, it is the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species - one of the most important pieces of scientific writing in human history. Origin was actually published in November which gives us even more reason for celebrating.

"The other event to be marked is that 2009 is International Year of Astronomy. Sadly, our new hotel isn't suitable for a mass sky observation and November in the Midlands isn't usually astronomer-friendly time of year but we'll think of something!

We have a loose theme, this year, based on ideas explored in our Guest of Honour's work: that of boundaries and transgressions. We have several ideas slowly gelling but if you have any ideas you'd like to see made real, drop us an e-mail."

Read about our new venue

23 March 2009

Novacon 39 to honour Justina Robson

The British science fiction writer Justina Robson has been announced as Novacon 39's guest of honour. The venue for the event has yet to be chosen.

Visit Justina Robson's website

18 November 2008

Nova Awards for Prolapse, Brialey, Scott

The 2008 Nova Awards were announced by Novacon 38 guest of honour Ian MacLeod on 16 November.

Prolapse was named "best fanzine", the third occasion editor Peter Weston has been successful in that category. Claire Brialey received her sixth Nova for "best fanzine writer" and Alison Scott her third Nova for "best fanzine artist".

18 November 2008

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