19.00: Opening Ceremony
In which we welcome everybody, introduce - as if that was necessary - our excellent Guest Of Honour and open a celebration of 40 (forty!) Novacons. Plus a reminder of the wholesome and fulfilling experience to be had from volunteering to help us run the convention.
19.30: Genre Pile Up
In 1971, when Novacon began, there was science fiction and that was that. Since then we've had Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Cyber Punk, Steam Punk, Inner Space, and the occasional manifesto. Is there a single thing that can be called "science fiction" any more? What, in 2010, is our common literature? Or are we now celebrating our different tastes in a very broad church?
21.00: Book Launch Party
Join us in celebrating the launch of Iain M Banks' new book Surface Detail. There will be drinks and snacks, an opportunity to catch up with old friends and get your freshly-purchased copy of the novel signed by the author.
22.30: Friday Night With Steve Green
Jonathan Ross is history! Come and see how a real chat show host does it. A late night exchange of wit, banter, badinage and - if you're really lucky - one of the guests might thump him.
9 November 2010
Saturday programme (pt.1)
10.00: With A Bang Or A Whimper
Science Fiction is full of dramatic confrontations between the lethal hazards of the universe and human resourcefulness. How might we actually cope? It turns out several fans' day job is emergency planning and we'll be comparing their experience of preparing for real disasters with SF writers' insatiable appetite for doom.
11.30: Book Auction
Once you've purchased pristine hardcover copies of our Guests' latest, Rog Peyton and Chris Morgan will offer an assortment of books you've always wanted, never knew you needed and don't even remember bidding for.
13.00: Professor Carolin Crawford - "Sounds Of The Universe"
Birmingham Town and Symphony Halls recently held a big celebration of "The Sounds of Space" including Carolin's (who is a professor of astronomy from Cambridge University) presentation on the secret sounds of stars, galaxies and the big bang itself.
14.30: Iain M Banks, Guest of Honour - "This One Might Be Trouble"
War is hell and the reverse is true too in Surface Detail, which heralds the much anticipated return of The Culture. Iain's spoken a lot about this already so if you have a question about whisky or want to know if we've given him a room with a balcony, that'll be fine too.
(The dealers room will be closed during this item)
16.00: The Magnificent Six
Our department of made up statistics informs us that since 1971 exactly 1,743 different people have attended a Novacon. However six people, and only six have attended every single one. Did they ever expect to see forty successive Novacons? What's changed? What hasn't?
9 November 2010
Saturday programme (pt.2)
17.30: Special Guest: Brian Aldiss
The honorary co-president of the Birmingham SF Group (along with Harry Harrison) has been associated with Novacon since its earliest days. A gifted and eclectic author, critic and poet who has for the first time this year had an exhibition of his artwork, too.
19.00: '40' Significant Objects in SF and Fandom
Following Radio 4's series "100 significant objects that changed the world" we discuss (real or perhaps virtual) objects that have changed the world science fiction fans have lived in since 1971, from JANET and information technology to the Guinness draft flow system. First person to mention the iPod dies horribly.
20.30: Geoff Ryman - "Before Sound No-one Could Hear You Scream"
A cultured student of esoterica, Geoff presents a selection of unusual silent fantasy and SF films from as early as 1914 when - before the advent of sound - films from Germany or Russia about the Moon or Mars could have as big an impact on global audiences as Avatar today.
22.00: Our 40th Birthday Party, including "A Serious Scientific Talk"
How old were you when Novacon One happened? Old enough to vote, join the army or drink? Thought so. In between the revelry we will recreate - thanks to James Bacon - one of sf fandom's famous institutions: the Serious Scientific Talk as written by the late, great Bob Shaw.
9 November 2010
Sunday programme (pt.1)
10.00: Brian Aldiss reads "Better Morphosis"
A marvelous twist on Kafka's "Metamorphosis".
10.30: Professor Ian Stewart - "What Would An Alien Look Like?"
Continuing Novacon's tradition of quality science programming: a second item from the "Sounds of Space" in Birmingham: our former Guest of Honour discusses the conditions necessary for extraterrestrial life.
12.00: Art Auction
One day some of this stuff will be taken by your grandchildren to an episode of Antiques Roadshow. Invest in their future now by buying some of the marvellous art that's been on display over the weekend. Rog Peyton and Chris Morgan will be banging the gavel.
14.00: The Hard Stuff
From the 'Golden Age' to Larry Niven (winner of the 1971 Hugo Award for Ringworld) there's been a steel core at the centre of sf dedicatedly faithful to the laws of physics, a literature lauded by Greg Benford for faith to proven science, albeit sometimes at the cutting edge of theory. Is this the 'real' sf or is something more fanciful required?
9 November 2010
Sunday programme (pt.2)
15.30: 40 Best SF Books Since 1971
The votes will have been counted and we'll have the conventions opinion on the Best 40 Science Fiction Books published since 1971. A 'lively' discussion will ensue.
17.00: Awards Ceremony
It's not called the 'closing' ceremony because Novacon never closes. Time to say a big thank you to all those who made it possible, give out lots of fabulous gifts and prizes, and present the Nova Awards.
19.30: Beer Tasting and Dinner
It's curry this year. Does that go with beer? Oh. Entry tickets required, available at the Registration Desk throughout the weekend. Or, the beer tasting only with badge, or in exchange for three bottles of interesting beer.
9 November 2010
All-star line-up for Novacon 40
No fewer than seventeen past guests of honour will be joining us at Novacon 40.
The current rollcall is Iain M Banks, Brian W Aldiss, Justina Robson, Dave Langford, Christopher Priest, Ken MacLeod, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Stephen Baxter, Geoff Ryman, Ian R MacLeod, Jack Cohen, Garry Kilworth, Peter F Hamilton, Ian Stewart, Lisa Tuttle, Chris Evans and Charlie Stross.
Other authors attending include Kari Sperring, Chris Morgan, Pauline Dungate, Leigh Kennedy and David Hardy For the full membership list, check out our third progress report.
Update: We've just learned that Lisa Tuttle will unfortunately be unable to attend Novacon 40. [8 November]
22 October 2010
Friday night programme unveiled
Dave Hicks has just outlined Novacon 40's opening night in our third progress report, available on the 'publications' page.
7.00pm: Opening ceremony
7.30pm: Genre Pile Up (panel)
9.00pm: Launch party for Iain Banks' new book, Surface Detail.
10.30pm: Friday Night with Steve Green
22 October 2010
Programme book: advertising deadline imminent
A full-page ad in the Novacon 40 programme book costs £40.00, with a half-page ad at £24.00 and a quarter-page at £15.00. (Fan rates are 50% of these.)
To book space, please contact Steve Lawson by 15 October.
2 October 2010
We Are Not Worthy
David Haddock writes: "There was an article about Brian Aldiss's art exhibition in the Oxford Mail which had a reader comment added which said: 'Brian Aldiss should be carried around in a sedan chair by sf fans, and that would only be a partial repayment for all the wild ideas he has unleashed upon the genre. There have been three movies and several rock songs inspired by his work. He has enriched mainstream literature as well as sf and poetry, and he's still at it today.'
"Could a sedan chair be arranged for Novacon?"
2 October 2010
New issue of Iain Banks fanzine now available
The sixteenth edition of The Banksoniain, the official fanzine devoted to Novacon 40's guest of honour, has just gone online.
It features news of Iain's current novels-in-progress, updates on two movie projects (including the long-awaited adaptation of The Wasp Factory), coverage of the free iPhone application launched to promote Transition and a report by editor David Haddock of Iain's appearance at this year's Eastercon.
Read the latest issue of The Banksoniain
24 September 2010
It is with regret we announce that Martin Tudor is unable to attend Novacon this year and has decided to step down from the committee. His colleagues wish to put on record their appreciation of all his efforts on Novacon's behalf.
Martin has also asked Steve Green to step back in and administer the Nova Awards for a further year.
24 September 2010
Progress Report #2 now online
Novacon 40's second progress report is now available to read online or download. As well as the usual programme updates, it contains two lengthy memoirs on Novacons past, by Rog Peyton and Arthur Cruttenden.
Read our latest progress report
23 July 2010
Authors flock to Novacon 40
Novacon has always been known for its balance between a strong single-stream programme and the relaxed atmosphere in its bar, where fans and authors can hang out until the early hours - and this year will be no exception.
As well as guest of honour Iain M Banks and our special guest Brian W Aldiss, we've received confirmations from Christopher Priest, Dave Langford, Justina Robson, Ken MacLeod, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Stephen Baxter, Geoff Ryman, Jack Cohen, Graham Joyce, Garry Kilworth, Chris Evans and Charlie Stross.
30 June 2010
Robert Holdstock [1948-2009]
It is sincere regret we announce the death of science fiction and fantasy author Robert Holdstock, guest of honour at Novacon 14 in 1984. He was 61 and had been undergoing treatment for a serious e.coli infection.
Novacon 14 chair Steve Green said "I could not have wished for a better guest of honour than Rob. His energy and enthusiasm invigorated both the committee and our convention. We send our heartfelt condolences to his partner Sarah and his family."
29 November 2009
Past Novacon websites archived
Following our acquision of the internet domain novacon.org.uk, this website is now incorporating archive copies of the sites for Novacons 37, 38 and 39. Our thanks to Kevin Clarke for his technical assistance on this project.
Check out the new archive
28 November 2009
Novacon 40 open for registrations
Membership is now £40, payable to "Novacon 40" at 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ (please note this is likely to increase after Easter 2010).
19 November 2009
Nova Awards get 'new' administrator
Following Steve Green's decision to step down as administrator of the Nova Awards, Martin Tudor has agreed to return to the post he held in the mid-1990s.
28 October 2009