Novacon 46

11-13 November 2016 Park Inn Hotel, Nottingham

The Novacon Programme

As a guide to what's on at this year's convention we present the following. Please remember that this should be considered 'work in progress' and as such is liable to change right up to the last minute.


19.00              Opening Ceremony
In which we welcome everybody and introduce our splendid Guest Of Honour Juliet McKenna. Featuring last minute announcements, reminders and some poorly scripted jokes.  Plus a reminder of the wholesome and fulfilling experience to be had from volunteering to help run the convention.

19.30             Desert Island Books
No, not a misprint but a cunning twist on the traditional format where Juliet McKenna will be interviewed about the eight books and two pieces of music she’d like on her desert island.

21.00              Book Launch Party
Join us in celebrating the launch of Juliet’s new collection of short stories and a novella: Shadow Histories of the River Kingdom from Wizards Tower Press.
There may also be some copies of some US anthologies not readily available over here.

22.30              Science Fiction Pictionary
A rematch between Dave Hicks and Smuzz as Dave seeks to avenge the moment he was asked to draw “Time Considered As a Helix Of Semiprecious Stones” while his opponent got “Red Mars”. Other artists who are not attached to their dignity are welcome to join in and the audience can supply the titles.


10.30              How Green was my Death: The Ecology of Dr Who
Back due to popular Demand: A breakneck rush through the ecological issues of 1963- 2016 as interpreted through the medium of Teatime Terror by Smuzz.  Featuring video clips, a Blue Peter Green Book and some interpretative  dance.

12.00              Gerry Webb: Interplanetary Man
Gerry has been a fixture in British fandom since about the time your writer was born and involved in the British Interplanetary Society since before then. Still working in commercial space technology at the age of {DELETED],  Gerry will also be celebrating a significant birthday at Novacon so come and hear someone who endeavoured to live like the viewpoint character of so many of those novels on your shelf.

13.30              My fandom, your fandom, their fandom
At Novacon 1 it was quite simple: there was pretty much one fandom and that was it, even if some of it was far away. Now there are myriad fan cultures shaped by nationality, language and technology.  So we’ve convened a panel of people from far away (OK, we’ve got an American) , who travel to other conventions (our intrepid chairman reports from IceCon) or who have been enjoying the fandoms that now exist on the nether regions of the internet

15.00              Juliet McKenna:
Shelf-life and eBook undeath for the 21st Century Author
A talk by our Guest of Honour. The Dealer’s Room will be closed for this item.

16.30              Fantasy now.
A broad discussion on the state of contemporary fantasy writing. A panel including Stan Nicholls and Kari Sperring  discuss the state of the “genre”, if it is (like SF) just one genre any more, the themes that writers are addressing and the new variations they put on them.

18.00             Writing what you know?
What actually can and can’t be taught to aspiring writers? A panel including our Guest of Honour Juliet McKenna discuss the benefits and pitfalls of the advice that may be offered versus the lessons that can only be learned by personal experience.

19.30              Poetry Readings
Poetry used to be a staple form of fan writing and while we may have fewer practitioners in our community these days we still have some gifted ones. The literary section of the day ends with readings from Chris and Pauline Morgan (Chris is a former poet laureate of Birmingham). Others who have written work recently are welcome to attend and read also.

21.00              The Collecting Bug
What is it about army helmets, pens, badges or – heaven help  us  - science fiction that drives people to collect so many examples of them? There are either a surprising or an all too predictable (depending on your outlook) number of people in fandom who enjoy collecting  some unusual things and we will get them to explain the pleasure they get from this. WARNING: You may think you’re immune to this sort of thing but by the end of the item you  may find yourself considering starting an iron tractor seat collection….

22.30              Call my Blurb
“Funnier than Psycho, More chilling than chilling than Jeeves Takes Charge.”  Which is something that’s been said of several Novacon programme items but we finish Saturday with a quiz to test contestants’ (and, of course, our brilliant audience’s) knowledge of which effusive, flattering, succinct blurb describes which book. Hosted by Ian Sorensen who will keep going until it’s not funny anymore, or maybe a bit after that. 


10.00              The ABC of Aikido
Juliet McKenna will wake you up with some introductory martial arts techniques, a spot of self-defence advice and a new perspective on the fights you see on screen or page.

11.00              Things that fall to Earth
SF Author and scientists Helen Gould returns with a fresh talk on meteorites (with sample) and some interactive geology about matter from beyond our world (yes, that means outside the Midlands…).

12.30             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. Chris Morgan will be banging the gavel.

14.00              Cover Art – what do we want versus what works
The publisher has  a vision of the cover, the artist has a vision, the writer has a vision. If only they were the same. And in the age of self-publishing when these roles can overlap , who’s right? Including our Guest of Honour, Juliet McKenna.

15.30              THEN - From Genesis to the bastard offspring of Science Fiction Monthly
A panel of erudite and learned fans discuss Rob Hansen’s recently published THEN- Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980, a period that includes the first ten Novacons. One of these will be Rob himself and you’ll be able to buy copies from him over the weekend.

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 enjoy the best-run raffle in fandom.

19.30              Late Beer Tasting and Dinner
There are separate tickets available for the beer tasting and the convention meal (Chinese food this year). These will be available at the Registration Desk throughout the weekend. You can also gain entry to the beer tasting in exchange for three bottles of interesting beer, take them to registration.

Off piste:
Remember there’s an art show downstairs as well as Mr Lally’s magic lantern show (New members – ask discretely). Also we hope to announce readings and kaffeeklatches with various authors including Juliet. If you want to attend any of these then sign up sheets will be displayed at Registration.

ELSEWHEN BOOKS will be launching Freedom’s Prisoners by Katrina Mountfort  at 5pm downstairs on Saturday.

A BOOK AUCTION will be announced if we have enough books to sell and held downstairs. It usually happens later on Saturday night when you’ve all had enough beer to ensure you’ll bid handsomely for those Pier Anthony trilogies…

There is additional function space downstairs, so if you want have a reading, workshop or meeting please get in touch before or even at the convention.