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.


18.45Opening Ceremony
It all starts here! Come along and meet the committee and our Guest of Honour. Find out what delights we have planned for you over the course of the weekend.

20.00Desert Island Books
In conversation with Carol Goodwin, our Guest of Honour Adrian Tchaikovsky tells us about the books he would like to be washed up on a desert island with, and why they mean so much to him.

21.15Book Launch Party
Come along and get a copy of Adrian’s new book, Dogs of War, signed on the spot for you. Free wine and nibbles to get you into the convention party groove.

22.30In Memoriam
We very sadly lost Brian Aldiss and Peter Weston this year, two people who were very important to Novacon and the BSFG. Come along to view some documentaries and footage of both and share your memories of their life and their work.


10.00Science Talk: Adventures In The Goldilocks Zone: The Search For Other Earths
It’s only Saturday so set your alarm for this one. Around 3500 confirmed planets and another 4500 candidate objects new exoplanets are being discovered every day. Professor Frazer Pearce from the University of Nottingham discusses how these recent discoveries have influenced our ideas about the formation of our own Solar System as well as how exoplanets are discovered and their properties measured. The Trappist-1 system, which contains 7 Earth-like planets, 3 of which orbit within the Goldilocks zone will be discussed as will the prospects for upcoming exoplanet detection missions.

11.15Other Fans’ Obsessions
We are at a loss to know how they have the time, but Anne Nicholls, Stan Nicholls and Juliet McKenna apparently have interests outside of SF and Fandom. Come along and be enthused by their other passions. Moderated by Yvonne Rowse.

12.30Growing Up Fannish
The more astutely observant among you will have noticed the next generation of fandom popping up at conventions over the last few years. What is like to grow up fannish and get let loose with you friends in a hotel a couple of times a year? Emjay Ameringen, Penny Hicks and Magdelen Standage-Bowles share their experiences. Alice Lawson is in loco parentis.

13.45Guest Of Honour Interview
Guest of Honour Adrian Tchaikovsky in conversation with Juliet McKenna.

15.00The Rise of African SFF
In 2009 it was commonplace to say that ‘Africans don’t write science fiction.’ Now it is commonplace to say ‘Africans have always written science fiction.’ 2016 was a bumper year of SFF novels by Africans and Africans in diaspora. The Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction got financial support for prize money in four categories with winners to be announced right after Novacon at the Ake Festival in Abeokuta Nigeria. In 2016, the African Speculative Fiction Society was founded, with roughly 150 writers, editors and artists as members. Omenana magazine is publishing regularly online from Abuja, Nigeria. What are some of the key works from this explosion of creativity? What are some of the national differences in SFF from the continent? What are the issues for African writers? What makes SFF by Africans distinctive? Panellists are Yoruba language and SFF author Tosin Coker, Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso, Masimba Musodza and Nick Wood. Moderated by Geoff Ryman.

16.15The Rise Of African SFF Part 2
Tosin Coker, Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso, Masimba Musodza and Nick Wood grab a quick comfort break (we’re kind like that) and return to the stage to do readings from their work.

17.30Eaters Con
If a committee replaced George R R Martin at the last minute with the bloke who said ‘these aren’t the droids we’re looking for’ people might be a bit miffed. If the hotel ran out of bacon they’d need a new identity. Food is important to fans, it’s become part of the ritual of attending conventions and visiting new places. A panel of bon viveurs moderated by Dave Hicks will consider our culinary tastes, excesses, indulgences, and times when we’ve accidentally eaten the Guest of Honour’s starter.

18.45Gor Blimey! Things ain’t what they used to be
Join Theresa Derwin, Chris Stocks and others as they theatrically deliver the narrative from some of the worst SFF books they’ve come across. Think Thog’s Masterclass with attitude.

20.00Open Mic Poetry
Former Birmingham Poet Laureate Chris Morgan leads a session for all you budding poets to come along and share your work. Beginners welcome!

21.15Pub Quiz
Get yourselves sorted into teams, come up with a really cool team name and then dazzle us with your fund of useless knowledge. Includes silly game and fabulous prizes.


10.00Science Talk: The Tech And The Amazing Stuff We Can Do With The Tech
In a talk that does what it says on the tin, Professor Michael Merrifield from the University of Nottingham, who is overseeing the UK’s involvement in the Extremely Large Telescope, tells us about (yes you guessed it right) the tech and the amazing stuff you can do with the tech.

11.15The Secrets Of Porcupine Books
Porcupine Books has survived on the choppy seas of used bookselling for nearly twenty years. Come and find out how this small bookseller has managed to sell books at consistently low prices, as Claire Briarley interrogates Brian Ameringen, and take the opportunity to ask the questions that will uncover Porcupine’s Hidden Secrets...

12.30I Couldn’t Possibly Put THAT In The Novel! (The Joys And Pitfalls Of Research)
Guest of Honour Adrian Tchaikovsky, along with Andrew Bannister, Christina Lake and Juliet McKenna discuss the trials and tribulations of the research process for world building and getting all that pesky detail bang on correct. Moderated by Andy Sawyer.

13.45Art Auction
Hopefully you have taken the opportunity over the weekend to go and have a look at some of the fantastic artwork on display in the art show. Now’s your chance to bid for it and give it pride of place on your living room wall.

15.00What’s Happened To The Story? TV Narratives In The Streaming Age
We used to watch TV as a family, one channel at a time. Even when we got central heating, and second TVs, then satellite and cable, we still clung to an episodic shared storyline. Now we’re freewheeling. How do we discover new shows, how do we come together to talk about them? Programmes had a structure and a rhythm built around ad breaks, cliffhangers, mid-season breaks. What happens now? Moderated by Dave Kirby with Fran Dowd, John Dowd and Magdalen Standage-Bowles.

16.15Recycling The Redshirts
A talk on science, cookery, cannibalism and Star Trek. Douglas Spencer presented this talk at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, but when the room wasn’t big enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to hear it, he undertook to present the talk again on a future occasion. This is a future occasion.

17.30Handover Ceremony
Say good bye to this year’s committee and GoH. Meet the suckers splendid people who will be organising this all over again for next year. Who will be Guest of Honour? All will be revealed.

20.00Dave Holmes Memorial Beer Tasting And Guest Of Honour Banquet
Our traditional Novacon wind down. This year’s beer tasting is dedicated to the memory of Dave Holmes who we very sadly lost this year. Entry via beer badge only, available from Registrations for £6 or three bottles of beer. Soft drinks will be freely available.
The banquet, as chosen by Adrian, is Chinese. Again, you must have a ticket for this, also available from Registrations. Come along to either or both and spin out the convention as long as long as possible before real life returns on Monday.

Off piste:

Lookout as well for other off-piste items in the downstairs bar or the downstairs syndicate rooms. Check out the notices stuck up on the walls or the committee member with the loudest voice making an announcement in the bar. Here are some confirmed items, exact times to be announced. Look out for sign-up sheets for Kaffeeklatsches as well.

A few things that have been confirmed so far include the pre-launch of Theresa Derwin’s anthology Her Dark Voice 2 on the Friday evening, the book auction on Saturday evening and a Follycon tea party on Sunday. But watch out for more, including Kaffeeklatsches with your favourite authors!