EigthtSquared: a bid for the 2013 Eastercon

Membership Rate Rise Reminder
Flight of fantasy
As mentioned previously, we have held back our scheduled rate rise until 1st August due to the delays with providing online payment facilities.

From 1st August an adult attending membership will cost £60 (up from £50) and will rise to £70 on 1st Feb 2013.

If you have pre-supported but not yet converted to full attending membership, you may wish to do this before the end of the month.

Other rates remain the same throughout: Junior (12-17yrs) £20, child (5-11yrs) £5) and infant (0-4yrs) £1. Soft toy/apocryphal £1.

Juliet E McKenna, on behalf of the EightSquaredCon Committee.

Our Aims for the EightSquared Programme
Flight of fantasy
Browse the SF & Fantasy bookshelves – real or virtual – these days and you will see an unparalleled breadth and depth of reading on offer, with every more sophisticated ideas and understanding underpinning the entertainment. Any boundary between genre and literary fiction is becoming increasingly irrelevant as authors like Freda Warrington and China Miéville, to name merely two, write with mature and nuanced sensibility. Established writers like Jane Rogers, winner of this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award, are moving into our field, finding our genre can offer more scope than the mainstream for ideas they wish to develop. SF&F has most certainly advanced far beyond the fast prose, fast idea standards of the pulps.

Divisions between the Science Fiction of spaceships and alien planets and the Fantasy of magical, secondary worlds have become ever more nebulous. Always outward looking, our genre now finds inspiration from other writing, from horror through crime and mystery fiction, historical and romance. Appropriately for a genre spanning time and space, we see speculative fiction both evolving and developing as well as increasingly reflecting ‘scientifiction’s’ origins in the popular reading of more than a century ago.

At the same time, the core traditions of both hard SF and traditional fantasy offer increasingly sophisticated and thoughtful stories, contemplating the challenges of our technological age and possible futures on one hand while on the other, modern epic fantasy’s reflections on the uses and abuses of power hold up a magic mirror through which to view our own lives and societies.

Speculative fiction began with books. These days we engage with alien and magical worlds through film, television, computer games, comics and graphic novels. DVD and streaming technology has changed the ways in which we engage with movies and television while tablet computers are influencing visually-driven story-telling and the advent of ebooks offers new potential for shorter forms of writing.

So our programme, like our choice of Guests of Honour, aims to celebrate the stories being told through speculative fiction in all its current diversity, with contributions from readers, writers and artists.

If you have an idea for a panel discussion, a talk or a presentation to further these aims, please do let us know. We cannot guarantee that we’ll be able to use every proposal, inevitably. Regardless all suggestions are warmly invited, along with volunteers to take part in the programme generally. Let us know your particular interests – and both specific expertise and general enthusiasm are equally valuable.

If you have seen someone offer an interesting presentation at another convention, if you have had a fascinating chat with someone who you realise will offer new and interesting perspectives on a panel, let them know that you’ve appreciated their contribution. Encourage them to contact us and take part in the convention. If you don’t know how to get in touch with them directly, tell their editor or publicist if they’re an author. If they’re another fan, contact the event organisers where you met them, to pass on a message.

Don’t badger people, obviously. We don’t want anyone to feel pressured or uncomfortable. What we want to see is those people who might feel diffident about stepping forward, encouraged to raise their hand, knowing that their participation will be most welcome.

So have a think and get in touch through prog@eightsquaredcon.org

Juliet E McKenna
Chair, Eight Squared Con

Blog Entry: Gender Parity
Moon Clanger
Why we are committing to Gender Parity on Panels

We have a convention!
It's official: our little bid has grown up into a fully fledged convention. A packed audience voted us in as the official 2013 Eastercon at Olympus (the 2012) Eastercon. Many thanks to all those who voted for us, all those who joined at Olympus, all those who helped us run our con desk and all those who have volunteered to help us in the year tocome.

We are delighted to be able to reveal our line up of Guests of Honour, who will be joining us next year in Bradford.

Walter Jon Williams. The entire committee are huge fans of Walter Jon's work and we are absolutely delighted that he said 'Yes' to our invitation. He is one of the most innovative, original and all-round-astonishing writers working in sf today and one of themost influential, too. His books range from far-future space opera to near future thrillers, from complex explorations of post-humanity and distant polities to swashbuckling comic space opera, all written in the most beautiful, thoughtful, pacey prose.

Freda Warrington. I, for one, was astonished to discover that Freda had not yet been an Eastercon GoH, given the range and depth of her work. While she mainly writes fantasy, she has made productive and intriguing forays into sf, horror and urban fantasy and her Blood series are, in my view anyway, simply the most original vampire tales written since Bram Stoker himself. She is also one our the nicest people in the UK sff community and it's a real pleasure to have her.

Anne Sudworth. Anne's dark, dreamy, resonant works have long been admired at convention art shows. An internationally renowned fine artist, she has deep roots in the sff and goth communities and returns every year to Eastercon. Inspired by British landscapes, folklore, literature and the ever-changing light of dark skies, her work is collected worldwide. We had to work quite hard to persuade her that she was an appropriate guest -- she's so modest, she kept insisting that she wasn't a cover artist and were we sure? But we managed to convince her in the end and we are very happy to have her as our artist guest.

Edward James. Fan, critic, academic, reader, commentator, cremorne player: there seems to be no end to the talents of our fan guest. Edward entered sff fandom at the tender age of 16 and has never left. He has contributed his insights, knowledge and sound common sense to numerous conventions since and was a key figure in the formation of the Science Fiction Foundation, which exists to promote, enhance, study and preserve sff. 2013 is his fiftieth year in fandom, and we look forward to celebrating it with him.


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