Newcon5 – The Fishmarket, Northampton – 9+10/10/10

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It’s been two years since the last Newcon and the gang reconvened at the wonderful ‘Fishmarket’ arts centre to talk Science Fiction, watch classic TV, listen to live music and drink real ale. Paul Cornell was one of the guests of honour hes now working a 2 year contract with DC writing 2 comics a month – a Lex Luthor one for Action Comics and a very British one – Knight & Squire – out very soon……….

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The other guest of honour was Pat Cadigan (originally from Kansas now living in London) who was a delight. Shes won 2 Arthur C Clarke awards and her comments throughout the week end were funny and insightful. Do yourself a favour allow yourself to do a bad first draft. Youve got something you can improve on then.

There were panel discussions throughout the week end. On one about SF in other media it was decided that SF was everywhere now Weve won said one panal member (tongue in cheek?). Whereas there used to be a cannon of work that was considered to be SF that you could watch/read now theres just too much of it to even consider that. One discussion which was taped for a Wordpunk Podcast turned to ebooks & Pat showed us all the technology she used a moleskin book!

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Another discussion was on Artificial Intelligence and featuring Ian Watson who helped write the screenplay for the movie AI for Stanley Kubrick. It was eventually made by Steven Spielberg and needless to say, the final film was nothing like the original script.

Kevin Burke (Northamptons official Town Jester) was the MC again and did a very good job of cutting a Christina in half, and removing his assistants head.

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Newcon Press, run by Ian Whates, were launching their latest collection of stories from the Northampton SF writers group. Northamptons most famous resident Alan Moore has written the forward for it and he was in attendance with the rest of the writers (one of whom is my big brother Ste) for a mass book signing.

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Ste and I agreed that Pat would be an ideal dinner party guest to which she answered So why dont you invite me! before posing for a piccie with me and Mr Moore, who’s now a grandad – just imagine having him as your grandad – Fantastic!

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There was live music from 2 sets of musicians one being a duo featuring Andy West (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Lydon) playing a variety of recorders and whistles. There was a lot of thought and research that had gone into these pieces and Andy has promised to write a piece about it watch this space.

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The beer flowed into the early hours with long conversations about tattoos, favourite films, corpsing stand ups and Dalek impersonations that were unerringly accurate from Paul (another one of the writers). We even got to see an Avengers episode in the small cinema set up The house that Jack built.

Day 2 was more of the same I got Ian Watson to sign a couple of books just as it was 10.10am on 10/10/10 And I bet you paid 10p for it!.

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One of the invited guests Paul McAuley couldnt make it so in the slot where he was due to interview Mr McAuley, Ian instead decided to Channel Mr McAuley and answered his questions for him. Whats the difference between Botony and Geology Well one is hard and the other is soft.except when there is a volcano Fellow author/contributor Roberto is a Surrealist who was most at home during this session. Can you explain Surrealism? Well said Roberto with a glint in his expressively Italian eyes If you imagine a sphere and in the middle there is what something is its true self which is Banal. Then on the outside there is what it is not which is the Ridiculous. Well Surrealism is the interface between the 2

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The week-end finished with an SF version of Im sorry I havent a clue and a raffle in which I won a signed copy of Paul Cornells Marvel collection Dark Xmen. Each character gets a song in the introduction a Bowie song each in one issue, Kate Bush in another..I was going to give it to Matty, but after reading it on the train home the bit where the Beast cuts out a psychics brain to hook it up to a video screen (It smells like a butchers shop in here) – well I think hell have to wait a bit longer before it comes off the top shelf.

Bob the Chiropodist

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