There have been several S2 reports on various LJs. All very positive which is nice. However, there is a comment flying about on several LJs that someone ‘denounced’ our convention as ‘space advocacy convention masquerading as a science fiction convention’. I feel this remark is a) wrong and b) insulting to the people who ran it.
Firstly, what is meant by ‘masquerading’. This was an SF convention, pure and simple. Our theme was the 40th anniversary of Apollo and so space themes were inevitable. However, there was plenty of consideration of this theme from an SF angle. Look at the programme, we had panels on media and literary aspects of our theme, grumpy old fen, eco-convention discussions… For goodness sake – our Guest of Honour was Iain M Banks, only one of the leading SF writers in the world! There was also plenty of fun items (games, making things etc) which seemed to be popular with both children and adults., real ale, live music, book dealer, disco and an art show – what more do you want in a short SF con?
Perhaps ‘masquerading’ is meant to imply we were hiding our true intentions. Again, this is clearly not so. We have put plenty of information up on our website as speakers confirmed and the programme took shape. We have always been clear that we are working at the ‘harder’ edge of SF. Other convention focus on fantasy or horror (or Discworld or LotR or…) so people have choice. We have always said clearly the type of convention we were going to run, and we ran exactly what we said we would. So no hiding things there.
I am not sure about the comment of ‘space advocacy’. Yes we had talks on a space science/science theme. I think if you are going to do that the best thing to do is to have authoritative and knowledgeable speakers. Clearly S2 managed that in spades – Dave Woods, Frank O’Brien, Phil Wellings, Robert Law, Colin McInnes… We also had a talked sponsored by the International Year of Astronomy delivered by Nik Whitehead. Was that ‘space advocacy’? Certainly there is a strong pro-space exploration element there, but is that surprising if you get experts in the field? Also, is it surprising to find a pro-space consensus at an SF convention? Hardly!
In our items we looked at the pros and cons of space exploration in the past and in the future and everyone was given plenty of opportunity to air their opinion, so I cannot see how we could be accused of ‘space advocacy’
Apparently the person making these comments ‘denounced’ our convention. Now, I am not aware that we are living in a totalitarian state or who we have been ‘denounced’ to. Certainly there have been no secret policemen kicking in my door. If the person who made these comments did not like the look of our convention (and clearly they had a good idea of the programme, due to our open advertising) then all they had to do was stay away and go to other events that better suit their taste, but to bad mouth the convention because we were open and honest in delivering what we said we were going to reflects badly on the commenter, not on the convention.
Finally, it would be helpful if the originator of these comments were to come out and identify him/herself. Sniping from the safety of anonymity is not constructive. If the person wants other things included in a Glsgow SF convention, then please come and speak to us about that. If you deliver constructive comments then other convention organisers can use them in designing future conventions.
Flight, satellite 2