Two conventions and two very different experiences. Obviously it is far more fun to physically attend a
convention rather than viewing and interacting via the computer screen but there are so many people who cannot travel for a wide variety of reasons and the virtual experience may be fantastically life enhancing for many many fans. It’s still in its infancy and still a little unsatisfying but the seeds are there. I see the potential for some remarkable virtual convention experiences. Here we have Novacon and Corflu. Two conventions divided by many thousands of miles and quite a number of cultural differences. I thought it might be fun to throw my two convention reports together to take a look at what was fun and how that could be transferred between the formats. This is a discussion I wish to take up in the next issue so I would be fascinated to hear some thoughts, opinions and experiences from you with regards to virtual conventions and maybe some notions upon how you see the future of virtual conventions. Let your imaginations run riot.
I wish to apologise for the record on the front cover. The concept is what I wanted to get across but when I went to listen to the song I was horrified. It was and is a truly dreadful noise.
In other news, I’m running for Taff.
Right here is where I should be telling the story of how I had no intention of standing for Taff and thousands of friends urged me that I really really should you know. I have no such story. Absolutely no one tried to persuade me to run for Taff. Not one person. Nobody.
Taff is an astounding institution and I stand in awe of the longevity and the enhancing properties of the fan fund. I felt I wanted to be more involved with it and running for it myself seemed a most excellent way to get to be a part of this great tradition. I want to be connected with this celebration of fandom. I want to go to North America and meet a whole buncha folks. I ask you to help me out. It’s early days yet but bear me in mind during the first few months of 2013 when the Taff race will be running. Jim Mowatt is the name and I’d rather like to be sent to Texas please. Do the voting thing. Choose Taff, choose Jim.
It’s Novacon time again and this year we have arrived at Novacon 42 and as any fule kno that means the convention will reveal to everyone what the Ultimate Question really is. There have been many guesses including such old classics as who drunk all the beer and where does Dave Lally get all his energy (Infinite bunnies and Duracell batteries may be involved with that one). ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha will be at Novacon and holding their AGM in the bar downstairs on Saturday. They have some questions themelves to ask of the universe including, “Who Put the Bomp In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp, and who put the ram in the ram a lama ding dong. Amongst all this chicanery the committee will be elected and ZZ9 will enter the next year full of enthusiasm for the toils ahead. ZZ9 will also be running a treasure hunt in the hotel and we’ll be handing out our special, Little Book of 42. There will, of course, be 42 copies.
It’s an interesting time for ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha which is now over 30 years old and very much rooted in the habits of appreciation societies of the past. It was born pre Internet and therefore the focus of contact is very much through the postal service rather than through online services (similar to fanzine fandom). However this may well be the best model for such a club. It will be the job of the committee over the next few years to determine how or even whether the club adapts to the way of the internet (Likeagibberishido) or holds on to the core activities. I still don’t know which way I’d prefer it to go. Fanzine fandom is being forced toward the ezine model by rising postal prices although there are many fanzine fans unhappy about this. I do think it is possible to continue traditions like this through ezines but they need to be portable, flexible and easy to read. You need to be able to put a fanzine in your pocket to carry it about and you need to be able to read it on the toilet if you wish. I find my Kindle is ideal for this but it does seem difficult to do any kind of fancy formatting with books and magazines for the Kindle. This would be/is unsatisfying particularly for artists who want their work displayed in the best format possible. However, the technology is improving so I see a time not so far away when many more publications will be available online and still look very swish on our electronic devices.
From now and for the foreseeable future my own written fanzines (some are podcasts) will all be available as epub, mobi and pdf files and there will be just a few paper zines handed out at conventions.