Science Fiction / Double Feature

Two things.

Thing the first: This year, I shall be going to Eastercon, and I think you should too.

Every year, there’s a british national science fiction convention, held over the Easter Weekend. (Thus the imaginative name).

People who like SF gather, talk, drink, listen to the guests speak, and generally have fun. There’s pub quizzes, games, dancing, videos, and academic talks for those that wants them as well.

This year’s guests are The Mighty Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, and China Miéville.

If you’ve never been to a con, you might have the impression that it’ll be full of people dressed as Klingons. If you’re lucky, out of the thousand or more people who’ll be there, you might meet one or two. On the fancy dress night.

I’ve been to a couple of conventions (otherwise known as cons) run by the people who are organising this year’s Eastercon, and I can guarantee that it’ll be good fun.

To attend will cost you 55 quid for the four days. It’s out in Heathrow – so commutable to London if you’re very very poor – but it’s more fun to stay in the hotel with everyone else. And because there’s so many people staying, the rates are about forty quid per person per night, breakfast inclusive. And this is a five star hotel, mind.

To find out more about Eastercon, check out the introductory page here. And hopefully I’ll see some of you there!

Thing the second:

Loli will be joining me at the con. And she’s not yet a science fiction afficionado. So the question is this:

What should she watch or read beforehand? Assuming no more than one novel (or, say, three short stories) from any writer, and no more than one episode from any TV show, what are the best bits of SF that everyone should see?

14 responses to “Science Fiction / Double Feature”

  1. William: the obvious candidates are underway already. I’ve got some Gaiman and Lee at home, will try and acquire some more.

    Ian: Hullo! That’s the choice of Miéville sorted then… I think I’ve got a copy of Light lurking in the house somewhere that I’ve never actually read. Will have a delve and see if I can pull it out.

    Rob: Haven’t read Rogue Moon myself, will try and get a copy. The Quiet Earth is one of my favourite films, and not enough people know about it. We’ll definitely be watching that one.

    Keep ’em coming!

  2. Jason: You’re a bad man, and you’re going to hell.

    Elinor: ta! I think a whole trilogy might be bending the rules more than a little, mind…

  3. At the risk of being argumentative, I’d say don’t read “Perdido Street Station”. It’s overlong, it’s vaguely incoherent, and its reach far exceeds its grasp.

    Some musts:


    Something by Philip K. Dick. I’d suggest “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” or “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said”.

    “A Canticle for Liebowitz” by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

    “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

    “Fahrenheit 451”

    A bit of Narnia

    “The Time Machine”

  4. Christine, I might have given you a point – but then you recommended “Dune”, which is one of the most atrociously-written popular books ever 🙂

    Dick isn’t really science fiction – more drug fiction, given the amount he wrote on high-quality speed – and Narnia is a nasty piece of Christian apologism. I’ll forgive you the rest 🙂

  5. I’ve actually been to one of these things myself and found it more fun that everyone kept looking at ME strangely for not knowing what the hell was going on or who was who. But then I was there for work and it was something to do with Manga rather than SF. But it was fun and I learned lots about Manga sex.

  6. maybe it’s different there from here, but where I’m from we have 2 annual Sci-Fi conventions, and no one seems to notice who is new or who is not.

    generally speaking it’s always one geek to another and we’re pretty content to be that way, in costume or not.

    Perhaps love of a thing so extreme that you’re willing to be dressed up, singled out and otherwise out yourself as an extreme fan tends to breed that level of “brotherhood.” I’m not sure.

    Quintessential science fiction experiences before the con?

    1. Bladerunner, the movie, any cut, though I’m particularly fond of the 10th anniversary edition, but any version really will do.

    I think this particular movie makes an excellent introduction to modern science fiction and is a good physical representation of the flash point where science fiction changed focus and direction to get where we are today.


    Doctor Who episode 190 “Blink”

    Again, an excellent introduction to the reality and changing directions of what might otherwise be a static expectation of just futuristic worlds and futuristic realities or CGI loaded special-effect ridden movies with guns and aliens.

    Doctor Who has always been an amazing example of science fiction on the cutting edge for its time and in its own place without going so far up and out that we cannot grasp or believe it.

    Have fun, Loli! You’ll love it. Where else in the world can you go where thousands of people are having such a good time and enjoying eachother so much that they forget to be anything other than what they really are? Besides, some of the smartest and strangest human beings end up going to science fiction conventions… it’s an experience to remember.


  7. Sounds cool. And I’d go with PKD even though you’ve already dismissed him. Scanner Darkly, in particular, which she can read and watch

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