Paragon: Eastercon 2001

[Programme Book]

The 52nd British Easter Science Fiction Convention
13--16 April 2001, Hanover International Hotel, Hinckley

GoHs: Stephen Baxter , Michael Scott Rohan, Lisanne Norman , Claire Brialey, Mark Plummer.

Paragon was originally to be held in the bizarre Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool, but it moved because...

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,

-- The Lion and Albert
But the hotels there all were too pricy,
So they went elsewhere for Eastercon.

-- Sandra Bond

The even more bizarre Hanover Hinckley was a late alteration. The reception building looks like a refugee from a Garden Centre Conservatory display, with a gigantic Poseidon holding up the ceiling [I thought it was supposed to be Atlas, because of the holding up, but apparently it's Poseidon/Neptune, because of the trident ... which acquired a piece of toast at one stage]. Provided you didn't want to go anywhere other than the hotel itself (in the middle of nowhere, just off the M69), the facilities were excellent: good function room space, friendly staff, and continuous, if somewhat monotonous, food (there were still mushrooms for breakfast on Monday, but the lunch and dinner "cheap" menu never varied.)

overheard near one of the numerous window displays of bizarre hotel merchandise:
My god! It's full of tat!

Programme highlights

Panel -- What is harder to predict: social or technological change?

Mike Scott Rohan, Mike Cobley, John Harold, Lisanne Norman, John E. Stith

Panel -- If he dies we get our own show

Linda Stratmann, Garry Stratmann, Gabriela Bennemann, Jane Killick, Dave Lally

A look at media sidekicks: why can they not be heroes?

Panel -- Gone but not forgotten

Judith Proctor, Steve Rogerson

What is the appeal of old fandoms? Does going to conventions and writing about TV shows long gone still make sense?

Panel -- SF/Fantasy Authors' Websites

Simon Bradshaw, Mike Scott Rohan, Dave Hardy, Tanya Brown, Alex McLintock

Are they worth anything? Why do them? Should they do it themselves, or leave it to fans, or publishers?

Panel -- SF and Genetics

Lucy Smithers, Joan Peterson, Julian Headlong, Nik Whitehead

How has the concept of genetics changed in SF over the years?

Panel -- If Tolkien and Lewis had snuffed it in the trenches...

John Clute , Edward James, China Miéville , Farah Mendlesohn, Steve Jeffrey, Maureen Kincaid Speller

... where would fantasy be today?

Gary Stratmann -- Martial Arts in SF

Gary Stratmann, Linda Stratmann, [???]

Related material from previous cons:

Helen Priddle -- Cloning: science fact and science fiction

The 2nd Science Fiction Foundation George Hay Memorial Lecture

Panel -- The Brits Awards

Andy Sawyer, Edward James, Tony Cullen, Tanya Brown, Farah Mendlesohn

A discussion of this year's BSFA and Arthur C Clarke awards. (The discussion for the awards is merged, because of the high degree of overlap.)

[ Ash won the BSFA Award; Perdido Street Station the ACC]


Followed by a spectacular outdoors fireworks display

Panel -- Archaeology and Fantasy

Edward James, Lisanne Norman, Miller Lau, Martin Easterbrook, Michael Scott Rohan

Archaeology seems to be a preferred hobby for fantasy authors.

Panel -- What if Richard III had not died at Bosworth?

Edward James, Freda Warrington, John Bray, Michael Scott Rohan, Steven Baxter

What cultural and sociological changes might this have had? Or would it not have mattered at all?

Stephen Baxter -- GoH talk: The Fermi Paradox and The Meaning of Life

Panel -- Bournemouth Vice!

Ian Sorensen, David Lally, Eddie Cochrane, Julian Headlong

Who might star in TV shows if they were made on the other side of the Atlantic?

Amanda Baker -- Missions to Mars

The Mars Society's Mars Programme

Panel -- Big Books

(chair) Farah Mendlesohn
(big) Lisanne Norman, Alastair Reynolds , John Meaney
(small) Molly Brown, Jon Courtenay Grimwood , Tanya Brown

"No book can make it in today's best-seller list under 800 pages" -- discuss

David B. Wake -- 20:01, a Sunday Odyssey

"One Minute Past Eight" -- another hilarious 90 minute play, with wonderfully imaginative "special effect" (like the rotating polystyrene space wheel, and the rotating ball point pen inside it), with high points including:

... and much more. I just hope there's a video version of this one, too

Colin Fine -- Lojban workshop

A discussion of the artificial language's novel and unfamiliar features

Panel -- TV shows into movies and vice versa

Eddie Cochrane, David Lally, Linda Stratmann, Sabine Furlong, Noel Collyer

Why some projects work and some just die