By Francis Hamit and Leigh Strother-Vien: The Press Briefing immediately before the Opening Ceremonies of Loncon 3, the 2014 World Science Convention, featured all of the Guests of Honor (though Chris Foss was on the program opposite the briefing) except the late Iain M. Banks, who is sorely missed and was named Ghost of Honor. The two committee chairs, Steve Cooper and Alison Lawson, said that this is the largest World Science Fiction Convention in history, with more than 10,000 members, and may prove to have the largest number of attending fans due to a last minute surge of locals that account for a 20% increase. Final figures will be posted Sunday.
GOH Malcolm Edwards said “It is a great honor to be here.” He added that at his first Con the total number of attendees would have fit in the 20 by 20 room where this briefing was being held.
GOH John Clute remarked that “a convention like this combines all the (science fiction) things that came before and all that would be.”
And it is truly an international affair. Over 1,500 fans come from 62 other nations than the UK and USA. The USA has about 2,400 members and the rest are UK residents.
There are over 200 dealers tables, and 80 artists exhibiting works worth more than a combined total of £350,000. The atmosphere is cordial and friendly, unlike some American WorldCons of recent years, where rivalries and fan politics marred the events.
Programming is so extensive that many attending are being forced to pick and choose between competing interests they hold. Notable is a sercon Academic track that rivals those presented in the Mundane spaces.
The Opening Ceremonies were also notable. More about that in our next report.