Follycon Convention Diary Monday 2nd April 2018 Eastercon

Photo taken by me – The Belmont Guest House, Harrogate
Preston, England
April 10, 2018 11:00am CST
The last day of the convention, and manty fried were leaving as the day progressed. There were lot of sad farewell amidst the joys of the day. I got up and had breakfast at the Belmont B & B and headed to the Majestic in the rain in plenty of time for the opening panels. The first I attended was entitled Writing From History, with emphasis on creating futures from our understanding of the past, and setting fantasy work in real historic settings. It was centred on how much of our present day outlook and values are applied in creating realistic past times. Panellists included Nnedi Okafor and Jeanette Ng. From there I went straight to the panel on Imagining Utopias, featuring, among others, Christina Lake and Vincent Docherty. It was great to see a rare look at the utopian science fiction writers who seem rare among writers presenting bleak dystopian visions of terrible political futures and totalitarian regimes. Ursula K Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, and Aldous Huxley’s Island, and of course, Thomas More’s Utopia, a word that in itself means nowhere, were touched on. I checked online on my laptop trying to remember the title of a favourite Robert Graves novel about a time traveller destroying a future utopia by imposing his own values and conflicts on it, along with conflict by the God of ancient Greece interfering. The book is Seven Days In New Crete, but I missed the page I was looking for for it as it is more often listed by its alternate title Watch The North Wind Rise. I asked whether utopias are truly attainable and sustainable, citing the fall of Camelot in many versions of the Arthurian legend as an example. Camelot falls after the land is brought to plentifulness, and the dragons have been slain. That is when the knights of the Round Table turn on one another from sheer boredom, centring on Lancelot’s affair with queen Guinevere until Camelot collapses into civil war. It utopian dream shattered. Some panellists interpreted my question as a challenge to why we should even try to create utopias but I believe we should strive for such peaks of social, and political happiness even if they must ultimately collapse after which we should strive again to re-attain them. We should certainly never embrace the opposite to utopias as a political goal in life. After a few hours of chatting to various friends before they set off for home I went to a talk on Atheism And The Representation Of Religion In Science Fiction. This was a solo presentation by Jess Meats, and despite its heavy academic sounding title, quite a light fluffy feature on media challenges to orthodox belief, illustrated by slides and TV / movie clips. Classic Star Trek saw religion as something rather abandoned as superstition in the future. Babylon Five unusually gave respectful recognition to multiple beliefs, while Futurama spoofed religion mercilessly etc. There was a surprising absence of reference to The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but it was clear that not everything could be fitted into an hour. The convention officially wrapped up by about 4.30pm but a few event were till on the programme for guests not leaving until the Tuesday morning, including myself. Several of us went for an Italian meal, choosing Luisa’s, the same place I had popped into the night before but the menu was diverse enough for me to pick a different election, and this time I had a three course meal. We returned to The Majestic for the Dead Dog Party, where the bar I kept running for the last of the con-attendees to relax and enjoy good company. I was there until about 12.30 pm before saying my lat goodbyes to many lovely friends and heading off to my bed for one last night. Follycon Convention Diary Tuesday 3rd April 2018 Travelling Home And Thanks Numerous people to thank as always. Various people who treated me to beer, chocolate, etc., Eira Short for inviting me to participate in her Con Diaries panel, along with Smuzz, fellow participants in the three minute rant contest, the publisher of my forthcoming book on pubs and science fiction, my friends from Manchester’s FONT SF group, Tim Crumpton and John Halls, the many people who put this awesome convention together, the volunteers and supporters. Thanks to the hotel staff of the Majestic Hotel, and the lovely family run Belmont Guest House where I stayed, and the people of the wonderful town of Harrogate. As on my first day, I woke to find I was the only guest left in the Belmont. After a last full English breakfast I paid for my room and checked out, walking to the railway station and catching two trains back to Preston. I arrived home in time to head out to a film group meeting, preparing for the next (12th) One In Four Film Festival, and returned home to unpack, and relax after a fabulous Easter. Arthur Chappell
3 people like this
4 responses
@JudyEv (141827)
• Bunbury, Australia
10 Apr
What a wonderful Easter you had. You'll have wonderful memories of the convention.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
12 Apr
@JudyEv yes, a very nice weekend all round
@RasmaSandra (21172)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
10 Apr
Glad to know you really enjoyed yourself and are home safe. Have a wonderful Tuesday.
1 person likes this
@Jessabuma (33128)
• Baguio, Philippines
10 Apr
It's good to hear you great and wonderful Easter sir, God bless you always.
1 person likes this
@Kandae11 (40338)
10 Apr
Glad that you had a wonderful Easter and the convention was a success.
1 person likes this