I’m very pleased to announce that not only will I be attending Odyssey 2010, this year’s Eastercon, but that I’ll be on a panel too: a discussion on “Humour in SF” that’s provisionally scheduled for 11am on the Monday morning. I’ll post again when I have more details of the panel, or if the time changes.

So what is an Eastercon, where and when is this one, and why should you come?

Well Eastercon is the British national science fiction convention. It’s held annually, at Easter (duh!), with typically a different venue and organising team each year – which is why each iteration has a different name. I’ve been to two Eastercons: the first two years ago, when Orbital was held near Heathrow; and the second last year, when LX was held in Bradford. This year’s convention, Odyssey, which will be the 61st Eastercon, is being held at the same Heathrow location as Orbital. The basic details are:

Odyssey 2010, The 2010 Eastercon, 2 – 5 April 2010

Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow, London, UK

Guests of Honour

Alastair Reynolds

Iain M Banks

Liz Williams

Mike Carey

Artist Guest of Honour

Carlos Ezquerra

Fan Guests of Honour

Fran and John Dowd

I’ve thoroughily enjoyed both Eastercons I’ve been to, and I think I’m going to enjoy this one even more because it will be the first where I’m not spending eight hours a day in the dealers hall. According to the website, there are already 927 people signed up, so it looks like it will have a good buzz to it. If it’s anything like the previous two conventions, the programme will be packed with items covering literature, science, drama, music, life and everything, and with tones ranging from the deeply serious to the happily absurd – which I think are sometimes the best. At LX, one of the most memorable panels I went to was one where they demonstrated an item called a “violet wand“. If you want to know what that is, then I’d point you at the wikipedia entry, but will say that it was originally developed as a Victorian healing device and is now generally used for what might be termed “bedroom recreation”.

That was quite a late night panel.

At present, they only seem to have details of the science programme up (there will be several strands of events), but even that ranges from:

Life of a Hydrogen Atom

The universe around us is made up of many different types of atoms, yet only two types, hydrogen and helium, were created in the Big Bang. Other elements have been formed by a wide variety of fascinating astrophysical processes since then. This talk will take you on a quick tour of some of these processes by following the life story of one of the simplest things in the universe – a proton – from its birth in the Big Bang to its death, swallowed up by a black hole.

…to:

Alien Archeology

What will our panel of ‘experts’ make of the various items they are presented with? Is it a Denebian ritual object, or simply a salt shaker?

…with both of these being panels I’d love to attend.

Oh and my fellow Brighton author Mark Barrowcliffe (a.k.a. M D Lachlan) will be doing a seminar on ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Baritsu:

…a lecture on Victorian self defence for ladies and gentlemen – how the Victorian gentry subdued the hobbledihoy.

It all looks very quaint until you remember these guys built the British Empire. If you can stand against a Zulu ibutho charge then you know a bit about being in a scrap. I may do the talk in character, which should be fun. Advice ranges from the quaint ‘look him in the eye and say “do you know who I am?” to the chilling ‘it is possible to tear off his arm from this position, after which you can chastise him at will’.

Details here.

If you’re at all into science-fiction and fantasy, I’d strongly recommend going to Odyssey. You can sign up here. Hopefully see some of you there.