Novacon 50

Novacon 28 GoH: Paul  McAuley

Paul Mcauley

It was twenty-two years ago today, more or less, that I was Guest of Honour at Novacon 28.

Tony Blair was in his second year as Prime Minister, the fake glitter of BritPop was only just beginning to rub off, and the World Wide Web was barely eight years old: if there was a web site for NC 28 it’s lost, like the GoH speech I may or may not have given, in the pixel mists of dead media nirvana.

I seem to remember that I signed books alongside the late great Brian Aldiss, and went shopping with Pat Cadigan, and bought a pair of motorcycle boots . . . but was that in Glasgow? Even when you’re the Guest of Honour, conventions tend to blend into a timeless urspace of corridors, meeting rooms, bars and book rooms. I definitely know that, thanks to the crew running the convention, I had a fine, unstressed weekend. And because of the Novacon tradition of printing limited, numbered editions of chapbook by its Guests of Honour, I have a physical souvenir of my GoH stint – a slim pamphlet, illustrated by Dave Mooring, containing two original short stories. One, Alien TV, about a convention of fans of enigmatic interstellar broadcasts; the other, Before The Flood, about the last days of a cult inspired by those same broadcasts. Ten years later, Before The Flood became the seed from which Players, my second police procedural mystery, grew. So that’s a kind of souvenir too, and a debt these few words on the occasion of Novacon’s fiftieth anniversary can hardly repay.

But hey, thanks for the inspiration, and here’s to #50, and many more to come.