Loncon 3 - The 72nd Worldcon - Day-by-day: as it happened


The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Loncon 3, was held from Thursday 14 to Monday 18 August 2014 at ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London and SCIFI4EVER was there to join in the celebration of science fiction and bring you the highlights of the show.

Loncon 3 made history with almost 8,000 attending paying members and over 10,000 total registrations, being the most attended Worldcon in 75 years of World Science Fiction Conventions.

With over 1000 programme items on the offer, it was not possible to attend them all (even with our teleportation abilities), but we have done our best to cover at least the most important and most interesting ones. This is how we spent the weekend:


Thursday, 14 August

15:00  A Conversation with George R. R. Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell

We were supposed to join Paul Cornell as he interviewed and ignited conversation with George R. R. Martin and Connie Willis. Alas, we did not get in - the room was so packed, that people were sitting even on the floor in the aisles between the rows of chairs. A few years ago, barely anybody have heard of George R. R. Martin and his books. Now, thanks to the HBO adaptation of his series of epic fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire into the hugely successful television series Game of Thrones, he became an international super-celebrity, complete with entourage of personal assistants and bodyguards.

19:00  Understanding Steampunk

This was the first panel that we have attended. The panellists started with explaining the origins of this popular subgenre, which has grown into an entire new subculture, before moving on to scrutinising how has steampunk evolved, diversified, and differentiated itself from 'traditional' science fiction. Steampunk has come a long way since the early days when most of the stories have taken place in Victorian London.

The panellists Gillian Redfearn, Kaja Foglio, Kim Lakin-Smith, Oliver Plaschka and Marian Womack discussed the evolution of the Steampunk subgenre.

19:30  You got your SF in my Anime!

Many events were overlapping and we wanted to see as many interesting ones as possible, therefore we sneaked out from the previous panel 30 minutes earlier, just in time to catch the second half of this, Anime-orientated discussion. The panellists made an interesting point in saying that what characterises Sci-Fi Anime is the willingness of the genre (or medium, as one of the panellists insisted Anime should be defined as) to explore controversial themes and readiness to go into subjects that would be difficult to venture into in live-action films. The panellists also opined that the 'twelve-episodes one-season at-a-time' format assures that Anime series get funded more readily than longer-running shows.

Sarah Ash, Juan Sanmiguel, Lars Adler, Django Wexler and Laura Mauro argued that Anime is better suited to explore difficult subjects and controversial themes.

Incidentally, when the absence of Anime on British television was discussed during the questions & answers, one of the people in the audience pointed out that, a few years back, Jonathan Ross did some heavy lobbying to realise broadcasting of Anime programs on mainstream UK television - the same Jonathan Ross, who, along with his wife, was subjected to a rather vicious campaign on Twitter by a few disgruntled members of the fandom, after it was announced that he will be hosting the 2014 Hugo Awards.

20:00  How to Survive

To a palpable disappointment of the audience, this panel wasn’t about 'How to survive a zombie apocalypse', though it featured 'zombies' - the codename which certain military circles apparently use to describe populace exposed to radiation after the nuclear holocaust. These 'living dead' would be, en-masse, fleeing the affected areas looking for a safe haven, and being in urgent need of food, water and medicine, would stop at nothing to get it. Providing you would be one of the 'lucky ones' who avoided radiation exposure and have enough supplies to survive the impending 'nuclear winter', what would you do? If you will give them your resources, you will miss them later and these 'zombies' will die anyway from radiation poisoning within a fortnight - have your shotgun at ready.

If you will be one of the ‘lucky ones’ who avoided radiation exposure, will you share your scarce supplies with those who will soon die from radiation poisoning?

Moving on to the long-term issues of rebuilding the destroyed civilisation, did you know that in the whole world, there is not a single person who knows how to manufacture a humble lead pencil from the scratch? No, us either. In his book 'The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch' Lewis Dartnell, one of the panellists, explains that the human knowledge is collective, distributed across the population. As it has been built slowly layer-by-layer over the centuries, it gradually became more and more specialised. Nowadays, most of us can operate a computer or smartphone, yet are completely ignorant of the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us. We happily utilise the latest - as well as the most basic - technologies, without having the slightest idea of how they came to be and how and why they work. If we had to go back to the absolute basics, in some sort of post-apocalyptic scenario, would we know how to re-create an internal combustion engine, assemble a microscope, get metals out of rock, accurately tell time, weave fibres into clothing, or even how to produce basic foodstuffs for ourselves?


Friday, 15 August

11:00  Reading: George R. R. Martin

The event took place in the auditorium which has 5,000 seats, so this time nobody was left out. Having learned from the previous experience, we came early and secured front row seats, and we were rewarded by reading from unabridged version of George R. R. Martin’s forthcoming book The World of Ice & Fire. Martin explained that, far from suffering from writer’s block, he has a completely opposite problem, that is, he cannot stop writing. His original intention was to write a handful of sideline texts for his latest book in A Song of Ice and Fire series, that would explain the background of characters, places, events, etc… However, the material for the sidelines grew quickly into tens of thousands of words, until Martin decided to publish these as a separate book, titled The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones. This lavishly illustrated coffee table book is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, containing among other material, full-colour artwork, maps of Westeros, family trees for Houses Targaryen, Stark and Lannister, history and culture of Westeros as well as accounts of the bitter rivalries, daring rebellions and epic battles that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire.

We thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being read to from our favourite fantasy series of books by the master storyteller himself.

George R. R. Martin turned out to be as good a reader as he is a writer and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being read to from our favourite book by the master storyteller himself.

In the questions & answers at the end of the reading Martin expressed his satisfaction with HBO’s adaptation of his epic series of books. Answering another question, he said that he might consider returning to writing science fiction stories, but his immediate focus and priority is on finishing the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series.

12:00  SKYLON and spaceflight of the future

Moving from science fiction to science reality (or science possibility), this presentation by British Interplanetary Society (BIS) described the (hypothetical) single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) SKYLON vehicle and its SABRE engines (the only part of the spaceship currently in development). The case for SKYLON has been made by the veteran of British Space Programme Alan Bond, managing director of Reaction Engines Ltd.

SKYLON spaceplane could prove to be a real game-changer in cheap transportation of both payload and passengers to the low Earth orbit and beyond.

Presentation started with a brief history of reusable space vehicles, before moving to explaining the major advantages of the proposed SKYLON SSTO spaceplane. These are:

  • 100% Reusability
  • Minimal maintenance (the vehicle should, theoretically, fly in two-day intervals)
  • Highly economical running costs (projected at 2-5% of today’s values)
  • Horizontal take-off and horizontal landing
  • Can transport payload up to 15 tonnes (satellites, supplies for the space station)
  • Can transport passengers (in self-contained modules placed inside the cargo bay)
Alan Bond presented his vision of an On-Orbit Assembly that could be used to build large interplanetary spaceships from modules transported by SKYLON.

Alan Bond also reported on the current status of the SABRE engine development programme and outlined the major objectives and milestones of the planned development programme over the next couple of decades. These are as follow:

  • SKYLON spaceplane, if completed, could prove to be a real game-changer in cheap transportation of both payload and passengers to the low Earth orbit
  • This could help to extend the lifespan of the aging International Space Station (ISS) and further capitalise on this mind-boggling, 100-billion dollar investment
  • By utilising SKYLON spaceplane, a huge space assembly can be built in the low Earth orbit (either by extending the existing ISS, or as an entirely new structure)
  • This space assembly, or hangar, can be then used to build large spaceships (from modules transported by SKYLON) for missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond
  • If everything goes according to the plan, SKYLON spaceplane could be in operation in late 2020s with Mars missions following soon after, in 2030s or 2040s

During the presentation, Alan Bond also introduced Cosmonaut Anatoly Pavlovich Artsebarsky, a veteran of the Russian (i.e. former USSR) space programme who flew aboard Soyuz TM-12 (along with British astronaut Helen Sharman) and spent 5 months aboard Mir Space Station.

13:00  Exhibits Hall

After leaving BIS’s inspiring presentation, we spent some time in the Exhibits Hall. On display were fantasy and science fiction inspired works by both established and relatively new artists, including Chris Foss, Bryan Talbot, Jim Burns, Marc Simonetti, Christopher "Fangorn" Baker, Martina Pilcerova and many others.

On display in the Exhibits Hall were science fiction and fantasy inspired works by Jim Burns and Marc Simonetti amongst others.

18:00  Film: Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two

Loosely inspired by the Argentinean sci-fi novella, 'The Invention of Morel', by Adolfo Byo Casare, this film is the story of a young loner named Jorge, obsessed with the star of silent films Louise Brooks aka 'Lulu'. Jorge creates two inventions: Pandora’s Camera, which can duplicate and preserve reality, and a pair of glasses that can inject memories into the wearer's mind.

Using the peculiar ability of the camera, Jorge attempts to capture and preserve for eternity a perfect moment of happiness between him and a hapless girl which he abducts and transforms into Lulu-lookalike.

We like experimental cinema - but in this case we felt that the filmmakers experimented on us. Ouch-ouch, our brains hurt.

We were prepared for an amateur experimental film, but this feature exceeded all our worst expectations. We were told to hold on until the very end to fully appreciate the movie. We did. Now we cannot unsee what we have seen. Oh dear.


Saturday, 16 August

12:00  Signing: George R. R. Martin

From the dozens of signings at Loncon 3, this was the one we were really looking forward to. The section of the convention reserved for stalls was teeming with sellers offering fantasy and science fiction books, including a small outlet of Forbidden Planet, but looking for the Game of Thrones was like looking for strawberries in the winter (in woods that is, not in Tesco). We eventually bought a beautiful hardback version of the third book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series A Storm of Swords with an intention to have it autographed. We came to the place of signing 30 minutes earlier, only to be told that the queue started to form at 9:00 in the morning, now has 200 people in it, and no more are allowed.

Alas, this is not our book being signed by George R. R. Martin.

We understand that George R. R. Martin’s managers don’t want to devaluate his signature, but this was a big letdown. Sure, half of the people in that queue will probably put the signed book on eBay the following day, but not us. We are genuine and huge fans of the TV show as well as the original fantasy novels and having in our library a book from A Song of Ice and Fire signed by George R. R. Martin would mean the world to us. Jesus, this book is the size of the Bible and weighs about 5 kilos - and we had to carry it (unsigned!) around the ExCeL the whole day!

13:30  How to Draw Manga: A Workshop for Young People

At this workshop led by Inko, a celebrated British Mangaka, the participants learned how to draw the Manga way. Before Inko started with her demonstration, she made a small presentation of Weekly Shonen Jump - a great source of Manga series, which at 500+ pages looks more like a telephone directory than a weekly magazine for youth, yet it sells for an equivalent of roughly £2. Eat your hearts out, British Manga fans!

Participants of the workshop learned how to draw the Manga way under the expert supervision of Inko, a celebrated British Manga artist.

After this, Inko proceeded explaining what makes Manga style different from other art styles before drawing a basic Manga character, with the workshop participants invited to replicate the drawing following Inko’s instructions and under her expert guidance.

14:00  An Interview with Chris Foss

While Ying stayed with Inko to finish her Manga drawing, I left the previous panel 30 minutes earlier, to catch the second half of Chris Foss’s interview by a fellow artist John Picacio.

Chris Foss discussed illustrating The Joy of Sex (an influential 1972 sex manual by British author Alex Comfort), before moving on to more sci-fi related themes, such as his collaboration with an enigmatic Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky on a proposed adaptation of Frank Herbert's venerated science fiction novel Dune. Foss recalls how he received, sometime in 1974, a call from Paris, inviting him to join a pre-production unit set up by Jodorowsky and consisting of him, Jean Giraud (Moebius), and H. R. Giger.

"I am a cab driver of art" says veteran sci-fi artist Chris Foss, before continuing: "If someone asks me to paint a matchbox in space, and the price is right, I’ll do it!".

As for the potential rivalry issues, Foss explained that there were none, as their roles were strictly divided: he was drawing spaceships and machines, Moebius characters and Giger scenery and buildings. Foss further recalls that no expenses were spared: the whole floor of the office block was hired for the film production, expensive drawing devices were purchased, luxurious hotel suites for the pre-production crew were paid for and opulent celebrities were offered major roles in the film. Surrealist artist Salvador Dali (who famously requested a fee of $100,000 per hour) was primed to portray Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and Orson Welles (after some persuasion involving flying in his favourite gourmet chef to prepare his meals for him throughout the filming) accepted the role of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. The music was supposed to be composed by Pink Floyd.

Unfortunately, after Frank Herbert travelled to Europe in 1976 to find that nearly $2 million of the film’s $9.5 million budget had already been spent in pre-production, and saw Jodorowsky's phonebook-sized script, that would result in a 14-hour movie, the production of the film collapsed when no film studio could be found willing to fund the movie to Jodorowsky's terms. (H. R. Giger’s concept drawings for Dune later made it into Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus).

During the jolly and informal conversation with John Picacio, veteran sci-fi artist Chris Foss also referred to himself as a "cab driver of art" and said that if someone asks him to paint a matchbox in space and the price is right, he will do it.

15:00  The Philosophical Mecha

Panel of four (David G. Shaw, Madeline Ashby, Shaun Duke and Jade Ka) discussed philosophical aspects of Mecha subgenre. Is Mecha more than just the infantile stories about giant robots? Panellists certainly thought so and made some interesting points to further this argument. Since the wearers of gigantic robot suits are mostly coming-of-age orphans, aren’t the operators of giant robots like children encased in a giant metallic womb - always protected, forever juvenile and devoid of any responsibility?

Madeline Ashby argued that the operator of Mecha suit could be likened to a child encased in a giant metallic womb - always protected and forever juvenile.

Maybe. And maybe the panellist who came up with this notion just reads too much into it. I personally found the proposal of another panellist more appealing. He suggested that the Mecha Suit is an extension of its operator in a similar way the Katana is an extension of a samurai.

16:30  Meet Bryan Talbot

One of the guests of honour, British comic book artist and writer Bryan Talbot was sketching and informally talking to fans. We took this opportunity to stop by for an informal chat with the creator of Grandville series of graphic novels and Bryan drew a lovely sketch of 'Archie' the badger detective for Ying.

Guest of honour Bryan Talbot was sketching and informally talking to fans. We took this opportunity to stop by for a chat with the creator of Grandville.

18:00  Illustrating the Worlds of George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin's work has been interpreted by a wide range of artists. Panellists, amongst them illustrators John Picacio and Martina Pilcerova, talked about how they met the author of A Song of Ice and Fire and how they approached the task of bringing their own vision to his science fiction and fantasy worlds. Martina Pilcerova described how she finished rendering the famous scene from A Game of Thrones, in which is Bran Stark pushed out of the window by Jaime Lannister, and showed it to Martin. Seeing the illustration, Martin remarked: "It looks OK, but why is this one wearing armour?" (i.e. Jaime Lannister) making a fair point and prompting her to repaint the scene with Jaime Lannister and Cersei Lannister naked. Martina also revealed that they (i.e. artists illustrating George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire) are under increasing pressure to align their illustrations with HBO’s television series Game of Thrones, which they (with Martin’s firm support) resist.

Michael Komarck’s depiction of Daenerys Targaryen and Ned Stark is, arguably, even better than the portrayal of the characters in the HBO television series.

If you see Michael Komarck’s Ned Stark and Daenerys Targaryen, or John Picacio’s 'The Others' that became a defining depiction of the White Walkers, all of which are miles away from the HBO’s interpretation of the characters, yet they depict them, arguably, better than the television series, you can't help but agree and wish that the artists will continue resisting this trend and preserve their individual style while depicting far-flung lands, high impenetrable castles and peculiar characters from the magical world created by George R. R. Martin.

19:00  Film: The Search For Simon

When David was 10 years old, his younger brother Simon disappeared. David's father told him that Simon was "taken by aliens", and would not talk of it again, before drinking himself to death. Fast forward 25 years and David is spending all his free time and money talking on Internet to dozens of loonies and fraudsters who are willing to sell him 'genuine' information about the aliens. His quest takes him around the world, and he is willing to listen to anyone who has a story about alien abductions and UFO sightings. He however does not realise that 'the truth' is much closer than he thinks.

Acronym for the super-secret British AeroSpace Technology Advanced Research Development Division (B.A.S.T.A.R.D.D) is simply a touch of genius.

This time we weren’t disappointed as at the previous screening (Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two). Despite being a low budget, this British science fiction comedy (with a few surprising cameos) raises more than a few laughs. The film is full of puns, in-jokes and nods to countless sci-fi shows, such as when David promises the agent of the super-secret B.A.S.T.A.R.D.D (British AeroSpace Technology Advanced Research Development Division) a cake for letting him into the facility, only to reply to her question what cake did he bring: "The cake is a lie" (for those living on Alpha Centauri during the last 10 years, this is a reference to video game Portal).

21:00  Masquerade

One of the annual highlights of Worldcon, the Masquerade featured dozens of costumers presenting their imaginative creations during short performances judged by a panel of experts. You can see the best creations here: Loncon 3 Masquerade.

Some of the best creations, from left to right: Puff & Perry on the Other Side of Boring, A Glamorous Evening of Galactic Domination, Life is a Dream and We Dance.

Sunday, 17 August

13:30  Starships Inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's Fiction

Science Fiction was always a driving force for visions of future technologies and modes of transportation, to the extent that they can often lead to the realisation of those visions by a self-fulfilling prophesy. Arthur C. Clarke was a master in this field and his numerous stories describe various kinds of spacecraft and their propulsion systems.

This presentation by Initiative for Interstellar Studies (I4IS) discussed the original and innovative ideas for space travel that are appearing throughout A. C. Clarke's science fiction stories and considered the real-life efforts to bring these ideas into reality so that the manned interstellar travel may one day be achieved.

BIS’s Lunar Spaceship 1938 concept design and NASA’s Eagle Apollo Lunar Module share some striking similarities in both appearance and design.

Did you know, for example, that the 1938’s concept design of BIS’s Lunar Spaceship (A. C. Clarke was twice a chairman of BIS), and particularly its Lander, is strikingly similar to the NASA’s Eagle Apollo Lunar Module? (and not only by the appearance and design, they have many other common characteristics - both would carry a crew of three, for example). And did you know that NASA actually commissioned a feasibility study of a vehicle based on a fictional spaceship Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey?

From science fiction to science reality: Sunjammer, a 38x38 metre solar sail constructed by LGarde for NASA, was inspired by and named after A. C. Clarke’s story.

The list goes on and on. Currently, Sunjammer - the largest solar sail to be deployed to date, is slated to launch in January 2015 atop a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Sunjammer was named after a 1964’s A. C. Clarke story of the same name (also known as The Wind from the Sun), in which several solar sails compete in a race across the Solar System.

14:00  Starships in perspective

In yet another panel presented by I4IS, the panellists presented some new and radical views on financing deep space exploration projects. The sceptics and critics of interstellar travel argue that the vast sums of money required for the construction of interstellar spaceships mean that no government or state will be able to commit to such a huge undertaking now or in the future. Panellists however pointed out that the interstellar missions would be undertaken and financed by an economy on an entirely different scale – on the scale of our whole solar system, rather than on Earth’s scale.

The humanity cannot continue taking their resources from the Earth’s crust endlessly. Sooner or later, these limited resources will become exhausted and we must start looking for the new places to get them from. Moon and Asteroids can provide iron, nickel, cobalt and a few other elements for the ever-growing Earth’s industry, while Jupiter, composed of 90% hydrogen, can serve as nigh on inexhaustible source of rocket propellant. The humanity will, sooner or later, start utilising resources and build economy on the scale of the entire solar system.

Some argue that it will take financial and industrial capacity of the economy on the scale of the entire solar system to fund and launch interstellar space missions.

At this point the depleted Earth’s resources and limited finances of Earth’s nation states will no longer be a limiting factor of human spaceflight and the will, as well as the necessary finances, for the interstellar expeditions will be found.

One of the panellists also pointed out that the social and technological progress often comes in exponential leaps rather than through a gradual improvement. During the American westward expansion in the early 1800s, people spent 6 months travelling 2,000 miles in wagon trains to get to the rich new lands of the West Coast. By 1869, when the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed, the same coast-to-coast journey could be done in mere 8 days. Nowadays, a trans-continental flight takes less than 6 hours in a jet airliner. Similarly, a game-changing technology could emerge that would dramatically reduce the amount of energy required for the space travel or considerably speed up travelling times between the stars.

14:30  Taking the Initiative - Why We Have To Start Planning for an Interstellar Future Now

A continuation of the previous two panels, also presented by I4IS, this panel emphasised the need to start planning for our future in space now. Various organisations have set themselves a goal to launch a mission, be it manned or unmanned, to the stars within this century, but the planning for this must begin today. In the current climate of global warming, temperamental economy and regional conflicts, it is hard to imagine any government spending scarce resources on the development of new near-Earth space technologies, let alone building an interstellar spacecraft. But with huge challenges to be overcome in its construction, we must start planning now, as there might be neither the will nor the resources for a project on this scale in the uncertain future.

I4IS says that we should start planning for our interstellar future now, as there might not be either the will or the resources for such ambitious projects in the future.

In the questions & answers, one of the attendees (in my opinion quite correctly) pointed out that we are not even an Interplanetary Civilisation, let alone an Interstellar Civilisation, so in this sense are I4IS perhaps getting a bit ahead of themselves. Maybe we should take it step-by-step and first concentrate on our backyard, i.e. the Solar System, before we venture to the stars.

15:00  Bryan Talbot: “How I make a Graphic Novel”

Bryan Talbot, the 'Graphic Novel Man', took us through the typical creative process he uses when writing and drawing one of his comic books, from the original conception to the finished comic (an average graphic novel takes a year and a half to complete), covering research, plotting, story structure, scripting, the use of grids, panel transitions, page composition, layout, use of eye level, lettering and colouring.

This was an unique opportunity for any budding comic artist to learn from one of the veterans of the British comic scene.

In an unique opportunity for any budding comic artist, Bryan Talbot explained the creative process he follows when writing and drawing one of his graphic novels.

At the beginning of the presentation Bryan Talbot stressed that the title of the lecture is "How 'I' make a Graphic Novel" (i.e. He) and that while some insight of someone else’s technique might be very useful, everybody should use their own approach and style, adhering to a general rule: "If it works, do it".

A concise excerpt from the lecture can be found here: Bryan Talbot: How I make a Graphic Novel

16:30  Our Interstellar Future

We have returned to I4IS panel, this time joined by the veterans of hard science fiction Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter. Panellists discussed, amongst other things, the ethical implications of implanting life on lifeless planets (to which the host of the panel incorrectly referred as Panspermia theory). At the end of the discussion the host asked the individual panellists what would be their preferred destination, should interstellar flight becomes commonplace in the future and Stephen Baxter nominated Alpha Centauri as his favourite star system.

Stephen Baxter nominated Alpha Centauri star system as the one destination which he would like to visit if interstellar flight one day becomes commonplace.

20:00  The 2014 Hugo Awards Ceremony

This was the one event everyone was looking forward to. We joined the hosts of this year's awards Justina Robson and Geoff Ryman for a gala celebration of the very best of the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Despite a minor glitch with a faulty microphone when Bryan Talbot came on stage to present the Hugo for the Best Related Work (host Geoff Ryman saved the day by saying to Bryan: "Talk to my jacket" - referring to his lapel microphone) the Hugos ceremony was a joyful and professionally conducted event, started with a moment of silence in the memory of all members of the fandom who died since the last Worldcon, including the greats of the genre H. R. Giger and Iain M. Banks.

Geoff Ryman’s and Bryan Talbot’s "Talk to my jacket" became something of an in-joke at the last two days of Loncon 3.

You can see the complete list of winners here: 2014 Hugo Award Winners

We were leaving London early in the afternoon on Monday, so we gave the last day's events a miss - after all, we were so full of interesting experiences and wonderful memories from the past 4 days, that we simply could not pack in any more!


Resume

Apart from the bungled George R. R. Martin’s signing (which likely wasn’t fault of either Martin or the Loncon 3 organisers) and an astounding lack of multimedia usage at most of the panels (this was, after all, a 'science fiction' event, so one would expect panellists using a variety of futuristic multimedia devices, such as holographic displays, but we were struggling to spot the odd projector or two) Loncon 3 was a great, eventful and well organised convention. Thank you all for a wonderful experience and see you the next year at Sasquan - the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington, USA.

Loncon 3 made history, being the most attended Worldcon in 75 years of World Science Fiction Conventions with almost 8,000 attending paying members.