ICSF The History Book

Picocon 17

Saturday 19th February, 2000

10.00Registrations start
11.00Juliet McKenna - Talk on "World Building"
12.00Brian Stableford - Talk on "Science Fiction and the Future of Biotechnology"
13.00Lunch & Destruction of Dodgy Merchandise
Killer Happy Hour!
14.00Garry Kilworth - Reading from "Shadow-Hawk" and QandA
15.00Panel debate - publishing
16.00Ian Watson - Talk on "Do We Exist?"
17.00Pub Quiz
18.00Film - Aliens

Hello and welcome to Picocon 17, the annual science fiction convention run by icsf. This is the souvenir WyrmTongue, with details of the programme, and of our special all-day game of Killer, and the Destruction of Dodgy Merchandise during the lunch-break. The proceeds from both of these latter events will be donated to the ICU RAG charities.

More traditionally, we have bookstalls open all day, author talks throughout the day, by each of our Guests of Honour, and a panel debate. The day ends with the classic film "Aliens" on the Union's own cinema screen.

If you have any problems or queries during the day, please feel free to ask one of the committee members for help. They can be identified by the black arm-bands they wear.

From top right, Baaa BQ, baaa-barian, propping up the baaa, a-baaa-cada-baaa, baaa treking, be baaa-d, My god! Its full of baaas, Our last best hope for fleece, baaa-bylon 5, Fluffy the Vampire Slayer

This year's poster campaign has taken a somewhat strange turn leading to cartoon sheep taking over the poster boards of IC. Here are the sheep so far, be prepared for some really bad puns.


For the first time ever, there will be an all-day game of �Killer� running during Picocon this year. The idea of the game is to �kill� other players (in a non-permanent manner) while not being killed by the other players. You score points for every one that you take out.

This game has previously been run by ICU RAG with great success; the money raised by the game will be donated to the RAG charities.

When you join the game you take on the badge of a famous science fiction character, such as Darth Vader, Wesley Crusher or the Alien. You are traced throughout the day by this.

There will be Security throughout the Union building - these people will have *real* weapons and marshal the game.

In short: have fun, without damaging anyone else or the building, secure in the knowledge that you are helping to raise money for the RAG charities.

Here are the Official Rules:

[Please either adhere to them at all times, or bribe the security staff in a discreet and professional manner. All bribes will go to RAG, and our security staff have their reputations to consider, so please be generous when you use monetary persuasions or other equivalents.]

*When you enter the game you will be given an identity badge, please have this visible at all times when you are playing. You will be targeting others by their *identities* not their names.

*You will be given three targets - eliminate them and only them and collect their badges. Return badges to the front desk for points and further targets. You may swap your identity for any badges you are carrying if you wish.

*Kills are by weapon contact only - projectiles are allowed but be wary of innocent spectators (collateral damages upset security). Any reasonable 'weapons' can be used *except* water pistols/bombs etc. Paper 'bombs', airplanes, card daggers etc are recommended - use your imagination. But be sensible.

*If you are killed you must hand over all badges you are carrying and should immediately return to the front desk for a new identity.

*Security officers (identified by armbands with mp on them) are the marshals of the game and will keep the rules/resolve disputes/kill troublemakers. They are invulnerable but corrupt so bribery will probably be acceptable.

*The front desk is home, people in contact with it are invulnerable. Shooting them is likely to upset the security officer on duty and get you shot.

*The game will run until 17:00 and the UCH is out of bounds. We advise caution on the ground floor as random people will be around to watch the football. The winners and losers will be announced at the end of the quiz.

*There are a limited number of weapons available at the desk, but you are advised to improvise. Paper ball grenades, paper plane bombers etc. However try not to make too much of a mess ;0)

Have fun!

The Guests of Honour

Brian Stableford
Brian Stableford is a very varied and intelligent writer. He has written excellent space opera, most notably the Hooded Swan series, and also a great deal of excellent science fiction, such as The Mind-Riders, where audiences of the future can jack in to boxing matches and feel the emotions and sensations of the boxers. He also has written a major alternate-world novel, The Empire of Fear, in which immortal vampires rule a Europe rather different to our own. Vlad the Impaler, Richard the Lionheart and Attila the Hun are opposed by the forces of the common people, who become vampires in order to free themselves from the vampires' tyranny.

Brian Stableford has been to Picocon twice before, number 4 in 1986 and again for number 10 in 1992. We don't seem to have scared him away yet!

Garry Kilworth Garry Kilworth is a well-known and popular fantasy author. His writing career began in the 1970s, after he won a Sunday Times competition, and he has been writing ever since. He is particularly known for his animal stories, which take a realistic stance, in particular observing scrupulously the lifetimes of the animals involved, such as Hunter's Moon. His latest major work, the Navigator Kings trilogy, is set in a Polynesian landscape, which is an unusual setting for fantasy, but one which in his hands is vivid and full of life.

He has also won the World Fantasy Award for the best novella of 1992 with The Ragthorn (written with Robert Holdstock).

Ian Watson
Ian Watson has been writing full time since 1976. He's written about thirty novels and hundred and fifty or so stories covering vast range of genres including science fiction, horror, techno-thrillers and science-surrealism. Greg Benford has described him as "the most madcap, daring figure of his generation".

Visit Infinity Plus for a fuller biography, or his homepage. His many books include The Embedding, Miracle Visitors and Deathhunter.

Juliet E. McKenna
A relatively new author with two books out set in the land of Einarinn, The Thief's Gamble and the recently published The Swordsman's Oath. The stories are fantasy based but with a large amount of witty observation which means the books appeal even to those who don't generally enjoy fantasy. Juliet's website makes a much better job of describing her work than I could.

Juliet spoke at this year's main freshers' event where she described how she eventually came to be signed as a new author with Orbit and is fascinating to listen to.