ICSF The History Book

Picocon 21

Saturday 7th February 2004

Date and Location

Picocon 21 was held on Saturday 7th February 2004, at Imperial College Students Union on Prince Consort Road in South Kensington, London.

Events will take place between 10am and 7pm. The film will start at 8pm.

Peter F Hamilton poster Destruction of Dodgy Merchandise poster

 Guests of Honour

Peter F. Hamilton is the well-known author of the Night's Dawn trilogy, as well as more recently Fallen Dragon and Misspent Youth. His next book, Pandora's Star, will be on sale at Picocon. There's a short story by him from 1996 available online, Softlight Sins.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Paul McAuley worked as a researcher in biology for various universities, including Oxford and UCLA. His first novel, Four Hundred Billion Stars, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, and his fifth, Fairyland, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and John W. Campbell Awards. His new novel, White Devils, will be published just before Picocon.

In addition to writing science fiction, Adam Roberts is a Reader in English at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has an MA from Aberdeen and a PhD in English and Classics from Cambridge. He is the author of Salt, On, Stone, Polystom, as well as most recently The Soddit. He has two books coming out this year, The Matrix Derided by the "Robertski Brothers" and The Snow.

UPDATE: Copies of Peter F Hamilton's newest novel, Pandora's Star, will be on sale at Picocon!

PLEASE NOTE: Jon Courtenay Grimwood will not be able to come to Picocon, on account of being in San Francisco at the time. We apologise profusely for this. He has helpfully arranged for Paul McAuley to take his place.


The following events are set. Other events will take place, but their timings can't yet be confirmed.

10:00 Silly things - Silly games, to include human curling and human space invaders. Our capture-the-hat subcommittee is currently busy devising even more of them. Pandora's Star - On sale at Picocon!
11:30 Panel discussion - Nightmare futures - what's the worst way that you can imagine things going wrong, and how would it happen? Panel members will be Peter F Hamilton, Paul McAuley, Juliet E McKenna, and Adam Roberts.
12:30 Destruction of Dodgy Merchandise - This now annual event consists of an auction for pieces of offensively tacky, cheap or cute merchandise. All proceeds from the auction go to iCU RAG and the winner of each lot gets to destroy it using the tools available, including large hammers and liquid nitrogen. Please feel free to bring along your own contributions.
13:30 Adam Roberts - Talk on what it's like writing 'tragic' and 'comic' novels followed by a Q&A with the audience.
14:30 Paul McAuley - Talk on "What has the future ever done for us?" followed by a reading from White Devils and a Q&A with the audience. Paycheck poster
15:30 Silly panel - Charades, Just a Minute, Mornigton Crescent, other various random games-show type things, all of which will include participation by the Members of the Audience. Panel members will include Dave Lally and Juliet E McKenna.
16:30 Peter F Hamilton - Interview, followed by a Q&A with the audience.
17:30 Pub quiz
20:00 Paycheck - The day concludes with a showing of the movie Paycheck [IMDb] in the iCU cinema, which has one of the largest screens in West London. Entry to the film is free for Picocon members.

 Other Events

Author signings - No specific times will be given for getting books signed by the authors, please approach them personally when appropriate.

daVinci's Bar - Downstairs from the convention, there is a fully licenced bar run by the Imperial College Union that'll be open from noon to 11pm.

Traders - Fantasy Centre, Porcupine Books, and Playin' Games will be selling their wares at Picocon.

How to Be an Evil Genius - The short film produced by ICSF members will be premiered at Picocon.

Art show - Works specifically done for this convention by Alia Sheikh will be on show and on sale at Picocon.

Games - Various board and card games will be organised with the help of the IC Wargames society; Magic the Gathering Darksteel drafts will probably take place as the expansion is released the day before Picocon. Other games will probably include Munchkin, Gother Than Thou, Warhammer, and Lord of the Rings.

Duel of Fish - Our champion, the Robbie Bain of Infamy, shall meet a challenger from Cambridge in a contest involving naught but the two men and their respective sea basses.

LAN Gaming - We will have a network of various PCs running deathmatch games, such as Unreal Tournament 2003. Come along and blow up your friends with high power weaponry. X-Boxes and other video gaming equipment will also be available.

More silly games - When we say that we'll have many silly games, we do mean it.


Membership for the whole day including the film is:

£5 concessions (with valid ID) - students/DHSS/OAP/children
£7 full price

Entry for just the film is £3.

ICSF membership is not required for Picocon or the film.

For more information, please contact Eemeli Aro, the Picocon Sofa (as opposed to chair).