ArmadaCon 26

Just back from ArmadaCon, Plymouth’s annual Science Fiction & fantasy convention. This was its 26th year, and it’s easy to see why it’s been running for so long – it was an excellent weekend, in a nice hotel full of friendly, funny and fascinating folk. I didn’t bother taking many photos (my ‘phone can’t cope with hotel lighting) but I did do some drawings. I’ve never been much good at capturing likenesses, but the costumes were fun to draw.

There was a nice line in the play by David Wake which opened proceedings on Friday night, when some time travellers arrive at a 2014 convention and say, ‘Are you sure this is 2014? Everyone seems to be dressed in Victorian clothes…’ A lot of the ArmadaCon regulars also attend the Discworld convention in Wincanton and/or take part in historical re-enactments, so there were some impressive mediaeval, Civil War and Napoleonic outfits on parade as well as at least two Doctors Who – but the default setting for SF fans now seems to be Victoriana, which is a bit bizarre. Still, the ‘Tea Duelling’ was fun, as pairs of frock-coated or be-crinollined competitors tried to out-genteel each other over tea and biscuits, under the watchful eye of organiser Dave Trace, with cello accompaniment by the amazing Miss Von Trapp. The lady in the trilby and the leg-of-mutton sleeves is meant to be the brilliant Frances Hardinge, who was guest of honour at ArmadaCon 25 and enjoyed it so much that she came back for more this year.

Meanwhile, much strangeness was going on in the lobby, where the very elaborate looking ArmadaCon fan film was being shot (it should be ready in time for ArmadaCon 27).  Actual science was provided by Gary Loveridge and Dr Bob (AKA Amanda Kear), who gave entertaining talks on (respectively) the Rosetta mission and strange reproductive techniques in fact and science fiction.

Andrew Cartmel (not pictured here) arrived on Saturday to talk about his books and his time as script of editor of Dr Who (back in the Sylvester McCoy years, which I mostly missed, but the episode he showed stood up very well).  And the charity auction on Sunday raised over £1500 for St Luke’s Hospice, a very good cause indeed.

I had to dash off straight after the auction, so apologies to all the people I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to – I really enjoyed your company, and I’m sure I’ll be back next year for more. Thank you so much for inviting me along!

Here’s a link to the Plymouth Herald’s ArmadaCon report.

And here’s the ArmadaCon Facebook page, where you’ll soon be able to find news about ArmadaCon 27 (which you should definitely attend).