Oops, I seem to have started another convention...
When I heard about the New Zealand NatCon, Au Contraire, a week before Aussiecon 4, this year's Worldcon, I thought it was a fantastic idea. I thought it was such a good idea that we should do something similar in Dublin for the London Worldcon bid in 2014.
I mentioned this idea to a few people back home before leaving, and got a very positive response. I then mentioned it to some people at conventions down under, and they all said they'd love to come to Ireland. So I guess I was committed to running it.
Then another idea came to light.
For both Glasgow Worldcons, the Eurocon was incorporated into the Worldcon, and I assumed this would also be the case for London. However, since 2005, Worldcon has moved to a 2-year bidding cycle, and at the time when the Eurocon bidding takes place in Zagreb, London won't yet have won the Worldcon bid, so it won't be a convention, and without a convention it can't bid for Eurocon.
There seemed to be logic in Dublin bidding to hold the 2014 Eurocon, close to the London Worldcon in both time and location, to facilitate people travelling great distances. I know not everyone will be able to attend both, both for those who can manage the time and expense, being able to take in a second convention could make the whole trip more worthwhile.
The more I think about it, the more I think this makes sense. When Worldcon and Eurocon have been combined in the past, there has been a tendency for the Eurocon to get swamped, and consigned to a minor programme stream and ignored by the broader convention, and many who would have been interested in the European programming get drawn away by exciting Worldcon events. Having a separate Eurocon allows people to attend both, but means that the focus of the Eurocon doesn't get diluted or swamped by the Worldcon. The goals will be to promote Irish SF to Europe, and European SF to the world.
Regarding the dates of the convention, I'm strongly in favour of the weekend after Worldcon, which would be 23rd-24th August 2014 (possibly taking in Friday or Monday). This happens to be a bank holiday weekend in the UK (though not Ireland), so would make it easier for UK fans to attend. It also seems only fair that since we'll be piggy-backing off the Worldcon's publicity, that we should make it possible for as many of the organisers as possible to attend, which they wouldn't be able to do a week before a Worldcon.
I will be investigating possible venues. As it's peak holiday season, hotels could be expensive, but the universities will be on holidays, so could offer a good option for convention space and budget student accommodation (with the option of hotels nearby for those who want more comfort). I will also be looking at more traditional hotel and conference centre options, but will be trying to make it as affordable as I can to allow more people to attend.
We will also be investigating what grants are available from tourist bodies and arts councils, again with a view to putting on the best convention we can while keeping it affordable.
Regarding guests, I have some ideas, and at Aussiecon I spoke to some great writers who said they'd love to come to Ireland. However it's much too early to talk names. I would be keen to have a mix of Irish, European and World guests.
I have set up a Facebook page, and will soon set up a website for the bid. Please "like" us to show your support. If you can make it to Octocon, there will be a discussion about the bid there, and hopefully we'll start setting up a bid committee.
So that's it for the moment. I'd welcome any comments or suggestions, so please let me know what you think.