Sunday, 26 October 2014

Pips XI

Pips XI is now available

All the latest posts on here have been concerned with Loncon 3, the 2014 Science Fiction World Convention. That has now been and gone and consisted of huge amounts of desperate fun. However, it is now time to move on but we can't do that without the obligatory convention report. I've therefore put together a report telling a little of what we did and the joys of the fan programme.
It's all available for your reading pleasure in Pips 11.

Click on the picture to download it in pdf, epub and mobi versions from

Alternatively you can read it at the website:

Many thanks to Al Sirois for the cover.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Fan Funds Casino

There'll be spinning roulette wheels, Blackjack and gambling galore in the Fan Funds Casino. It'll all be just for fun but there will be plenty of opportunities for you to contribute to the various fan funds who raise money to send fans on cultural exchange trips to far flung corners of the world. The croupiers are nearly all fan fund winners and this gathering is almost certainly the largest collection of fan fund winners ever gathered in one place. Come join in our own Vegas style fun and be there at this historic occasion.
It'll be 22:00 to 0200 on Saturday night at Loncon 3 in the Fanac tent.
Doug Spencer has designed Fan Fund money known as FFundons for single notes and FFunda for more. You'll buy some FFunda at the entrance and then play on the tables. We'll have blackjack, roulette and poker dice. However, the gambling is just for fun.
< We'll be also doing a raffle for anyone at the tables when the bell rings.
A raffle runner will rush around giving out tickets to all at tables and then you will have a chance to win fabulous prizes.

Ulrika's Knitted Brain
Chat en Oeuf red wine
Art Nouveau Dr Horrible poster
Dr Who 50th anniversary goodie bag (rare)
Vonda McIntyre's beaded sea creature.
Aussiecon4 pack consisting of logoed bag, souvenir book, pocket program book and a t-shirt (Shaun Tan design).

> Fan funds benefiting from the casino will be:


There will be a dazzling array of past fan fund winners and friends of the fan funds running tables, handing out raffle tickets and attempting to sell you fan fund trip reports and memorabilia.
Here are the names:

  • Jim Mowatt
  • Justin Ackroyd
  • Claire Brialey
  • Randy Byers
  • David Cake
  • Norman Cates
  • Kylie Ding
  • Janice Gelb
  • Jerry A. Kaufman
  • Christina Lake
  • Patrick McMurray
  • G. Patrick Molloy
  • Murray Moore
  • Carrie Mowatt
  • Maree Pavletich
  • Mihaela Marija Perkovic
  • Curt Phillips
  • Gillian Polack
  • Alan Stewart
  • Suzanne Tompkins
  • Sarah Haddock

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Great Pork Pie Race


The Great Pork Pie Race" used to be enjoyed on the British Eastercons, and was a fannish competion with the aim to transport a typical British pork pie by any contraption or means (except just carrying it) a certain distance. Inspired by this I was in the 1980's involved in the smaller "Great Peanut Race" on the regional Nasacon in Stockholm. Your's Truly and couple of the Peanut Race contestants were even in Swedish national news in 1990, where I claimed that transporting a peanut was symbolic of mankind's endeavour towards expanded horizons... (Clip here - in Swedish, though.)
  But pork pies was the original in fandom and it comes from the well-known British fan Brian Burgess who used to bring the stuff to innocent but starving fans during late night con parties
. Some more info here: . We haven't seen the pork pies fly and creep and roll for some time now, but here is the official Loncon 3 announcement to a fankind hungering for:


The Great Pork Pie Race is a homage to past fannish silliness and Brian Burgess, the man who brought Pork Pies to conventions in a suitcase. 
The object of this pork pie race is to build a machine or employ some method that will be able to convey a pork pie (weight 100-200 grams) from the start location in the fan tent and take it safely to the finish location, 16 metres away at the other end of the fan tent.
Your contraption will need to be ready to go at the start of the programme item which is scheduled for 1700hrs on Saturday the 16th of August in the Fanac Tent. There are no rules about the construction but points will be awarded for ingenuity, comedy value and downright strangeness. We are looking for things that rekindle our sense of wonder and make us gasp with delight and joy.  Are you up to the challenge? Compete on your own or as part of a team. There will be sign up sheets at the info desk but Ahrvid, Jim and Smuzz would be delighted to hear from you before the convention so that we know how many teams to expect.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Traditional Fan Programme at Loncon 3 - The Science Fiction Worldcon


Generation Starship
Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL), 12pm - 1:30pm

Introduction to the business meeting
Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL), 3pm - 4:30pm

Worldcon 2100: Building A Future Worldcon
Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL), 7pm - 8pm
What are the Fan Hugo Awards - Who Votes and Who Wins
Capital Suite 4 (ExCeL), 7pm - 8pm

The Real Truth About German SF Fandom
Capital Suite 11 (ExCeL), 8pm - 9pm

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue
Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL), 10pm - 11pm
Friday, August 15
Fannish Agony Aunts
Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL), 10am - 11am

What Will Fanzines Look Like In 5 Years' Time?
London Suite 3 (ExCeL), 11am - 12pm

First Fandom: The Dinosaurs of Science Fiction
Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL), 1:30pm - 3pm

Fannish Inquisition
Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL), 3pm - 6pm
Chocolate, From Tree To Tummy: A Bean-to-Bar Tasting Session
London Suite 2 (ExCeL), 3pm - 4:30pm

Escape Pod podcast recording
Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL), 7pm - 8pm

Technobabble or Technowhat?
Capital Suite 1 (ExCeL), 8pm - 9pm
Fanzines From the Time Before Photocopiers
Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL), 8pm - 9pm

Welcome Party
Fan Activity Tent (ExCeL), 9pm - 11pm

Competitive Fannish Storytelling
Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL), 10pm - 11:30pm

Mark Does Stuff
Fan Activity Tent (ExCeL), 11pm - 2am
Saturday, August 16
The Great Pork Pie Race
Fan Activity Tent (ExCeL), 5pm - 7pm
Iain M. Banks Memorial Whisky Tasting
South Gallery 33 (ExCeL), 5pm - 6pm

Free Trips To Foreign Parts
Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL), 8pm - 9pm

Fan Funds Casino
Fan Activity Tent (ExCeL), 10pm - 2am
Sunday, August 17
Fan Funds Auction
Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL), 12pm - 1:30pm
The Women's Periodical
Fan Activity Tent (ExCeL), 12pm - 1pm

Worldcon History
Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL), 1:30pm - 3pm

ZZ9 Beeblebear's Picnic
The Green (ExCeL), 3pm - 4pm

Tiptree Auction
Exhibits Hall Flexible Space (ExCeL), 4:30pm - 6pm

Fannish Firsts
Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL), 6pm - 7pm
Diana Wynne Jones Fan Meet & Greet
Fan Activity Tent (ExCeL), 6pm - 8pm
Dave Hicks - Fanartist
London Suite 2 (ExCeL), 6pm - 7pm

Fan Games
Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL), 11pm - 12am
Monday, August 18
They Do It Differently
Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL), 4:30pm - 6pm

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pips number 10 is now available for your reading pleasure.
Gathered within these pages we have my attempts to wrangle Rob Jackson's fanzine, Inca into ereader format. There's an Eastercon convention report, my running tales of woe and some speculation about whether con reports are still worth doing. Lots of frivolous fun all topped off with a Steve Stiles cover.
Download it here: Pips X PDF

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Millways Frolics

The Milliways Silly Games Bonanza

Come one, come all to the Milliways silly games bonanza. The universe will explode for your pleasure and then the games will commence. We’ll be doing some Vogon recruitment so sharpen up your shouting and throwing humans out of airlocks skills. There’ll be Runaround, Vote With Your Bums, Towels of Hanoi and Disaster Area Stuntship.

and before all that - The Universe Will Explode for your Pleasure.

“Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, “there’s nothing penultimate
about this one.”
“This,” “really is the absolute end, the final chilling desolation, in
which the whole majestic sweep of creation becomes extinct. “After this,” “there is nothing. Void. Emptiness. Oblivion. Absolute nothing ...”
This ladies and gentlemen is the proverbial ‘it’.”

“... except of course for the sweet trolley, and a fine selection of Aldebaran liqueurs!”

Vogon Constructor Fleet recruitment

A public open access document - How should this be filed?
Explain the process of obtaining a visa to visit Vogonosphere?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
What’s your biggest weakness?

Testing Vogon abilities
Shouting - Resistance is Useless
Stomping - Marching up and down with a fine stomp.
Throwing humans out of airlocks

The winner if they are willing can hang around as Vogon security for the rest of the evening. If any contestants get out of hand then the Vogon throws them out of the airlock.

4 contestants needed


Quiz show where you run around to a different queue depending upon what you think the answer is.

Multiple choice questions are asked and the contestants run around to the station that they feel represents the correct answer. Contestants are eliminated if they are at the wrong station and this continues until there is a single winner or until the heat death of the universe.

Contestants - as many as possibly - minimum of 3

Vote with your Arses

There is a row of chairs, opinion questions are asked and the contestants/victims sit at one end of the row of chairs or the other. The end at which they sit represents how strongly they feel about the opinion. Doug Spencer will be hosting this item.

Towels of Hanoi

Four different sized towels. Move the tower of towels from one place to another place one towel at a time and only placing a smaller towel on top of a larger. There will be two teams and each team member is sent out along the Towel Stations to move the next towel.

There will be 4 team members on each side - 8 towels will be needed - graded sizes

Disaster Area Stuntship

Design and build your own Disaster Area Stuntship from black paper and then send it plunging into a fiery hell (a bit of the hall we designate to be a sun).
The winner will be named as Lazlar Lyricon Engineer of the Year.

Pieces of black card

There will be some prizes knocking about - Haribo buckets containing sweet things.
From 10 until late - Main programme room Friday night at the Eastercon.

Sunday, 6 May 2012