We are delighted to announce that children’s and young adult novelist Francesca Barbini (F. T. Barbini), author of the science fiction series Tijaran Tales, will be running a writers’ workshop especially for younger writers. You don’t need to bring anything with you, but if you’re between 11 and 18, come along for tips, techniques, guidance and advice.
Across the weekend, we’re putting together a programme to interest members of all ages. Indeed, teenage con-goers will be among those discussing recent films, TV and gaming on panels. With regards to books, we have two panels particularly worth noting; New Classics for Old Fans, where young adult readers recommend some of the latest good books in the field, while Old Classics for New Fans will see some of those who have been reading Young Adult books since before the term was invented recommend early examples, however they were marketed at the time.
We now have volunteers, including more of our teenage members, to staff the Games Room, under the overall supervision of David Cheval, who is also running the LARP. If you’re interested in taking part in that, don’t forget to check out the Ithica LARP homepage and sign up.
As well as the Doctor Who broadcast on Saturday evening, there will be a full video programme running through the weekend.
The volunteers who’ve organised ‘Cyberdrome’ at past conventions wish to take a break this year. So do keep an eye on the Newsletter for informal junior fun such as the recently proposed Paperchain Competition. Details to follow at the convention.
Live Action Role Playing (LARP for short) is one of the many ways that SF and fantasy fans can engage with their favourite genre’s stories. It’s a natural development of the questioning, active reading that speculative fiction demands. A story set in a spaceship, near or far future, or on an entirely unknown world, constantly ask us to imagine ourselves somewhere else, where the rules we know don’t necessarily apply, whether they’re the laws of physics or a pre-industrial society. Role-playing games, whether table-top or live action, take that one step further, drawing players into the story-weaving directly. So it should come as no surprise to learn that a great many of the genre’s most successful authors have a background in gaming, including one of our Guests of Honour, Walter Jon Williams.
If you played the Red Planet LARP at last year’s Eastercon, you’ll be very pleased to know that David Cheval is running the game again this year. The EightSquared event is set in the Ithica universe and promises diplomacy, intrigue, espionage and warfare among the representatives and leaders of Ithica’s three main factions; the Federated Republics, the Kingdom of Umu or the Shale Empire. There will be some neutral parties too and each group will offer players its own style, advantages and disadvantages.
Previous experience certainly isn’t essential. If you’ve never played a LARP before – if you’ve never heard of it before – you’ll be very welcome to come along and join in regardless. Costume isn’t essential either, though if you think it’ll help you get into character, feel free.
The game will start on Friday, running from 6 – 8 pm. Saturday and Sunday sessions will run 12 noon – 2 pm and 6 – 8 pm, with a final wrap up on Monday from 12 – 2 pm. You’re not committed to every session scheduled throughout the weekend though. We know there will be programme items you’ll want to go to instead. Just let David and the team know you won’t be at a particular session and the story can be tweaked to accommodate you. That’s the whole point of role-playing; it’s interactive.
You can find out all sorts of background at the Ithica LARP website. You can also register in advance, to develop your character and get a feel for the scenario. There is an upper cap on numbers, so the sooner you register, the sooner we can gauge the level of interest and plan accordingly.