I was initially invited as a 'Fan Guest of Honour', a position traditionally bestowed on a notable member of the local SF fan community. I was delighted to be asked, of course, but in subsequent discussions with the organiser it was clear that I had been invited so that I would talk about my professional work as a writer so it was mutually agreed that I should be 'upgraded' to Guest of Honour status, joining fellow guests Dave Freer and Lyn McConchie.
I'm not entirely sure the con will be like. The last time I attended one of these events was eleven years ago. I used to be a regular at SF conventions. My first was Conscience in 1989 and the last was Emoticon, in 2003. I've lost count of how many SF cons I attended during those fifteen years, but was a lot.
I have some very fond memories of these weekend-long social events. My favourite recollection is of striking up a conversation with a fellow con-goer from Auckland called Rochelle when we passed on a stairwell at a convention in Wellington. Just last month we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, so I have an SF convention to thank for bringing us together.
The closest I've come to experiencing a convention in recent years has perhaps been at the Armageddon expo that takes place several times a year in various places around New Zealand, but these are very different affairs. I'm always working on our Retrospace shop stand, so I encounter hundreds if not thousands of fans but very rarely get out from behind the stand to see any of the panels or other events. Armageddon expos are frantic, noisy, high-energy, media-driven events, quite unlike the more relaxed pace and social environment of the SF cons.
Here's my schedule of appearances for the convention:
Thursday 24 April
7:00pm - Opening Ceremony
Friday 25 April
9:00am - Panel: The Mainstreaming of SF
3:00pm - Guest of Honour Speech
4:00pm - Panel: The Pasts and Futures of Doctor Who
Saturday 26 April
2:00pm - Panel: SF Series Seriously Sought
4:00pm - Panel: How Writers Do It!
7:30pm - Banquet and awards ceremony
Sunday 27 April
10:00am Guest of Honour Meet-Up
12:00noon Closing Ceremony
Details for Conclave 2 can be found here. Perhaps I'll see you there!