The Importance of Guests at Armadacon.

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Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
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The Importance of Guests at Armadacon.

Post by Geoffrey(aka Jasper) » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:05 pm

Well firstly I hope that everyone had a Happy Easter, and please note that this is just my two-pennyworth on the subject, all JIMHO.

Secondly, thank you to committee for all their hard work in making Armadacon happen. Sometimes this work isn’t immediately visible and sometimes it seems as if it goes unappreciated. And I’m sorry if I’ve ever fallen into this category.

Anyway guests. It has been opined that guests aren’t really that important, and that the most important part of the con is spent in the bar with your mates.

I disagree. Well sort of. Chatting with old friends and meeting new ones is a great part of the Armadacon experience. And it may well be the most enjoyable part of the Armadacon. But if it’s the only enjoyable thing at Armadacon then the con has, IMHO, has lost its way. Which I don’t think it has.

Guests are what make Armadacon a convention, and attract new attendees or attract old ones back e.g.

“Come to Armadacon; you can chat with your mates in a bar!”
“I don’t need to go to Armadacon to do that.”

“Come to Armadacon; it’s a great little con!”
“Yeah, but there are other great little cons out there.”

“Come to Armadacon; we’ve got Appin Dungannon as a guest!”
“Wow! Where do I sign up?”

Okay this is a hypothetical example, and it’s difficult to say whom would be a guaranteed crowd puller in this day and age. (And I am sadly thinking of the large numbers which didn’t materialise for Colin Baker.) Some people’s response to Appin Dungannon as a guest would be “Who?” Others, “Well I know where not to be come the first weekend in November.” But other people would be willing to use a chainsaw to get to the head of the registration queue.

I suppose at this point I should ‘fess up in that I am largely out of the con-going habit these days. Armadacon is pretty much the only con I’m doing these days. However a couple of years back I was tempted out of this break to attend Eastercon solely on the grounds they had Jim Butcher as a guest.

And FWIW I thought he was a great guest and I can highly recommend his ‘Dresden Files’ series. Good, solid, fun, urban-fantasy.

Another fact in a guest being a draw is how much notice fans and potential attendees have of their being there. People do need time to plan things, and the more notice they have the easier it is for them to avoid clashes. Yes, it has been quite reasonably pointed out that Armadacon can’t announce guests before it’s booked them. (And there is, especially with media guests, the risk of guests having to pull out at the last minute.) However, might it be worthwhile to consider looking ahead to next year? John “Old Man’s War” Scalzi was announced as guest at Eastercon 2019 over two years ago.

I did make three, slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestions for guests at the next Armadacon; Jim Butcher, David Drake & Larry Correia. But while all of these writers have crossed the pond on occasion I doubt it would be feasible tor Armadacon to have them as guests. But only slightly tongue-in-cheek since I would love to see any or all of them as a guest at Armadacon.

But just-in-case the committee is short of ideas for guests, here are three more suggestions for guests I would be very interested to see at Armadacon.

Ben Aaronovitch. Writer. Doctor Who episodes ‘Battlefield’ and ‘Revelation of the Daleks’ and the highly readable ‘Rivers of London’ urban-fantasy series.

Anne Stokes. Artist. Wonderfully gothic imagery. I think at least three people at Armadacon 2017 were wearing tee-shirts of her artwork.

Rhianna Pratchett. Computer games and comics writer. Worked on many games, including ‘Mirrors Edge’ and the ‘Tomb Raider’ reboot. Also wrote the comics for the rebooted Lara Croft as well.

And that’s my two-pennyworth of JIMHO. Once again thank you to the committee for all their hard work in making Armadacon happen.

Oh and Appin Dungannon? I don’t think he’ll be a likely guest, seeing as a) he’s dead and b) he was never alive in the first place. He was a character in Sharyn McCrumb’s novel ‘Bimbos of the Death Sun.’ A murder mystery set in an SF convention and, IMHO, a jolly good read. Btw, I am reliably informed that Appin Dungannon was definitely, 100%, absolutely NOT based on Harlan Ellison.
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Spudgun
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Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: The Importance of Guests at Armadacon.

Post by Spudgun » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:34 pm

I'd like to take a neutral view on this (Oh. By the way. The 1st Guest has already been announced. Lionel Fanthorpe is coming back. Woot!). Right. Back to being neutral.

I have little interest in the guests per-se. It's true that Martin Bower was a draw when I attended Armadacon at the Astor, but other than that. I like to see everyone, once a year. It's just how I evolved (As has others) over the years. What can't be denied is the evidence on the Armadacon You Tube Channel. 9 out of the top 10, most watched videos are guest panels. Lionel Fanthorpe has 3 videos in that top 10 (Did I mention that he's coming back this year?).

Generally speaking. I don't sit in on the guest panels. If you consider that I have to put together the videos for the You Tube Channel. I actually watch the panels over and over, before they're uploaded. This leads me onto another point. What guests are a draw?

In truth. There is no hard and fast answer. Even if I used the You Tube Channel as a guide. There is no distinct pattern. Film, television and books are equally represented. Mind you. I'm still baffled as to why the Slave Auctions from Armadacon 6 and 7 are so popular.

So yes. Guests are important.
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