Octocon 2009 Report


There was good news and bad news about the convention at the weekend – the bad news was that due to an unfortunate combination of circumstances, Harry wasn’t able to make it to the convention; the good news was that, although everyone missed Harry, we had a great time anyway…

Highlights of the weekend for me — apart from the obvious good food, good whiskey and good company — were:

Having the opportunity to talk with Guest of Honour Mike Carey, writer of comics, novels and films. I read the first of his Felix Castor novels a few weeks ago — highly recommended.

Meeting up with Dave Lally, rightfully honoured as a guest of honour — though it was weird being at a con where he wasn’t running the video room. Stranger still that he turns sixty this year — surely not?

John Vaughan — writer, director, and possibly not quite human — was behind the Video Vault of Horror, which this year was a presentation of that 1978 classic Starcrash featuring Caroline Monroe, David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer. It’s one of those great Italian-produced SF movies with bad script, bad acting, bad sets, bad special effects, bad costumes, and bad hair. And a John Barry soundtrack. If you ever get chance to see it, then do — but don’t pay money for the privilege.

John Vaughan was first up on Sunday morning, placing Jean Luc Picard on trial — a treat for conspiracy theorists. You didn’t know the captain was the villain of the whole Next Generation / Deep Space 9 arcs did you? With impeccable logic (?) John proved that he was in fact… well, you had to be there.

Bill McGrath and Danielle Lavigne hosted a fascinating discussion on whether you could tell a science fiction story through music without accompanying lyrics or narrative. I think the conclusion was that it might be possible, but it is bloody difficult… 🙂

John Vaughan — yes him again — was also the mastermind behind the new Golden Blasters award, which celebrate and recognise the achievements being made in short films in our genre. SF-Fantasy-Horror films are often overlooked by other film awards, so this is a fantastic idea. John presented some of the best short films from around the world from the last couple of years. The judges award (the Silver Blaster) went to the Hungarian film Elobb Utobb (Sooner Or Later), written and directed by Istvan Madarasz, and the audience vote (the Golden Blaster) went to the Irish film The Silent City, directed by Ruairí Robinson.

I saw all of the films and took part in the audience voting — all of the films were great, and it was really tough choosing between them.

Keep an eye open for further news about the Golden Blasters, because next year the competition will be open to new films from across the world, and there’ll be a short screenplay competition too.

In the meantime, you can check out John Vaughan’s most recent short film My Dad and excerpts from his film Valour. I couldn’t locate any video of his lovely creepy film The Boogieman.

I’ll post more on the convention shortly — though I have no intention of mentioning the karaoke… 🙂

— Paul

One Response to “Octocon 2009 Report”

  1. Danielle Lavigne Says:

    Glad you had fun. 🙂 It was a shame about Harry, but these things happen.

    Thanks for the kind words on SF music! I like to think we all learned something. 🙂


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