Octocon 2020 is over

Octo holding banners that say WE DID IT and Congratulations to everyone who volunteered their time and made 2020 a success

Despite all the challenges thrown our way this year, Octocon 2020 was a great success! We ran on Twitch, Zoom and Discord, with:

  • 300+ people on Discord from over 20 countries
  • 400+ unique views on Twitch
  • 70+ programme participants
  • over €1500 raised so far to cover our costs and to donate to our chosen charity Jigsaw (full details at the end of October after the tip jar is closed)

Thank you so so much to everyone who gave their time and energy and money to help make Octocon 2020, especially our Guests of Honour Michael Carroll, Helen Ryder and Philippa Ryder; our incredible set of producers and volunteers; our programme participants who appeared on panels, hosted fan chats, and gave workshops, talks and readings; our dealers who showed off their wares on Discord; Punctuation and the Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid who hosted Zoom parties; the programme team who worked incredibly hard to put together our set of panels, fan chats, talks and readings; and of course the committee, with special thanks to James Brophy for all the incredible artwork (and the convention of Octos).

Bonus thanks to Marc from Fingal Libraries for coining ‘Octoe’en’ as the night before Octocon, and Ruth from the Glasgow in 2024 bid for suggesting that this is an ‘octumnal’ time of year.

Many of our panels will be available to watch on Twitch for the next 2 weeks, with bonus clips from our chair Raissa’s attempt at playing Untitled Goose Game for the first time during a break in panels!

Discord remains open for a short while longer, and all the panel/fan chat/talk channels have been made visible again for you to check through the lengthy lists of recommendations!

Finally, our 2021 site is now live, and so is registration – for supporting memberships of €20 only. We hope to announce our 2021 date and venue as soon as possible.

Remember that if you bought membership for 2020, that has been rolled over and you are automatically a member for 2021. If you have a supporting membership you will be able to upgrade when we open full registration.

See you again next year!

Join us on Discord

Although our panels will be streamed on Twitch, all the other parts of Octocon will be accessed through our Discord server:

  • Links to fan chats, talks and readings
  • Fan tables
  • Trade hall
  • Gaming
  • Social spaces

Join us on Discord now

You can access Discord through your web browser, or download the Discord app

Once you have joined our Discord server, there is a 10 minute waiting period before you can interact with the rest of the server. Please use this time to read our Code of Conduct. Once the 10 minutes are up, click the 👍 at the bottom of the post to accept the Code of Conduct and enter the con.

Octo with screen, tablet, laptop and phone
Octo is ready to use Discord on all their devices!

How to attend Octocon 2020

5 days to go: time to explain how Octocon will work this year.

Panels will be streamed live on Twitch. Talks, workshops, readings and fan chats will take place on Zoom.

You do not need a Twitch account to watch the panels on there. If you wish to take part in the chat there and ask questions of the panel, you will need to create a Twitch account and log in.

To access the links to the talks, readings, workshops and fan chats when they go live, you will need to have a Discord account and join us there. You won’t need a Zoom account.

Both Twitch and Discord have apps but they also work in a web browser so it is your choice to use the apps or not.

We will have moderators on the Twitch channel chat and on Discord. Both online spaces have terms and conditions of service and we hope everyone will join us in abiding by our code of conduct to keep Octocon a fun, friendly event.

Our Twitch Channel is already up and running, and you can rewatch our taster panels. We will be launching our Discord space (which is called a server) later this week to give people a chance to log in and get familiar ahead of Octocon starting.

If you have any questions about accessing the convention, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through this website or on our social media.

We are excited to bring you Octocon in this format. Both platforms are robust and have been tested by thousands of gamers and viewers over the last year.

Links to help you get started

Octo with screen, tablet, laptop and phone

Watch back our Taster Panels

Our 2020 taster panels are currently available to rewatch on Twitch:

People Who Suck: a Brief History of Vampires

From their origins in folk beliefs around the world, vampires have colonised our imagination through books, films, television and games. Along the way, they have changed and mutated, from the foul monsters of folklore and early fiction to the dangerous but sexy figures of paranormal romance. This panel will trace the vampire’s history and examine its enduring appeal. (Saturday 19th September 2020)

Cataloguing the Disposable

Much of what fandom cherishes was inconsequential and ephemeral for its creators. Pulp and children’s entertainment were seen as disposable, with no one expecting any lasting impact. From banned books to deleted episodes of favourite TV, fans have done the important work of archiving our culture. In this panel, the raiders of the dustbin of history share the secrets of preserving the treasures of yesterday for future fans. (Thursday 1st October 2020)

Octo with screen, tablet, laptop and phone
Twitch is available on all of Octo’s devices

Taster Panel 2: Thursday 1st October 2020

Our second taster panel is happening in a week’s time! It will be streamed live on our Twitch channel (octoconirl) for free. You can watch without registering, but if you want to be able to comment or ask questions for the panel Q&A, you will need to register a Twitch account.

Thursday 1st October 2020, 8pm (GMT+1)

Cataloguing the Disposable

Much of what fandom cherishes was inconsequential and ephemeral for its creators. Pulp and children’s entertainment were seen as disposable, with no one expecting any lasting impact. From banned books to deleted episodes of favourite TV, fans have done the important work of archiving our culture. In this panel, the raiders of the dustbin of history share the secrets of preserving the treasures of yesterday for future fans.

Panelists: Robert JE Simpson (moderator), Michael Carroll, Rebecca O’Neill, Jack Fennell

Octo and their collections
Octo has some collections of their own

Brave New Words Award comes to Octocon

The Brave New Words award is presented annually by Starburst Magazine, and goes to an individual rather than a specific work, with the magazine’s team actively seeking out examples published in 2019 that most defined a creator’s output, including blog posts, comic books, short stories, screenplays, poetry, anthologies and novels. 

This year, the Brave New Words award – and the inaugural Starburst Hero award – will be presented as part of Octocon on Friday 9th October 2020:

  • 8pm Irish time (GMT+1): Awards Brave and New
    A panel of experts discuss award ceremonies and their place in the genre literature community. Starburst Magazine has its own award for genre literature, The Brave New Words Award, as well as The Starburst Hero Award for Literature, and the winners of both these awards will be announced tonight at Octocon. Join the judges of this award as they discuss the process: urban fantasy author Russell A Smith, media expert Rebecca Derrick, book podcaster Jane Hanmer, book blogger Matt Cavanagh, and narrative expert Professor Esther MacCallum-Stewart.
  • 8:45pm: Brave New Words Award
    Join award-winning comedian and author John Robertson as he announces the winners of both The Brave New Words Award and The Starburst Hero Award for Literature. John is best known for his world-renowned comedy show The Dark Room and his dark fantasy novel for children, The Little Town of Marrowville.

Watch the pre-recorded panel and awards announcement on our Twitch channel, octoconirl.

Brave New Words award 2019

Taster Panel 1: Saturday 19th September 2020

Since Octocon 2020 has gone online, we’ve decided to run a couple of taster panels in the weeks leading up to the convention!

They’ll be streamed live on our Twitch channel (octoconirl) for free. You can watch without registering, but if you want to be able to comment or ask questions for the panel Q&A, you will need to register a Twitch account.

Saturday 19th September 2020, 7pm (GMT+1)

People Who Suck: a Brief History of Vampires

From their origins in folk beliefs around the world, vampires have colonised our imagination through books, films, television and games. Along the way, they have changed and mutated, from the foul monsters of folklore and early fiction to the dangerous but sexy figures of paranormal romance. This panel will trace the vampire’s history and examine its enduring appeal.

Panelists: MaryBrigid Turner (moderator), Kim Newman, Gareth Hanrahan, Kat Dodd

Our 2020 charity partner: Jigsaw

Octocon is delighted to announce that the charity we are supporting this year is Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

Jigsaw is an Irish charity which exists to make sure that every young person’s mental health is valued and supported – much-needed work, especially in these challenging times, and a cause we hope all our attendees and friends can get behind.

Octo holding a placard that says JIGSAW Young people's health in mind

Octocon Book Club – double the delight!

Octocon has picked not one but two books for this year’s book club, which will take place via Discord text & video chat on the weekend of Octocon.

Don’t worry, they’re short ones…

In a Glass Darkly – Sheridan Le Fanu

Cover of In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu

This collection of stories by one of Ireland’s most famous Gothic writers includes the classic vampire tale Carmilla – if you don’t have time for any of the other stories, definitely read this one!

You can get the ebook for free at Project Gutenberg.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers

Cover of To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

A stand-alone novella rather than part of her Hugo-winning Wayfarers series, this 2020 Hugo finalist details the adventures of explorers sent out into space to find planets that humans could potentially colonise. As well as describing fascinating worlds (and the conditions which created them), it’s a story about what it means to be human when your body can be changed to fit its environment and when you carry the hope of your home on your shoulders.

You can buy this at any good book shop (including Hodges Figgis) or as an ebook from your usual retailer.

Volunteers needed

Running Octocon as a virtual convention means that we need more volunteers than ever in order to make the convention as successful as possible.

If you have a few hours spare on the weekend of the 9th – 11th October (and beforehand for training), especially if you’re familiar with technologies such as Twitch, Zoom and Discord, please volunteer!

Fill in the volunteer form

Octo with screen, tablet, laptop and phone