Philippa Ryder – Fan Guest of Honour

In her own words….

I first became involved in fandom when, sick in bed with a cold, my mother bought me The Early Asimov vol. 1. Asimov quickly became a hero of mine, and I loved the snippets of life in New York in the 1930s and 40s he told of, talking of Worldcons, fanzines and famous fans.

As soon as I heard of the inaugural meeting of the Irish Science Fiction Association I went, making firm friends and shortly joining the committee, editing the newsletter, becoming secretary then chair as the association expanded from a few dozen members to over 200. We held ISFACon 1 and 2 in the early 1980s, around the time I met my wife Helen at a Star Trek convention in Leeds and I left the committee to pursue other interests for a few years (well, we got married!), but in 1987 I became involved again, chairing its rise to a truly national organisation with a printed magazine and other publications and eventually leading to the establishment of Octocon in 1990.

I was on the committee of Octocon 1 and 2, co-chair of Octocon 3. At that time I also helped establish Ireland’s long-running small press magazine Albedo One with John Kenny, David Murphy and Bob Neilson, which is still running today. I was also part of the first ever Eurocon to be held in Ireland, in 1997, and also of Timewarp 1 and 2, two hugely suuceessful Star Trek conventions in 1993 and 1995. I also produced a couple of fanzines at this time, which dealt with the Irish SF scene.

Taking a step back from fandom for personal reasons in 2000 – I transitioned from male to female – I started to become involved again recently, with appearances on various panels at Worldcon in Dublin. But fandom has always been very close to my heart and we named our house FIAWOL – search for us from anywhere in the world on Google Maps and hey, drop in for a coffee and a chat sometime.