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 was 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

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.

Contribute to our programme

Octocon’s programme typically includes panel discussions, workshops, presentations, and chats with guests and other fans (on specific topics), as well as special events such as book launches and demonstrations.

Our surveys are now open for you to:

Apply to be a programme participant for Octocon 2020 (Google form) – this also includes an area for suggestions

Suggest programme items you’d like to see at Octocon 2020 (Google form)

If you apply to be a participant, you probably won’t hear back from us until mid to late April at the earliest. If you don’t hear back by the end of May, please do nudge us at programming@octocon.com.

Suggestions for programme items are added to our large pot of ideas, and we’ll be in touch if there’s anything further we like to know (for example, if you offer to run a workshop).

Help wanted: Programme team

Octocon strives to have a varied and lively programme of events, panels, workshops, talks and chats, centred around our guests and programme participants, with typically between 50 and 60 hours of items over the weekend.

Putting together the programme requires a team of enthusiastic, creative people, who are willing to contribute ideas and energy and a couple of hours a week. For 2020, we want to expand our team to make our programme better than ever!

If you:

  • Know anything about science fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, comics, costuming and cosplay, science and technology, or literature, TV, film and random stuff on the internet related to SFF;
  • Can commit to at least an hour a week – starting with fortnightly meetings, but potentially increasing as October gets closer, depending on how much time you can give;
  • Have access to the internet;
  • Want to help Octocon

Then email programming@octocon.com and let us know you’re ready, willing and able!