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Last updated 15 August 2023 14:54

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British SF Conventions
Volume 1: 1937-1951

Rob Hansen (editor)

ISBN 978-1-916508-05-7

With any luck the title will be self-explanatory. As in other such fanhistorical compilations, the story of these early UK conventions is told in the participants’ and observers’ own words, with explanatory and bridging commentary by Rob Hansen himself. A second volume will continue the saga to 1957, and the already published 1957: The First UK Worldcon is volume three.

The cover photo from the London Festivention (1951) shows the editors of six of the seven fanzines then being published in the UK. From left to right: Mike Tealby (Wonder), Derek Pickles (Phantasmagoria), Fred Robinson (Straight Up), Walt Willis (Slant), Bob Foster (Sludge), Vince Clarke and Ken Bulmer (Science Fantasy News).

First published as an Ansible Editions ebook for the TAFF site on 1 June 2023. Approximately 63,000 words.

A printed paperback edition is also available, released in August 2023: click here for more. All proceeds from paperback sales go to TAFF.

From Rob Hansen’s Foreword

Surprisingly, there were five conventions organized, announced, and held in the UK during World War Two despite travel under wartime conditions being a difficult and sometimes dangerous affair. For example, the train taking Cardiff fan Terry Overton to one of those conventions pulled out of the station during an air raid as bombs rained down on his (and my) home city. The NORCONs were only cons in the most basic of senses but 1944’s Eastercon was the most ambitious convention the UK had ever seen, as you will discover.