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British SF Conventions
Volume 2: 1952-1957

Rob Hansen (editor)

ISBN 978-1-916508-24-8

This is chronologically the second volume in Rob Hansen’s history of the early UK conventions, though the fourth to be published. As in other such fanhistorical compilations, the story is told in the participants’ and observers’ own words, with explanatory and bridging commentary by Rob Hansen himself. 1952-1957 was a particularly lively time for British conventions, with wild parties, zap-gun (water pistol) battles, tour-de-force auctioneering performances by E.C. (Ted) Tubb and much witty reporting by Vin¢ Clarke, Chuck Harris, Walt Willis and others. The currently planned set of five books is as follows (a sixth may or may not be added):

  1. British SF Conventions Volume 1: 1937-1951 (2023)
  2. British SF Conventions Volume 2: 1952-1957 (2024) – You Are Here
  3. 1957 – The First UK Worldcon (2022)
  4. British SF Conventions Volume 4: 1958-1965 (forthcoming)
  5. 1965 – The Second UK Worldcon (2023)

The cover photo is of a fancy dress ensemble at Cytricon II (Kettering, 1956). Rear: Rene MacKay, Dave Newman, Don MacKay, Pat Doolan, John Roles. Front: Stan Nuttall, Ina Shorrock, Lil MacKay.

First published as an Ansible Editions ebook for the TAFF site on 1 July 2024. Over 101,000 words.

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

From Rob Hansen’s Foreword

So here it is, a chronicle of the SF conventions held in the UK leading up to our first Worldcon. In these pages you’ll discover why the George Hotel in the sleepy town of Kettering became the preferred venue for the annual national convention, when badges were first worn, the real reason why so few Londoners attended regional conventions in the North, and a new theory as to why the 1957 Eastercon went missing for almost twenty years.

Cytricon II, 1956: Eric Jones in “Atom BEM” costume poses for Atom. Photo by Norman Shorrock.