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Rob Hansen

TAFF Books


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British SF Conventions
Volume 1: 1937-1951
Rob Hansen

ISBN 978-1-916508-11-8 (trade paperback)
ISBN 978-1-916508-05-7 (ebook)

1957 front cover

Ansible Editions, September 2023

Cover photo: from the 1951 London Festivention, showing 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)

The trade paperback British SF Conventions Volume 1: 1937-1951 follows soon after the June 2023 ebook release. 163 paperback pages; 63,000 words. All proceeds from sales go to the TransAtlantic Fan Fund.

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 early 1957. Already published are 1957: The First UK Worldcon (volume three) and 1965: The Second UK Worldcon (volume five or six, yet to be determined).

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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.