On 16th February, the Imperial College Science Fiction and Fantasy society will be holding their 36th Picocon, a yearly convention and celebration of science fiction and fantasy media. This year’s theme is ‘intrigue’, and three science fiction authors will be in attendance as Guests of Honour.
Andrew Bannister is renowned for his spectacular Spin Trilogy, the third book of which (Stone Clock) was published very recently. The Spin Trilogy is Space Opera at its finest – the series has repeatedly been compared to Iain M Banks’ Culture Saga – high praise indeed, and well deserved. Bannister’s talk at Picocon is set to be equally interesting, and you will not want to miss it.
Simon Morden is also coming to Picocon and has a huge back catalogue of excellent books you may have read. My own personal favourites include last year’s One Way – leaving me very excited for the release of the sequel, No Way, just one week after Picocon – and Arcanum, which is in fact more historical high fantasy than science fiction as such. Arcanum is without a doubt the best historical fantasy novel I’ve read. Morden has said he will focus his talk on the topic of “space law” and it promises to be excellent.
The third guest, Gavin Smith, is best known for his Bastard Legion series, although you may also know him for some of his very good video game tie-in novels for games such as Crysis 3 and ELITE: DANGEROUS.
The Bastard Legion is a military science fiction series which very much ran the risk of just being another generic space marine series, but which manages instead to be an incredibly successful and well-written subversion of the genre. Following the adventures and misfortunes of an incredibly selfish and morally grey character as opposed to your typical saint-like protagonist, the series provides a very refreshing change of pace.
Picocon 36: Intrigue promises to be a brilliant day, and if you want to catch the speeches of each of these guests of honour, as well as another given by a game-developer duo (and plenty more besides), you should get yourself a ticket! The day’s events will be held mostly in Blackett’s Lecture Theatre 1 (LT1).