Conspiracy 87

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Science Fiction Convention
Name: Conspiracy 87
Dates: 27 August–1 September 1987
Location: Brighton, UK
Type: Worldcon
Focus: sf
Founding Date:
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Conspiracy 87 was the 45th Worldcon and the second to be held in Brighton. The nickname of the con turned out to be a very unfortunate coincidence.

There were a number of problems with the convention, though not all con reports made note of them. The original chair of the concom had to step down, there appeared to be budget problems that led to the unwanted presence of a publisher associated with L. Ron Hubbard, and the general manager of the hotel apparently hated the con so much that he made everything as difficult as possible for congoers. Fans created a wall of jokes about the hotel manager.

Author Services Inc was at the con promoting a novel by Hubbard that had been nominated for a Hugo, but it came in last, after No Award[1]. The nomination itself is thought to be the result of Scientologists voting for it en masse[2] :

In 1987, members of the Church of Scientology campaigned successfully to place L. Ron Hubbard's BLACK GENESIS on the Best Novel ballot. That was not disallowed -- the Scientologists had done nothing illegal, after all, all they'd done is buy supporting memberships to a convention that they had no intention of attending, for the sole purpose of nominating LRH for a Hugo (hmmm, why does that tactic sound familiar?) -- but their campaign created a huge backlash. Hubbard's name was booed lustily at the Hugo ceremony in Brighton, and his book finished last in the final balloting, behind No Award.[3]

Ansible editor Dave Langford, who won two fan Hugos that year, reports that he had several unfortunate encounters with Author Services Inc representatives, although for one of them he was too drunk to remember it.

Peter Nicholls, who was MC at the Hugo ceremony, detailed in Innocents Abroad the series of decisions that led to the general impression by congoers that Scientology had taken over the convention.

Con Reports


  1. 1987 Hugo Awards, The Hugo Awards website. (Accessed 26 April 2015.)
  2. See Notes from Chris Evans's Conspiracy Theories report.
  3. George R. R. Martin. Blogging for Rockets. Livejournal post Apr. 9th, 2015.
  4. from Horizon Newsletter #19