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Galacticon 1983 was held on October 29-30, 1983.
Galacticon 1984 was held on October 27-28, 1984.
1984: Con Reports
I thought I would register on the Friday night, break myself in gently (first convention and all that). After all, there couldn't be that many people around on the first evening - could there? I was wrong. The first sight to greet me as I entered the hotel - sorry - 'Rising Star' (after a half hour walkabout to find it) was a 'Seska' and 'Avon' wandering around the foyer. Fine, I thought, costume it is tomorrow. After registration and a quick look at the list of videos being shown that evening, I found myself in Ships Viewing Room I watching 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. The rest of the evening continued in the same vein, with a short break for helping set up a certain dealers table (Ed - who us??) plus the added attraction of finishing collating Alternative 7, which was together, but minus covers.
Having boarded the 'Rising Star' in 'suitable attire' making sure I had my boarding pass on - ships security being very tight - I made my way to the main hall for the opening ceremony. It was announced that due to professional commitments, Sally Knyvette, Mark Strickson and Nicholas Courtnay could not be with us, but... Michael Keating would be there for the weekend. After the cheers had died down (not all of us are Avon fans) we settled down for the first guest- James Follett. He talked for an hour about his career as a writer, and his relationship with B7. After a short break for autographs, we reconvened for the next guests - Michael and Peter Tuddenham. If you've never seen these two in action together, then you've missed out. They make a terrific double act, and kept everybody laughing for the whole hour. They were very popular and nobody minded queueing up for the obligatory autograph session afterwards.
Due to lunch, and a wander round the dealers room testing my willpower not to spend all my money at once, I missed Nickolas Grace give his talk. I heard afterwards that it had been very funny, and at times risque. (Sharon - how could anyone bear to miss Nickolas Grace just to have something to eat - aaaghghh)
It was now time to prepare for the great event - the fancy dress. It is very nerve-racking walking around in front of a hall full of people, who all seem to have cameras. The hall was very hot, and by the time the judging was finished we all were feeling hot and bothered. Once the results were announced, the hall was cleared for the final event of the day - the Disco. We danced till 2 am (or rather 1 am after we put the clocks back) appropriately finishing with 'The Time Warp'. For those of us still able, there was an all night video room, or for some, a place to sleep for the night!
First on the agenda was Tony Attwood. Some people had managed to buy the few early copies of the new book 'Afterlife1 the day before and many had actually read it. (Ed - yes, more of that later...) Tony answered as many questions as he could on the book without spoiling it for those of us that had not managed to get a copy. After this was the auction . It was wise not to attend unless you had an ironcast willpower, or lots of money. Prices were high at times, the few Americans in the audience helped push prices up. Most things sold well, one script (of 'City') went for £31 - and that was only a copy! Once we were all spent out, it was guest time again.
Brian Croucher not so much talked for an hour, but held a question and answer session which revealed some surprising information. Next guest was John Levene. By this time the programme was running an hour behind schedule, so it wasn't until 4 pm that the fashion and drama show started. There were few entries, but a welcome (??). return was made by the Mutoids, the Federations answer to Duran Duran, and Brian Croucher, who was one of the judges, played up beautifully to them.It was now time for Mat Irvine, who for his 'spot1 had organised a boys v. girls music quiz about film music. The boys won (shouts of 'biased' could be heard!!) and they were awarded Galacticon T-shirts as prizes. Once the sound equipment had been cleaned it was time for the closing ceremony. Prizes were awarded and thanks given to the guests and organisers. Then it was time to leave. There was a small party afterwards for anyone who wanted to stick around, with silly games (and even sillier prizes) and a chance for everyone to discuss the weekend. Last, it really was time to go and people departed to their hotel rooms, or homes, allowing the hotel to return to normality. It was an excellent weekend, and I look forward to Galacticon '85. 
Firstly to say that Cathy was rather modest in her review, as she in fact came second in the Fancy Dress competition with a magnificent creation entitled 'A Dealer at Freedom City'. First prize with another stunning creation was fellow Horizon member Sophie Brett as a Clone Master. Somewhere in this N/L (not sure where yet!J) will hopefully appear a photo of them both. We were really pleased for both of them as it was their first convention and I'm glad to see that they had time to finish their sewing after their invaluable help at bur various collating sessions to get our merchandise ready.
Apart from the main events Cathy mentioned, there were 2 large dealers rooms, 2 video rooms - one mostly showing 'Battlestar Galactica' stuff and the other showing some B7 and other assorted goodies (I hope the 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' episode was one I have on video or I shall be most unhappy to have missed it). The art room had some very high quality exhibits. I don't know who won, but I noticed some very good stuff done by Horizon members (why haven't they sent us any???) and those of you thinking of obtaining an Elizabeth Everett knitting design can be assured that if you can knit and follow her pattern, you will have a superb item of clothing.I thought the hotel staff weren't quite as helpful and 'with it' as last year, and the promised renovations still hadn't come about. Also, the food in the 'cheap' convention restaurant was apalling (and I think £1 for a very uninspired cheese sandwich which can't have cost more than 10p to produce was quite uncalled for). Still, this was not the fault of the committee who did very well except for timekeeping, which was a little tardy. Still, I do sympathise with any convention committee on this. 
Con Report: 1983 and 1984One attendee remembers:
"We [Blake's fans] had to share G83 and 84 with BattleStar Galatica fans as well as other Sci Fi shows. High spot for me was getting into a lift and coming face to face with Princess Leia, Hans Solo and Chewbacca. We had a nice chat, exchange greetings like ‘Good Evening’ and then the lift stopped at the next floor down where the normal guests got on! There’s me, in my posh evening wear and standing behind me are Leia, Hans and a 7ft tall Chewbacca. The look on the other guests’ faces was a picture, especially as I continued chatting as if it was an everyday occurrence!"
Con Report: 1987
There is a song by Sting that goes "I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien..," and this refrain could well sum up the participants of Worldcon strolling around Brighton over August Bank Holiday weekend.
Worldcon had two things going for it as far as I was concerned. The first was that it wasn't in Rio de Janeiro or Outer Mongolia, and the second was that it was by the sea. When I arrived, I found that it had a lot more going for it than that! My friend Jackie and I, due to work and lack of funds, could only 'do' Sunday and Monday - the convention officially opened on Thursday afternoon and continued until Tuesday morning. We drove down on Sunday... threw our bags into the hotel and zoomed off towards the Conference Centre to sign on (just like the dole)
Wandering up and down the promenade, in the blazing sunshine (I know, amazing innit?) were the usual costumed, made-up conventioneers - being legal aliens - attracting the usual looks of amazement from the cool British public.
We received our Con. booklet (not your usual 15 page booklet, this - it was MASSIVE, and took a good 2 hours to read it all!!) and I immediately discovered that we'd missed all the best talks. Good start. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Worldcon. 5,000 people, a VAST amount to do, see and hear, it was bound to be a little overwhelming. However, despite same appalling mismanagement by the committee, things DID happen - if only because they were pushed along by themselves.
We went first to the Dealers' Room to find the Horizon table. 'Dealer's Room' is probably not the right word for what greeted us. Three large rooms (halls?) in one, packed with hundreds of tables and books as far as the eye could see! I staggered in shock. Surely this was Paradise?? We eventually mended our way through 'Forbidden Planet', 'Andromeda', the Tolkein Society, etc. etc. and arrived at the Horizon table, where I was joyfully reunited with all me mates. A few hours (days) on the table followed, surprisingly enjoyable (especially since I sold some WEBS).
The atmosphere was vastly different to the usual media con. It was, dare I say, more intellectual and the average SF fan could indulge his/her appetite for virtually anything without feeling the need to don costume. However, if one WANTED to, the more the merrier.
There were all the writers of SF and Fantasy you could wish to meet and the art of putting faces to names was hilarious. The talks ranged from 'Magical Sex' (which I missed, dammit...) to 'How to Enjoy Conventions', to Brian Aldiss on 'How to write a Bestseller'. Then there were talks on models, how to build aliens, talks by the Guests of Honour, a fan room (which I couldn't bear to go into - I peered through the window and that was enough - it reminded me of sweaty socks... work that out) and of course films 24 hours a day, slides, you name it - it was available. And then there was the artroom, where I could have spent a year's salary.
I deeply regretted missing the Masquerade on Saturday night, which to all accounts was wonderful. I dropped in on the Hugo Awards (just to say I'd been) which was very dull, since I hadn't read most of the books nominated. I would have loved to have heard the horror writers' forum (Clive Barker - whoopee! and to hear what the 10 most overworked ideas in SF are. I did, however, meet Guy Gavriel Kay - to my unbiased mind the author of the most extraordinary fantasy since Tolkein. To my absolute joy he looked EXACTLY like I hoped he would, and gave a wonderful and moving talk on 'The Silmarillion' on which he worked with Tolkein's son. Gosh. I'll never wash my signed copy again...
Then there was the spectacular firework display after the Hugos, over the seat and the L. Ron Hubbard 'Writers of the Future Workshop'. This was notable only because I discovered at Worldcon that he'd been dead for longer than I thought! You live and learn, eh?It was the first con. I'd been to in a long while, and apart from seeing all those friends again, it was lovely to be back in the unique atmosphere of a convention. They really are special things - it's so nice to be weird with nobody thinking twice and to discuss the finer points of page 542 of a certain book for hours on end, and to buy wonderful bits of jewellery and the definitive poster of Captain Black. I'd certainly go to another Worldcon - see you all in Holland in 1990!