Guests of Honour

Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge was brought up in a sequence of small, sinister English villages, and spent a number of formative years living in a Gothic-looking, mouse-infested hilltop house in Kent. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford, fell in love with the city’s crazed archaic beauty, and lived there for many years.

Frances Hardinge at home in London
September 9, 2009

Whilst working full time as a technical author for a software company she started writing her first children’s novel, Fly by Night, and was with difficulty persuaded by a good friend to submit the manuscript to Macmillan. She has now written eight books for children and young adults, including Cuckoo Song, which won the Robert Holdstock award for Best Fantasy Novel at the British Fantasy Awards, and The Lie Tree, which won the Costa Book of the Year 2015. Her most recent book is A Skinful of Shadows.

Frances is seldom seen without her hat, and is addicted to volcanoes.

Sydney Padua

Sydney Padua is a cartoonist and visual effects artist. Her cult webcomic, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is now a best-selling graphic novel and combines extensive research with alternate universe comic book escapes; imagine Babbage’s 1840s mechanical computer finally completed and used to build runway economic models, defeat spelling errors and, of course, fight crime!

Sydney’s 3D animations revealing how the Analytical Machine might have looked and operated are some of the first visualisations ever created of that extraordinary machine. Featured in Wired and The Economist, Sydney has also spoken at Microsoft, Google, the BBC and the Computer History Museum.

T: @sydneypadua

John Scalzi

Writer, blogger, New York Times bestselling author and former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, John Scalzi is possibly best known for his Hugo-nominated and award-winning Old Man’s War series but there’s much more to discover.

With a degree in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, Scalzi has been writing professionally since 1990. Inspired by his early love of mystery and science fiction, he knew he would write a novel one day, but a flip of a coin quite literally chose which genre he would choose. His early experience as a film critic had a strong influence on much of his writing and he later became Creative Consultant for the TV series Stargate Universe.

In 1999, Scalzi’s first novel, Agent to the Stars, was published on his website asking for donations if readers enjoyed it. His second novel, Old Man’s War, was published by Tor in 2005, promptly gaining him a Hugo Award nomination for Best Novel in 2006. The same year, he also received the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of 2005 and in 2013 gained a Best Novel Hugo Award for Redshirts.

A keen and long-term blogger, he also writes non-fiction on a range of diverse topics from astronomy to video games and bacon-wrapped cats. Writing from Whatever, his blog, has earned Scalzi two additional Hugos, for Fan Writing and Best Related Work. Scalzi’s advice to to budding authors amounts to “sit down and do it!”

In May 2015, Tor Books announced a book deal with Scalzi spanning ten years and thirteen books and the first of this contract, The Collapsing Empire, was published in March 2017. There’s a lot still to come….


Left to themselves their favoured description would be “Mostly harmless,” but we needed a bit more than that, so we prised it out of them…

DC is a familiar face at cons, often found in Ops or helping elsewhere, fueled largely by coffee and the occasional whisky. Maybe two. They’ve been avid consumers of SFF for as long as they can remember. Before they could read, TV was a regular source of SFF — including Doctor Who in his original incarnation. Once able to read, nothing could hold them back, and they devoured any SFnal books which came their way, and they recall well the excitement of graduating from the children’s section of the local library to the adult, which had a whole new range of books to go through.

Books were where DC first heard about cons: authors such as Asimov and Harry Harrison would refer to them in forewords and the like, and it was probably Harrison who first mentioned Eastercon — there were cons in Britain! (Getting information pre-Web was not always easy.) In the late Seventies, they discovered the Glasgow fan group, the Friends of Kilgore Trout, and finally got their first chance to go to a con, probably an Albacon, and loved it! It wasn’t their last…

In the Eighties, though, pressures of work (in the acute end of things in the NHS) forced gaffiation for a while. When things eased off, they started to get back into fandom, initially through media cons, later on (after another, health-related interruption) getting back to Eastercons and local cons. The 2005 Worldcon, Interaction, was a superb experience, and a time when they made lasting friendships. It also spurred DC and other Glasgow fans to reboot Trout (now the Resurgence of Trout) and start working towards  Glasgow-based cons. DC chaired the first Satellite in 2007: DC insists we remind you to visit the Satellite 6 web site.)

Like many fellow convention-goers, DC is often in the wrong (right?) place at the wrong (right?) time. That was how they most recently ended up involved in running of Mancunicon in 2016. That was a bit of pressure (a last-minute bid with less than 52 weeks from formation until the con) but a lot of fun too.

These days DC is slightly bemused that fifty years on they are still watching new episodes of Doctor Who, is convinced that in decades to come people will look back at this period as the golden age of science fiction — such skilled authors, such a spread of ideas and viewpoints! They’re usually to be found nursing either coffee or a good whisky, chatting with old and new friends — and cons can be a great place to meet new friends.