hen the creator of T/tttnderbirrls Gerry Anderson was asked to support a bid by Glasgow to host the world‘s biggest science fiction event. he promptly signed his name on the dotted line and
forgot about it.
Three years later he is fronting an impressive line-up of science fiction gurus. from lain M. Banks to Terry Pratchett. in an event likely to attract more than 4500 sci-fi punters from across the globe. The extravaganza is a coup for Glasgow: Worldcon is to science fiction enthusiasts what the World Cup is to footie fanatics — and Anderson is Roberto Baggio.
The brain behind Sky TV‘s multi-million pound series Space Precinct. Anderson admits he suspected Glasgow’s bid would fail. ln Worldcon’s 53-year history. it has never touched down in Scotland and has been hosted by Britain only three times. Anderson will share the guest of honour bill at the five-day event with American w r i t e r
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12 The List 25 Aug-7 Sent 1995
Samuel R. Delany. who as a black. gay writer. has broken the science fiction mould. Scotland's Iain M. Banks. author of W/zt’t and Feersum lint/jar. almost squealed with pleasure when asked recently about appearing at the event. Anderson is similarly thrilled to be
part of the science fiction heaven that is Worldcon.
Down the decades.
Worldcon's guest list has read like an A to Z of science fiction gods. beginning in New York. 193‘) with artist Frank R.
As the world’s biggest science fiction convention touches down in Glasgow with lemzderbirds creator Gerry Anderson at its helm, Kathleen Morgan gets lost in space.
lot of them take the view that if they're going to travel across the world for a convention. they might as well make a holiday of it.‘ Intersection has the vast space ofGIasgow‘s SECC to fill over its live days. Whether that will be enough to contain the imaginations of some of the world‘s hottest science fiction figures is debatable. Gerry A nderson. after all. was the man who in the puppet series Tittuzderbirds. envisaged skyscrapers with revolving restaurants and aircraft capable of vertical take off. years before they materialised.
The 66-year-old British director and producer admits he
paur whose work wus‘l’ve always believed sci-ii plays amias no idea why his work has
then dominating the
In New York in 1956.
when 2001 was a twinkle to technologicaI advancement] WCI'C in his creative eye. Gerry Anderson
Arthur C. Clarke
addressed an audience of 850 and in 1986. the
great writer Ray Bradbury spoke before an
international crowd of nearly 6000 in Atlanta.
That Worldcon is coming to Glasgow
is extraordinary — the city fought it out
with Atlanta to host this year’s event.
Intersection volunteer organiser
christened Intersection. Organised
‘ entirely by volunteers. each world ' science fiction convention involves a vote to decide where the next will , take place. According to
w Mark Plummer. Glasgow beat Atlanta in last year‘s vote largely because Scotland
W seemed like a good place for a
holiday. "l'he vast majority of
17; . \x -> J’! people voting last year were )3; Americans.‘ says Plummer. 9. 1‘“ civil servant by day and
science fiction fanatic by night. ‘The Scottish angle has been quite a draw. It‘s an expensive business and a
important part in our lives — it world of pulp magazines. represents what people would like audiences to happen. is the ﬁrst stage T/llllidcl‘bil‘dA' and Space: [999
consistently attracted large
both devoured by world markets and Stingray, the first colour film television series to be made in Britain. is still being shown by BBC2 three decades later. ‘lt's pleasing to know your work is held in such high regard. although I tnust say I don‘t understand why.‘ says Anderson.
Despite the popular conception of the science fiction buff as something worse than the trainspotter. Anderson believes the genre has an important role in modern life. ‘At the moment technology is moving at such a pace and a lot of people are wondering what the world will be like in 100 years. let alone 500,’ he says. ‘l've
‘ always believed sci-fi plays an important part in
our lives — it represents what people would like to happen. Sci-fi is the first stage to technological advancement.’
In the face of all-action cinema blockbusters like Judge Dredd bludgeoning the popular imagination. science fiction is still a money- spinner. Anderson is cynical about the amount of money spent on big-bucks productions, despite Space Precinct - a police in space spectacular — having been budgeted at $36 million. making it Britain’s most expensive and