First Timers' FAQ

Satellite 3 may be many people's first convention. This section is for you.

What is a science fiction convention?

An SF Con ("Con" = convention) is a meeting of people interested in SF, usually with an emphasis on literary aspects, although topics such as media SF (TV and movies) and space science often play an important part.

What will be on the programme?

Satellite 3 plans to run two parallel programme streams. Programme items will include lectures, panel discussions, games and many other activities. So you need to plan your time carefully.

What about guests?

Most conventions have at least one Guest of Honour (GoH), usually a prominent SF author. He or she will give a talk during the Con and also usually appears on a few panel items. Times are set aside to allow fans to have books autographed by the GoH. Actor guests at SF Cons are rare.

Does everyone dress up as klingons?

No. At events devoted to particular TV series you may see people in costume, but it is less common in mainstream SF fandom. Special costume events, called Masquerades, take place at larger Cons. However, most participants model their own designs, rather than replicating a TV costume, rather like a fashion show.

How do I get to know people?

Volunteer! Every convention needs helpers (colloquially known as "gophers" because they go-fer things!) to make the event run smoothly. Duties range from general stewarding, to helping the committee, to fetching drinks for programme participants. You can volunteer for as long or as short a time as you wish.

Can I come for just one day?

Yes indeed! You can pay at the door for one day's membership. This allows you entry to all convention area for that day, including the dealer's room, art show and convention bar. Day membership also entitles you to attend the evening events for that day — so great value!