The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention is being held in London in 2014. WorldCon is the convention in which the Hugos are voted on and presented, making it one of the more important and influential gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans in the world. This will be our first international meetup, and we're very excited for both the convention and for a convenient excuse to visit the lovely city of London. Although the exact size of this year's con is unknown, we're expecting it to be less than 10,000 attendees.
Among the highlights of the convention are a Masquerade, the 1939 Retro-Hugo Awards and the Hugo Awards, various concerts, dances, author signings, and kaffeeklatsches and literary beers, as well as a writing workshop.
Since several of our members are already planning to attend, we'll use this meetup to let members coordinate itineraries, roomsharing, and generally hanging out during the convention. The convention runs from Thursday, August 14 through Monday, August 18. For more information, and to register for the convention, please visit the LonCon 3 (WorldCon) website.
Registration is currently £115 (~$190-$195) through the end of February. Please don't delay in signing up! A word to the wise, if you have a credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, it's best to pay in pounds rather than dollars.
In addition to admission to the con, a full membership entitles you to vote for the Hugos, and you will receive e-versions of most of the novels, novellas, short stories, etc. to read and review before you vote.
If you cannot attend the con, but would still like to vote for the Hugos (and receive the voter packet of materials), you can consider a supporting membership instead for £25 ($42). Just select Supporter from the dropdown instead of 'Adult'.
Visa & Entry:
US citizens do not need a visa to visit the UK as a tourist. If you are not a US citizen, please check here to find out if any specific requirements apply to you. You are of course required to have a current passport, and those can take some time to process, so please don't delay in applying for one if needed.
Customs, Currency & Banking:
There are certain restrictions on what you can bring in to the UK. Please read them carefully.
Upon returning to the US, you are allowed an $800 exemption (inclusive of 1 L of alcohol if you are over 21) on customs. You can bring back more, but you must declare and if applicable, pay duty on the excess. See the full rules here.
You may wish to bring a credit card (or apply for one) that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. You will be able to use your credit and debit and ATM cards in the UK, though you may have to let them know to swipe (since most of our cards aren't chipped). You will be able to exchange cash (if preferred) at the airport and at other locations throughout the city. You may view current exchange rates here.
Information on air transportation to London can be found here. While London has many airports (Heathrow and Gatwick are recommended), you can also choose to fly to another city and then take a domestic flight to London. You can search for flights here. For traveling around London, there are certainly taxis in abundance, but you may wish to consider an Oyster Card for Tube travel.
Hotel information is available here. Many of the Con hotels have already sold out, so please don't delay in making your booking. You may also wish to consider services like AirBnB and OneFineStay as you seek out lodging. If you're particularly price-conscious (London is one of the world's more expensive travel destinations), you can also consider couchsurfing or hostels.
Things to Do in London:
The list of possibilities is quite literally endless, but definitely make time for the Tower of London tour! Here's a short list of major attractions. In addition, there are fantastic outdoor markets, walking tours, museums, art galleries, theatres and shows, and much more. Here's a much more comprehensive list of things to do.
Guests of Honour:
Iain M Banks (in Memoriam)
Additionally, the following guests are expected
Lastly, since we are, of course, a book club, here's a handful of recommended reading selections to prepare for the trip:
A Madness of Angels (or the Resurrection of Matthew Swift) by Kate Griffin (this and the follow-on books in her Matthew Swift series are excellent urban fantasy based in London)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Un Lun Dun or Kraken by China Miéville
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
London Falling by Paul Cornell
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell
London: The Novel by Edward Rutherford (historical fiction)