The Convention Committee has expanded and changed for the 1998 event. This issue we introduce you to some of the new characters you will be hearing from during the coming months and seeing at the Convention next year. The next issue will feature even more of those foolhardy enough to say "yeah, count me in....".

SIMON BROWN (Membership)

Dark hair, bearded, spectacles and a 'help here's a camera' smile Having been born some years previously, Simes has since aged. He still has all of his limbs and most of his hair, and has compensated for a slightly receding hairline by allowing additional hairs to encamp upon the lower half of his face. Working mainly in the field of Telling Computers To Do Things In New And Interesting Ways, he is also a researcher in many areas of the Information Technology Revolution and was one of the first recorded cases of Joypad Thumb. He lives in Berkshire with two sofas, a clear plastic thing, and a small rubber rat named Norman. He is an avid collector of unusually shaped cheeses.

BEN ARGYLE (Programme Assistant)

Dark hair, clean shaven, spectacles and a cheerful grin Not even I know why I volunteered to be on the committee for this Convention, but it had something to do with bulging brown envelopes changing hands (although which way I'm not at liberty to say). As it stands I'm something of a programme assistant (what exactly that means I'm sure will become clear between now and the end of the Convention) and so might be the person you talk to when you need to know which way up your Dwarf Bread is held for throwing. Don't worry, I'm supposed to be pretty approachable.

I've just finished a degree in Artificial Intelligence at Manchester and hopefully will be doing a masters degree next year. Apart from an obvious fondness for the Pratchett oeuvre, I like to dip into most of the other authors' minds, including anything from hard-core cyberia like Gibson to the gentle Tolkienesqueness (is that a new word?) of Tepper.

I'm a fan of Babylon 5 and action-packed plot lines.

Outside of books I actually do stuff! I just can't sit still, so I'm into things from Karate to Kayaking. Among my likes are a good single Malt, a nice bit of chocolate and my girlfriend (not necessarily in that order). Cabbage and lack of money are my major dislikes along with unorganised chaos.

CHRIS WARD (Dealers, Exhibitors, Advertisers and Sponsors Liaison)

Dark hair, beard, spectacles and a pensive expression After deciding that computers were a 'Good Thing', he decided to get someone else to pay for his education, and as a result got sent to Coventry to spend three years learning useful information, which had no relevancy to his degree.

Since then he has spent his time writing computer software for event organisers and PR companies in order to support his book addiction. Last year he was forced to move due to a lack of book space, and still failed to get out of the Coventry area. After attending the Discworld Convention 1996 he decided that the best way to ensure that he would get into the '98 Convention was to help organise it.

RACHEL COLEMAN (Chairman's Assistant)

Rachel came into existence in 1977 and has been looking for justification ever since. Currently she is dealing with the trauma of Cambridge studenthood in an attempt to get a degree in Physics. The route from a primordial piece of slime to the Cam1 took in the usual stops - school, GCSEs, A-levels. Interesting deviations have been: a 1992 visit to Star City, the Russian cosmonaut training centre, as part of a group of British students; 4 years in the Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets, where she learnt rifle-shooting, flying and how unsuited she was to a military career; a year-out job as R&D test assistant for a new and fast-growing vacuum cleaner company.

Rachel comes from a political background, likes to follow the subject, and is beginning to dip a toe into student politics herself. Other interests include reading, playing rugby and MUDding2 on a far too regular basis. Rachel is also the current President of the Cambridge University Scientific Society, which is dedicated to "making science interesting and accessible to all". This is her first stint on a Convention Committee.

1If there is a difference. Which is doubtful.

2Note for non-spods: a MUD is a computer program which you can log into over the Internet. There you can give yourself a silly name, talk to other players (usually students), build things, do adventures and generally waste time happily. WARNING: It is scarily addictive and eerily nerdish. Possibly the best fun is a MUDmeet - a gathering of these studenty spodders in e.g. Manchester to go out, eat junk food, get drunk, spend too much money and get flirted with.

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August 1997