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FANDOM & the R.N.I.B.

by Roger Robinson, of beccon publications
Through the years Fandom has generated money for worthy causes - some fannish (helping fans and/or committees in need), some outside (Cancer research etc.). Many conventions nowadays have a nominated charity which they list in their programme books and which they, to varying degrees, donate money. This is done in various forms, from the simple waving a fee for a table in the dealers room to a straight donation from their profits and the rattling of collecting tins under noses (with appropriate arm twisting).

Over the years Novacon (& the Brum group) has been one of the leaders in raising money for charity and especially for one specific charity - the Royal National Institute for the Blinds Talking Book Library. Some of you may remember Gill Smith of the RNIB visiting Novacon 22 and being presented with a cheque for 2,500. The look of surprise on her face was genuine as we had kept the amount secret until the cheque was presented. This was, however, nothing to the surprise she got a week or so later when I rang her to tell her that the amount was incorrect - it should have been 4,500! The extra money had been donated by the Albacon committee from Glasgow who had decided to stop running conventions, and to donate their accumulated profits to RNIB.

Each book recorded for the Talking Book Library costs 500 to produce, and their library now runs to over 10,000 titles. Although they reserve the right to veto any suggested title, they recognise that fandom is uniquely equipped to suggest suitable SF titles, so that there is a very good chance that any title that we nominate will be recorded. As far as I am aware the first specific title requested as the result of a general collection at a con was The Demolished Man - which was nominated to honour Alfie Bester who, due to ill health, was unable to visit Brighton as one of Conspiracys Guests of Honour. This was an especially appropriate book for a Worldcon collection as the book won the first ever Hugo for Best Novel. The money was mainly raised at the (in)famous auction of anti-hotel-manager cartoons which had previously decorated the walls of a corridor in the Metropole.

It would be impossible to list all the fannish events and individuals who have raised money for the RNIB over the 6 years but they range from Picocons, through beer auctions at Mexicons to the rattling of ice buckets at Prefab Trout. Fannish groups and conventions from as far afield as Glasgow, Winchester and Leeds have joined the Birmingham habit.

It was no surprise when the nominated charity for the DRABBLE PROJECT was announced as the RNIB - after all the idea of the drabble was formed in Birmingham. So far three limited edition books have been published by Beccon Publications with all of the contributors waiving their fees and/or royalties in favour of the RNIB. Various other publications from the Beccon stable have also had all or part of their profits ear-marked for the RNIB. The most recent of these is A Load of Old BoSh - a collection of Bob Shaws hilarious Serious Scientific Talks. This was published to honour Bobs selection as GOH at Confabulation, the 1995 Eastercon.

At Confabulation (Eastercon 1995) the committee actively supported the RNIB and as part of the closing ceremony a couple of presentations were made - one from the RNIB and one to them. Colin Greenlands Take Back Plenty had been nominated as one of the books to be sponsored with the money donated at Novacon 22. In what we think is a first for an SF author Colin offered to read his own book and, after an audition, was accepted. Colin was presented with a certificate recognising the work he had done, and in reply a further cheque was presented to the RNIB. The money came from the profits to that date of the third drabble book Drabble Who together with various donations made into the general pot over the previous year or so and the proceeds of a very-well-supported collection after Bob Shaws talk at the con. This time the cheque was for 4083, and once again we managed to startle the RNIBs representative who hadnt been told how much to expect.

(Novacon 29 recently chose RNIB as one of their charities)

Books published to raise money for RNIB by Beccon Publications

DateTitleAuthors/EditorsStatusRaised So FarEstimate on sell out
1988The Drabble Projected. Rob Meades & David Wakesold out15931593
1990The Dunken Rabble Projected. Gytha Northnearly sold out288300
1990Drabble II : Double Centuryed. Rob Meades & David Wakeavailable@ 5UKP1200
1993Drabble Whoed David Howe & David Wakesold out37933793
1995A Load of Old BoShBob Shawavailable @ 4.95UKP7941100
(UKP means United Kingdom Pounds)

Address

Roger Robinson
beccon publications
75 Rosslyn Ave
Harold Wood
Essex
RM3 ORG
United Kingdom
email: beccon@dial.pipex.com

The above information was supplied by Roger Robinson. I also have a flyer containing the current books from beccon publications. Please email me if you want me to OCR/type in the current information.

This page is being hosted by Alex McLintock of SF Link. Last updated 10 Nov 1999