Paul Cornell on The Fortean Times UnConvention

News David Sutton
5 Oct 2010 - 06:17

Are you around in London on 23rd and 24th October? Then you might want to pop along to the return of the Fortean Times UnConvention, with a special talk on Doctor Who…

The Fortean Times UnConvention returns after a year off, with two weirdness-packed days of fascinating sounding talks, live psychic experiments, off-the-wall comedy and lots of lively discussion about all manner of strange phenomena.

Everything from conspiracy theory to cryptozoology is on offer, with speakers promising to explore such topics as The Blue Dogs of Texas, Headless Ghosts, Vampire Rabbits and the 30th anniversary of the Rendlesham Forest UFO encounter.

Among the temptations are a couple of talks focusing on science fiction as well as science fact. Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham will be focusing on little-known cases of clandestine government and military interference in Hollywood in their talk, entitled "Lights, Camera, Covert Action: The Deep Politics Of Hollywood", highlighting the seriousness with which Washington has long regarded the potential of movies to shape popular perception of UFOs and other paranormal issues and events.

For instance, they tell us, the United States Air Force tried to tame the UFO-related content of a 1959 episode of the Steve Canyon TV series, bringing it in line with the CIA Robertson Panel's recommendation to demystify UFOs through the mass media.

And then Paul Cornell, science fiction and fantasy writer responsible for some classic recent episodes of Doctor Who like Father's Day and Human Nature/The Family Of Blood, will be charting the history of ‘Fortean Themes In Doctor Who', taking in the Ancient Astronaut theories of the Jon Pertwee era to three different sinkings of Atlantis and two different Loch Ness Monsters.

Paul told us that "Doctor Who has usually been a very populist show, so it's a very good index of how the mainstream views the fantastic. Fortean themes cluster around the show in the 1970s, when suddenly the series is full of allusions to ancient astronauts visiting Earth, and again in the 1990s, when the influence of The X-Files is felt on the books and audio plays that continued from the original TV show. But there are lots of other reference points, and some cases, such as in the Yeti stories co-written by alternative history pundit, Henry Lincoln, where the Fortean worldview and Doctor Who meet head on."

Here are the details of the UnConvention...

Saturday 23rd October 2010
Sunday 24th October 2010

University of Westminster - 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS‎
(Opposite Madame Tussauds, nearest tube Baker Street)

(+ booking fee)

And here's the link you need for tickets:



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