AllEncompassCon

The all encompassing AllEncompassCon, held annually on January 19th in the Claude Morten Stadium and Amphitheater in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, UK (about an hour north west of Manchester) is truly a sight. I have been frequenting this bastion of information and community of Science Fiction lovers every year, and it never fails to disappoint. As it is held in the middle of January in the United Kingdom, there is usually a layer of snow in and around the venue. Traditionally, this science fiction convention was held in January as not to compete with the smaller, more specific conventions which started cropping up in the nineties. But, as history led into legend (and lets face it, what science fiction aficionado doesn't revel in legend) the convention was held in January, so as to appease the wishes of the convention's founding member, James Allig. He was a business man, in the fish and produce transportation industry by day, and by night, an avid CosPlayer and enjoyer of all things deemed by conventional society to be "nerdy". He was frustrated at his unavailability to attend Sci Fi cons, Horror cons, gaming cons, and other genres of conventions, so he took his nest egg, and put it toward the development of the AllEncompassCon, the first ever multigenre convention available to the public Such is the dedication of the true officianado!

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 Most of the fodder of the original convention maintains to this day. Star Trek and Star Wars are placed on opposite ends of the stadium, with a quick change area in the center for those who do not wish to be known as disloyal to the major Stars of the science fiction realm. Gaming takes the north side of the stadium, where individuals either LAN, play boardgames, challenge each other to card games, or attend lectures that gamers may find interesting, including new technology of games, talks from game designers, and even how to get into the gaming industry. To the South side of the stadium, Anime, both Japanese and otherwise, is placed. These booths include prominent voice over artists, animators, and directors. Girls with long purple wigs and almost no clothing can be found in this very popular part of the stadium. Horror, less popular now than since its inception, has been relegated to the voms of the stadium, where the footballers enter and exit the field. The location of their booths suits the horror goers just fine, as it is a voluminous, dark, and concrete cave of sorts, leading underground. Vampire, werewolf, and other supernatural fans can discuss real life applications of the horror genre, can find out more about the historical import of their favorite stories, and meet and greet with horror makers. Horror fans love to find out the secrets of the business, while the other fans are usually content with getting to know others with similar interests.

 The first day of the convention this year was, like always, dedicated to the Masquerade. The costumes this year were impressive, some of the best being the Gorgon from Clash of the Titans, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb from Alice in Wonderland, and a particularly convincing unnamed Transformer from the original comic book series. The winner was Angie McAllister, with a full costume from Barbarella, Queen of the Universe. The costume wasn't necessarily the best costume I have ever seen, but the presentation was outstanding.

John Rutter, Feb 2010