The first edition of Novacon was organized by the University of Aston Science Fiction Group. At that time, Eastercon (founded in 1948) was the only regular science fiction convention in the United Kingdom, so an alternative was welcome. Novacon was held in November, so it didn’t overlap Eastercon that took place in spring just like its name suggested. The inaugural Novacon was a success, so it was decided to make it an annual event. The Birmingham Science Fiction Group was created to oversee the event and ensure its continuity.
Originally, Novacon was more of an academic convention, but now it is closer to traditional fan conventions. The main difference is that it focuses on science fiction rather than on pop culture in general. Novacon is a meeting place for science fiction fans from all over the UK and abroad. Here they can discuss their favorite book and authors, make new friends and reconnect with old ones, and participate in numerous events and activities.
Unlike numerous Comic Cons and Fan Expos held in different countries, Novacon doesn’t feature cosplayers or panels with media guests. It has a more structured program that focuses on meetings with science fiction authors and scientists and discussions. The program also includes an Art Show featuring original work by both amateur and professional artists and illustrators. At dealers room, attendees can find a wide selection of new science fiction novels, second hand books, collectible books, and graphic novels. Every Novacon features a guest of honor, typically a popular science fiction or fantasy author.
From 1973 to 2015, the Nova Awards were presented annually at the convention. They were given to the Best Fan Artist, Best Fan Writer, and Best Fanzine to recognize achievements in British and Irish science fiction fanzines. At Novacon 45, the organizers announced that the main categories would be retired, although occasional “committee awards” might still be given out every now and then.
Over the years, Novacon has moved several times. The first editions took place in Birmingham. Other host cities include Coventry, Solihull, Great Malvern, and Bentley. Since 2009, the convention has been held in Nottingham.