April Fool: Is that a Tartan Rocket?

On this glorious 1st of April—a day of fools and frivolity—Glasgow 2024 would like to share with you something fantastically foolish. A silly surprise to bring joy and to show that we take what we do very seriously but we want to have fun with it.

The most Scottish of conventions really needed a tartan rocket—and it just so happened we had our own tartan. It would have been a travesty not to!

Honouring the great Glaswegian haggis and the native armadillos was also paramount to the project. 

Glasgow 2024 brings to you our April Fool’s twist on a Hugo! 

How did this all come about . . . 

One late September weekend in 2022, heady from recently being seated as the Worldcon, a group of dedicated con-runners gathered in a Heathrow Airport hotel to continue to plan a convention where creativity, inclusion, and imagination would shine through. We were giddy with possibility—and possibly fatigue—when Sara mentioned tartan dipping a rocket, Meg mentioned April Fool’s Day, and Esther’s eyes lit up with joyful shenanigans! The rest of the weekend was soundtracked by Sara giggling as she sketched and by furtive whispers about traffic cones, haggis, and armadillos . . . we did mention we were very tired!

Now we just had to keep it a secret for nearly two years!

No Hugos or haggis were harmed in the making of this April Fool—we hope you love our silly rocket as much as we do!

A angled view of an ornamental trophy celebrating April Fool's Day in Glasgow for the year 2024. The trophy features the bottom half of a, vertically standing, patterned rocket in hues of purple and blue with tartan pattern. The base is a dark, metallic color, depicting three armadillos, two in traffic cone hats flank a centered armadillo sitting atop a book and a depiction of a flying haggis on the side. Center, a plaque reads 'GLASGOW 2024 HAPPY APRIL FOOLS' DAY! 1st APRIL 2024' against a textured gold background.

The magical and mischievous Sara Felix shares her creative process:

In 2022 I was writing and editing a Journey Planet about Hugo designs that have existed and other ideas people have had for Hugos. When I put the call out for content Deb Geisler mentioned an article that Peter Weston had written for Noreascon 4 about fabricating the rocket for the Hugo and asked Geri to send it to me. That was April of 2022. Deb and Geri did not know that we had a designed and approved tartan and that it had gone live for ordering for the staff on February 13, 2022. It felt like the perfect timing.

In September of that year we had a committee meeting in London. I brought it up as an idea at lunch like a “wouldn’t it be great if we could . . .” and Meg MacDonald instantly connected that the announcement and Eastercon was March 29–31, and the next day was April Fool’s Day. Esther said we should definitely do this! I immediately started sketching ideas and emailed Vincent Villafranca.
It couldn’t just be a rocket . . .  it had to be a whole Hugo!

The Art

If you look at the art, there are a number of things that I added to the design and some things that didn’t make it to the final. I wanted it to be simple but also have nods to both Glasgow and the other base Vince and I did for San Jose. The armadillos are, of course, a nod to the SEC in Glasgow, affectionately known as the armadillo.

The traffic cone was in reference to the statue of the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow, which sports a traffic cone a lot of the time. 

 I think the coolest addition to the base was Vince adding “1/1—there can be only one!” to the bottom.

There is of course an amazing flying haggis on the side, sculpted by Vince, and a sleeping kitty that I sculpted originally for the San Jose base.

There were a lot of moving parts in making this happen. The rocket was brought over from the UK. The tartan was hydro-dipped in Texas with the tartan pattern, which had to be printed in South Carolina. 

The original armadillo was in polymer clay and sat on my desk until World Fantasy in October of 2023. 
Vincent Villafranca happened to have a sculpting class at WFC;  the second armadillo was sculpted there.   

At this point, I knew I was not going to be able to make it to the UK for April 1st and Eastercon. So, in pure fandom transport methods, the final piece went from Austin, Chicago, Boston, Netherlands, and then UK to make it to the announcement.

This article was brought to you by the Promotions Team and Sara Felix.

The 82nd Worldcon will take place in Glasgow, August 8–12, 2024. We can’t wait to welcome you to Glasgow and the SEC/Armadillo for a Worldcon for Our Futures.

Come visit our Tartan Rocket in the Exhibition Hall!