ConJose

                ConJose, the 60th World Science Fiction Convention, was held on August 29-September 2, 2002 in downtown San Jose. The San Jose McEnery Convention Center had the dealer’s room, art show, exhibits and panels. The Masquerade and Hugos were held at the Civic Auditorium. Internet Lounge, concerts, gaming, late night panels and parties were at the Fairmont Hotel. The guests of honor were Vernor Vinge (writer), David Cherry (artist), Ferdinand Feghoot (imaginary), Tad Williams (toastmaster), John and Bjo Trimble (fan). Tom Whitmore and Kevin Standlee were the convention chairmen.

        There was a lot of bad press going into this convention. The term Confiasco II was being used a bit. I decided to ignore it particularly since I did have a good time at ConFrancisco (first time I saw Harlan Ellison). The only real bump I noticed was the delay of additional pocket programs on Thursday. The first batch had run out and replacements took time in coming but they did and Filthy Pierre posted the schedule near the Voodoo Board. The facilities were kind of spread out. Unlike last year where the main party hotel and convention center were connected, you had to take a walk around the corner to get to the main facilities. The San Jose Hilton was connected but I was told that it was not used due to the size of the rooms or there was an event scheduled there that weekend. Panels were on the ends of the McEnery Convention Center. The 15 minutes between panels were necessary in case your last panel was on one end and the next was at the other. Panels were an hour and fifteen minutes long which to me seems the right length. Geri Sullivan had a great idea filling the concourse of the convention center with balloons of all shapes and sizes. There was a giant flying saucer along with Roswell aliens, dinosaurs, and various animals. People had a blast with the balloons. Civic Auditorium was OK for the special events although it got unusually hot for the Hugos on Sunday night.

                The opening ceremonies had panels scheduled against it (including one I wanted to go to). Despite this it was well attended. After the fanfare from GalaxyQuest two Internet Lounge staffers in Next Generation uniforms came onstage as Honor Guards. Convention co chair Kevin Standlee read a proclamation made by the Mayor of San Jose. The proclamation declared the week of Worldcon National Science Fiction Week. The proclamation would be proudly displayed in the con suite. It was then announced that Patrick Stewart would make a brief appearance on Friday night. Neil Gaiman would also appear only for the Hugo ceremonies. The guests of honor were about to be introduced but there was a delay. Then a procession of people in bathrobes and towels came to the stage. They were chanting something in Latin that turned into Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie” from Sesame Street (still chanted like a Gregorian hymn). I later found out that the Latin part was “Rubber Duckie” which was interesting since there is no Latin word for rubber. The group called themselves the Great Washed Masses. Their motto “Lather, rinse, repent”. The audience was sworn to cleanliness. After leaving there was mysterious blackout and when the lights came back on there were the guests of honor. Tad Williams took over with a story about fans stopped traffic at Confederation in 1986. He then introduced the last year’s chairman Todd Dashoff and current convention chairs Kevin Standlee and Tom Whitmore. The Worldcon gavel was handed off from Dashoff to Whitmore and Standlee. Dashoff then screamed he was free and left. Kevin Standlee then discussed the community created by Worldcon and called for volunteers. Tom Whitmore thanked the staff. Whitmore said he would take all the blame and give the glory of the convention to the staff. Whitmore went on to introduce the other guests of honor. David Cherry came out and discussed briefly the passing of Ron Walotsky. The Trimbles were introduced next. John Trimble discussed how John Brunner said Worldcons are the biggest volunteer run events since the antiwar protests of the 60s. Bjo and John appealed to audience to contribute to the Locks of Love charity, which their daughter Lora was getting donations for at the convention. Locks of Love collect hair to be made as wigs for children who have lost hair due to accidents or illness. Vernor Vinge said he was happy to be at Worldcon. Sadly Ferdinand Feghoot was unavailable. Dick Lupoff came up to explain why he was unavailable. The story like all Feghoot stories involved a pun at the end. Since I have a low opinion of puns none of the Feghoot stories will be discussed in this report. ConJose was declared officially opened with the strike of the gavel.

                        All the guests of honor decided not to do a speech. Friday night had interviews with David Cherry and Vernor Vinge. Bob Eggleton interviewed David Cherry. When asked what is like being guest of honor at Worldcon, Cherry said it will probably impact him later but was having fun soaking it all in. Cherry discussed how he went from law to art. This came about with his sister C.J. Cherryh’s entry into the field as a writer. Cherry briefly explained his sister’s last name. At the time Donald Wollheim could not market her real name Carolyn Cherry. She thought their father would disown her if she changed her last name so she added an h. Cherry went with C.J. to MidAmeriCon. He went to the art show and was blown away by it especially with a piece by a newcomer named Michael Whelan. Although Cherry expressed an interest in art he did not chose to study since art schools at the time were expounding on modern rather than classical art. At the convention he learned that freelancers rather than in house artists produced the art. His first venture into SF art was the interior art in one of his sister’s books. The book debuted at a convention, which Michael Whelan and Real Musgrave attended. Cherry later went to see Musgrarve at his studio. Meeting Musgrave convinced him to leave the law and go into art. Cherry discussed that the publishers like Del Rey, Wollheim, and Ballantine made doing covers real fun. Unfortunately the people who took their place are not as experienced and hire outside the field. Eggleton and Cherry then compared the mainstream art world to the SF art world. The mainstream art world is very cutthroat and acts like closed club. The SF art world has a very family like atmosphere. This led to discussing the death of Ron Walotsky. Both Eggleton and Cherry talked about his kindness and generosity. Cherry discussed his involvement with Ensemble Studios, which does gaming art. Ensemble is good working environment. The main office is like the bridge of the Enterprise. Cherry misses the law like a toothache. Cherry was self-taught and feels he is still learning. Both Eggleton and Cherry agreed pros shared an obsession with art. The interview ended with a Cherry and Eggleton giving each other a hug.

                        Where the Cherry interview was a friendly chat between two friends, Gregory Benford interview of Vernor Vinge’s was a friendly duel between professors of rival departments. Benford brought up the fact that both were graduates of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Benford went on to say that UCSD also produced David Brin and Kim Stanley Robinson. Vinge did not think this was a statiscally significant. Benford pointed out that Vinge works in pure mathematics. Vinge thought that the beauty of pure mathematics comes from real problems. Benford then brought up Vinge’s concept of Singularity, the point where machine intelligence matches human intelligence. Vinge still believes in his timetable and that he and the audience will see it. Vinge went on to compare Bill Gates with the robber barons and complemented Microsoft making computers available to people who would not have used them. Vinge himself likes to work in a UNIX environment. Vinge retired from San Diego State after thirty years of teaching as a Professor Emeritus. He hopes to write more and says he is contracted for 7 books. Benford and Vinge did some sparring over production rate since Bedford has written a great deal while being a professor at the University of California at Irvine. Vinge went on to discuss how calculus allowed the common man to solve difficult problems. Vinge was asked about world culture. He sees history showing things are getting better and there is good reason for optimism. On the other hand, Vinge says we are only working from one model. There is also the possibility of losing science as it has happened in the Islamic world, much of it lost due to fundamentalism. Vinge says the scary thing about terrorism is losing the ability to trust. Singularity was brought up again. The question was posed that if Singularity happens will the technologically backward be left behind. Vinge felt that sounded like a story idea. He went on to say Singularity is not Borg like and if the smart people leave it frees up more resources. He thinks technology flourishes in inhospitable environments. Vinge suggested the asteroids might be more techno friendly. Next Vinge was asked to address why we have not been contacted by extraterrestrials. Problems with understanding and disasters could be the explanation. Vinge says the next 20 years in astronomy is going to be quite interesting. Vinge states the government’s interest in space like that of a coast guard. They need to get past that. He went to say that technology has empowered people both in good bad ways. With a little technology people can do a great deal with harm such as computer viruses. The interview concluded when Benford asked about public schools Vinge responded that was unfair question for a professor.

                        The panel Humor: What Makes Us Laugh was standing room only. Terry Pratchett was the moderator. The panel included Ed Willet, K.D. Wentworth, Mike van Pelt and Andrew Wheeler. Pratchett asked if humor had a place in SF. He answered a resounding yes then asked for anyone with Ellison stories. Pratchett then went to say he owed a lot to the late Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the first humorous SF series to find an audience. The question of humor versus plot was brought to the panel. Wheeler said if it sells it is one or the other. Willet felt you needed both. Pratchett admitted it took him three books to learn the beauty of plot. One test of a work’s success is if you still have something if you remove the humor from it. Pratchett felt his first novels would fail this test, as would Hitchhiker’s. Wentworth could not remember the plot of Hitchhiker’s. Pratchett cited weird history as good source of humor. Wheeler felt that best humor comes out of darkness cites Hitchhiker’s as prime example since it begins with the end of the world. Willet pointed out the need for a common background for some humor to work. As an example he discussed writing selling a SF story to farm magazine since the story dealt with things that the farmers could relate to. Commonality can be extended as Pratchett since jokes about certain groups can be easily transferred to other groups. An audience member asked whether the sarcasm in Heinlein works counted as humor. Wheeler responded by saying the books were serious not like the wacky novels that came out in the 80s. Pratchett added that humor is like a spice to a meal. Van Pelt said sometimes humor is needed as relief. Pratchett agreed feeling that jokes about 9/11 and Princess Diana started instantly due to a need for relief. Wheeler said that attempted humor is usually bad. Humor should arise from the situation. Wentworth agreed and mentions a writer who tried to write a humorous novel, which came out over the top. The panel then discussed GalaxyQuest, which they thought, was one of the funniest SF films in years. Wheeler felt comedy and tragedy differ only in ending. Willet feels that humor can be increased with more interaction with technology.

                          The participants in Disposable Skiffy: Does SF have a Sell-By Date? staggered in slowly. It consisted of Gardner Dozois, Gordon van Gelder, David Hartwell, and Charles Brown. Dozois opened with the claim that young people are having a hard time reading 19th century writers. Van Gelder felt that a lot of writers are just fading and media has affected writing. Van Gelder felt after the 70s a lot of books read like scripts. Hartwell felt that styles and attitudes have dated. Dozois agreed stories with sexist or racist attitudes may hurt a story’s life. Brown answered the question directly, there is a for sell by date. Agreeing with Hartwell and Dozois, he would not recommend “Doc” Smith and felt his recent sales were due to nostalgia. Dozois said that Smith’s style scares new readers and that Burroughs can be read as a child but not as an adult. Hartwell agreed with Doziois citing that younger readers are less sensitive to styles. Van Gedler noted that rapid changes in technology have cut down the shelf time for some books. When asked what was still readable Dozois mentioned Ender’s Game. He continued to say that in the 50s attitudes and styles got better and Brown agreed saying our expectations for good writing is now higher. Furthermore Hartwell point outs that in the old days we cared about what the characters did not how they felt. Brown said that fantasy barely ages at all whereas near future stories age quickly. Van Gelder stated that fantasy projects a medieval world whereas a lot of SF projects an American world. Dozois continues with that fantasy long life is due to the fact it projects back rather than forward. Van Gelder brought up the fact that SF is good at doing historical anthologies, which help readers read older works. Hartwell did read and produce such anthologies doing extensive notes detailing the times the stories came from. When discussing book accessibility, Van Gelder explained greed by some writers’ estates cause some works to be too expensive for reprinting. New copyright laws favors this attitude. An audience member asked about trends in some writer’s popularity. Hartwell cited as Cordwainer Smith, James Tiptree and Philip K. Dick as writers who have come back into favor. Dozois says Heinlein will always been in and out of favor. He went on to say some books fall out of fashion and come back later as historical novels. Spy novels are one example of this. Hartwell feels best thing for an old work is a movie. Van Gelder says recommendations can be also very influential. Brown felt the best thing for SF is to be banned. The field needs to be a little bit socially unacceptable and that acceptability may have dulled SF’s edge. Hartwell cited that some reviewers still hate SF so there is still hope.

                    Friday was the night of the 800-pound gorilla, Patrick Stewart. Gaudy curiosity made me go to the presentation. I worked as an usher to get a good seat. Due to professional commitment Stewart could only be there for about 45 minutes. The Civic Auditorium was well packed. Stewart came out and thanked the audience for letting him gate crash the convention. When Stewart found out when the Worldcon started it pleased him to know there was something older than him. Stewart announced he would be in a new version of The Lion in Winter using the original script. He then showed some slides from the production of Star Trek: Nemesis. Then Stewart showed the current teaser trailer. He then showed a working copy (some sound and effects had not been added) for a trailer that would debut during the season premiere of Enterprise. Stewart then showed a very special trailer for X-Men 2. The trailer was put together by director Byron Singer using the first two weeks of shooting and clips from the end of the first film. (This trailer was available for a brief time on the Internet). He then fielded a few questions and left right on schedule.

                 Stranger than Stranger focused on Heinlein’s most famous work. Panelists were Bill Paterson, Geo Rule, Robert James and Captain Harb Lillard (USN ret). The panel opened with a history of Stranger in a Strange Land. The original idea came out while working on Red Planet. Other projects got in the way so the story was worked on and off again in succeeding years. Heinlein worked on it in earnest after Starship Troopers. The manuscript was 220,000 words. Putnam wanted it cut, which Heinlein did although he thought it weaken the book. Heinlein had low expectations for the novel and helped Putnam in every way to get their money back. Stranger sold very well. Many of his fellow science fiction writers found it bizarre. Some writers like Sturgeon and Williamson liked the book. Heinlein had made other writers and fans uncomfortable with what he revealed. It went to win the Hugo. The book broke into the mainstream to become a cult classic. Along with Walden, Lord of the Rings, and Siddharta the book became popular among college students. The book was passed from hand to hand due to the early low print runs. The students were looking for other models of behavior. At this point Heinlein was puzzled by the book’s success and influence. In 1969 some members of the Manson family began to use jargon from Stranger such as water sharing. Coincidentally Heinlein meet Roman Polanski at a film festival, it was Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate who was brutally murdered by Manson’s followers. The only connection between the murders and Stranger were made by the San Francisco Examiner. This was because a copy of the book was found in the home of one of the family members. The story was picked up by Time. Heinlein did not address the issue due to ill health at the time. The district attorney saw no connection with the book however an assistant district attorney wrote a book using Stranger as a central point. Academic papers still make a connection to the murders and the book. Stranger is still identified with the counter culture. It however goes beyond the counter culture it deals with hypocrisy. Heinlein stated his purpose was to ask questions rather than give answers. The book still sells well, about 80,000 copies a year. The audience was asked what Stranger meant to them. A good memory was one response. Another was the concept of family of choice. Stimulating thought was another response.

            Q & A with the Trimbles included the entire Trimble enclave with the exception of Kathryn who was at the art show. Bjo had been a fan since the 50s and meet John at a convention. The story of Star Trek Letter campaign was told. John had started it. John and Bjo visited the set regularly. During the filming of The Deadly Years “ the Trimbles had noticed a change in attitude on the set. They had found out that the show would be cancelled at the end of the second season. Feeling there should be something done to stop this they asked Roddenberry if they could help. He said yes and the Trimbles went to work. They got sacks of fan mail and mail lists from the Worldcon and other major conventions. Bjo asked what type of letter would be effective. She then wrote to the people on the lists how to write a good letter that would be filed. The tips on how to write letters were published in a fanzine. One estimate said a million letters were sent in. Herb Solow in his book claimed the Trimbles were hired to do this. This was not true. Bjo later went on to start Trek fandom by telling fans how to organize. The Trimbles explained how Trek helped getting Japanese fan Takumi Shibano to Worldcon. They asked Gene Roddenberry for some help. At Nycon 3, the 1967 Worldcon, there were boxes of stuff from Roddenberry. Items included the shirt William Shatner wore in “Amok Time”, scripts, the original series proposal, tribbles and Spock ears used by Leonard Nimoy. The auction was standing room only and made enough to being Shibano to next year’s Worldcon. The Trimbles told an interesting fact that many of miniatures used in King Kong were found underneath the Trek sets. Roger Sims asked Bjo about her time in the Navy. She was in the Navy in 1952. Bjo had almost been the base CO’s limo driver but broke the chain of command. She worked in the hobby shop for the remainder of her time in uniform. She never got use to snow and slipped and injured her ankle. This led to her discharge. She found about conventions from Analog. Went to her first convention in uniform. She met Harlan Ellison who gave her fashion tips and proposed to her. At the same convention she meet Roger Sims. Bjo then talked about her first meeting with Gene Roddenberry. She was doing a fashion show for Tricon, the 1966 Worldcon. She was limited on time and at the last minute someone asked to include some new costumes brought by a Hollywood producer. She at first refused but Gene took Bjo out for coffee. Roddenberry talked her into including the costumes. The models Gene had provided were pros and helped with the show. An audience member asked about Bjo’s cameo in the first Star Trek film. She appeared in the big rec deck scene with the whole crew of the Enterprise. John could not be in it due his beard and work. Fans came from all over to try out. The fans were very professional since they did not want to be blamed for delaying the film. The Trimbles also did mail campaigns to get the first Shuttle named Enterprise, convince Reagan to pursue the Strategic Defense Initiative, and support the International Space Station. Lora and Jennifer the younger members of the Trimble enclave felt they did not miss out on anything growing up in such a fannish environment. They have meet famous SF pros, actors and astronauts. It did cause some interesting incidents with school officials such as when Lora explained she was a princess (for SCA) in class. Bjo also felt that fandom helped her daughter Kathryn who was found to be retarded at age 4. The talk ended with Bjo explaining how MSN lost their chance to be the biggest SF source on the net, which then went to Genie.

                This year’s Masquerade had 44 entries. The master of ceremonies was John Hertz, Regency costumer and dancer. Many entries had wings this year. From the complex “Last of the Fallen Angels” which depicted a creature with bat like wings, to the fairy like wings as seen in “Cindy: Evil Fairy Godmother”. One group, the Mad Martian Cabaret, sent in five entries of futuristic entertainment. I only got to see 4 of them. “Delta Quadrant Diva” gave the audience an exotic signer and dancer with beautiful fairy like wings. Then came some elven Kan Kan dancers in “The Women of Venus”. The King came back in the form of Roswell alien head and Vegas Elvis costume in “Long Live the King”. “The Quasar Quartet”, an interesting assortment of exotic aliens gave the audience a barbershop quartet serenade. “Love Stinks” presented a very good recreation of Chuck Jones’ Pepe Le Pew. The children of the 80s got a warm squishy feeling watching a very good recreation of “She Ra Princess of Power”. The best in show was awarded to “Conference of the Species”, a gathering various non-humanoid races.

                    Joe Haldeman, Bard Lyau, Eleanor Wood, and John Maddox Roberts came to discuss Heinlein’s Little Brothers. Haldeman opened by saying all writers in the field must deal with Robert Heinlein, like him or not. Lyau went into history because of Heinlein’s Future History stories. Lyau went to write an article dealing with Heinlein’s place in American intellectual history. The article Heinlein liked and wrote Lyau telling him so. Maddox feels that Heinlein influenced all baby boomers. Many writers such as Spider Robinson, John Varley, and Orson Scott Card write in Heinlein’s style. At the same time Thomas Disch, Samuel R. Delaney, and Kim Stanley Robinson write in an anti-Heinlein style. Haldeman and Zelazny were in the middle ground. For Haldeman so much of what he read growing up was Heinlein he thought it was a brand name. When discussing the Starship Troopers movie, Wood said it help sell copies of the book. Verhooven, the film’s director, was more interested in parodying World War II movies than doing the book Haldeman said. He went on to say Heinlein did a more populist form of the superman, not like Nietzsche. Lyau agreed saying that Heinlein supported the competent rather than the superman. An audience member asked if technological changes would hurt Heinlein’s future readability. Haldeman thought Heinlein made his stories charming and would be rereadable. Roberts thought today’s kids might think a slide rule is magical. Haldeman gets interesting reactions from his MIT students when assigned Starship Troopers and Double Star. Wood said there are no new Heinlein materials although some unpublished letters on writing may one day be printed. Wood also said no writer would be allowed to write in his worlds.

                    Heinlein among others was also discussed in the History of Military SF. Susan Matthews, John G. Henry, C.E. Petit, and Dave Trowbridge attacked this topic. Militarism and war have been a part of SF since War of the Worlds and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Matthews pointed out that many SF pros and fans were in the military until recently. Trowbridge thought one explanation for the amount of military SF was the need to excise feelings since huge amount of destruction can be done without consequence. Henry asked how has SF affected the real military. He pointed out a lot of new ships have a bridge like the Enterprise. Matthews and Henry agree that books on nuclear holocaust affected defense and foreign policy. The panel then asked what makes military SF bad. Henry did not buy the big fleet battles in the 30s and 40s. Petite did not think the invincible weapon or defense story worked well. It makes it more interesting to have flawed weapons since it gives one problems to solve. He also did not like stories with bad commanders and smart subordinates who save the day. Trowbridge brought up the idea of a totalitarian society producing a superior soldier. History has proven such as in the Soviet Union that would not work. When asked for good examples of good military SF, the panel felt Starship Troopers the book was good whereas the film was bad. The film Henry said reflected Hollywood’s prejudices of the military. Trowbirdge cited Bujold’s Miles series. Matthews picked Watership Down because the alpha rabbit had to face the enemy himself. Petite did not like Starship Troopers because it neglected logistical issues. He went to discuss how the logistics are left out of a lot of military SF. Pournelle’s Falkenberg series was good in the area of ammo but bad in other logistical areas. An audience member asked why do we not see more of a buildup/lead into for war. Petite says not as interesting and more in the area of political SF. Henry followed on by saying that its hard to do due to hindsight problems. Petite felt it is always good to copy history for story material. Trowbridge agreed saying history is SF’s greatest weapon. Henry finished by saying the military SF may allow us to see people when they are the most interesting.

                    This year the Hugo ceremony came in at about two hours. The ceremony included the First fandom awards, the Seiun awards, and Cordwainer Smith awards. The First Fandom Hall of Fame Awards went to Sir Arthur C. Clarke and to Martha Beck (posthumously). Robert A. Madle won the Sam Moskowitz Archive award. This is awarded for a life’s work in collecting in the genre. Pat Sims won the E. Everett Big Heart award. R.A. Lafferty won the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery award. There and Back Again by Pat Murphy, “Reasons to be Cheerful” by Greg Egan and “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang won the Seiun award for best translated work. Then the Hugos came. After Jo Walton won the John W. Campbell award, Toastmaster Tad Williams made a speech discussing SF relevancy in a post 9/11 world. Connie Willis filled in for Ferdinand Feghoot who was to be the presenter for the Best Editor Hugo. She did a very long story involving Robert Blake, a poke at the dialogue in Attack of the Clones and very bad pun at the end. The award for Best Dramatic Presentation went to Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. Sean Astin who plays Sam Gamgee and Sala Baker who played Sauron accepted the award. Robert Silverberg presented for Best Novella. He condemned Connie Willis for torturing poor nominees by drawing out the presentation. He said that a good Christian should not do that. He then pointed out he was neither a good or bad Christian. Silverberg made some comments of the previous nominees and winners before presenting the award. The most interesting acceptance speech had to be from Neil Gaiman. Dressed in business suit, not in his usual leather jacket and black Armani shirt, he was surprised for winning Best Novel for American Gods. Gaiman had not prepared. He told how he had always wanted to talk to girls on a train when he was younger. At the same time he had wanted heat vision and a Hugo. Gaiman ended his speech with “Fuck I won a Hugo.”

                    Jim Mann, Michael Siladi, Andrew Adams, Elspeth Kovar, and Tammy Coxen discussed the challenges of Local and Regional Conventions. The first question addressed why did the members create a local convention. Siladi said that San Francisco had lost a Westercon bid and felt that a convention in the Bay area was missing. Kovar said that Disclave/Capclave filled a certain niche. Coxen advised people who want to start their own conventions to consult local established conventions. Siladi told people to do it as labor of love not for money. Adams agreed and said many cons start in the red. Kovar suggested to have a certain talent set such as people who know contracts and can deal with hotels. There also needs to be a mentoring program. Coxen said a good example of mentoring is next year’s conchair being assistant conchair for the current convention. A Swedish fan asked how to compensate guests. Adams responded that it varies from place to place. Further it depends on one’s budget restrictions and can be complicated by what others do. Mann explained most guests are not paid. The guest of honor traditionally gets a free room. Coxen said a convention in Chicago almost went bankrupt by giving away too many comp memberships. Siladi advised to aim and expect low. He went on to say to find the right size for facilities and staff. It may be needed to expand to prevent. Mann discussed how Boskone expanded and imploded. Boskone had lost its focus, its sense of continuity and control. Boskone regain its focused and became better. Mann said a convention should not to add items like anime, filk, or media just to add people. Adams felt at the same time one should work with people who want to bring in new tracks. He emphasized to keep control over these elements. This could lead to new recruitment but there are possible pitfalls. Siladi said one must do the other tracks to the size one is comfortable with. People who run these items must be part of the committee. If the individuals want the tracks to be bigger maybe a separate convention is in order. When asked how to make the convention bigger, Coxen felt that big name or media guests of honor will not necessarily bring in more people. Adams proved this by polling the audience asking them how many went to a con for a guest. There were no hands raised. Siladi warned that increasing people could cause an exponential rise in needed resources. Adams pointed out at some point a convention will fail and this is not a sin. The only sin is not learning from previous mistakes. Siladi said that one should not be afraid to fail but at the same time do not take unnecessary risks. The panel talked about the advantages and disadvantages of bidding for a floating convention like Westercon or DeepSouthCon. Adams thought it might provide local groups with insight on what they want to do in their conventions. Siladi points out that a disadvantage is if local factions fight each other. He went on to say to pick experienced people, use local resources and checkout conrunners conventions like SMOFcon. Coxen agree and added that one should try to avoid staying the same but at same time maintain the convention’s focus. Adams wrapped up by saying to keep it fun.

                    The closing ceremonies started, after a brief delay, with remarks from the guests of honor. Tom Whitmore thanked them and introduced them. Vernor Vinge said he had a good time and thanked everyone for making it a good convention. David Cherry had high standards for guest of honor treatment and felt they were meet. Bjo and John Trimble thanked the convention for letting them bring the Trimble enclave. Their daughter Lora told them that 1,078 inches of hair from 77 haircuts were donated to Locks of Love. Coincidentally $1078 dollars were also donated for Locks of Love. Lora reminded Tom Whitmore that he promised she could cut his hair at the next Baycon. David Gerrold came to explain why Ferdinand Feghoot was not there. The story included several puns. The Great Washed Masses from the opening ceremonies returned to spread the spirit of cleanliness. Tad Williams came out to inform the crowd of the Dead Dog party, to thank his wife, and the con members. He then introduced the con chairs. Kevin Standlee stated that he always hated Mondays and thanked all the people who had helped the convention. Tom Whitmore saw a lot of good things at the convention and he thanked the late Bruce Pelz, his mentor. GalaxyPress then gave the conchairs a Frank Franzetta piece of L. Ron Hubbard inspired art. The con chairs then asked the members of each division in the room to get up for a round of applause. They closed ConJose and handed the gavel to Peter Jarvis, con chair Torcon 3. Whitmore and Standlee then ran out and said they were free. Jarvis brought them back to give them their past Worldcon chair ribbons and their marbles back. Jarvis then screamed as he realized he was the Worldcon chair. He then announced the division heads and guests of honor for Torcon 3. All the Division heads were wearing hard hats. He announced a cash award would be given for the best Masquerade costume based on the works of George R.R. Martin, the writer guest of honor, works. He then pointed out that Canada meant village and Toronto meant meeting place. Jarvis thought he would have a Prisoner theme. He then went to do a Village People riff that was appropriate with the hard hats the Torcon staff were wearing. Jarvis hoped to build a good Worldcon for next year and warned that sleep deprivation made him susceptible to suggestion.

                    Other events I attended but did not write notes on due to fatigue included: The Theory and Art of Flirting (bad flirting techniques seem to be prevalent in both fandom and the mundane world), Why Does SF Erotica tend Toward the Dark Side? (late night, just tired too take good notes), and Writing Romantic Sci-Fi (I went to this because Catherine Asaro was on it and she does a good job combining Hard SF and romance). I also went to the fannish Christian service where Father John Blaker and Rev Randy Smith did a tag team service. At the request of Chris Barkley, I attended the WSFS business meeting on Saturday to vote on the splitting of the Dramatic Presentation Hugo. This issue has been in discussion for a few years and came to head Saturday morning. After some debate the matter came to a counted vote. The final vote was 96-26 in favor of splitting the category. There will be Dramatic Presentation Long and Short Form award. Ninety minutes is the dividing line between the two categories. Most interesting part of the debate is the reaction on next year’s Hugo coordinator Michael Nelson when asked if he the debate itself was eligible for the award and which one. He got up and left the room looking despondent. The matter will still cause some controversy especially since Men in Black II is less than 90 minutes and is eligible next year. So again big budget films go up against television episodes and we are back where the debate started.

The parties were held in the Fairmont Hotel. By Friday the elevators where overwhelmed and long lines materialized. The parties I have strong memories of are the Circlet Press 10th anniversary party, UK in 2005, Costumer’s Party and Japan in 2007. These mainly because of the conversations I had there such as with UK in 2005 where I found that the British no matter what their political affiliation still feel sore about the American Revolution. Others stuck in my mind because I knew people there or they had something unique to their party like sake at the Japanese party or the Masquerade tape at the Costumer’s party.

The Dealer’s Room felt small to me but it had plenty of stuff. I found a copy of Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s story collection Stories for an Enchanted Afternoon and Anthony Boucher’s Rocket to the Morgue (a 40’s mystery involving fandom in California). These books are hard to find in the big chains. I also finally picked up Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Threshold and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. I also a got a fairy print from Jacqueline Collen-Tarroly called Black Angel. The only disappointment was there were no anime dealers. I was looking for a specific title called Read or Die. I thought there would at least be one big anime dealer at a west coast Worldcon. The art show was great as always. It was kind of neat that patrons were on the honor system rather than checking in bags at the door. As far as I know there were no problems. The Internet Lounge ran well despite the fact it had no corporate sponsorship this year. The machines were mostly Linux boxes and they had a good connection speed. It was open 24 hours and there was usually a fair amount of people there most of the time.

            Special thanks go out to those helped make this convention enjoyable for me personally. To the members of OASFS, SFSFS, WSFA and the usual suspect of Worldcon attendees who always make the convention fun. Of these people Brad Ackerman deserves additional thanks for splitting a room with me. The same goes for Dave Ratti for taking some picture of me at the Fan Trap from the Tech Museum. To the Exotics (my Australian tour group), always great to see you guys each year. To Heather Stern and Jim Dennis, the heads of the Internet Lounge, for letting me continue my tradition of working at the Worldcon Internet Lounge. To Judi Goodman and Adam-Troy Castro for inviting me to their Worldcon engagement party. To Joe Siclari and Edie Stern who gave me some fun work setting up part of the Fan Exhibit. To Steven “Dillo” Okay from the Internet Lounge for helping with a Linux problem in the Fan Exhibit. To Dave Plesic and Patricia Russell who gave me feedback on the letters/reports I wrote to them daily from the Internet Lounge. To my roommate Arne Starr for giving the toll free number for Radio SciFi and helping me out on a problem I got into. To then Den Mother helpers in the Masquerade Green Room who helped me out when I was a bit distracted with a problem. To the Radio SciFi team who let me phone a report on the convention when it was off topic. Now on too partying with our brothers to the north at Torcon 3.


Return to Fan Writings