Torcon 3

 

                    Torcon 3, the 61st World Science Fiction Convention, was held on August 28-September 1, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  The Metro Toronto Convention Center had the dealer’s room, art show, exhibits, panels, Hugos and Masquerade.  The Opening and Closing ceremonies were held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The Internet Lounge and Programming ops were at the Crowne Plaza.  The guests of honor were George R.R. Martin (writer), Frank Kelly Freas (artist), Mike Glyer (fan), and Spider Robinson (toastmaster). The GoHst of Honor was Robert Bloch.    Peter Jarvis was the convention chairman.

                Well the bad first.  Programming was chaotic.  The pocket programs were sent to the printer before programming was finalized.  Daily updates were printed at the convention.  This seemed to be more of a problem for the programming participants.  The panels, readings and the signings I wanted go to happened.   Panels this year were about 50 minutes.  After previous years of having panels at longer lengths, this year’s panels seemed short.  The tracks were pretty good this year.  It was hard to decide to what to go to at times.

                Wanted: Privitization of Space was explored by Stephan Lopata, Karen Travis, Henry Spencer, and Elizabeth Klein-Labbik.  Lopata opened the discussion by saying Heinlein had it right that there has to be a visible profit for industry to go into space.  Klein-Lebbik, who worked in the satellite industry, points out there have been big successes and failures in the satellite business.  Lopata followed up by saying space is too expensive for a single corporation.  Consortiums are needed and some have started to form.   The issue of colonization was brought up.  Using history as a guide, Spencer said that commercial colonies did not work.  Successful colonies were started by refugees.  Lopata agreed and said colonizing the planets is more difficult since the resources needed to survive will have to be brought there.   Manufacturing in space is difficult due to the cost of getting into space and size of the facilities needed Klein-Labbik explained.  Spencer added that spacecraft are expensive due to tight weight limits and the demand for system perfection.  An audience member brought up the issue of debris in orbit.  Spencer said that more people are concerned with debris now.  He went on to say that this junk is a bad sign since it shows that these satellites and spacecraft cannot be repaired or salvaged.  Klein-Labbik pointed out there may interest get collecting debris since most of it is semi precious metals.   Spenser suggested that a one way trip to Mars may be feasible. Lopata added that politicians would get flack for sending people on a one way trip to Mars.  An audience member stated that other countries may be more inclined to take the risks.  Spencer said the motivation for Apollo program was the Cold War.  Now that the Cold War was gone so is our motivation.  Someone suggested with China sending a man in space soon this may inspire another Cold War race.  The panel said this is undesirable since in the United States individual freedoms were threaten during the Cold War.  The panel and audience discussed the merits and problems between the civilian and military GPS. Klein-Roberts felt that government must be the incubator for space development.  Though a breakthrough in technology would be a big help. Spenser warned of expecting a miracle.  New space vehicles must be built slowly with no shortcuts.  Travis stated that long term missions will be government sponsored and currently there is no incentive for private industry to go further than have in the past.

                Last year it was decided at Worldcon Business meeting to split the Best Dramatic Presentation (BDP) category.  BDP long is anything over 90 minutes and short is under.  It was originally intended to be split by medium (TV and film) but it was thought this split would prevent other media (slide shows, records, radio shows, or plays) from being nominated.   The Hugo coordinator can make a judgment call on borderline lengths. The question of whether The BDP Hugo Split…Will It Prevail was examined by Chris Barkley, Vincent Doherty, Peter Knapp, and Guy Lillian.  Lillian told the story of the origin of the BDP Hugo.  At the 1958 Worldcon at South Gate, CA Richard Matheson was the Guest of Honor.  The fans wanted to give him a Hugo but Matheson had not written anything in the last year but had worked on a movie called The Incredible Shrinking Man.  The committee created the category so Matheson could win a Hugo.  Lillian said he did the same thing in 1988 in convincing the Nolacon II committee to create a category so the graphic novel The Watchmen could win a Hugo.  Barkley explained how the BDP split came to be.  When film publicist Jeff Walker accepted the BDP Hugo for Contact, he said it was bad there was no TV Hugo.  This motivated Barkley to bring the issue up at next business meeting and set the wheels in motion for the split. Kimmel agreed the split was a good idea.  He did have a reservation about using time as a basis since this would put some short films like Lilo and Stitch in the short category.  The split may also confuse the fans as to what to nominate in each category.   Doherty actually thought it would have been a good to move to get rid off the BDP category altogether but changed his mind.  Doherty sees good reason for keeping the award but pointed out the category was oriented to American works.  This due to the fact that the majority of Hugo voters are American.  An audience member agreed and said that Doctor Who never got nominated.  Lillian saw that the films which make the most money tended to win.  It was pointed out there were a few surprises. Blade Runner beat out E.T. in 1983 and GalaxyQuest won over The Matrix in 2000.  Lillian felt for now the short BDP award now benefits Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  He continued by saying that in the future more shows will be nominated.   Lillian added fans are very conservative when it comes to the Hugos.  Barkley hopes the split will increase interest in the Hugos.  This could be used as a way to bring more media fans to Worldcons.   Someone in the audience suggested that it must made clear what goes in each category.  Summing up Lillian felt the great thing about the Hugos is that it is awarded by the readership.  Kimmel added we were in a Golden Age since SF projects are dominating film and TV.  Barkley hopes for fandom to get away from the image portrayed in the film Trekkies.   He hopes to attract new fans to the books.

                There was little seating for Opening Ceremonies.  Most people had to stand up.  This was due to the fact there was to be a reception after the ceremony.  First up was ConJose co chair Kevin Standlee.  He said it was a previlige for Tom Whitmore and himself to chair ConJose.  Whitmore was unable to come to Toronto.  Standlee then introduced this year’s chair Peter Jarvis.  A bell was heard and Jarvis came in with a procession of costumed fen.  Standlee gave Jarvis an honorary ConJose badge, number 10,000.  Every thousandth member got a gift.  Dave Clark gave Jarvis a toaster making him the toast of Toronto.  Jarvis reminded the audience of the facts that Canada means village, Toronto means meeting place and there was a green dome at the Royal York.  Jarvis reminded the audience of The Prisoner theme he had suggested at last year’s closing ceremonies.  He then welcomed the members to Toronto and introduced the toastmaster Spider Robinson.  Spider, after a brief monologue, introduced the guests of honor starting with George R. R. Martin.  Martin started off by correcting Spider on his Hugo count.  He went on to talk about his Worldcon memories and claimed to loss his youth in the Royal York at Torcon 2.  Robinson then introduced Frank Kelly Freas (although now he was looking at Martin after he announced each GOH’s Hugo count).  Kelly Freas was unable to come to Toronto due a hip injury.  Robinson asked the audience for a round of applause for Kelly Freas.  Mike Glyer was next and said File 770 was not named after a tax form.  He then said it was a humbling to be a Worldcon guest of honor. Robinson introduced the GoHst of Honor Robert Bloch. Bloch was a guest of honor at Torcon 1 and 2.  On the balcony Robert Bloch came out.  Bloch went on to say the afterlife was like a convention called Eternicon Infinity. He discussed what some his fellow decease writers were doing (although this was amusing I wish they could have gotten some who looked a little like Bloch to do this).    Then a group of filkers came out and sang out a welcome song discussing the recent woes of Toronto (blackouts and SARS).  The song was sung to the tune of “Ode to Joy”.  Jarvis returned to the stage and welcomed Ned McKeown, Torcon I chair. McKeown commented that the staff of Torcon 3 outnumbers the members of Torcon I.  GalaxyPress gave some art to Jarvis.  Jarvis declared the convention open with a bell and gaveled his head.

                Frederik Pohl, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Hal Clement and Shelia Williams came to Remember Isaac Asimov.    Pohl knew Asimov the longest.  They knew each other in high school.  Pohl got free malts at the Asimov’s store.  Both Pohl and Asimov were Futurians.  Pohl acted as Asimov’s agent after World War II.  Clement meet Asimov at M.I.T.  Clement had brought his students to hear Asimov lecture there.  At one dinner Clement, Asimov and another friend designed Mesklin, the world in Clement’s Mission of Gravity.  At one Worldcon, the room Asimov and Clement shared became a liquor depository due to fact neither of them drank.  Hull corresponded with Asimov while writing an article about The Gods ThemselvesHull said Asimov was a true gentleman and responded quickly to letters.  Williams meet him at a New York City Star Trek convention when she was 16.  Williams’ father had corresponded with Asimov.  At the convention Williams and her father got to sit at Asimov’s table during the banquet.  Pohl recalled the time Asimov and several writers were invited on a cruise to see the Apollo 16 launch.  Asimov spent most of his time typing in his cabin.  Pohl missed an excellent opportunity to photograph some the great writers of science fiction watching the launch from the ship.  Williams added that Janet, Asimov’s wife, tried to get him out of New York.  When he did leave he would usually come back with a story. Asimov still holds the record for most stories by a single author in Asimov’s.  Williams told the time Asimov promised the magazine a story which was being anthologized elsewhere.  Asimov’s had commissioned cover art for the story.  Asimov found out that a clause in the contract prevented the story to be reprinted elsewhere.  Hearing that art had been commissioned, Asimov then wrote another story based on the art.  While having dinner in the 50s, Clement found out Asimov had never seen Saturn through a telescope. Clement arranged for Asimov to go to his school’s observatory and see Saturn.  Asimov after viewing Saturn said “My God it does have rings.”  Asimov and Pohl had collaborated on some stories early in their careers.  When the stories were reprinted in their respective early collections, Asimov’s sold more than Pohl’s.  Later Pohl went to collaborate with Asimov again on an environmental book.  He hoped Asimov could lessen the load of producing the book.  Asimov unfortunately got ill and Pohl had to write most of it.  Clement got to help edit a science fiction children line.  He had replaced Asimov.  When Clement had to correct a science error in a book the editorial staff doubted him and called Asimov.  Asimov backed up Clement.  Williams said Asimov was easy to work with and admitted when he was wrong.  An audience member asked where Asimov got the bolo ties.  Pohl said he got them from Lester Del Rey.  Someone else asked about his fear of flying.  Pohl thought he got it from his time in the Army.  Williams felt it stemmed from a fear of heights.  The panel ended with a suggestion that Asimov and other writers be put on stamps.

                Heroines in Anime was interesting since the panelist disagreed with the premise of the panel described in pocket program.  The description in the program questioned whether there were true heroines in anime or did serve as fan service i.e. eye candy.  The panel consisting of Michelle Thomas, Kimberly Ann Kindya, Brian Chu, Winnie Hui, and Kent Bloom knew there are heroines in anime.  Admittedly there are some ditzy heroines in anime but by in large most of them could hold their own.  When the question of anime being more chauvinistic, Chu said this was difficult due to the cultural difference in Asia.  As for the women being eye candy, anime is fairer since there is a lot of eye candy for the women as well as the men.  Chu also pointed out that it is hard to say if there are true heroines in anime.  Most anime will have a male who is an equal or a superior hero to the female.  The panel went to discuss the major female characters in anime.  Some of the characters discussed included: Motoko Kunsage (Ghost in the Shell), Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop), Eddy (Cowboy Bebop), Fujiko Hime (Lupin III), Utena (Utena), Misa Hayase aka Lisa Hayes (Macross aka Robotech), Satsuke(X), Karen (X), Karou Kamiya (Rurouni Kenshin),  Kagome(Inuyasha)  and the females from the works of Hayao Miyazaki.

                The panel of Vampires, Goth and Sex also did not like their panel description.  So panelists Alexandra Elizabeth Honigsberg, Lisa Dumond, Lee Martindale, and Aynjel Kaye decide to ignore the description.  Goth tended to bring out many definitions Honigsberg noted.  Dumond asked if there was a relationship with Goth and necrophilia. Honigsberg said the only necrophilliac she knew was an executive she meet while doing some psychological work.  Goth, Honigsberg felt, as a literary genre explored themes such as mortality, good vs. evil, and hopelessness.  Mary Shelley is noted for starting this movement.  Martindale added that the literature dealt with romance with death.  Death is either coming or not in the works.  She added there was also an eroticism of death in Goth literature.   An audience member, an academic who specialized in the literary form, added there were also such images as the demon lover, femme fatale and forbidden fruit. An audience member said that Goth (literature and lifestyle) may be desensatizing the fear of death.  The panel discussed some attitudes teenagers had towards death.  In discussing the lifestyle Kaye said it should be about having fun and there are many variations.  Honigsberg felt the lifestyle could also be a way of exploring taboos.  Dumond stressed the need to separate the lifestyle from the literature.  The panel ended with a recommendation for the Van Helsing anthology coming out soon.

                The Future of War was attacked by Joe Haldeman, Paul Chafe, Charles Cohen, Patrick Maguire and Andrea Novin.  Chafe, a Canadian reservist, felt there is a need for a smarter soldier rather than developing long range weapons.  Haldeman says the U.S. overwhelms its enemies with firepower which is expensive.  This will continue as long as the U.S. is the only superpower.  The superpower status may have a half life of 10 years.  Cohen says the big area is developing systems to lose the fog of war.  Haldeman asked about an idea he heard about.  The idea was to develop a super soldier so that 4 men could take a town.  Cohen said it was being looked into but encountering problems.  The equipment is too heavy to carry and there is some politics involved.  An audience member asked about the idea of ecological warfare as presented in Samuel R. Delaney’s Triton.  Haldeman replied that he done some work with a think tank on the idea of non violent war.  Using a crop disease was one of the ideas discussed as well as corrupting computer systems and messing around with a nation’s economics.  Maguire stated that biological attacks are difficult to limit the battlefield.  Moreover the U.S. abandoned its research in bio warfare in the 70s although the Soviets/Russians continued.  When asked about the effectiveness of Agent Orange, Haldeman had seen it used and said it was effective but did ruin the land in some places.  The panel noted the U.S. tended to add more to its equipment.  Chafe noted this with armored vehicles. U.S. had too much stuff.  The Canadian version did not have as much due to cost.  Maguire also noted the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are getting bigger.   Haldeman pointed out with cell phones soldiers in the field were able to get needed help in Iraq.  This violated the chain of command but Haldeman felt the modern chain of command is now outdated.  Another idea discussed was an Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) attack. Chafe pointed out this could back fire easily.  Cohen said this was also a big area of research with no current solution.  The shield needed to protect equipment from an EMF attack is too big.  Maguire stated that not many nations could launch such an attack.  The question of how to fight a low tech army arose.  Chafe said low tech armies do not have fight in the open citing Bosnia as an example of this.   The U.S. Army in Vietnam could have won in the Gulf.  During the Vietnam War, the enemy structured the battlefield in a way which caused the U.S. equipment to fail.   Haldeman noted it was calculated to cost $5,000 to kill enemy solider in Vietnam.  Haldeman thought it might be better to use the money as a bribe.   Robotic weapons such as UAV would take humans of the equation.  Maguire pointed out some has to press the button.  Chafe said air power is irrelevant.  He pointed the United States had air superiority in Vietnam and still lost.   A member of the audience asked about the virtual medicine.  Cohen said the devices needed are too big.  They would also need good fidelity and feedback.   Haldeman said high tech war has lost money.  For the U.S. it costs 10 million dollars per soldier while the opposition spends about 50¢ per soldier.  Chafe agreed and said equipment can be a hindrance if it fails or goes buggy.  Haldeman say this problem is added by the male tendency to mess with mechanical stuff.  Chafe thinks information camouflage and overload will be a big problem.  There will never be another World War II but there will be conflict.  Haldeman hopes that some type of way to solve conflicts outside of culture will be found.  Novin stated war is always different and we do not learn from history.  We need to study history and be more flexible with policy.

                George R.R. Martin opened up his Guest of Honor speech by promoting his book GRRM: A Retrospective which was a collection of essays, scripts and other items of interest.  He then went to thank the convention for inviting him and the audience for attending.  Martin reminisced about the last Torcon, his second Worldcon.  He was not going to do a slans are fans speech nor would he do a state of the field speech.  The field was too big for any one person to define.  Martin said the speech would be about him.  He opened by describing Bayonne, New Jersey where he grew up.  The city was a Navy town and a resort.  It was also an urban city.  Despite its closeness to New York, Bayonne was its own city.  Both sides of his family had long ties to Bayonne.  His mother’s family was very prosperous.  Unfortunately the Depression had ruined the family business.  Martin knew little about his father’s childhood except that he was a marble champ.  Martin’s father was a World War II veteran who had served with some distinction in the Mediterranean. He was also an avid sports fan and gambler.  He once gambled on George’s ability at chess and won a lot of money.  After his parents married they lived at his great-grandmother who was a very intimidating.  Martin, due to where his family lived, grew up alone without other children.  This changed when his family moved into the projects.  There he made friends who would be his first audience for his stories.   He would stay there until he went to college at Northwestern.  Martin described his like of sunsets and autumn.  He said that his current Fire and Ice series was inspired by his own family history.  Martin hated the old adage of writing what you knew since he wanted to write about dragons and spaceships.  Bayonne would be an integral part of his Wild Cards character the Great and Powerful Turtle.  Martin said all of his characters are him in one facet. He then quoted Faulkner that the heart was the only thing worth writing about.   

                       For Us the Living, an unpublished book by Robert A. Heinlein, was the subject of Heinlein: Lost, Strayed, Misplaced and Found.  The history of the book would be told by Spider Robinson, Eleanor Wood, David Silver, Robert James and Arthur Dula.  James, a writer for the Heinlein Journal and researcher for a new biography on Heinlein, found the book while doing research at the estate of L. Sprague de Camp.  James had found the manuscript a week before Virginia Heinlein’s death.  Virginia died before she could give an opinion on the manuscript.  Virginia had been more open about discussing Heinlein’s private life.  Dula, Heinlein’s copyright lawyer, explained that Virginia had set up a trust for the Heinlein Award to help promote the commercialization of space.  The trust’s assets are the Heinlein estate and most the copyrights on Heinlein’s books.  Dula read the manuscript.  He had misgivings in publishing it but was impressed by it.  The book would have been controversial when it was written in 1939.  Dula saw the roots of Heinlein’s later works in it.  Dula sent it to Eleanor Woods, the agent of Heinlein’s estate.  Woods sated that four publishers had bid for the manuscript.  She added that the book has a lot of the Future History and a lot of Heinlein’s ideas on sexuality.  Robinson got to do the foreword on the book. Robinson stressed that the book is not a novel.  Robinson thought Heinlein wanted to fictionalize some lectures.  The writing in the book was crude and there was no World War II in the Future History in the book.  James added that this book is not for new readers but for Heinlein fans.  Robinson agrees since it shows Heinlein views in the late 30s.  Silver saw the roots of Heinlein’s libertarianism in the book.  Silver feels releasing the book could cause new studies in Heinlein much like what happened when Mark Twain’s letters were published.  James said the book was about a man killed and then resurrected in the future.  The 20th century man meets a woman and leans about the society.  James and audience members said it was similar to Beyond This Horizon.  He continued saying a lot of the ideas would used in other books.  There will be no polishing of the text with exceptions of spelling errors.  Silver said the book shows how Heinlein developed.  When asked why Heinlein never went back to the book, Silver thought it was because he got to busy to go back to it. He also felt Heinlein would liked to have finished the book since he hated unfinished business.  James said there are many unpublished Heinlein scripts and other material at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  Wood said there was a collection of Heinlein’s non fiction is in the works.  The book will be out by Thanksgiving by Scibners.  A member of the audience asked about Heinlein’s right to privacy and if it was being violated by publishing this book.  James said at some point an author’s life will go public.  He went on to say before her death Virginia was more open discussing Heinlein private life.  Dula said after death you cannot be libeled or slandered and scholars will be curious. James went on to say in Heinlein’s letters; Heinlein said he did not care what happened after his death.  Heinlein would not have placed his papers in a university if he was worried about his privacy.  James has written the afterward which was heavily edited. James learned about writing doing the afterward. Robinson was now scared since he needed to work on the foreword after the convention.  Silver finished by saying that he never felt Heinlein’s voice changed contrary to what many critics say.

                The 50th Hugo Award ceremony started with Spider Robinson doing some songs on his guitar.  Robinson discussed the state of the field.  The future is not what we had hoped it would be.  We need to look forward rather than backward.  Robinson felt we were on the verge of a renaissance.  He then described a viewing of 1992 Shuttle launch.  There Robinson saw a bunch of people give Dan Quayle the finger when he came over to view the launch.  He then read his description of the launch from Callahan’s Key.  Phillip Jose Farmer won the First Fandom Award and was accepted by Joe Haldeman who read a letter from Farmer.  Rusty Hevelin won the Sam Moskowitz collecting award.  Havelin was surprised when he got the award.  John Hertz, who thought he was just going to model a propeller beanie on stage, won the E. Everett Big Heart award.   Robert Sawyer and Greg Egan won the Seiun award best translated work.  Sawyer encouraged the Yokohama’s bid for Worldcon in 2007.  There was a moment of silence for those who had passed since last year.  This year Hugo was gold and had a rocket plume which resembled Canada’s maple leaf.    Mimosa won for best fanzine.  Richard and Nicki Lynch thanked all the contributors who had passed.  Sharon Sbarsky accepted the best artist Hugo for Bob Eggelton, she of course said the word cool and did the Eggleton hair flip.  When it came time for the best novel presenter George R.R. Martin did a Connie Willis presentation and stalled.  Martin mentioned that he had never won a Hugo for novel and lamented on that.  Martin called the novel Hugo the big one.  The award went to Robert Sawyer for The Hominids.  Saywer thanked J.K. Rowling for delaying the release of the 5th Harry Potter novel (the 4th Harry Potter novel beat Sawyer’s Calculating God).  Sawyer thanked a word count which prevented him from competing with Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.    Among those thanked was fandom.

                Sunday was interesting for it had a whole track devoted to Doctor Who in the afternoon.  This was sponsored by the Doctor Who Information Network based in Canada.  There was to be panel called Doctor Who: A Video Celebration but it was cancelled due lack of a VCRInstead the latest news on Doctor Who was discussed.  On the BBC web site there will be a fully animated ninth Doctor story to coincide with the 40th anniversary.  There are also some DVDs coming down the pike.  The DVDs will be restore episodes to their original broadcast quality.  Some of the DVDs will have the option to display updated special effects in some cases.  There are several audio adventures also coming out.  This includes some alternate reality what if stories.  Other actors such as David Warner and Derek Jacobi will play the Doctor in these audio stories.  Audio recordings of lost stories (many episodes of the 1960s were destroyed) will also be coming out.  Some of these recordings came from fans who taped the episodes when they were broadcast.  The current BBC controller would like to bring Doctor Who back but this problematic due to rights issue.  This was due to an attempt to do a Doctor Who feature.   No one knows who has the rights for the show.

                This year’s Masquerade had a total of 34 entries.  The masquerade opened with film footage Torcon 2. There was a Tribute to Canadian Costuming fashion show.  This occurred midway during the Masquerade.  “Morpheus Squared” consisted of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman from the story “The Ramadan” and The Dream Hunters.  When they encountered each other on stage they started dancing with each to the tune of Billy Idol “Dancing with Myself”.  “Arena” featured a reenactment of Captain Kirk’s battle from that episode except the Gorn was replaced by Godzilla. “Winter is Coming” depicted a bleak environment inhabited by some very detailed ice creatures.  Mike and Celia from Monsters Inc. were brought to life. The best in show this year was “Trumps of Amber”.   These master costumers which include Father John Blaker and Byron Connell depicted the royal family of Amber from Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber and their Trumps.  The fashion presented many good costumes by veteran costumers from Canada.  Costumes included Superman, Sponge Bob, Fantine and Christian from Moulin Rouge.

                Connie Willis, David Hartwell, and Eric M. Van discussed the life and work of Phillip K. Dick.  Hartwell was Dick’s editor at the time of his death.  Willis was fan of Dick and lives near his grave.  Willis says Dick’s vision of the future now dominates Hollywood.   This also includes movies not based on his books.  The Matrix has a Dick like feel to it.  Van also saw Dick’s influence in The Truman Show.  Van liked how Dick wrote about ordinary people at their jobs.  Hartwell felt Dick could be disturbing about the nature of reality.  His characters have to deal with reality.   Van felt that the endings of Dick’s stories were more upbeat than they appeared.   Van discussed the story “Faith in Our Fathers” which dealt with the government drugging the populace.  The story implies that society is simply an agreed upon collective reality.   Van felt Dick’s description as a paranoid schizoid inaccurate.  Most schizophrenics cannot be convinced of anything.  Dick however could be convinced of anything and dismiss a day later.   Hartwell said Dick was treated for his pathologies.  Van felt he may have had a neurological disorder.  Willis said these actions may have hurt Dick’s reputation.  Hartwell said Dick had tendency to lie.  Dick would lie to get someone off the phone before the mail came.  He was very anxious for the mail since it could contain work and payment.  He also fabricated drama in his life.  Willis thought Dick had interesting take on traditional SF tropes.  Dick took into consideration the psychological aspect of those tropes.  Hartwell saw Dick as the Bob Dylan of SF.  Unfortunately Dick was not well respected while he was alive.  Dick did not go to conventions much due to agoraphobia.  Hartwell brought up the time Dick spoke to him for four hours outlining the novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.  Willis hopes movies will attract Dick new readers.  Unfortunately Hollywood changes the ending thinking the public cannot handle it.  The panel said there are biographies available on Dick and more being written.

                Janice Gelb, Linnea Dodson, and Adrian Bedford debated Internet: Social Enabler or Disabler. Gelb thought paper communication still has its place.  She added that responding quickly can have its disadvantages.  Gelb also said that large, pre-Internet conventions had to budget for large phone bills.  Other problems with the Internet included people who do not frequently check their email can feel left out.  Gelb talk about how she almost got nominated for governor of California.  In the space of a few hours, she found out $800 was raised in pledges for registration (Gelb declined the nomination).  An audience member brought up the fact that computers can isolate people.  Gelb answered that by saying there have always been individuals like that.  Dodson explained how she meet the people she hanged out with on her trip through the Net.  Using Instant Messenger (IM), Dodson was able to get information on who was safe and who was not.  Gelb said that could have also been done in print.  She recommends the audience to read The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-Line Pioneers. Another audience member suggested that the Internet can be used to make politicians more answerable to policy.  Bedford pointed out that antiwar protests in San Francisco and even in the former Yugoslavia were organized over the Internet.  Gelb saw a possible dark side to the flash mob phenomenon (flash mobs spontaneous gatherings of people organized completely through IM or email). An audience member wished there was an Internet when she was growing up due to a dysfunctional home life.   Dodson said she liked AOL since it has good accessories.  Gelb explained that AOL brought everyone to the Internet, before it was just the geeks.  She added that the Internet is great for shut ins and the people should moderate and police themselves on the Internet.

                The Closing ceremonies opened with Peter Jarvis’s wife singing a song looking for him.  Jarvis came in with a fife and bugle band followed with guests of honor (Spider Robinson was not there because he was being interviewed by Locus at the time).  Jarvis thanked the guests of honor including Robert Bloch.  Mike Glyer was ecstatic to be a guest of honor.  He explained how his daughter had a hard time understanding the idea of Canada when explaining where he was.   Jarvis thanked Frank Kelly Freas and hoped everyone had a chance to sign the book in the Art Show.  The book will be presented to Kelly Freas after the convention.  Jarvis went on to thank George R.R. Martin for doing more panels than usual for a guest of honor.  Martin wanted to party specially since he missed Keith Kato’s Chile party.  Martin then thanked the committee.  He had the opportunity to see friends he had not seen in awhile and made new friends. Thanked his handler Mike Glicksohn.  Noreascon 4 committee had a present for Martin.  Since Martin had said during the Hugos had not won the Big One (the novel Hugo), they got him a very large rocket.  Martin held the rocket triumphantly over his head.  The guests left. GalaxyPress gave Jarvis a Frank Franzetta painting.  Jarvis thanked everyone connected with the convention and asked for help with tear down.    Then The Prisoner theme started to play.  Jarvis passes out and awakens in a strange meeting room with prior Worldcon chairs and next year’s chair Deb Geisler.  Geisler declares herself as number 62 and Jarvis is number 61.  Jarvis declares “I am not number, I am free fan.”  Then the prior con chairs began to laugh.  Jarvis then brings the gavel down on and rings out Torcon 3 with same bell he used to start it.  Jarvis hands the gavel to Deb Geisler and runs out of the room.  Geisler had hoped the guests of honor could be at Torcon but with the exception of Jack Speer none of them could make it. The Noreascon 4 committee then came to the stage to the opening theme of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  Geisler had a hard time deciding what to do for the closing ceremony.  She and the committee decided to do no singing, dancing, swaying, or acting.  Geisler hopes everyone will come next year to Boston.  The committee marched out under the banner with a lobster on it and threw out lobster toys to the audience.

                Parties were held on the first and second floor of the Royal York.  LA in 2006 was the most elaborate party.  They had prop doorways of a futuristic space camp which seemed to go with there space scout theme.  Yokohama in 2007 party was pretty cool and I got my traditional taste of sake.  The Volunteer party and the Dead Beaver party were well organized.  The dance on Friday night was also put together well.  The DJs played the convention dance standards like “Time Warp” and “Doctor in the TARDIS” and good SF/Fantasy related songs like Oingo Boingo “Dead Man’s Party” and Duran Duran’s “Electric Barbarella”.   The Internet Lounge did a great a job providing the convention with a link to the outside world.  The Lounge was placed in the Crowne York and accessible through out the convention.  Went to more readings this year.  The readings I attended were Connie Willis, Catherine Asaro, Neil Gaiman and Adam-Troy Castro. 

                As always there are people who help make Worldcon a great experience. Thanks to the members of OASFS, SFSFS, WSFA and the usual suspect of Worldcon attendees who always make the convention fun. Thanks to Colin McGregor for running a great Internet Lounge and letting me keep the tradition of working every Worldcon Internet Lounge.   Thanks to Brad Ackerman for rooming with me which aided me in cash strapped situation.  Special thanks to Dave Ratti who helped me get my Callahan’s Bar universe collection signed.  Thanks to Exotic Erotic, my Australian tour group, it is always great to see you guys. Thanks to Den 5 at the Masquerade Green Room, you were great to work with.  Thanks to Beth Lyman who took a shift at the Lounge to keep it open while I got some sleep.  Thanks to Dave Plesic and Patricia Russell who gave me feedback on my daily Worldcon reports.  Now its time to get ready and head off to one of the great hubs of fandom, Boston for Noreascon 4.

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