Meeting of August 5, 1983, at the StarCall Convention. Alexis Gilliland presiding.
The meeting was called to order at the usual time. As both the secretary and the treasurer were absent, the minutes and the treasury report were waived.
ENTERTAINMENT: Brings you StarCall!!!
OLD BUSINESS: Zip!!!
NEW BUSINESS: Ditto!!!
The meeting was unanimously adjourned with the usual clamor.
Meeting of August 19, 1983; at Oliver's, Alexis Gilliland presiding.
The meeting was called to order at 9:15. As the secretary was not present at the StarCall Convention meeting, the minutes were waived. The treasury stood at $4,939.41. Dues are due and payable.
PUBLICATIONS: The August Journal was handed out. After a short discussion it was decided that:
ENTERTAINMENT: Alexis, reporting for Doll, stated that "there will be a convention in about 10 days. I don't know what she meant by that." Unanimous agreement.
OLD BUSINESS: Zip!!!
NEW BUSINESS: Ditto!!!
The meeting was adjourned at 9:24.
Meeting of September 2, 1983; during rehearsal of "Inside 2001" at Constellation. Alexis Gilliland presiding.
The meeting was called to order at 7:01. The minutes were waived - although the secretary valiantly tried to read them. As the treasurer was absent, his report was waived as were the Membership and Publications Committees.
ENTERTAINMENT: Brings you Constellation!!!
OLD BUSINESS: Zip!!!
NEW BUSINESS: Bob MacIntosh asked where we would be having the September Fifth Friday Party. Alexis volunteered his abode and was accepted.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:02.10.
Meeting of September 16, 1983; at Oliver's. Alexis Gilliland presiding.
The meeting was called to order at 9:15. The minutes were approved as read. The treasury stood at $4,944.41. Treasurer Bob Oliver reports that only 60% of WSFA members have paid their dues. C'mon people, Pay Up!
MEMBERSHIP: No new members were taken in.
ENTERTAINMENT: "ConStellation was a real blast!" noted Alexis Gilliland.
CONSTELLATION: Chairman Mike Walsh reported that it went over very well and "Everyone wants us to 'Do It Again!'" (An anguished cry of "No, No!!!" was heard from Rosa Oliver.) Mike's recommendation: "Well, ... in another nine years!" At this point he estimates that a minimum of about 6500 warm bodies attended the convention; probably more when the final tally comes in.
DISCLAVE '83: Alan Huff, Disclave '83 Chairman, says that somewhere between $2300 and $2500 will be handed in to WSFA by the second meeting in October at the latest.
DISCLAVE '84: Chairwoman Jane Wagner announced that: 1) Connie Willis will be the Guest of Honor, 2) there will be a Disclave '84 meeting downstairs after the WSFA meeting is over, and 3) she asked if she could have some WSFA money with which to purchase various items such as pens, easels, etc. from ConStellation. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided unanimously that $1500 be set aside from the WSFA funds for Jane to draw upon as needed for Disclave '84.
OLD BUSINESS: Zip!
NEW BUSINESS: Ditto.
The meeting deteriorated at 9:40.
The following were elected to the Standing Committee: 1) Three Year Terms: Donald Eastlake III, Leslie Turek, George Flynn; 2) Two Year Terms: Ben Yalow, Jim Gilpatrick, Kent Bloom (Congratulations - I Think!); and 3) One Year Terms: Craig Miller, Willie Siros, Rick Katze -- plus one each to be named by Chicon, L.A. Con, ConStellation and Aussiecon.
Also, the Business Meeting created a committee to study site selection processes and the rotation of the Worldcon site. This committee is to report to L.A. Con II. On the committee is Chair Stuart C. Hellinger, Mary Morman (Congratulations - again, I Think!), Craig Miller, Ben Yalow and Mark Evans.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The fanzine Hugo amendment, passed last year, was ratified! It states:
Any generally available non-professional publication devoted to SF or fantasy which has published four (4) or more issues, at least one of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and which in the previous calendar year met at least two (2) of the following criteria; (1) had an average press run of at least 1,000 copies per issue, (2) paid its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication, (3) provided at least half the income of any one person, (4) had at least 15% of its total space occupied by advertising, or (5) announced itself to be a semiprozine.
Any generally available non-professional publication devoted to SF, fantasy, or related subjects which has published four (4) or more issues, at least one of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and which does not qualify as a semiprozine.
Next year's Disclave, chaired by Jane Wagner, will have as its GOH Connie Willis and "Ghost of Honor" Eric Blair. It will take place at the Sheraton New Carrollton Hotel on May 25-28. So far the following are on the ConCommittee: Peggy Rae Pavlat - Programming, Bob Oliver - Art Show, Beverly Brandt - Registration, Bob MacIntosh - Treasurer, Publications - Barry Newton, Gaming - John Sapienza, and Medical - Rosa Oliver. If you're interested in joining the staff, please write out which job you're interested in and give it to Jane ASAP. Weapons will not be allowed at any time; even at the Friday Night Costume Party/Sock Hop!!! For the time being, meetings will be held in the basement of the Olivers' house after every WSFA meeting there. Other meetings will be announced as needed.
SC. #2a: ConCom Denial: The ConStellation Committee denies that they are using homing sparrows to relay messages from the first floor to the third floor. The bird is not registered with the con. What the hey - at least it's not a cow.
SC. #2b: Explanation For Committee Members Wearing Headsets: (in Russian accents): "Cap'n, they put things in our ears to control our minds!"
SC. #4: Personals: To the gentleman who was given the key to use the shower in the WOMEN'S crash room (due to clerical error): Enjoyed meeting you as I was coming out of the shower -- if you would drop me a line in the next Scuttlebutt as to where you are showering next, I'll return the favor(?) This time I'll be wearing my glasses!
SC #7: Femfen Register Protest: Beth Gwinn and Maurine Dorris protest the lack of scantily clad men at ConStellation. "We spent all Friday night roaming the halls and only found two! We hope this will change with Saturday Night!"
SC. #8: Personals: From the gentleman who was given the key to use the shower in the WOMEN'S Crash Room: return the favor to 620, with glasses, without towel.
SC. #10: Bill Rotsler is distressed at the ineffectual attempts at flirtation directed toward him by a femmefan at the convention and has offered to personally conduct seminars to teach femmefen how to attract and please men through flirtation. Please contact Mr. Rotsler for time and place of seminars.
Brought Forward as of June 1, 1983 . $5,352.16 Received: Dues .............. $219.00 ConStellation Memberships ..... 160.00 Interest ......... 64.76 $443.76 + 443.76 $5,795.92 Paid Out: Food & Beverages ... $665.36 Printing & Publications ..... 172.15 Movie Party ........ 14.00 $851.51 - 851.51 On Hand as of August 31, 1983 ..... $4,944.41
for those of you who are interested, the following is a list of the rankings of the Hugo nominees. "No Award" finished last in all categories and is omitted.
BEST SHORT STORY:
BEST NON-FICTION BOOK:
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST:
BEST PROFESSIONAL EDITOR:
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION:
BEST FAN ARTIST:
BEST FAN WRITER:
JOHN CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER:
WINNERS OF OTHER AWARDS THAT WERE HANDED OUT INCLUDED:
FIRST FANDOM AWARD: Manly Wade Wellman
BIG HEART AWARD: Bob & Peggy Rae Pavlat (CONGRATULATIONS!)
1985 WorldCon: Melbourne, Australia will be the site for the convention and will take place August 22-26. Pro GOH: Gene Wolfe and Fan GOH: Ted White (Congratulations!!!) For $15 more all voting memberships can be converted to attending memberships if paid by Dec. 31, 1983. New memberships are $40 for Attending, $25 for Supporting.
1985 NASFIC: Austin, Texas will hold this convention. It won out over its competitors by polling 393 votes to 132 for Detroit and 69 for Columbus. The First Occasional Lone Star Science Fiction Convention and Chili Cook-Off, as the Texans have nicknamed it, will have as Pro GOH: Jack Vance and Richard Powers, Fan GOH: Joanne Burger and Toastmaster: Chad Oliver. Those of you who paid the voting fee now have an attending membership. New attending memberships are $20 until year's end.
Best In Show: John Jordan for the leatherwork in "The Female Warrior".
Other Workmanship Awards: Kathy Sanders for "King & Queen of Wands". Lynn Langer for helmet & blaster of "Death Star Guard". Kelly Turner for beading on "Turn of a Friendly Card". Karen Turner for applique on "Turn of a Friendly Card". Len Kamenski for armor and sword of "Elric the White Wolf". Maita Zensen & Jane Cordingly for fire lizard on "Journeywoman Harper". John Flynn for the beast in "Forbidden Rendezvous". Gary Cooper for the armor in "The Black Knight".
Honorable Mention Workmanship Awards: Geraldine Sylvester for wings of "Bird of Paradise". Wendy Ross for headpiece of "Princess Ardala". Margaret Howes for patchwork on "Patchwork Girl of Oz". Susan Evangelidi for mask of "Martian Chronicles Martian". Mary Ann Meyers for applique and beading on "Turn of a Friendly Card". "Bomber" for armor of "Half Orc" Alexandria Hines for "Memory of the Dark & Changing Moon". Jane Cordingly for cross stitch on tunic of "Free Amazon". Brian Boskind for "Zombie". Rusty Dawe for the wands from "King & Queen of Wands". Dusty Jones for the red shoes of "Dorothy Gale".
YOUNG FAN AWARDS: Rachel Bob for "A Pegasus" - Best Costume Made by Contestant. Jeremy Bob for "Green Arrow" - Best Comic Book Character. Amber Dionne for "Little Fuzzy" - Best SF. Genevieve Harrigan, Melissa Pearce, Judy Pearce for "The 3 Thumblinas" - Best Group Presentation. Alicia Lewis for "Queen Maeve" - Best Design by Contestant. Richard Shamensky for "Obi-Wan Jr." - Best Presentation. Mark Weaver for "Luke Skywalker & Jedi Mother" - Most Charming.
NOVICE DIVISION AWARDS: Sue Abramovitz, Don Cook, Eric Foskett & Kathy Hilbers for "King Arthur's Family" - Most Beautiful. Karl Hopf for "Hygorian Nomad" - Best B.E.M. Diane Jordan for "The Female Warrior" - Most Audacious. Valerie Matthews, Jon Callas, Tom Melton, Ginnie Fleming, Dutch Dunham, Brenda Dunham for "The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal" - Most Humorous. Nola Yergen for "Unicorn Witch" - Most Original.
Best In Class: Julie Zetterberg for "The Empress of the Universe".
JOURNEYMAN DIVISION AWARDS: Jim Bergstrom for "King Acroyear" - Best Comic Character from Another Medium. Paul Cullen & Tom Mundy for "The Smurf Hunters" - Most Appreciated. Alexandria Hines for "Menwy of the Dark & Changing Moon" - Most Beautiful. Len Kaminski for "Elric the White Wolf" - Most Authentic. Eve Schwingel, Thalia St. Louis, Sherry Katz & Gretchen Van Dorn for "The Seasons In Review" - Most Humorous.
Best In Class: John & Dorsey Flynn, Daniel Coggins, and John Garrity for "Forbidden Rendezvous".
MASTER DIVISION AWARDS: Kathryn Mayer, Patti & Philip Mercier for "The Time Tripper" - Most Beautiful & Inventive. Kathy & Drew Sanders for "King & Queen of Wands" - Most Graphic. Karen & Kelly Turner, David & Mary Ann Meyers, Dianne & Rusty Dawe, Nathalia Quirk & Brian Mix for "Turn of a Friendly Card" - Most Beautiful Presentation. Janet M. Wilson for "Sunrise of Mercury" - Most Beautiful Solo.
Best In Class: Barb Schofield, Martin Miller, Caroline Julian, Richard Hill, Barb Dixon, Serge Mailloux, Byron Connell, Elysia Garver, David E. Schnyer for "The Demon Lords of Darkness".
RECREATION DIVISION AWARDS: Greg Canter for "Robert" - Best Comic Character. Sara Berger for "Winnowill" - Best Commic Character. Susan Evangelidi for "The Martian" - Best TV Presentation. Wendy Ross for "Princess Ardala" - Most Beautiful. Debra Hicks & Kenneth Hillyard for "Raven & Captain Marvel" - Best Marvel/D.C. Team-Up. Lynn Langer & Brian Storck for "Death Star Guards" - Star Wars (TIE). B. Krebbs, T. Knapp, A. Varesano & J. Yasner for "Return of the Jedi" - Star Wars (TIE). Londo Massey, Richard Willett & Bruce Rauscher for "Wee Quay, Pig Guard & Luke Skywalker" - Star Wars (TIE).
Best In Show: Matthew Brady for "Godzilla".
CONTESTANTS' CHOICE AWARD: "The Turn of the Friendly Cards" - K. Turner & Co.
HALL COSTUME AWARDS: Pat Cash (Treasure); Julie Zetterburg (Arts & Sciences Space Cadet); Lee Neville (White Feathers); Sharon Landrum (Black Feathers); Kenneth W. Hillyard (Fantastic Four); Adrienne Martine-Barnes (Isis); Suford Lewis (Regency Lady, maker Peggy Kennedy); Linda Lasar (Jesterette); Sarah La Rocca (Cavalier Woman); Christine Y. Bune (Chaotic Evil); GROUP: Bob Giglio (Cavalier 1630) & Debbie Goldenberg (Renaissance Wench) & Lori Ravencraft (Lady-in-Waiting); Barbara Cross (Medieval Lady), Tom Wells (Fleet Leftenant Thomas Bastable); Stephanie L. Spearman (Kazl, Kiliri, Barahli); Maureen Garrett (Lady Elizabeth - Regency); Kathy Sanders (Futuristic Evening Gown); Holly McStravick (Ebony Noir); Pedro Godfroid (Flamenco Dancer), Patricia Munson-Siter (Darkover Lady); Ed Pearson (Inner Planet Tour Guide); Dave Wood (Wookie); Roy M. Guzzo (Princess Leia); Robert Hemmels (Solomon Kane); Drew Sanders (Regency Gentleman); L. Sprague & Catherine De Camp (King Lorian & Queen Lestrides); SOMTOW SUCHARITKUL (Hugo Loser!?!); Bruce Rauscher (Luke Skywalker); Leah Rosenthal, Carol Dougherty, Mary A. Otten, Michele Rosenthal, Linda Sneed (Echo Force); Marjii Ellers (Peter Marriot); Yvonne & Lloyd Penny (Crabs Nebulus); Rusty Westaeld (Tyrus); (unspecified characters) Karl Hopf, Alexandria Hines and Kevin Maguire.
(Courtesy of Moonstone Bookcellars, Inc. Key: H - Hardback, P - Paperback & T - Tradepaperback.
Adams, Douglas: "Life, the Universe & Everything" - $3.50 (P)
Alexander, Lloyd: "The Kestrel" - $1.95 (P)
Anderson, Poul: "Time Patrolman" - $2.95 (P)
Anthony, Piers: "Dragon on a Pedestal" - $2.95 (P)
"Incarnations of Immortality Book 1: On a Pale Horse" - $12.95 (H)
"Refugee" - $2.95 (P)
Asimov, Isaac: "Murder At the ABA" - $2.75 (P)
"Robots Collection" - $17.95 (H)
"Robots of Dawn" - $15.95 (H)
w/Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh (Eds.):
"13 Horrors of Halloween" - $2.95 (P)
w/Martin H. Greenberg & George Zebrowski (Eds.):
"Creations: The Quest for Origins in Story and Science" - $16.95 (H)
Asprin, Robert: "The Face of Chaos" - $2.95 (P)
Bischoff, David: "Mandala" - $2.50 (P)
Campbell, Ramsey: "Incarnate" - $14.95 (H)
Chant, Joy: "The High Kings" - $24.95 (H)
Coville, Bruce: "Spirits and Spells" - $1.95 (P)
Crowley, John: "Little, Big" - $3.95 (P)
Daniels, Les: "The Silver Skull" - $2.50 (P)
de Rico, Ul: "The Rainbow Goblins" - $12.95 (H)
Dixon, Dougal: "After Man: A Zoology of the Future" - $9.95 (T)
Donaldson, Stephen: "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" - $23.00 (T - boxed set)
Edwards, Malcolm & Holdstock, Robert (Eds.): "Realms of Fantasy" - $17.95 (H)
Ellison, Harlan: "Again, Dangerous Visions" - $10.95 (T)
Ende & Manheim: "Neverending Story" - $15.95 (H)
Farmer, Philip Jose: "A Barnstormer in Oz" - $2.95 (P)
"Gods of Riverworld" - $14.95 (H)
Grant, Charles L. (Ed.): "Shadows 6" - $11.95 (H)
Greene: "Nostradamus: A Novel" - $3.95 (P)
Haldeman, Joe: "Worlds Apart" - $14.95 (H)
Hintze, Naomi: "Ghost Child" - $2.75 (P)
Koontz, Dean: "Phantoms" - $3.95 (P)
Kurten: "Dance of the Tiger" - $3.95 (P)
Lanier, Sterling: "Menace Under Marswood" - $2.95 (P)
Martin, George R.R.: "Songs the Dead Men Sing" - $35.00 (H)
Murphy, Shirley R.: "The Joining of the Stone" - $2.25 (P)
Norton, Andre: "The Jargoon Pard" - $2.50 (P)
Norwood, Warren G. & Mylius, Ralph: "The Seren Cenacles" - $2.95 (P)
Robinson, Spider: "Telempath" - $2.95 (P)
Rucker, Rudy: "The Sex Sphere" - $2.75 (P)
Silverberg, Robert (Ed.): "The Nebula Awards" - $16.95 (H)
Silverberg, Robert & Greenberg, Martin H. (Eds.): "Fantasy Hall of Fame" - $16.95 (H)
Smith, L. Neil: "Lando Calrissian & the Flamewind of Oseon" - $2.50 (P)
Spinrad, Norman: "Staying Alive" - $5.95 (T)
Stewart, Mary: "The Wicked Day" - $16.95 (H)
Sucharitkul, Somtow: "The Throne of Madness" - $2.95 (P)
" Fire From the Wine Dark Sea" - $6.95 (T)
Vardeman, Robert: "Mutiny On the Enterprise" - $2.95 (P)
Williamson, Jack: "Manseed" - $2.75 (P)
9/12 Jane Wagner
9/29 Alan Huff
10/5 Steve Smith
10/11 Lou Benzino
10/16 Warren Rodgers
10/17 John Sapienza
10/17 Mike Walsh
10/18 Jeff Schalles
10/19 Mark White
10/30 Lee Smoire
The WSFA Journal is the monomaniac monthly newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association. Editor-in-Chief: Beverly L. Brandt, 3326 Lauriston Place, Fairfax, VA 22031 Tel. No.: (703) 573-8230. Assistant Editor & In-House Artist: Warren Rodgers
Yes, I've decided to join the Otherworlds Club for SF/Fantasy readers. Please enter my name in the Waldenbooks Otherworlds Club. I understand I'll be entitled to all the privileges and special programs offered to members.
City ____________________ State ____________________ Zip ___________
Savings are good only for paperback books and games in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Section, from the publishers listed below.
Ace/Avon/Ballantine-Del Rey/Bantam/Berkley/Donning-Starblaze/Dungeons & Dragons/Nal-Daw/Pocket-Timescape and Tor.
Qualified Science Fiction and Fantasy publishers include Ace/Avon/Ballantine-Del Rey/Bantam/Berkley/Donning-Starblaze/Dungeons & Dragons/Nal-Daw/Pocket-Timescape and Tor.
Additional qualifying books/games/publishers may become eligible. These will be listed in Xignals, the official Otherworlds Club Newsletter.
AN IMPERIAL GUARD out of Star Wars was just leaning over to kiss Maid Marian when a mostly nude and very stunning Princess Ardala strolled by, protected by Indiana Jones. Green Lantern stopped to stare, as did Severian the Torturer, and even a handsome well-groomed young man in a business suit whose name tag read "Remington Steele." Only Darth Vader refused a glance as he lumbered down the escalator. Perhaps he had his eye on a Muppet, or a belly dancer, or that rival Vader in the corner.
Going to a world science fiction convention is a little like wandering into the thieves' den of Jabba the Hutt: the sights alone are worth the trip. But there's a lot more, too. Over Labor Day weekend Baltimore hosted ConStellation, the 41st of the annual gatherings of the science fiction family. A big family, admittedly: some 6,000 readers, writers, and editors thronged Harborplace and the convention center to praise, argue, and gripe about science fiction.
This year an admirer of Stand on Zanzibar could sit down and talk with Guest of Honor John Brunner about its structure. "Stole it all from John Dos Passos," the sleek, dapper Englishman would cheerfully answer. In the Hyatt bar a computer hacker, a middle-aged scientist, and a fan of Dr. Who could argue over the greatest American sf writer. Is it Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein, both of whom have dominated the field for nearly four decades and are again up for Hugo awards? Or is it the late Philip K. Dick, to whom a memorial retrospective was devoted on Saturday afternoon? "Blade Runner was terrific," chimes in a passing young woman wearing a black eye patch, "but Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [Dick's original novel] was a whole lot more." Another woman in her thirties, sporting a T-shirt emblazoned "Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society," leans across a waxy green plant. "Gene Wolfe is a greater artist than all of them." Momentary silence. Then the computer hacker answers flatly: "Wolfe's too elliptical; besides is The Book of the New Sun really science fiction? Wolfe calls it science fantasy. I don't know that it really should be thought of as sf proper." "Well, then, how do you define sf?" And off we go.
Such discussions go on constantly, from serious formal panels in the afternoon to rowdy bull sessions in hotel suites at 4 o'clock in the morning. At ConStellation, generals and sf editors debated space militarization. Test pilot Chuck Yeager talked about "the Right Stuff." Jim Henson fielded questions about the Muppets and the world of the Dark Crystal. Two Soviet authors described sf in Russia. The Lost Gonzo Horror Panel--including Alan Ryan, Tanith Lee, Dennis Etchison, Karl Edward Wagner, and Doug Winter--tried to choose the worst horror movie ever. Contenders included They Saved Hitler's Brain and Two Thousand Maniacs Can't Be Wrong. As one panelist dryly noted, "Close-ups of scalpings of women--this is what horror is all about." Another afternoon, George R.R. Martin directed a discussion of Space Opera, what many non-readers wrongly think sf is all about: robots carrying off platinum Jean Harlows with heroic Tom Corbetts going to the rescue, along the way saving the universe from an attack of the Bug-Eyed Monsters from Dimension X. Other programs focused on the history of fandom, sf art, space science, academic criticism, humor, computers, comic books, genetic engineering, pornography, planetary exploration, the fiction of the past year.
In fact, this year's "con" seemed especially filled with controversy. In his guest of honor speech Brunner proclaimed that sf had flourished on a faith in science and technology; but nowadays anyone could see that these bad brought not the stars, hut industrial pollution, overpopulation, Love Canal, radiation poisoning, deforestation and the threat of nuclear destruction. Hence the dark vision of his own novels (especially, The Sheep Look Up) and his long-term political involvement in disarmament: "We have lost our innocence." By contrast, Dave Kyle--the guest of honor representing fandom--called for a return to more fan involvement in the field, and for a science fiction that again promoted moral values, optimism, and lofty ideals. Which qualities, oddly enough, precisely characterized Soviet science fiction as described by comrades Ossintseva and Parnov.
At more zany talks, J.J. Pierce asserted that in their latest books Frank Herbert and Robert Heinlein had taken to "acting like Khalil Gibran." John Shirley, doing his Don Rickles routine, lashed out that fans were "all badly in need of analysis" and that sf novels were "sleazy, disgusting books that probably incited sex crimes." Meanwhile, Scientologists provided free issues of To the Stars, a fanzine largely devoted to founder L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth, which they felt had been wrongly denied a nomination for the Hugo (the Science Fiction Achievement Award). Rightly so, claimed the contentious Charles Platt, of The Patchin Review, who led a post-Hugo panel devoted to the burning question: "What's Wrong with the Hugo?" If, however, you didn't care for scientology and L. Ron, but were still looking for salvation, you could learn to "slack off" by joining J.R. "Bob" Dobbs and his Church of the Sub-Genius; as the buttons proclaimed "No Prob with Bob."
While all this was going on, films were running continuously from 9 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.; blockbusters like Alien, previews of Brainstorm and Indiana Jones, old classics like The Day the Earth Stood Still. In the Huckster Room dealers were doing a great trade in paperbacks, gadgets, posters, fanzines (Energumen, Xenolith, The Enchanted Duplicator) and buttons. "The Way to a Man's Heart is with a Broadsword."; "I've Been Seduced by the Chocolate Side of the Force"; "Graduate of the Darth Vader School of Personnel Management." There was even a booth for Blake's 7, a British sf program that blends the thrills of a spaghetti western with the wit of Dr Who. Its loyal fans have begun an intense campaign to bring the show to the United States. Small publishers also stood out in the bazaar: Underwood-Miller, which has republished master-stylist Jack Vance on acid-free paper in handsome hard covers and recently begun a series of sf bibliographies (Roger Zelazny, L. Sprague de Camp); Stuart Schiff, editor of Whispers, the premier magazine of horror, whose most recent publication is Robert Bloch's Psycho II (much different and better than the movie); Don M. Grant, specialist in horror and sole publisher of Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger; and Alex Berman of Phantasia Press, which has just issued a limited edition of Asimov's latest, The Robots of Dawn. All these publishers produce handsome well-made books, often signed by the authors, beautifully illustrated, and eagerly collected. Illustration, of course, has long been an important part of sf--but relatively neglected by collectors. Most paintings and sketches in the art show could be purchased for a few hundred dollars or less; but you would need $15,000 to buy multiple-award winner Michael Whelan's acrylic original for Arthur C. Clarke's 2010.
Other high points of the weekend included 2001: A Space Opera by Washington's own Alexis and Doll Gilliland, and Sunday night's Crab Feast, complete with an instructional comic book titled "Beautiful Steamers" by Baltimore writer and con toastmaster Jack L. Chalker. The Masquerade, as usual, dazzled with costumes worthy of Broadway or Las Vegas: Besides show-stopping original set pieces (derived from the Tarot and the novels of Tanith Lee), there were re-creations of characters from Star Wars, two sexy Winnowills from the comic Elfquest, an even sexier Female Warrior, skimpily and breathtakingly attired in black leather, a red-wigged Little Orphan Wookie and Daddy Starbucks, and those popular favorites, The Smurf Hunters--barbarians carrying spears upon which tiny Smurfs bad been shishkebabed; one warrior even chewed thoughtfully on a half-eaten morsel.
For the most part, the Hugos offered few surprises; and, as toastmaster Chalker remarked, "they still look like hood ornaments." Isaac Asimov's Foundation's Edge, a sequel to his Foundation trilogy of the early '50s, received the award for best novel; as Asimov remarked later on, his "victory may be a triumph of nostalgia." Joanna Russ' marvelous "Souls," in which a medieval abbess turns out to be something quite other, and more, than she knew, won for novella. In the novelette category, Connie Willis' "Fire Watch," which earlier bad been honored by a Nebula Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), took the laurels; it tells of the efforts of a time traveler to protect St. Paul's Cathedral during the London Blitz. Spider Robinson received the short story prize for "Melancholy Elephants," with a plot about the difficulty of discovering a totally original sf plot.
Like more mundane conventions, ConStellation's real action began after 10 p.m. with the parties--at the SFWA suite, in hotel rooms, given by fans, by pros, by editors, by Hugo losers. They went on nearly all night, every night. One could chat at once with Joan Vinge (The Snow Queen) and C.J. Cherryh (Downbelow Station), whose novels received Hugos in the past two years; step on the toe of Ellen Datlow of Omni magazine; trade quips with editor Pat LoBrutto of Doubleday and information with Tappan King of Bantam; run into Craig Strete who once palled around with rock legend Jim Morrison; listen to the throaty voice of the sexy Tanith Lee (who wore a medieval chain-mail headdress and a blood red locket); say hello to such sf giants as Robert Silverberg, Frederik Pohl, and Gene Wolfe, or to editor Lester and Judy Lynn Del Rey, Ellen Asher of the Science Fiction Book Club, Susan Allison of Berkley-Ace, Ben Bova (formerly in charge of Omni), and Jim Frenkel (who's starting a new publishing house, Bluejay Books). One evening, Gardner Dozois and Howard Waldrop--two of the funniest people in sf, no, in the world --deejayed a sock hop. There were rumors that Jim Baen might leave much-liked publisher Tom Doherty to become the new editor of Timescape. Hot new writer William Gibson confessed that he wrote "urban science fiction" intended "for people who don't get out much." Jerry Pournelle was heard to mumble that one panel was composed of "Trotskyites, all Trotskyites." The redoubtable Timothy Robert Sullivan convincingly claimed to be Arlington's only Thai sf writer, Somtow Sucharitkul. Even the semi-legendary sf scholar, editor, and bibliographer E.F. Bleiler wandered about for a few days. And Ex-Timescape editor David Hartwell sported a button saying "Not Jim Baen." One afternoon--in the middle of a drink with John Sladek, famous for his sf parodies--this tired reporter looked up to see a Viking Longship attack a tourist boat in the port of Baltimore. It scarcely registered as anything unusual.
By Monday morning everyone, even those not in costume, were beginning to resemble hangers-on at Jabba the Hutt's. Five days of autograph sessions, author forums, readings, all-night parties, workshops, slide shows, press conferences, movies, fast food, heavy drinking, flirtation, and hustling do take a certain toll. But no matter, all families can be exhausting. Science fiction writers and readers possess an enthusiasm and sense of community seldom met with in the literary marketplace. And, as ConStellation proved yet again, they sure know bow to have a good time.
This article was in the "Book World" section of The Washington Post dated Sunday, September 25, 1983.