|The Second Occasional LoneStarCon Science Fiction Convention and Chili Cook-off, Variously known as the 55th World Science Fiction Convention and LoneStarCon 2, the 1997 Worldcon, To be held from August 28th through September 1st, in the year 1997, in San Antonio, Texas.
Moments in Texas Fan History: A Party for Dallas
Reprinted from LoneStarCon 2's Progress Report #2
appy Chatter from VOID
by Gregory Benford, 1958
I was only 19 and so cynical."
"Come on over," Tom said, "we're having a party for Dallas." I
thought about that for a minute. It does not do to say the obvious thing that pops immediately
into your head when dealing with Dallas fans, for that is almost always the wrong thing to say.
"Are you sure you can get them all in?" I replied. "Oh," he said, "I mean
all the Dallas fans. We're going to have a little party for them."
And so it came to pass that I attended my only fannish party in
Dallas. I asked Jim if he wanted to go, but he demurred, saying he wanted to do something
constructive, like sleeping. Later he arranged a date, explaining that this was more
constructive in the long run, so I was forced to go alone. I contemplated taking a date along,
but I realized that taking a girl to a place full of science fiction fans would probably be
frowned upon, if not by the girl at least by the fans.
The Dallas slan shack, where Reamy, Dale Hart
and one or two others lived was a bit depressing as seen from the street, obscured as it was by an overgrowth of shrubs and weeds. The interior was crowded with people, though, all talking at a furious
pace and running back and forth to the kitchen for drinks. I immediately spotted Richard
Koogle (who has no middle name) holding forth in the center of a group of fine minds, and
insinuated myself into the outer regions of the circle. I stood there for a while, letting the
words wash over me and ripple into the surrounding people, until Koogle noticed me. "This
certainly is a great party, isn't it, Greg?" he burbled. "We don't have
these often, but when we do they're good."
"Yes," I said, "standing here and
listening to you talking and the hi-fi wafting music over our heads, it's almost possible to
believe I'm among real people." He beamed at me and called over Reamy, who took
me out to the kitchen to get a drink.
"One of the members of the club had a pool in
his back yard and he invited the club over every week to have a meeting and talk by the
We went out on the back porch so Reamy could show me the surrounding
undergrowth and get some fresh air. The porch was the starting line in a furious race for survival on the part of local weeddom,
for the back yard was one great mass of greenish growth. I broached the subject of yard upkeep (which I loath) to
Reamy. "Have the neighbors gotten up a petition yet?" I asked. In the conversation which ensued,
Reamy mentioned that the Landlord didn't especially want the weeds rolled back because the remains of a stolen car of
doubtful age were hidden somewhere in it.
back in I noticed one woman there of
largish proportions who was circulating around collecting signatures in favor of Dallas getting the
worldcon. I signed. What the hell, I was getting free drinks. Actually, the only remarkable
thing which occurred during the evening was my accidental discovery of a fan who had been
fairly active in Dallas a few years back but had since dropped out of sight. I can't tell you his
name because Rich Koogle was trying to sell him part of his fanzine collection (over 100
separate and distinct fanzines) and I couldn't hear over the general noise level. The old-time
fan seemed like a normal, intelligent person, thought, unpolluted by his surroundings. He told
me about meetings of the Dallas Futurian Society at which Mosher would go out on the street
and pull in passers-by in hopes of enlarging the membership. At the time the meetings were
being held in a cafe, and whenever the club had a guest speaker Mosher would round up a
number of panhandlers, promising them a cup of coffee, in order to present a large
membership to the speaker. "Did he find many science fiction fans among the bums and
loafers?" I asked, but since Mosher was not there at the moment, I could not find out.
Considering recent issues of HABAKKUK, perhaps the answer would have been a little
Shortly after this one character came wandering
through the rooms moodily staring into people's faces and mumbling a few greetings. I asked
Reamy who he was. He was identified as Dale Hart, who was currently running the plans for the
Southwestercon VI (the convention that killed southwestern fandom). "Say, would you like to
join the committee to work on publicity for the con?" Reamy asked as Hart drew nearer. I
looked over at Hart. I looked back at Reamy. I went out to get another drink.
"Did he find many science fiction fans among the bums and loafers?" I asked,
"I'm not worried about a war at all,"
one of the regular members said a few minutes later. "I've got my plan all worked out."
"What?" I said, taken aback. "Well,"
he gestured, "if we have a war they'll be sure to drop a bomb on downtown Dallas and then my
troubles will be over." I thought he was probably right, but I wouldn't have been so
foolhardy about it.
"The draft board is right in the middle of town, and if
they drop any bombs my records will be destroyed. Then if anyone comes around trying to get me in the Army
I'll tell them I've already done my time." The group around him fell silent.
"Don't you think if we have a war they'll just
draft everybody in sight and not worry about the records?" someone asked. "No," the planner
said, "I'll appeal to Congress and by the time that gets through the war will be over."
"Well then," I said, "we'll all do that and there won't be any
more war and we won't have to fight." The fan who had his future all mapped out in his head
thought a moment to himself. "I don't think that would work. Somebody has got to defend the
country in times of peril." At this time I was relatively new to Dallas Fandom so I ignored the
opportunity to say something nasty and true. But my infinite patience and understanding for people has
withered somewhat since then, which is why you're reading this article.
I was walking into the stf room of the slan shack when Reamy,
who is a little on the heavy side, turned to me and said, "What do you think of that?"
"I think you're wrong," I said automatically.
Usually that works pretty well. "You're always talking about how science can give everybody a better
way of doing something. Tell me how I can lose weight without dieting." He stood there waiting for my
answer. "Close your mouth," I said.
...Somebody has got to defend the country in times of peril.
Rich Koogle was there, looking through the Astounding collection.
He was still enthusiastic about the party. "It's just like last summer," he said, waving an ASF at me, "when
we had all our parties out at our swimming pool." I asked him what he meant. "One of the members of the club had a
pool in his back yard and he invited the club over every week to have a meeting and talk by the pool."
"Why, that's fine," I said. "That's the best
thing I've ever heard about Dallas fandom. It sounds like quite a change from just sitting around and reading old
fanzines during meetings. I can hardly imagine a Dallas fan club meeting where you could lie around in the sun and swim."
"Oh," he said, "we didn't do that. None of us could swim."
In a little while the resources of the club began to evaporate and someone had to
go out and replenish the food and drink. The old-time fan whose name I never learned was driving, so I decided I'd go with
him; as we were going out the front door Reamy, fearing that someone was leaving the party early, came over and told us to stay
for the later festivities. "It's all right," I told him. "I just wanted to go out for a while and see some real