|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.
Feature Article: Dead Dog Walking
Reprinted from LoneStarCon 2's Progress Report #3
ead Dog Walking
by Teddy Harvia
Convention parties don't just happen. Fans spend months planning them, days provisioning them, and hour hosting them. They sometimes carry decorations and provisions thousands of miles to provide just the right ambience. I thank these amateur caterers with all my heart and stomach.
t MidAmeriCon, the 1976 World Science Fiction Convention, I was an inexperienced convention-goer. I sat in the convention hotel lobby and waited for the action to come to me. Friends, fans, and pros came. I met and briefly talked with Hal Clement (he graciously signed a battered paperback copy of one of his novels I'd bought in the dealers' room), C.J. Cherryh (I knew her from the local group back in Oklahoma), and Robert Silverberg (he declined my offer to shake hands, having just given blood with the requisite arm at the Robert A. Heinlein blood drive). But no one ever spent more than a few minutes with me. And no action ever came my way.
I was totally unaware that open-invitation parties existed at WorldCons. I missed the bid parties, with their free-flowing beer and potato chips. I missed Big Name Fan and professional writer Bob Tucker holding court with his Kansas City bourbon and cigars, breathlessly exhaling his trademark "Smoooooth." I missed the bathtub full of lime Jell-O® (OK, that was at a by-invitation-only party). Anyway, I missed the pressing of flesh I knew was rampant in the rooms over my head.
The lack of funds which forced me to stay at a flophouse two blocks from the convention hotel conspired against me accidentally discovering one of the parties. Walking on the darkened city streets back to my room, I passed no open doors with the smell of chocolate and sound of friendly laughter beckoning me inside. I did pass two young women who gave me a flyer to a local massage parlor. If I'd had the money, I would have stayed in the convention hotel and not been out on the streets late at night. I went to sleep in a room filled with beds, which reminded me of an Army barracks.
In 1979, at SeaCon in Brighton, England, I still could not afford to stay in the convention hotel (most of my money had gone to pay the airfare just to get there), but I had new fannish friends who could. With them I roamed the hotel corridors looking for parties. The first big one I attended was for Mpls. in '73, a WorldCon hoax bid. Minneapolis fans, when they realized how much work putting on a WorldCon involved, had deferred to the Toronto bidders but continued the tradition of throwing great parties just for the fun of it. Joyce Scrivner signed me up as a member and gave me a shiny 1973 U.S. penny as payment. I sampled their chocolate and drinks before returning to the falls in search of the next party.
Twenty years after my first Worldcon, Diana Thayer and I landed at Intersection, the WorldCon in Glasgow, Scotland. After the Hugo ceremonies, we happened to walk past the Nominees Party on our way back to our room in the Moat House, the convention hotel. We stepped inside where we schmoozed with friends, ate with our fingers what we would have called buffalo wings back in Texas, and bought one round of expensive drinks from the cash bar (a concession host Mike Glyer had had to make to the hotel corkage law). Eventually, overcrowding drove us into the hall outside, guided by the flashlights given to the nominees.
We found the biggest mass of fans at the WorldCon bid parties on one floor of the Central Hotel in downtown Glasgow, a quick cab ride from the convention center. We weaved our way through the crowded halls from Kansas City to Moscow to Antarctica to Australia. At Kansas City, Susan Satterfield, luscious hostess, placed heart stickers on our badges. At Moscow, we got high just inhaling the fumes from a dozen different brands of Russian vodka. at Antarctica, we admired the creative hoax party tradition two neofans started at the WorldCon the year before. At Australia, we laughed at Aussie fan artis Ian Gunn creating a babe magnet with the platypus hand puppet we'd brought with us all the way from Texas to promote our run for DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) in 1999.
My advice when you attend your first WorldCon? Party! And if you don't know where the parties are, ask your friends. If your friends don't know, make new friends. Someone, somewhere, knows where the parties are, and you are invited. Whatever you do, don't retire early to your room alone.