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LoneStarCon2 · The 55th World Science Fiction Convention · Sunday, August 31, 1997

Alternate Realities

Chris O'Shea

Issue Seven

Alternate Realities

Site Ballot Results


Saturday's Parties Reviewed


I'm from the UK, and the US has always seemed like a place where the barriers between reality and fantasy are thinner than in my home country. Last night, when I was eating Chinese food near a version of the canals of Venice in an American city, the barrier seemed very thin. I returned to the party hotel, and as I was wandering past the bar I noticed a surprisingly large number of people watching the two TVs, with the volume on both turned so far up that it made a strange echoing phasy sound. And on the screen it said, "Princess Diana is dead".

I stared unbelievingly at the screen and once I had stopped trying to find a different meaning to those four words, I had this sudden overwhelming feeling of cognitive dissonance. It was like there were two parallel universes and I'd suddenly jumped from the one I knew into a parallel one where Di was dead and I was hit by this feeling of temporal whiplash.

Going from party to party, some people had heard, some hadn't, and when I told them the reaction was always the same, first they wanted to know what the punchline was, then there eyes would open wide and they would stand there staring for half a second or so and you could see them going through the same thoughts: What happened? Who did it? What happens to the boys? How does this affect me?

In England there are many people who think that royalty is somewhere between useless and parasitic. There are many others who love the royal family and have stood behind Diana over the years. However they feel, the death of a person who has put herself so much in the public eye somehow affects us all. My first thoughts, after the ones above, was that she is...was...only two years older than me and yet she had such an effect on the world. Only a short while ago I had watched a Larry King which had spent forever talking about the auction of her dresses, and more recently all the newspapers in the UK had been talking about her campaign against land mines.

And yet, when I came out of breakfast this morning and saw a friend with tears in her eyes and heard that she had just found out her stepmother had died, that was when I actually cried. I had never met Diana, and my interaction with her was always through the TV or newspapers. But when my friend's stepmother died, it mattered. Our families matter, our friends matter. At Intersection when John Brunner passed away, I saw so many of my friends wandering around stunned and with tears in their eyes. Some of us make an impact on the world through large events and grand gestures, but the ones that matter most to each of us are the ones that have touched us in a personal way. The death of Princess Diana changes the world, but the death of a friend (or the friend of a friend) matters.

Pieces of Nine? -Parroty Error

What's piracy without
A Treasure Chest
That's your first clue --
Come get the rest.

Bucconeer hopes you saw our piratical musical, The Pirates of Fenzance! There are still plenty of prizes to be won. Every person completing the Hunt will receive a Pirate ribbon and a chance in our daily prize drawings (2 chances for LoneStarCon 2 volunteers). Join the fun.

Here's a little pirate quiz.
Can you write down who the editor is?
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