punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

On going to cons

I was reading Wil Weaton's recent essay (text SFW, but links to popular punk porn site) about con memories.

Things were really different back then, long before Creation pretty much forced everyone else out of the market and eliminated a lot of the individuality of regional conventions. Back then, there were as many convention promoters as there were Holiday Inns around the country willing to host a few hundred Trekkies for a weekend, and every single con had its own unique feeling.

I miss those days a lot. There was a time when cons were big, several thousand attendee affairs packed in small hotels. You have some friends you only met a few times a year, and got together with them only at cons because you lived hundreds, if not thousands, of miles apart. E-mail and the Internet were fringe things only hardcore university and military computer geeks had even heard of, much less used. We communicated via fanzine, usually published out of someone's basement, often with ill-gotten goods from their workplace. Back then, hotels were cheap enough to afford several times a year; I have a flyer in one of my con memories packets from those days advertising the Omni in Baltimore for $45/night. You pack 10 people in the room, that's like $15 for the weekend including tax. $35 with full badge.

Now it's far more expensive. Most rooms are $150/night, plus tax, parking, and food which has also gone up. Now science fiction is no longer fringe but mainstream as 1 in 3 blockbusters from Hollywood are either sci-fi or fantasy. The Internet makes long distance travel much less necessary, and fanzines a quaint antique akin to owning a Model T Ford. But I miss those days a lot, and while I have anime cons, it's not the same. And Balitcon is only once a year.

Another excerpt from this article is a moment of cross-fannishness:

... I met my first Science Fiction idol, Larry Niven.

The meeting went something like this:

Me: Oh my god, you're Larry Niven!
Him: Oh my god, you're Wesley on Star Trek!
Both: What?
Both: Can I have your autograph?!
Both: Yes!
Both: COOL!

I still have my copies of Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers that he signed for me.

It reminds me of a quote from the inside cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Pleasuredome,"... "I get off thinking about how that Andy Warhol has heard of us and he gets off thinking we've heard of him."

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