Norwescon 28 Progress Report Alpha
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Norwescon 28 Progress Report Alpha
Exploring the Language of Science Fiction and Fantasy
An Annual Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention
Chairman Shawn Marier
Vice Chairman Tracy Knoedler
Publications Director Patricia Booze
* Editing Team* Betty Claar
Layout Team Judy Suryan Cover Layout
Gayle MacArthur Interior Layout
Contributing Artists: We’d like to give a very special thank you to Michael Whelan for the use of his art for our cover page and other contributions that he and Audrey Price are making to this year’s Norwescon. We also like to acknowledge NASA and the Pioneer Space Craft as the source for Page 10. Back inside cover art by Gayle MacArthur and back cover art by Judy Suryan.
Contributing Writers: Tracy Knoedler, Jeanine Swanson, Sally Woehrle, Anita Taylor, Renee Stern, Doug Booze .
The First Page
Welcome to the new incarnation of Norwescon Progress Report Alpha or as we affectingly called it the PR-Alpha. We’re going to try new ideas and a new look. We hope you enjoy what you find inside.
What you’ll find is the regular assortment of convention-related articles, but we’re also adding an event calendar, articles of interest from fans, a feature by our Science Guest of Honor, and hopefully in the future, a short story or two. If you’d like to submit a story or art for consideration for either our Progress Reports or the Norwescon Program Book, please do so by contacting Norwescon’s Publications department at email@example.com .
I’d like to thank our volunteer contributors for sending us articles and sharing their Worldcon experiences. A very special thank you goes to Suzette Haden Elgin for permission to reprint her article. I’d also like to thank our regular cast of characters for their hard work and getting everything in on time. And last, but never least, the publications staff, whose real talent and time makes this all happen.
So, sit back, get comfortable and spend a few minutes checking out the start of a very exciting year!
The Chair’s Point of View
Wow, time flies! In some ways it seems like it was just a few weeks ago when we were packing up and moving out of the hotel after Norwescon 27. And now we are already in the middle of planning for next years Norwescon.
The upcoming convention is shaping up to be another great year; we have another great Guest of Honor lineup. Our writer GoH is Michael Bishop. Mr. Bishop has written a large number of award winning novels, novellas, short stories and poems over the last 35 years, including No Enemy but Time, Ancient of Days and A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire.
John Howe, our Artist GoH, is a master of fantasy art. He was one of the artists who created the look of Middle Earth in “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy. I recommend that you take the time and go to his website (www. john-howe.com) to see examples of his work. John lives in Switzerland, so this will be a rare opportunity to meet him and see his artwork up close.
Next is our Science GoH Suzette Haden Elgin, not only is she highly regarded in the field of linguistics, she has written a number of science fiction novels. In grad school she wrote two dissertations, one in English and the other Navajo. She has even created her own language known as Láadan, which has had a teaching grammar, dictionary, and related sci-fi trilogy published about it.
This year we are honoring TOR books as our Spotlighted Publisher, and who better to represent them but Tom Doherty. The yearly poll done by Locus Magazine has named TOR books the best publisher for the last 15 years in a row.
And finally our Special GoH is Alan Dean Foster. The next time you are in a book store, take a look at the S/F-Media section and you will see his name over and over again. He has written books in just about all of our favorite media-inspired universes, from Star Trek to Star Wars, from Alien to Riddick. He has done them all. But he has done so much more than just media tie-ins, he also has written a large number of original SF novels.
As much as we would love for our GoHs to talk and give presentations for the entire weekend, they do need to sleep and eat from time to time. So we will be inviting hundreds of other writers, artists, scientists and way too many other professionals to list. All of these pros will give presentations and demonstrations in a wide variety of areas.
But Norwescon is not just about the panels; we have many other exciting things for you to do. In the art show you can see artwork from some of the biggest names in the field, as well as many up and coming artists. The dealer’s room is where you can find that hard-to-find book as well as videos, games, swords, costumes and much, much more. We will have a couple of gaming rooms where you can play the newest games, or your old favorites.
Chairman Norwescon 28
Did you know you can go online to get all the information contained in this newsletter! Go to http://www.norwescon.org/?menuarea=departments&item=pub
Programming at Norwescon 28
By Ali Grieve, NWC28 Programming Director
This will be an exciting year for programming at the convention: we have a dilly of a theme, the Language of Fantasy and Science Fiction, to go along with a stellar line-up of GoHs. In addition to some of the usual con favorites such as SF Pictionary, art demos, Norwescon Honors, the debates, Filk Concerts, the costuming track, and an almost limitless variety of SF&F panels; we will be having a series of classes that will teach the basics of several constructed languages or, appropriately, ConLangs. The Programming Department is busily planning this, as well as numerous other events, and hopes to have instruction in such ConLangs as Klingon, Sindarin, Quenya, and Kiffish. The languages taught will depend on finding qualified instructors.
Our Science GoH, Dr. Suzette Haden Elgin, has generously agreed to teach our members Láadan, a major plot element of her Native Tongue series. In the novels, a group of female linguists develop a language to express the perceptions of human women. Dr. Elgin also used this venture as an experiment in linguistics, her specialty. In addition to exploring the theme as a literary topic, it should be fascinating to learn the rudiments of this ConLang.
Alan Dean Foster, our very Special GoH, will be on hand and we hope to entice him into exploring the way members of the Commonwealth communicate in his novels. Thranx is a complex language where gestures are as important as sounds. While this ConLang may turn out to be beyond our reach, Mr. Foster’s body of written work provides a more than ample sampling of the Language of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
While ConLangs are an obvious embodiment of our theme, the Language of Fantasy and Science Fiction can be expressed in numerous other ways. The literary aspects are limited only by one’s imagination. Given the finite time we have available over the Norwescon weekend, it will be a tough choice to choose from the vast array of possible panel topics to enable members to fully enjoy the possibilities. This is not to mention the myriad ways we communicate within the genre besides the written word such as art, gaming, filk, and costuming. Fortunately, Norwescon is blessed in having some very talented people as our other GoHs.
The voice of SF&F can be expressed in more ways than just the written word. Our Artist GoH, John Howe, has a portfolio that sings to the soul and washes over you with a rainbow of emotions at every level. The Programming Department will be working overtime to reap the benefits from this golden opportunity in having this world famous talent at our convention.
Writer GoH Michael Bishop is an author of true literary genius. He has a large volume of work published over the last 40 years that has been nominated for well over 100 awards within just the SF&F realm. He also crosses genre boundaries at whim and is just as adept at writing mysteries, historical narratives, “Southern gothic stuff,” reviews, and essays as he is material more familiar to those of us in Fandom. When he chooses to write science fiction or fantasy, it is because it is the best medium in which to express what he wants to say.
The symphony of SF&F would become a distant echo if not for the efforts of our Spotlighted Publisher: Tor Books. Norwescon is very fortunate to have Tom Doherty, a giant of the genre, representing this prestigious publishing house. Books from Tor have won every major award in the science fiction and fantasy field, and the firm itself has won the LOCUS Award for Best Publisher 15 years running. Not bad for a company whose product expresses the language of fantasy and science fiction.
With that kind of a powerhouse line-up, expect a full four-day weekend of panels, workshops, demonstrations, and other events that will explore the Language of Fantasy and Science Fiction from every conceivable angle.
Did you know the latest announcements and most update information about the convention is available on the Norwescon Website? Go to www.norwescon.com
The Language of Fantasy and Science Fiction By Robert J. Grieve
“Those who refuse to listen to dragons are probably doomed to spend their lives acting out the nightmares of politicians. We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark; and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.” -Ursula K. LeGuin
Writing a story in our genre involves more than just putting prose on a page. There is a special language that is unique to Science Fiction and Fantasy (SF&F). The words must make sense but they must also take us to a world beyond our own. It can be the world of possibility relating to what might be out in the cosmos. It can be a world of imagination where reality is changed in many ways. It can be a world of potential in which we watch fantastic concepts grow and thrive. It can be a world of alternatives that challenges our preconceptions. It can be a world of marvels that opens our eyes and fills our heart with a sense of wonder. Whatever world the writing sends us to, it is that special language that takes us there.
No, it is not a language of speech like Urdu, Flemish, or Tlingit but it has the same ability to define concepts that are unique within this realm of thought. It speaks of people and cultures that have never been, as well as notions and perceptions that can never be, in a fluent manner that allows the mind to comprehend, alter, and expand. It allows us to listen to the sound of color and fasten flesh to the bones of a thought. The language of SF&F leaps from the pages and takes us on a journey beyond mere corporeal existence to a place where we can sing the epiphany of an old growth forest as silent as fresh snowfall.
OK, evocative prose can be found in virtually any genre. So what differentiates SF&F from all the others? One possibility is that SF&F must keep pace with speculative concepts. This would be a daunting task without an idiom that allows unbridled chaos while forming a framework that completely encapsulates the fiction and, yet, draws no boundaries. Dreams must explain themselves, magic must have rules to work, and infinite creativity must be given form. It is the language of SF&F that makes all this possible while steering the imagination through uncharted waters, forming a coherent map of the labyrinth burrows of busy neural rodents, and winning every game of “What if . . . ?” Other forms of writing pale in comparison.
Ever wondered why Hollywood fails so many times in rendering genre works to silver screen productions? Pitiful Muggles, how could they possibly compete with the mind’s eye? Excuses are everywhere but it really boils down to a simple singularity: the language of SF&F does not translate well into a script.
No, it has nothing to do with incorporating the plot elements or defining the characters or recreating the scenes or the myriad number of other tasks that must happen if a piece of fiction is to become film. Cinema is no more SF&F than French is Russian. True, there are similar concepts that can be expressed in both but integral parts of the author’s work will be left behind to whither on the vine because the language is not the same. It goes beyond comparing vinegar to a fine wine: it is the essence of what epitomizes this type of fiction.
Hence, there is a distinctly different feeling to the grammar, syntax, and conventions of prophecy and legend. How do words, rhymes, and rhythms convey this sense of the magical, mythical, and miraculous? How can the author use a lingo to give a “legendary” feel to a fantasy -without seeming pretentious, stilted, or just downright silly? The same is true for science fiction in a different sense: there is a balancing act imposed on the writer to venture beyond the far horizon while keeping intact the fragile bubble of suspended disbelief.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome to a realm beyond sight, sound, and the twilight zone. Welcome to the Language of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
* Would you like to sign up to view this newsletter online? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll sign you up.*
Láadan, the Constructed Language in Native Tongue
Everyone knows about the constructed languages in Tolkien’s writing (Elvish, for example); what is perhaps less well known is that Tolkien said he wrote his novels to provide a showcase for the languages. That sort of passion for language is unusual; it would be a shock to read that Star Trek had been created as a showcase for the Klingon language. Usually, as with Klingon (constructed by linguist Marc Okrand), the fiction comes first and the language is added later if it is added at all. Elvish and Klingon are famous conlangs; Klingon not only has a journal published by an institute located at a university, it has two competing Bible translation projects, it has a Shakespeare translation project, it has summer camps.... But there are also many little-known sf conlangs, among them Láadan, the language I put together for the novel Native Tongue.
Many science fiction stories and novels make references to fictional languages of one kind or another, and they usually include a handful of words or phrases from such languages. Some have glossaries in the back that expand the vocabulary and may include some additional information. But few writers feel a need to go beyond that and set up an entire constructed language (conlang). A conlang is a language put together with the intention that it should have enough grammar and vocabulary to make it possible for someone to use it to communicate, just as they would use an existing natural language. There are some very famous conlangs; Tolkien’s Elvish tongues and Mark Okrand’s Klingon come immediately to mind. There are also very obscure conlangs, like Láadan, the language that serves as a major plot element in the Native Tongue series. (If conlangs appeal to you, an Internet search with the words international auxiliary language as your search term will provide you with a lifetime’s worth of fascinating material to read.)
When I put Láadan together, it was to serve two purposes. First, much of the plot for Native Tongue (http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/NativeTongue/Index.html) revolved around a group of women, all linguists, engaged in constructing a language specifically designed to express the perceptions of human women; because I’m a linguist and linguistics is the science in my novels, I felt obligated actually to construct the language before I wrote about it. Second, I wrote the novel as a thought experiment with the express goal of testing four interrelated hypotheses: (1) that the weak form of the linguistic relativity hypothesis is true [that is, that human languages structure human perceptions in significant ways]; (2) that Goedel’s Theorem applies to language, so that there are changes you could not introduce into a language without destroying it and languages you could not introduce into a culture without destroying it; (3) that change in language brings about social change, rather than the contrary; and (4) that if women were offered a women’s language one of two things would happen -they would welcome and nurture it, or it would at minimum motivate them to replace it with a better women’s language of their own construction. I set a ten-year time limit on the experiment -since the novel came out in 1984, that meant an end date of 1994 -and I turned it loose. I didn’t know in 1984 that the experiment would escape from the novel that was its lab, but in the long run I was glad that it did; it make the final results more interesting.
Constructing a language is formally easy, especially with today’s computers. Any competent linguist can run up half a dozen in just a few hours or program the computer to spit them out at a fantastic rate. (You’ll find instructions in the Excerpts section on this site, http://www2. cmp.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/conlang.html, if you’d like to try your hand at conlanging.) Making the language interesting, which is art rather than science, is much harder. Making it a living language, used by living human beings attached to a living culture, is enormously difficult. It’s hard enough to keep natural languages alive, hard enough that we’re losing them today by the hundreds; keeping a conlang alive is a quantum leap in difficulty. Nevertheless, there’s a theory that women are distressed because existing human languages are inadequate to express their perceptions; if that theory has any validity, it would seem that women would welcome a language that better served that purpose. And suppose they did, what would happen? Finding at least one answer to that question was the point of constructing Láadan and putting it into a novel.
Now, what does it mean to say that a language expresses the perceptions of women, or that existing natural languages don’t do that adequately? Let me stipulate immediately that I don’t know all existing human languages or even a tiny percentage of them. It may be that there’s one somewhere that, unknown to me, is the perfect medium for expressing women’s perceptions. I don’t know all women, either, or even a tiny percentage of them. The complaints around which the theory was constructed have come from women who are native speakers of well-known languages (especially English and languages in the same family as English); they were the research subjects for the experiment. With that constraint (which makes the experiment what scientists call a “pilot” experiment) stated, I can go on to tell you that I saw two major problems -for women -with English and its close linguistic relatives. (1) Those languages lacked vocabulary for many things that are extremely important to women, making it cumbersome and inconvenient to talk about them. (2) They lacked ways to express emotional information conveniently, so that -especially in English -much of that information had to be carried by body language and was almost entirely missing from written language. This characteristic (which makes English so well suited for business) left women vulnerable to hostile language followed by the ancient “But all I said was....” excuse; and it restricted women to the largely useless “It wasn’t what you said, it was the way you said it!” defense against such hostility. In constructing Láadan, I focused on giving it features intended to repair those two deficiencies.
The results of this experiment were clear. For the first three hypotheses being tested -that the weak form of the linguistic relativity hypothesis is true, that Goedel’s Theorem applies to language, and that change in language brings about social change -I ended up with nothing more than anecdotal information. The fourth hypothesis -that if women were offered a women’s language they would either welcome and nurture it or would replace it with a better one -was proved false. (It was of course almost inevitable that if the fourth hypothesis failed I would learn nothing much about the other three, since they only begin to be tested if the fourth one succeeds.)
As I said...interesting. It was well worth the effort. Whether results would have been different if I’d given the experiment twenty years instead of ten, or if Star Trek had decided to present episodes about a war between a Láadan-speaking population and the Klingons, or any of a multitude of other modifications in conditions, is impossible to say; whether something different will happen when the reprint edition of Native Tongue comes out from Feminist Press is impossible to say. Experiments have to have limits or they have no scientific value.
Meanwhile, the Klingon language thrives -from which you are free to draw your own conclusions.
Copyright © 1999 by Suzette Haden Elgin
Would you like to download the registration form from the website? Go to http://www.norwescon.org/?menuarea=memberships and click on ‘Registration Form’ to access it for printing.
The Art Show by Laura Reilly
I am very excited to be heading up this year’s Art Show. We have several changes in the works to make this a fun year. One of the most exciting, in my opinion, is the change in artist registration. This year the artists will be entering their information online. This will enable the artists to have all their forms printed prior to the convention. For last minute check-ins, there will be a computer available in the art show. These changes will speed up the check-in process as well as reducing the possibility of errors. In the coming months, there will be further announcements on our web site. People interested in applying to the Art Show may go to our Norwescon.org for further information and application forms.
All artists are required to have an attending membership unless then have already purchased their membership through the Dealers Room or if they are an invited Pro within the Programming Department. The current membership price is $50.00. All panels and table space will be $10.00 each with a maximum of four (4) panels per artist. Please be aware that we have separated the membership price from the panel/table space price this year. If you have questions please e-mail email@example.com.
The Artists Alley
Last year, a new event was introduced to convention members – The Artists Alley. This is where John and Jane Congoer could find artists available to create a sketch, small drawing, or other incredible piece of art, made just for them, even as they watch. Right there and right then: an original piece of art from one of our many talented artists per the buyer’s request.
We are once again planning to have this area available at Norwescon 28. It will be located between Wing 6 and Wing 7, past the entrance to all the Olympic Rooms. Just follow the signs from the lobby area. Artists will be there throughout the convention weekend to perform their magic for you. They may even have their portfolios available for you to browse through as well.
Last year Norwescon started something new. We offered special membership rates to any group or club that wanted to attend the convention. The group rate would be equal to the pre-reg rate at the prior year’s convention. In return, the group would need to accumulate volunteer time equal to 6 hour per person.
What this means is that any group or club of 10 or more people, over the age of 16, can get memberships to Norwescon 28 at the pre-reg rate of $45.00 per person. These must be submitted as a packet of at least 10 memberships.
Any member of your group can work the volunteer hours. So if your club also has a table or a party to man, remember that set up, tear down, and late night count as double volunteer hours. Any member of the group, even if they were not included in the group membership, may donate volunteer hours to the group. The group with the greatest number of cumulative hours and the group with the highest average hours per member will receive an award.
Group and clubs will also be given the opportunity to place an advertisement in the Norwescon post-con report.
For further information, contact the Norwescon Club Liaison, Jerry Geiseke at firstname.lastname@example.org or by checking out the Norwescon web page under volunteers.
Norwescon 28 Hotel Liaison
The Norwescon28 Hotel Liaison will begin accepting reservation requests starting November 1st, 2004.
- Presidential and Parlor Suites are appropriate for parties without loud music, receptions, socials, cocktail parties, coffee klatches, luncheons, teas, etc.
- Lakeside Suites and Family Rooms in Wing 5b are appropriate for parties with loud raucous music, bashes, hoe-downs, brannigans, hullabaloos, shindigs, etc.
- A $1,000.00 damage deposit will be required for Lakeside Suites and Family Rooms. (Please see details under “Damage Deposit” below).
- The hotel charges furniture removal and storage fees. Additional information will be provided to members who secure a reservation for a suite.
- Reservation requests are taken on a first come, first served basis.
- Send reservation requests to hotels@norwescon. org
- All suites are $280.00 per night, plus tax.
- Family Rooms are $175.00 per night, plus tax.
Presidential Suites are located in the Tower and have room to entertain up to 25 people. They feature a _ bath off the formal entry, a large living room with two couches & two chairs, dining room table and six chairs, wet bar, and refrigerator. The King size bedroom has a separate bathroom featuring a jacuzzi with seating for 4. Balcony entrances are at both the living room and bedroom. Connecting rooms are available.
Parlor Suites are located in the Tower and have room to entertain up to 15 people. They feature a main bathroom off entry, a couch, two chairs, dining room table and four chairs, wet bar and refrigerator. The King size bedroom has a half bath. The main bathroom features a jacuzzi with seating for 2. Balcony entrance off the living room. No connecting rooms are available. (There are some adjoining rooms available).
Lakeside Suites are located in Wing 5B and have room to entertain up to 25 people. They feature a _ bath off the entry, a large living room with a couch & two chairs, dining room table and four chairs, work desk, TV in armoire, wet bar, and refrigerator. The King size bedroom has a separate bathroom featuring a jacuzzi with seating for 4. Separate balconies for the living room and bedroom. Connecting rooms are available.
Family Rooms, located in Wing 5B, are 2 connecting sleeping rooms. Great for families with small children, these rooms have one hallway entrance and one bathroom.
Damage Deposit (Lakeside Suites & Family Rooms)
- A $1,000.00 damage deposit will be required for Lakeside Suites and Family Rooms.
- The damage deposit will be waived if the guest will not be hosting a party.
- A credit card of the guest will be pre-approved for the amount of $1,000.00, but will not be charged the deposit until checkout.
- The card will be charged only when there is damage to the room.
- Before checking out, it is the responsibility of the guest to have someone from the front desk visit the suite or rooms to assess damage. When you are ready to check out, please contact the Convention Services office if you would like a convention committee member to be present.
Norwescon 28 Single Pattern Contest
The design chosen for this year’s competition is the 18th century coat from Simplicity, pattern number 4923. Note that we are only using the coat, not the entire ensemble.
Shown as a pirate coat on the pattern envelope, this garment could also be made as a women’s riding habit jacket or as a military uniform, if you want a historicallyinspired garment. Or, use your creativity for a fantasyinspired design, as well as the many embellishment options for this coat.
The pattern comes in men’s size extra-small through extra-large, and is easy to alter to fit a woman.
The Simplicity pattern 4923 is available in the Seattle area from any of the local fabric stores, including Pacific Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, and JoAnn Fabrics, as well as online from Simplicity Patterns at http://www.simplicity. com/s2b.htm.
Complete contest information is available on the Norwescon website. If you would like to enter the contest, or have questions, the Contest Director (Anita Taylor) can be reached at: [omitted].
Open the Door to Better Writing
Now’s your chance to advance your writing skills through critiques by professional writers. Norwescon 28 and the Fairwood Writers Group are sponsoring a science fiction, fantasy and horror writers’ workshop for short fiction up to 10,000 words and novel excerpts up to 15,000 words. We offer individual sessions with a small group of the convention’s attending pros; we also offer short-story participants a group-session option that allows you to critique the other submitted manuscripts as well as receive feedback on your own.
Our submission deadline is January 31, 2005. Guidlines are posted at http://www.norwescon.org/?menuarea=departments&item=workshop. Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
Norwescon Calendar of Events
For the most updated and detailed information go to www.norwescon.org
12.04: Norwescon Convention Planning Meeting
01.08: Norwescon Convention Planning Meeting
01.14: Rustycon 22
01.31: Norwescon Writers Workshop Submission Deadline
02.12: Norwescon Convention Planning Meeting
03.05: Norwescon Convention Planning Meeting 03.24: Norwescon
05.14: Norwescon Post Convention Meeting
It’s just a few weeks until Christmas. A Norwescon membership would make a great gift!! Join now and Save!
A Norwescon Reunion at Noreascon
By Ali Grieve
When I found out that Boston was holding the Worldcon in 2004, I considered it to be the perfect opportunity to host a Norwescon party. Think of it: Seattle, on the western end of I-90, hosting a social at the global scene of SF/F being held at the eastern end of the same road. What a golden opportunity! This would be a great chance to revisit with many of our former GoHs as well as meet many people from around the United States, and the world. It is a chance to tell them all about our wonderful convention. And so, the I-90 connection was made. Bean Town here we come!
The party was held on Friday night in the junior-suite of Bob and Judy Suryan. While the room was somewhat small, the cozy atmosphere helped create a friendly ambiance that sometimes is absent in larger facilities. How could we NOT be friendly in such close quarters? And, since we were listed on the official Worldcon room party schedule, we attracted hundreds of fans throughout the night. Quite a number of those who stopped by remarked that we had, by FAR, the best and most delicious refreshment spread of any of the Worldcon parties. All-in-all, those who attended left with positive thoughts and warm feelings about Norwescon.
Many people stopped in to talk about Norwescon; where and when we are held as well as what we were all about. It was rather surprising to me, a relative newcomer to SF/F fandom and conventions in general, how many people had heard of Norwescon but just had not made it out to Seattle. Several seemed really interested in attending, especially once Mike Resnick, our Writer GoH from Norwescon 27, told these fans what a great convention we were and that they should make it a point to attend. We handed out many flyers and I am hopeful that some of these folks will make it to Seattle, if not next March then at some future Norwescon.
Joe and Gay Haldeman (Special GoH for NWC27) stopped in and we caught up on how they have been since last April. While they were visiting, Andy Porter, the Fan GoH from NWC 24 came by and said to tell everyone back in Seattle “hello.” All three have very fond memories of their Norwescon experiences.
Of course, there were several Norwescon folks that came by as well. Tracy and Charlie Knoedler came by early in the evening as did Sally Worhle. Renee Stern (Writers Workshop), Mike Moscoe (Literary Track Programmer), Cathy Sullivan (Green Room Head) and many others stopped by to enjoy the festivities.
The evening ended with Michael Whelan and his wife Audrey around 2:30 AM. Michael arrived late due to the Chesley and Locus Awards which were given out in simultaneous ceremonies. Congratulations to Michael for winning another Chesley as well as his 24th Locus Award for Best Artist.
Overall, the party was a huge success and will keep the name of Norwescon fresh in the minds of so many that attended. Our reputation has been growing and it was delightfully satisfying to hear so many positive remarks about our convention even from as far away as the other end of I-90.
Noreascon 4 Report
By Kate Waterous
My own 2 cents is mainly about my experience in the masquerade: they had a great dedicated space to rehearse in a ballroom in the Marriott where they’d taped off the actual dimensions of the stage. They did a good job with the lights, I thought, but since this was my very first masquerade, take that with a grain of salt. The person running it was concerned about making our costumes look as good as possible. They, of course, ran late on the tech rehearsal, so I had to miss helping a friend run a Kidcon belly dance segment. The ninjas were very helpful and the green room was pretty comfortable and well-staffed from my point of view we were such a big group (9), we had our own den mom. They had a repairs table set up and food and drinks along with a live feed from the stage, so we could see what was happening and there was nice camaraderie among competitors cheering for each other and especially the kids. Reportedly there was a problem with lights in the fan photo area, which a fan solved before we went through it. We had to wait a little before we were cycled through but it did not see to be overly long, but that might have just been post-performance adrenaline on my part. Our major glitch during performance was that tech started our music early but our performance was set up so that this was not a fatal problem. To audience members the sound was very bad in the auditorium, which might have adversely affected a number of entries who had recorded the spoken parts of their presentations from beginning to end. We ran very late the last award, for Best in Show, was given out around 1:30 a.m. The masquerade also featured money prizes for Discworld costumes (Terry Pratchett was GoH) which conjured a large number of entries including my favorite masquerade costume, The Luggage, a remotecontrolled trunk with legs that chased people around the stage, and opened and then snapped shut fairly alarmingly.
The large con suite was well staffed and provided for and had some fun elements including puzzle and games tables for pick-up fun. I went to a kaffeeklatsch and thought it would be disconcerting to have it in the same space as the con suite, but it was roped off and separated enough that it was not a problem. The kaffeeklatsch was with Lois McMaster Bujold, who had just won the best novel Hugo for Paladin of Souls and she handed her trophy around the table, which was really neat.
I completely agree with Ryan about the “pocket program” though it actually carried the cumbersome name of “Convention Guide”, I believe. Also, the Hynes to Sheraton connections were pretty unwieldy involving a lot of long walks if you did not know the secret connecting passageways and signage didn’t go up until a couple days into the con.
Being at the Hynes was great because you are in one of the, if not the, busiest shopping area in Boston, with dozens of great restaurants within a short walking distance. There was a supermarket in the Prudential complex and lots of other great shopping along with a nice and not too expensive food court with lots of choices.
The first major event they put on was “First Night” on Thursday night, Noreascon’s version of Boston’s New Year’s Eve celebration they did a one-off fanzine headed by my friend (and Hugo-nominee) Bob Devney (of the Devniad), they had games, a “trial” of Terry Pratchett, a bouncy castle, and various other entertainments including belly dancing, electioneering for various authors, and a host of other activities. Food was served throughout the con at The Mended Drum in the corner of the enormous ConCourse.
We also went to the Boston Science Museum to see the Lord of the Rings Exhibition the Wednesday before the con. Apparently, the museum was surprised to sell out over Labor Day Weekend they had not realized that WorldCon would be in town. The costumes and armor from the movie were on display along with examples of movie-making tricks they used. Oh yeah gorgeous beaded and embroidered trim on Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel gown.
Noreascon Worldcon Impressions
By Ryan K. Johnson
The 62nd Annual World Science Fiction Convention (better known as Worldcon) was held in Boston over Labor Day weekend. Registration was quick at the vast (and underused) Hynes Convention Center adjacent to the massive indoor mall downtown at the Prudential Center. The good: many, many tracks of programming to satisfy just about any constituency. The bad: possibly the worst “pocket” program ever. We were handed a 112-page 81⁄2” x 11” document which listed every program item in chronological order. No grid. No separate movie listings (which were woefully inadequate anyway). You basically had to read the entire thing cover-to-cover to be sure not to miss any programming. Somebody goofed. As usual, popular media panels were held in the smallest venues possible with standing room only audiences (when will programmers learn?).
The art show was great (and a big shout out to the art show director, Gay Ellen Dennett, for scrounging a huge box and packing material for us on Labor Day when we needed to ship a painting home), the Masquerade ran late (natch), with Best of Show finally being awarded at 1:30 AM to a nearly empty auditorium.
The partying was pretty good, though fan groups (such as the local “Star Trek” club) typically outdid prospective con bids, and Yokohama pulled an upset over Columbus to host the 2007 Worldcon. My favorite Hugo winner was Gollum’s Acceptance Speech from the MTV Movie Awards winning Short Form Best Dramatic Presentation, besting episodes of “Buffy,” “Smallville” and “Firefly.” Check it out if you have the extended DVD of “Two Towers,” its brilliant!