By John Hertz: Loscon is the L.A. local convention, held annually over U.S. Thanksgiving Day weekend. Loscon XXXIX was at the Int’l Airport (LAX) Marriott, 23-25 Nov; attendance 1,100; Art Show sales $8,500 by 45 artists.
Fan Guests of Honour were lovable Canadians Lloyd & Yvonne Penney, he known for letters of comment to seemingly every fanzine.
It was the Jack Benny Loscon. Fans of that great comic (not just alive while he was; do you read Sherlock Holmes? The Tale of Genji?) know his stage personality was always 39. This running gag was so strong that when eventually a 40th Birthday party was held for him, covered by radio and television, it didn’t stick, and within months everyone was joking again he was 39.
Benny, on stage a master of the straight face, in private life was known for cracking up. George Burns made him laugh so hard he had to get down on his knees and pound the floor.
And you thought I couldn’t do that title.
I moderated two panels about the Eaton Collection of s-f, U. Cal. at Riverside: on what it was and how to use it, in person, by paper mail, by its Website <eaton.ucr.edu>; on the treasure of the year, Jay Kay Klein’s photos, which went to Eaton at his death.
Klein was the photographer of science fiction. He shot fans and pros (and wouldn’t you like to –) everywhere. His photos were in Analog and Locus and con program books and Hugo ceremonies. He left 70,000; luckily, thanks partly to Alex Eisenstein and others who started reminding him in the 1970s, well indexed.
Melissa Conway the head of Special Collections including Eaton, and Julia Ree from Rivera Library where it lives, told stories, answered questions, and showed pictures. Ruth Jackson the University Librarian was in the audience. Conway had gotten to know Klein through this adventure, an amazing astounding fantastic man.
Chris Garcia in the audience noted that with constant computer changes “ephemeral” has a new meaning. I said a library was a time machine.
Friday night I had go off-site after Regency Dancing but I ate Keith Kato’s chili and saw Paul Turner in a dinner jacket. I had changed clothes by then so he was better dressed than I. He found Greg Benford and Larry Niven and got an autographed Bowl of Heaven. Mike Willmoth was genial at the Phoenix for ’14 NASFiC bid party.
Saturday afternoon, “Real Aliens” with David Brin, Niven, Phil Osborn, Philip Proctor, Jonathan Vos Post. Proctor in his years with the Firesign Theater had experiences, some alien. Osborn said he was an alien. Brin collecting the top theories (including “ain’t none”) called his new novel Existence. To some of them, if true, his answer would be “Send us your parents.”
On the Art Show desk was a Lego kit for Hayabusa, the heroic Japanese space probe that brought back asteroid dust. Selina Phanara brought colored-paper tiki gods, which sold. My favorite Mary Jane Jewell quilt, “Nap Time” with space ships strictly according to Hawaiian pattern, each ships’ porthole lit but one, is still over her fireplace so if you want to buy it you’d better ask her. Room was somehow found for Elizabeth Berrien’s wondrous wire sculpture.
In the Dealers’ Room, Alice Massoglia and I compared notes about the Leo & Diane Dillon exhibit at Chicon VII she’d helped with. In the hall, Dave McCarty said he didn’t know why his Hospitality Suite had no Jay’s potato chips. Ten years to learn.
At the Kansas City for ’16 Worldcon party Chaz Baden in a dinner jacket was clean-shaven 1930s style. Under a big sign The password is “goats” (the Pendergast faction of the time) he asked entrants if they knew the password. When they said no, he told them.
Helsinki for ’15 Worldcon chair Eemeli Aro had come himself and hosted the Helsinki party. He quite properly served Finn Crisps, chatting with people and handing out herring. Deirdre Saoirse Moen served mulled wine from a wooden tub. Jim Glass talked with me about s-f classics. Burroughs’ John Carter books, he said, have drama.
Sunday afternoon, “The Contract Between Reader and Writer”, Maria Alexander, Tim Powers, Mike Shepherd Moscoe. Powers said “As a writer I owe readers everything. As a reader I give no slack.” Shepherd Moscoe said, “What about being unpredictable?” From the audience, “What about ‘red herrings’?” I said, “I think we want to be fairly snookered.” Alexander said, “George Martin is making bank on killing people you like.” From the audience, he’s signaled all those people will die. Another, because Psycho changed focus Hitchcock made theaters turn away anyone coming late.
Chores, a little sleep, the Dead Dog Party. There was Kate Morgenstern whom I hope to see in more Masquerades, and plenty of conversation, and Roche & Trembley the ’13 Westercon chairs who’d been active party hosts, and Aro chatting with people and handing out herring.