Yesterday

By John Hertz: While looking for something else I came across Vanamonde 469 (May 7, 2002) with these notes of the Millennium Philcon (59th World Science Fiction Convention, August 30 – September 3, 2001, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). You might like to see them. Some of you already have.

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In the Fanzine Lounge, I saw Skyhook 24 (1957), where Damon Knight called “genre” a snob word. I’m not sure if this is plus ça change or plus c’est la même chose.

I awoke in time to hear a Jane Austen appreciation panel at 11 a.m. on Friday. Connie Willis said Austen villains make us uncomfortable because we could be them. Richard Garfinkle said she could fine-tune her satire. Lois McMaster Bujold said social embarrassment could be keener than death. Amy Thomson had been reading Sense and Sensibility (1811) aloud with her husband in the bathtub. Willis said Austen made good people interesting. Ellen Asher said Dickens was like Liszt to Austen’s Mozart. Willis said nothing would have been “gained” by Austen’s “moving on” to “wider” spheres: nothing was missing; nobody was missing; she wrote of the human heart. People stood in the aisles.

Noon and “What makes a good stage costume?” with Sandy & Pierre Pettinger, Sandy Swank. I said, get over the threshhold of the theater of the mind. P. Pettinger said, stay in character. S. Pettinger said, humor can run across body type. I said, develop a sense of event. Janet Anderson in the audience said, put shine where you want the eye to see; make other places where the eyes rests; use quiet space. P. Pettinger said, in a group some characters must be less important, must recede. I said, if thirty actors fall to their knees and cry “Your Majesty”, the audience feels “He’s the King.”

At 2 Regency dancing, left off the program grid. I’d been given until 5. A spy, thank Roscoe, flew in after we started, to tell me Toastmaster Esther Friesner would hold a fencing class there at 4; she arrived, and at 4:00, just as she raised the magic cheeble wand, the last notes of “The Congress of Vienna”, our closing dance, sounded.

Back to my hotel room, shared with Fred Patten and Art Widner, to put on white tie for the Chesley and Retro-Hugo ceremonies. I was the accepter for Kelly Freas, who couldn’t attend. At the Art Show reception Bob Eggleton said Godzilla, like our older brother, would beat up mankind, but stop anyone else.

Sitting next to Ray Nelson and Eleanor Wood for the Retro-Hugos, I exulted with her when Heinlein did the hat trick: Farmer in the Sky, “The Man Who Sold the Moon”, Destination Moon. Jack Speer, wonderfully showing and wisecracking about repro technique during the fanzine awards (“We were rugged then), failed to remove a Ditto cushion. Afterward he admitted to me “I used to do that.” Me too. He asked “In what way are you a teacher?” I said, “Well, I teach Regency dancing.” He said “Is that all?” Friesner closed reciting “The star in the wind is a word” (W. Kelly, “For the Mother of Kathyrn Barbara”, see e.g. Ten Ever’-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Years with Pogo p. 91, 1959).

Greg Bear gave a tribute to Poul Anderson. You don’t see retro-Nobels, he said; we look backward because we can look forward. SF tells us life is an adventure. Nothing displeases jaded journalists like enthusiasm. Bjo Trimble he called the Secret Mother of Fandom, acknowledging her as his recruiter, in an Art Show when he was 16. He said his writing swung between extremes of Clarke and Bradbury, and he met Anderson going either way.

The Los Angeles for ’06 Worldcon party was in Room 770. Ben Yalow, who’d made sure parties would be there, later said he only heard Roger Sims and me notice. At the Japan for ’07 Worldcon party Inoue Hiroaki gave me a hachimaki [headband] for Kelly. I found Victor Gonzalez drinking Anchor Steam Beer, a mighty credential.

Danny Lieberman Passes Away

New York fan Danny Lieberman died of leukemia on October 19. He had been sick since 2011, but had not wanted to share that on social media.

Lieberman attended and worked on many conventions: his service included leading the Facilities Division at Bucconeer, the 1998 Worldcon, and the “Tardis and Couch Division” at Millennium Philcon, the 2001 Worldcon. 

Den and Sharon Fox with Danny Lieberman at Bucconeer.

2007 Loss Surprise

Although it had long been understood that Nippon 2007, the Worldcon in Japan, lost some amount of money, its financial report to the Chicon 7 Business Meeting shared (apparently for the first time) that the figure was huge. The convention suffered a net loss of $116,384. The report also lists the total shortfall as over $142,000, a number which I couldn’t reconcile to the rest of the reported data. Whatever the case, the Nippon committe says $84,005 of the deficit is still unpaid.

The 2006, 2009 and 2010 Worldcons have already contributed a combined $15,500 from their post-con surpluses. Vincent Docherty, looking at the financial reports submitted by other past Worldcons, noted that they hold in aggregate enough surplus cash to retire the debt. The 2001 Philadelphia concom alone has over $40,000.

There is much that is not understood in this situation about Japanese law and business customs, though it was stated that the convention chair is considered to owe the debts personally.

Once before the Worldcon-running community put together a plan to buy out and settle at a discounted rate the unpaid bills of the 1983 Worldcon, around $35,000. However, that was in the U.S. where debt resolution techniques are comparatively well known to fans and there were no real communication barriers in the way.