PhiLunaBaltAutoBoskCon 2020

[Editor’s Note: Steve was inspired to create this piece by SF Concatenation’s call for fans to write about a con, but submitted it here because “I don’t like waiting.” Is this quick enough?]

By Steve Davidson: It took a visionary – but then, what other great contributions to human society haven’t?

Oh, I know, I’m using the original name for the world’s first Transmitter Booth convention, now formally designated the Great Eastern Multi Con – GEMCon for short, but I prefer the original for its historical call-outs.

Did you know that it was originally going to be the Great National Multi Con?  Yeah, that was the plan, but time zones got in the way.  Too many people forgetting the zones, showing up three hours late for a physical event and then getting all pissy about it online.  The worst was the west coast fans flicking east at midnight (their midnight) and showing up at room parties just as they were shutting down.  The con started turning into a permanent floating room party.  Nothing really wrong with that, but the hotels.  The hotels started going crazy with the corkage fees, trying to sneak hourly “maintenance” fees into the contracts.  Not to mention the constant visits by Fire Marshals every time some author said something funny or outrageous and their panel got flash mobbed.

History really is the stuff of little things, isn’t it?

Really.  You’d think someone would have twigged to the possibilities offered to conventions by the transmitter booths and it would have been one of the first things everyone thought of.  I mean – SCIENCE fiction fans, right?

Nope.  What it took was Sheldon Kornpett, sitting in a hotel lobby with his friends, lamenting the fact that two conventions they wanted to attend were happening on the same weekend.  And then he looked up from his pocket schedule, saw the row of transmitter booths by the hotel entrance and said “…but we can go to both conventions, almost at the same time…”.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Well, almost.  It did take a couple of solid years of fan feuds to iron out the details – settling on a date, figuring out how membership fees would work, massaging codes of conduct into one sensible mess, coming to a consensus on the font size for name badges, (not to mention dealer’s room tax issues that almost derailed the entire thing), but, well, you already know it worked out in the end.  If you listen closely you can hear a group of Fen marching through the lobby chanting “All Cons, All Cons in One!”

Now if they’ll just get a move on with that dopelleganger-telepresence tech, I’ll actually be able to attend everything on the schedule I want to see. 

And guys, you’ve really got to do something about the pocket program already.  I’ve seen one fan who’s mounted his on wheels….

2 thoughts on “PhiLunaBaltAutoBoskCon 2020

  1. I missed this, because I was at Louis Wu’s birthday party (I had hoped to get to the con anyway, but I forgot which way the Earth was rotating and lost track of time).

  2. Cute. (and extra cute to @Andrew….) A quibble: unless the Dealers’ Rooms were set up in the transmats, there shouldn’t be sales tax issues, any more than there are issues when out-of-state people come to cons by conventional means.

    Steve also dates far enough back to perhaps remember when somebody tried this; Lunacon and Boskone were on the same weekend in ?1976?, so Filthy tried to run a shuttle between them. I heard a claim that it foundered because nobody wanted to leave Balticon for Lunacon, but IIRC that came from someone who is sometimes too fond of causing friction.

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