Shredded Orange TAFFeta: A Journal of the Plague Year

By Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey: As the 2020 TAFF delegate, I was booked to begin next week with Fantastika 2020, the Swecon (Swedish national SF/F convention), then going on to Turku and Helsinki in Finland; Warsaw, Katowice and Krakow in Poland, and Madrid and Barcelona, before carrying on to London, parts unknown in the UK, and eventually Birmingham for Eastercon (the British national con). Less than 24 hours ago, I posted a defiant determination to be fandom’s delegate across the Great Water.

Now Fantastika has been cancelled/postponed, and Eastercon may follow. All the meetings and stayovers and gatherings in between? They may be banned, or fans may simply consider it prudent to avoid such assemblies for now.  

I am sorry if anybody perceived my previous attitude as one of irresponsibility; I thought of it rather as steadfast determination to fulfill the obligation I had undertaken to serve as fandom’s ambassador. I had all these invites from eager fans (they FELT like they were younger and more enthusiastic than the Old Fans and Tired I usually hang with) in places like Helsinki and Katowice and Barcelona, boldly seizing a chance to connect with the broader fannish world. I was looking forward to crashing on sofas in Krakow and Madrid and Turku. And now….

My heart is breaking as I face the probability that all this planning, all this enthusiasm, will prove to have been for naught. I am hoping that something can be salvaged from the wreckage, and in the meantime I thank all of fandom for their input, even those who criticized me most harshly.

11 thoughts on “Shredded Orange TAFFeta: A Journal of the Plague Year

  1. This is wrecking a lot of plans, and we have to filter out a lot of nonsense to find the sensible guidance. I hope your trip can be reworked for later in the year, or next year.

  2. Plans are being turned into confetti with frightening speed. I hope you can manage a TAFF trip in the near future.

  3. My redneck attitude of defiance and determination in the face of mere reality (“Hold my drink, I’ve got this!”) and my Quaker resoluteness to uphold my commitments once undertaken (“Let thy ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and thy ‘no’ be ‘no’.”), combined to make me stubborn things out until the bitter end. The TAFF administrators past and present are agreed that even if none of the many tickets I’ve bought can be refunded, TAFF will go on. (Now, if anybody wants to make an extra donation to TAFF, it would not go amiss.)

  4. Better a live winner-who-didn’t-get-to-go than a dead or quarantined fan. There will always be conventions to go to; you’ve only got one life.

  5. Indeed, as the Interfilk guest at Consonance (in San Jose, also on March 20-22) my plans were set awry as well, and I imagine so will the plans for many other fan fund delegates. At least the cancellation of so many flights means that it becomes easier to retain at least some of the money for later use.

    And wanting to hold onto existing plans is often a commendable trait.

  6. They’re cancelling sport events, whole leagues…cons don’t have a chance.

    Let’s hope limited social exposure works against the covid19.

  7. Brown Robin: Let’s hope limited social exposure works against the covid19.

    All the cancellations are doing is putting off mass infection. Sooner or later, everyone will get it. But the holding action will, as they say, “flatten the curve”, stretching out the amount of time for the pandemic to run its course and thus hopefully reducing the peak of demand for healthcare services.

  8. Fantastika is postponed. If you still are going to Stockholm and haven’t anything to do, I’m always open for a pub meet. Or just a walk around Stockholm.

  9. @Orange Mike looking forward to hopefully meeting you in Turku at some later date!

  10. Best wishes to that confirmed TAFF delegate. Re GUFF (and interest declaration: I am one of the candidiates) –and I suppose DUFF– we still await developments re NZ Worldcon2020 /Wellington (late July). That major event may –by then– be A-OK and proceed. But many smaller Cons between now and late July are seriously considering either postponement or cancellation. It of course does depend on official govt regulations and the insurance aspects following therefrom. And my thoughts go out to the many many Con organisers (many unsung heroes) who bid for and then organise these events: which are so impotant for fandom interaction. best wishes indeed.

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