Corflu on the Fly, Part Virtual

Peter Sullivan announces: There is an almost-full transcript of the Corflu Silver Virtual Con Suite, from the morning of Friday 25th to the evening of Sunday 27th. This is stitched together from the transcripts that both Geri Sullivan and Peter Sullivan kept over the weekend.

It would probably be unfair, from a privacy point of view, to post the transcript on a web-page or other publicly-accessible places. But if any fan wants a copy, they can e-mail Peter at peter “at”

The transcript is almost 70,000 words (424k) and, as with most chat-rooms, people talk (or type!) over each other in places. “But there’s a lot of interesting fannish discussion and humour (intentional or otherwise!), so worth a read.  But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I?” concludes Peter. 

Burning City

I was at Corflu on Sunday morning when a TV newscast flashed the headline “Southern California Fires.” I was shocked to learn the fire was in the hills above Sierra Madre, a few miles from my home. It hasn’t impacted my family yet, as we live in an adjacent town, several miles from the evacuation zone.

I don’t expect we will be threatened, though it is an ominous sight. When I got my 6-year-old, Sierra Grace, up for school this morning she told me she was worried yesterday when she was able to see the red glow from the flames on the other side of the hills while standing in our front yard.

Ten years ago Diana and I did live in Sierra Madre, near downtown, a location used in the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (scroll to the bottom of linked page.)

The part of Sierra Madre most vulnerable to fires is Sierra Madre Canyon, which extends into the hills. There are many homes perched beside the arroyo. Marty Cantor once lived there.

Sierra Madre is a gateway community to the Angeles National Forest: a great deal of city and county firefighting equipment is stationed in town, and there is a Forest Service camp at the bottom of the hill by the I-210. They roll it all during the Fourth of July parade.

Almost 600 firefighters from across the state have joined in fighting this fire, which is suspected to be the work of an arsonist.

Corflu on the Fly, Part V

Here is what technology has done for fandom. Thanks to the Internet, I can run out to the lobby after the Corflu banquet and post the bits of news revealed by the speakers — to be read mainly by an audience of people who already saw every moment via the online simulcast. 

Those bits of news begin with the Fanzine Activity Achievement — FAAn — awards.

  • Best Fanzine: Prolapse, edited by Peter Weston
  • Best Fan Artist: Dan Steffan
  • Best Fan Writer: Arnie Katz
  • Best Letterhack: Robert Lichtman
  • Best New Fan: John Coxon
  • Best Fan Website:
  • #1 Fan Face: Arnie Katz

Then Len Bailes announced that the participants in the Virtual Corflu (in the chatroom), which drew as many as 38 fans at one time, had all signed a special award certificate of thanks to Bill and Roxy Mills.

There really has been a Virtual Corflu, and during yesterday’s state of fandom panel those logged on held a lively discussion of the topic. Peter Sullivan has posted his transcript on the Corflu LiveJournal community.

Other Corflu Honors: Ted White polled the audience and determined that the Past President of Fan Writers of America (fwa) for 2007 had been Dan Steffan.

Finally, everyone acclaimed Randy Byers’ bid to hold next year’s Corflu in Seattle.

Corflu on the Fly, Part IV

Saturday afternoon at Corflu Silver began with a team trivia contest requiring UK fans to answer questions about US fanhistory, and US fans about UK fanhistory. Ken Forman emceed. Andy Hooper invited me to fill out his US team, along with Ted White and Robert Licthman. The UK team included Sandra Bond, Mark Plummer, Nic Farey and Dr. Rob Jackson.

It was remarkable how much fanhistory the two teams darn near but didn’t quite know, which kept the score very close til the end. We did know a few things, as the score was announced as 55-55 during the game. The final outcome was decided by an improvised sudden death question. I think the US team won. At least, Ken Forman afterwards showed me a scoresheet with a big checkmark on that side of the ledger.

Next, fans performed Andy Hooper’s play “The Price of Pugwash” as a reader’s theater. Lise Eisenberg, Len Bailes, Randy Byers, Lloyd Penney, Bill Mills and the rest did very well delivering the lines and carrying off the humor. It was another excellent script by Hooper.

The anchor leg of the afternoon’s program was the auction. Treasures like Warhoon 28 and a 1946 Worldcon program book went on the block. I was very happy to get three early issues of Energumen. I became active in trading fanzines around 1971, so I had already missed several issues of that zine, which set the standard for fannish genzines at the point where I was learning what that was.

Update 4/28/2008: Thanks to Sandra Bond for supplying the name of the fourth member of the Brit trivia team, Dr. Rob Jackson. Update 4/29/2008: And as Mark Plummer points out, he was on the trivia team, not Claire. At this point I can either admit how amped I was to be in the game, which seems to have had a drug-like effect on my ability to remember who was on the other team, or simply claim my view of them was eclipsed by Nic Farey’s hat. Hmmm…

Corflu on the Fly, Part III

During the lunch break, while Andy Hooper and company are rehearsing the play, I used the internet kiosk here in the lobby to inspect the online video. There was a lively group online, including Curt Phillips, Geri Sullivan and Dian Crayne. Curt confirmed that the video feed is good enough, and the audio is very good, although a buffering problem causes periodic freezes and drop outs. (James Taylor just came by, and answered my question about archives, that he thinks Bill Mills plans to put these up on his Voices of Fandom site).

This morning’s panel of Arnie Katz, Andy Hooper, James Taylor, Randy Byers and Mark Plummer assayed the future of Core Fandom. If there is an archival copy of the video feed that will help me — I made lots of notes, but didn’t end up with many good verbatim quotes, and those always make for a better report than just my homogized idea of what they said.

The panelists’ emphatic view that Core Fandom is not connected with science fiction may not have been new, and is doubtless correct, but when Arnie added the thought that, within an censorious society, which oppresses the weird, Core Fandom is a place where people can express themselves freely. While that came as part of an overall view different from mine, that individual point clicked as a possible explanation of why Archon looks as it does — an alternate culture gathering as much as an sf con.

Corflu on the Fly, Part II

By 7 p.m. people were back from dinner (Marty Cantor extolling the virtues of his favorite LV restaurant, where he and Rob Jackson ate) and Opening Ceremonies began. Bill Mills, Arnie and Joyce Katz made a few alarming (which is to say, humorous) announcements of the meeting they were convening before admitting this was really Corflu — it wasn’t an N3F meeting after all.

The one bit of formal business to be taken care of was drawing the name of the Guest of Honor. This has furnished some lively conversation all afternoon, Hope Leibowitz asking if I’d slipped $20 to the right person and had my name taken out of the hat, and Murray Moore pointing out that when the name of a previous GoH is picked, they pick again, and plenty of former GoH’s were on hand, so there weren’t too many prospective GoHs in the room. The general idea was that any sensible person should be nervous about his chances.

Joyce Katz held the sack with the names and Teresa Cochran picked. Teresa apparently grabbed two names the first go-round, so they were put back unexamined. She came up with one slip of paper on the second attempt. And so, Andy Hooper was named GoH of Corflu. He stood and doffed his red cap while we all applauded.

While people were getting prepared for Opening Ceremonies a mishap was narrowly averted. Visualize that the meeting room carpet runs from the floor right up over the podium, which is about 18 inches tall, without a border or break, and the busy yellow-and-brown pattern has been making it tough on some of the people moving on and off. There was an anxious moment when Arnie Katz tripped on to the podium, went one step and took a header down to the floor. Fortunately he was unhurt. For the rest of the evening, several fans made sure to offer assistance when people left the podium.

Once the business was done, Bill Mills sang “Corflu Blues” to great applause, and a second tune was also well received. Teresa Cochran joined him for another number. Art Widner volunteered an amazingly good rendition of a blues tune, “Rock City.” And he also sang a set of lyrics written long ago by Jack Speer, who was present. The music continued into the evening….

Corflu on the Fly, Part I

An easy morning’s drive across the high desert brought me to Corflu Silver, happening in downtown Las Vegas. While there are a lot of people besides fans in the Plaza, I had a piece of luck in that almost the first person I ran into was Alan White, who made sure I knew where everything was — hotel registration, the Corflu con suites, etc.

When I reached the con suite (whichever of the two I was in), Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer were among those sharing squirrel anecodtes with Catherine Crockett, who surely had the funniest of the lot. (Did an L.A. squirrel really stow away in the back of pickup trucks to reach its feeding ground, and commute home again, every day?)

A steady stream of folks returned from the Red Rock Canyon hike, showing off the heavy layer of dust on their shoes. These included Murray Moore, Lloyd and Yvonne Penney. A bit later, Ken Forman and Andy Hooper also returned, presumably having done the whole route.

Around 3 p.m. the consuites closed and the meeting room opened (which happened to be directly across from hotel registration.)  In theory some music or open mike activity was scheduled. While Bill and Roxanne worked heroically on the tech (and in fact had the internet video up and running), the dozens of us in the room continued conversations and handing out fanzines.

Marty Cantor had a new No Award with a color Schirmeister cover — which is stopped to explicate each time handed out a zine. Later Rob Jackson and I renewed our fanzine trade after a mere 28-year gap — the time between issues of his genzine Inca.  Jackson’s zine was full of color phots. And Gary Mattingly gave out copies of Skug, which also boasted a great color Schirmister cover. All three seemed to agree it was worth pulling out all the stops once they were ready to produce their new issues.