John Hertz: 2010 NASFiC Notes

By John Hertz: [Reprinted from Vanamonde 898 by permission.]   Reconstruction” was the 10th Occasional North America Science Fiction Convention, 5-8 August, Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Convention Center and nearby Marriott and Sheraton hotels, the Marriott adjacent with a connecting passage; the NASFiC is occasioned by the World S-F Convention being overseas, as this year (Aussiecon IV, the 68th Worldcon, Melbourne, 2-6 Sep), so that we’ve only had ten since inventing them in 1975; Author Guest of Honor Eric Flint, Graphic Artist GoH Brad Foster, Fan GoH Juanita Coulson, Toastmaster Toni Weisskopf; attendance about 650; chairman Warren Buff, who assured me the name was jes’ fine for a con in the South and I should have seen the others proposed. If London wins its bid for 2014 we’ll need a NASFiC then; hearing mutterings of Cincinnati, I proposed “Consul.”

Weisskopf’s fine conviviality was everywhere. Foster and Coulson, whom I rarely meet in person, were welcome sights; she is herself a Londoner – London, Ohio. James Bacon, whose friendship with Chris Garcia is a frightening fruitful fact, masterminded a United Kingdom party – actually, there were no parties, the Marriott didn’t permit any; this was a reception or “meet and greet” – over two nights, with U.K. cheeses, biscuits, drinks, fans, and a London in 2014 film. Garcia hosted the Fanzine Lounge. I led three Classics of S-F talks: J. Campbell, “Who Goes There?” (1938); R. Heinlein, Farmer in the Sky (1950); M. Shelley, Frankenstein (1831). Mary Robinette Kowal had phoned during June to see if we could associate Regency Dancing with her reception to launch a new fantasy set in the Regency; we managed to put both on the same night, dancing first, after which I found her in the Marriott wearing period clothes and having sold all her books.

Kowal was on a panel discussion I moderated, “Editing, the Necessary Evil”, Dan Hoyt, Chris Jackson, MRK, Stanley Schmidt, Lawrence Schoen. I had objected to “Evil” and offered “Editing, the Necessity”, for which I was made moderator. Kowal said “Maybe I like a proposed edit because it shows I didn’t get something across.” Schmidt told of a response “Thank you for your comments, I made the changes you suggested and sold the story to Gordon van Gelder.” Another panel I was given to moderate, having argued it shouldn’t be done at all, was “Butchering the Sacred Cows” (i.e. at s-f cons), on which were Jennifer Liang, Dan Reid, Jim Stratton, Alex von Thorn; at previous cons I’d found this a ranting place for people with a peeve, the Art Show, autograph sessions, the Dealers’ Room, exhibits, the Masquerade, panels; we managed a little better; I suggested If you’re trying to grow wheat, a rose is a weed, and we talked of directing traffic. There are also Hertz’ Corollaries to Sullivan’s Law, That which is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having no function, will come to have no form, and If you grieve some form is in disrepair, find and point out its function.

The weekend was jolly, the many errors were outweighed, the fifteen pizzas which appeared at the Dead Dog Party [after the con has formally ended and until the last dog is –] promptly disappeared, and Weisskopf at Closing Ceremonies said it was “a lovely proof of principle for NASFiC.”

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3 thoughts on “John Hertz: 2010 NASFiC Notes

  1. John, you did a great job moderating the Editing panel, particularly given how many loud people you had to try and keep in check. Well done, and thank you so much!

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