DisCon III Daily Covid Report Has Five New Cases

DisCon III emailed members on December 28 about five more positive test results among people who attended last week’s Worldcon. This will be the final daily report from their COVID response team tracking contacts after the convention. One more report will be sent next week. Overall, as of December 27th, 31 people have reported positive test results, one of which was a false positive.

Here are links to the earlier reports:

The report begins with a comparison of DisCon III’s Covid statistics with those of the District of Columbia generally, then follows with updated CDC and other advice about how to handle positive tests. Details of the five new cases are at the end.

DisCon III December 28 Email

As we move further in time from DisCon III, it becomes increasingly difficult to be certain that any given COVID case was contracted at the convention instead of during post-convention activities. Today is our last daily email. We will send another update one week later, but we will generally limit our reporting to tests conducted before 12/26 whose results were delayed in arriving, or to members who were symptomatic before 12/26 but had difficulty obtaining tests.

This email contains the 5 new cases at the top, followed by the text of our previous email for easy reference. If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected].

Overall, as of December 27th, 31 people have reported positive test results, one of which was a false positive.

To put these numbers into context, DisCon III had approximately 2,300 attendees. In the ten days between December 17th and December 26th, 26 of them—1.13%—reported positive test results.

In contrast, the District of Columbia has approximately 670,000 residents. In the ten days between December 17th and December 26th, 17,546 of them—2.62%—reported positive test results.

This is not and cannot be a perfect comparison. Among other things, we do not know what percentage of DisCon III members did not report their COVID status to DisCon III, or what percentage of DC residents’ tests have not been reported to the Department of Health. But we hope having context for DC’s overall infection rate will help explain why the number of cases reported in these emails has been so high. The fact that our apparent rate is lower than the general DC rate, we attribute it to our masking and vaccination requirements.

(We are calculating starting from December 17th because that was the first day DisCon III received a case report, and ending December 26th because DC has not yet made available data from December 27th. We are including DisCon III’s false positive in this number because DC does not extract false positives from its data.)

Please note that the CDC has updated its isolation and quarantine advice as of December 27, 2021.

  • For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, the CDC now recommends full quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days after exposure
  • Individuals who have received a booster should wear a mask at all times when around others for 10 days following exposure but do not need to quarantine.
  • DisCon III encourages all attendees to act as though they were exposed, and we especially encourage this of anyone who attended a Business Meeting, as a disproportionate number of cases occurred among participants there.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19?

  • Tell the convention at [email protected]. We will keep your name private but may share anonymized information about your activities for contract-tracing purposes. With your consent, we will also report non-anonymized data to the DC Department of Health.
  • If your positive test result was from an at-home antigen test, try to obtain a PCR test for confirmation.
  • If you are a resident of DC and used an at-home antigen test, report the result to DC. If you live in another jurisdiction, ask your doctor how to report your result.
  • Think about where you were and if you had your mask off.
  • Inform anyone you know personally and were in close contact with about your test result
  • Close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more within 2 days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask.
  • The CDC recommends an initial 5-day isolation period. If after 5 days you are asymptomatic, you no longer need to isolate but you should wear a mask when around others for 5 additional days. If you are still symptomatic after 5 days, you should continue to isolate. (This is an updated recommendation released on December 27th.) Day zero is the first day you develop symptoms or test positive.

Case AA 

  • Received a positive PCR test result on Sunday, 26th December, for a test conducted on Thursday, 23rd December
  • Asymptomatic
  • Was at the Omni Shoreham beginning Monday, December 13
  • Visited the dealer’s room and the art show repeatedly
  • Attended program items including:
    • Almost There Filk (Tue)
    • Open Ceremonies (far back on left) (Wed)
    • Amy McNally concert (Wed)
    • Pick, Pass, or Play Filk (Wed)
    • Stroll with the Stars (unmasked) (Thur)
    • Changing Genes (far back on right) (Thur)
    • Memorial Filk Circle (Thur)
    • Chaos Filk (Thur)
    • Filk Concert (Fri)
    • What Is Filk (Fri)
    • Seanan McGuire concert (far back on left) (Fri)
    • Tiara workshop (Fri)
    • Chaos Filk (Fri)
    • Stroll with the Stars (unmasked) (Sat)
    • Culture of the Conquered (far back on left) (Sat)
    • Sara Heney (far back on left) (Sat)
    • 2020 Ruined My Book (back row against the wall) (Sat)
    • Closing Ceremonies (middle of front middle section) (Sun)
    • Dead Dog Filk (Sun, after 8 pm)
  • Attended the Masquerade (first row back from the big aisle, middle of row) and the Hugo Awards (first row back from big aisle, middle of row)
  • Dined at Lebanese Taverna (5 pm Thur), Robert’s Restaurant (evening Fri), Rajaj (5:30 pm Sat)
  • Dining companions have tested negative

Case AB

  • Received a positive PCR test result on Monday, 27th December, for a test conducted on Tuesday, 21st December.
  • Symptoms include running nose, cough, headache, and body aches
  • Partner tested negative on Tuesday, 21st December, but began experiencing symptoms on Thursday, 23rd December, and is now seeking an additional test
  • Was at the Omni from Thursday, 16th December, through Monday, 20th December
  • Dined in Robert’s Restaurant Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. Ate dinner at Lebanese Taverna Friday and Sunday evenings
  • Visited the dealer’s room and attended the Hugo Awards reception, ceremony, and afterparty
  • Participated in Saturday evening karaoke
  • Socialized in the lobby and by the firepits outside the hotel

Case AC – Marcia Illingworth, named by request

  • Tested positive on Monday, 27th December, after difficulty obtaining a test
  • Symptomatic since Wednesday, 22nd December
  • Stayed off-site at the Days Inn
  • Worked Magpie Curios in the dealer’s room from Wednesday through Sunday
  • Dined at Thai Pad on Wednesday, 15th December
  • Roommates have tested positive, see below

Case AD – Sally Kobee, named by request

  • Tested positive on Monday, 27th December, with a home antigen test
  • Symptoms began Monday, 20th December, and include scratchy throat, nasal congestion, and cough
  • Stayed off-site at the Days Inn, roommate of case AC
  • Commuted via metro
  • Spent all five days of the convention working in the dealer’s room

Case AE – Ralph Franklin Smith, named by request

  • Tested positive on Monday, 27th December, with a home antigen test
  • Asymptomatic
  • Stayed off-site at the Days Inn, roommate of case AC

Pixel Scroll 1/20/17 Try A Little Pixelness

(1) ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. GoodEReader reports “Audio Realms is out of business”.

Audio Realms has gone out of business and they have taken their main website and Facebook Page offline. They have provided no indication on what prompted their company to suspend operations. Some of their audiobook content remains available on Audible and Overdrive.

Some customers are irate who purchased Audio Realms content on Audiobooks.com. It seems that when the company want out of business all of the purchased content has disappeared from customers libraries and they have no way to access them.

The Horror Show podcast from November has info on how affected creators can stop further sales of their work (apparently AR was not paying creators what they were owed), around the 36:58 mark.

(2) GORN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Fifty years ago this week Captain Kirk dueled the Gorn.

The lumbering green guy appeared in the original series’ 18th episode, “Arena.” The episode was based on a short story written by Frederic Brown and published in Astounding magazine back in 1944.

In the memorable Star Trek version, Captain Kirk is transported to a rocky planet (aka California’s alien-appearing Vasquez Rocks) to duke it out to the death with the Gorn captain. We won’t give away the ending in case you’re saving all the original episodes for a rainy day or something, but let’s just say that there is not one thing about the Gorn that is not awesome…

(3) SFRA CALLS. The Science Fiction Research Association has put out a call for panel and presentation proposals for its SFRA Annual Conference, June 28 to July 1, 2017 at University of California, Riverside.

The conference theme will be Unknown Pasts / Unseen Futures and our keynote speaker is Nnedi Okorafor. This theme grows out of the 2016 conference, whose conversations reminded us that there is so much about the history of science fiction that has yet to be sufficiently addressed in scholarship, including marginalized or otherwise neglected bodies of work. The future of scholarship in the field can be opened up to new possibilities through this return to under examined elements in our genre’s past, opening it up to futures that are as-yet unanticipated in existing fictional and scholarly visions. This conference theme also reflects UCR’s commitment to science fiction scholarship that is focused on imagining and creating sustainable and inclusive futures. Thus our focus is equally on new voices in the field and the new kinds of futures that emerge from this broader sense of the field’s membership.

(4) BLINTZ BLITZ. Scott Edelman’s 27th episode of his Eating the Fantastic podcast features Ellen Datlow and Ukranian cuisine.

This first to be recorded this visit took place at the Ukranian restaurant Veselka, which turns out more than 3,000 pierogi each day, and has been around since 1954. My guest that afternoon was editor Ellen Datlow, who for more than 35 years has brought readers amazing stories in magazines such as Omni, on sites such as SCI FI Fiction, and in anthologies such as Fearful Symmetries, The Doll Collection, and more than 90 others.

We discussed why reading slush is relaxing, which editors she wanted to emulate when she began editing, how she winnows down her favorite stories for her Year’s Best anthologies, the complexities of navigating friendships when making editorial decisions, how Ed Bryant challenged her to become a better editor, and much more.


(5) FERRER OBIT. Actor Miguel Ferrer (1955-2017) died January 19. Geek Chocolate explains why you would know that famous sci-fi face:

In another shocking loss, we say goodbye to the actor who went from the helm of the USS Excelsior to the labs of OCP where RoboCop was built, from aiding Agent Dale Cooper in the town of Twin Peaks to Vice President of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

His first major role having been in Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop, he also had roles in William Friedkin’s The Guardian, Jim Abrahams’ Hot Shots! Part Deux, and as a voice actor in Disney’s Mulan and Justice League: The New Frontier as Martian Manhunter, but it was on television that he created the roles for which he is most famous.

Other television roles included Magnum, P.I., T J Hooker, Miami Vice, Tales from the Crypt, David Lynch’s On the Air, Will & Grace, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Robot Chicken, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Lie to Me, Psych, Desperate Housewives and most recently a long-running role as Assistant Director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, and it has been confirmed that he will be seen again later this year as Albert Rosenfield when Twin Peaks returns this summer.

The son of singer Rosemary Clooney and actor José Ferrer, the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in David Lynch’s Dune, his cousin George is also in the acting business.

(6) SMITH OBIT. Renowned convention bookseller Larry Smith (1946-2017) died January 20 from a dissected aortic aneurysm.

SF Site News recapped his fannish resume:

Columbus book dealer Larry Smith (b.1946) died on January 20. Smith co-chaired the Columbus in 1976 Worldcon bid as well as chairing Marcons III-XII. He served as a vice-chair for Chicon IV in 1982. He also co-charied OVFF in 1998 and World Fantasy Con in 2010. In the early 1990s, he purchased Dick Spelman’s book business and, along with his wife, Sally Kobee, has sold books and most conventions in the Midwest and East Coast. He has managed the dealer’s room at numerous Worldcons and other conventions.

Smith and his friend Robert Hillis suffered repeated frustrations trying to get a WSFS convention for Columbus, OH – a city which was not very many fans’ idea of a tourist mecca. Later they did get to apply their talents to winning a 1982 Worldcon bid (led by Larry Propp and Ross Pavlac) for Chicago, a city fans would vote for.

In the past couple of decades Smith became an iconic convention bookseller, together with his wife Sally Kobee. If the business didn’t make them rich, just the same it did get them noticed by Forbes Magazine.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.


  • January 20, 1936:  Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi face off in The Invisible Ray.


  • Born January 20  — Nancy Kress


  • Born January 20, 1896  — George Burns, who once played God, is best known to fans as the actor who stood next to young Ray Bradbury in this photo.
George Burns and Ray Bradbury.

George Burns and Ray Bradbury.

  • Born January 20, 1926 – Harry Glyer
  • Born January 20, 1930 – Buzz Aldrin
  • Born January 20 – Jared Dashoff

(10) OH POOH. Five days left for you to bid on a drawing of Pooh and Piglet by the canonical illustrator. The minimum bid is $45,000.

Beautifully rendered watercolor and ink drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet by E.H. Shepard, the illustrator chosen by A.A. Milne to bring his literary characters to life. Here, Shepard draws Pooh and Piglet upon a letter to his agent, allowing the characters to express his feelings of gratitude and joy.

Pooh drawing

(11) RED PLANET, BLUE PLANET. NPR reviews Carrie Vaughn’s novel — “’Martians Abroad’ Is An Optimistic Glance Into Humanity’s Future”.

It’s perfect timing, then, for the publication of Martians Abroad. The novel is the latest from New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn, best known for her Kitty Norville urban fantasy series. But rather than involving werewolves in modern-day America, Martians Abroad sets its sights on the human-colonized solar system of tomorrow.

That said, most of Martians Abroad — as the title states — doesn’t take place on Mars at all. The majority of the action takes place on Earth. Polly Newton is a typical teenager — that is, a typical teenager living on Mars’ Colony One, where her mother is the director of operations. She sends Polly and her twin brother Charles to Earth to attend Galileo Academy, a prestigious school full of the scions of the most powerful families in the solar system. Polly and Charles are the first Martians to enroll at Galileo, partly because Mars is less wealthy and seen as a bit of a hick planet. (Not that Polly wants to go to Earth in the first place — she’s forced to abandon an upcoming internship as a starship pilot, something she desires more than anything.)

Chip Hitchcock sent the link with the gratuitous plea, “I hope they’re wrong about it being an homage to Podkayne of Mars, one of Heinlein’s more repellent books.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Christa Cook Sinclair, David K.M. Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP, who never gets woolly.]

Larry Smith Back in Hospital; Funding Target Increased

Bookseller Larry Smith, who spent several days in a hospital after rolling his van on the way back from Dragon Con, has “had some complication since returning home, which have put him back in the hospital,” reports Marcia Kelly Illingworth.

In an update to their GoFundMe appeal Illingworth wrote:

When I spoke with Sally this afternoon, she was trying to make the decision as to whether she would be able to attend Archon this weekend. Yes, he’s that sick.

The good news is that they didn’t lose a whole lot of books. There are advantages to packing very tightly. However now, in addition to medical expenses on top of trying to find a new van, they are having to look at serious interruption of income, and all of the issues that brings. Many of you have suggested raising the target, so that’s what we are doing.

It is heartwarming and humbling to see how many people have dug deeply into their pockets to help Larry and Sally recover from this very major setback. There just are not enough adequate words to express the gratitude we all feel. I hope that you can find it in your hearts and pockets to help reach the new goal, and please, if it is your way of things, keep them in prayer, light candles, burn incense, or whatever it takes to send them some help from higher powers as well.

The fundraising target is now $30,000. There has been $21,305 raised as of this writing.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Larry Smith Fundraiser Closing in on New Goal

Once Larry Smith got home from the hospital after totalling his van on the way back from Dragon Con, he and Sally Kobee took stock of what they’d need to get their convention bookselling business going again.

Marcia Kelly Illingworth set up a GoFundMe with an initial target of $10,000. But with the encouragement of fans who wanted to help Larry and Sally get a new van that goal was increased to $20,000.

Now the sf community has contributed $19,646 to the fund — while many donors are anonymous, there are also some pretty well-known names on the list.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Larry Smith Fundraiser

smith van

Larry Smith, whose van was totaled on the way home from Dragon Con, is out of the hospital and, having had a few days to assess the financial impact of the accident, is looking for help. Marcia Kelly Illingworth has set up a GoFundMe with a target of $10,000.

Larry and his wife, Sally Kobee do not engage in the whole social media scene. Since Sally was using our house as a base of operations while Larry was hospitalized, I did my best to keep everyone updated on Facebook, and through other avenues. Many people sent good wishes and offers of assistance. At that time, they were of the opinion that insurance would cover the losses. That’s what you have it for, after all.

Well now, reality is setting in. Larry is back at home, but will be feeling pretty rough for awhile. The insurance company have advised them what they will pay for the totalled van. It is nowhere near what it will take to replace the van. They will also only pay for a limited amount on a rental vehicle until they get it replaced. We don’t know about what they will cover for the loss of books. They are still going through them to determine how many are still saleable.

Many folks have asked how they could help. Larry and Sally have been selling books at conventions for 25 years, and never had anything like this happen. They are fannish family. Now we can all help them. Please give generously. We don’t know how much they will end up needing, but GoFundMe asks for a target, so I picked one out of thin air. There will be a full accounting, and any surplus will go to a recognized charity. They have authorized me to set up this page on their behalf. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.

The appeal has raised $3,312 at this writing.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

Larry Smith Out of Hospital

Larry Smith has been released from the hospital and he and Sally Kobee are on the way home reports Marcia Kelly Illingworth.

Their inventory of books has been off-loaded from the old van, which was totalled, and also is headed back to Ohio.

They wish once more to thank everyone for their support, prayers, and good wishes, as well as offers of assistance, both physical and financial. They think that insurance should take care of most of the losses, but have agreed to let us all know if they need further assistance.

Larry Smith Update

Larry Smith continues to improve, and they have enough volunteer help to assist Sally Kobee with the van, Marcia Kelly Illingworth has reported on Facebook:

Larry Smith update – Larry continues to improve. He is still on target for release this weekend. Joni has made it home safely. Sally is here at our house. They would all like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts, good wishes, and prayers, not to mention the offers of assistance.

We will be going down in the morning to off-load the van. Thanks so much to those who have volunteered assistance with that. We have probably notified enough volunteers at this point to accomplish that task in a timely manner.

The real savior in the survival story is the fact that they had put the four foot grid from their display upright behind the seats, making a security cage that just happened to keep the roof from collapsing. Interior shots to follow after we unload.

Thanks again! You guys rock!

Fans In Accident Returning From Dragon Con

Bookdealer Larry Smith and Joni Dashoff had a rollover in Larry’s van on the way back from Dragon Con on September 8 reports Marcia Kelly Illingworth. The accident occurred near Sweetwater, Tennessee.

Smith was injured and is in the University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville, Steven H Silver wrote in an update. Sally Kobee said they expect to keep him there until at least Saturday.

According to Illingworth, Dashoff is okay.

The van was totaled, however, and Sally needs immediate help retrieving and salvaging the contents of the van. Steven H Silver continues —

It was loaded to the gills with books and the shelves & hardware they use to construct their sales booth at cons. She could use people with strong backs at both ends of the trip – in Knoxville, TN and in Columbus OH.

Please contact her directly at sallykobee (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Update: Additional news here.

Forbes Visits the Hucksters Room

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

Science fiction’s capitalists, who flog their books in the hucksters room for filthy lucre, have at last been recognized by that journal for millionaires, Forbes.

John Farrell, Forbes science and technology journalist, ran photos of legendary fans he witnessed “Dealing In Science Fiction Classics At Readercon”.

Farrell rhapsodizes about the favorite old books he found for sale, then turns his focus on the sellers — Larry Smith and Sally Kobee, David G. Hartwell and Michael Swanwick, Ralph Carlson, Jane Morriss, Darrell Schweitzer and Mattie Brahen.

[Thanks to Bill Higgins for the link.]