Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 1,762nd Distribution, LASFS Meeting No 3210, February 18th, 1999. Address: 11863 West Jefferson Boulevard, Apt. 2, Culver City, California, 90230-6332. Telephone: (310) 827-3335.
|Aussicon Three in 1999!||Salamander Press No 2189.|
Con-Dor in San Diego last weekend was fun, but it felt like a "Con-Dor Lite". There did not seem to be nearly as many attendees, dealers, or entries in the Art Show as usual. The conflict with that weekend's Gallifrey was held to be at least partly the reason. The Con Suite definitely served much skimpier fare, despite being run by ConSume this year. They did what they could with lots of fresh vegetables and popcorn, but that seemed to be just about all they had to work with. I noticed only three open parties; Loscon XXVI's, a combined party for all this year's Arizona cons and their Westercon, and the Furry Party. I enjoyed myself, due partly to the beautiful weather and to an unusually pleasant drive to & from San Diego (very light traffic, and stops at a Japanese bookshop in Torrance and at the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo.) but if I'd had to put out air fare to attend, or if it had been raining as it has on some Con-Dor weekends, I might have wondered if it had been worth the trip this year.
It may be a minor quibble, but I get annoyed when a convention committee cannot decide how to standardize its name. This year's Con-Dor was listed variously as Con-Dor '99, Con-Dor VII, and just plain Con-Dor. That is at least two variants too many.
I was on two panels: "Species as Shorthand: Anthropomorphic Characterization", on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.; and "The Americanization of Anime", on Sunday at noon. Michelle Gault sat in on the anthropomorphic panel for Jeff Ferris, who was unable to attend Con-Dor at the last minute. (Other panelists were Tygger Graf and Rod O'Riley.) Both went very well. Fortuitously, the February 1999 issue of Animation Magazine was published earlier that week with my survey, "The 13 Top Developments in Anime, 1985-1999". This enabled me to photocopy it and pass it out at the anime panel.
Tygger Graf had lots of depressing gossip from alt.fan.furry about the latest Internet flaming in 'morph fandom. Two fans are targeting the Anthrocon '99 in Philadelphia this July 4th weekend. One thinks that fans dressing in full-body funny-animal costumes are embarrassing to fandom; therefore if he sees any fans at Anthrocon in costumes, he will kill them. The other fan has posted a long list of how he wants the Anthrocon to be run, and threatens to sue the convention if it does not meet his expectations. Neither of these fans are using their real names on the Net. Those are so extreme that they can probably be dismissed as attention-seeking nuisances. More ominous are reports of another pseudonymous fan who has announced that he will destroy 'morph fandom. He is compiling a detailed contact list of all the most unsavory Web groups, such as the extroverts who boast about their use of plush animal dolls as sex toys, those who claim to live in their full-body furry costumes and insist that they really are wolves or lions, and the cartoonists who specialize in drawing hard-core X-rated funny-animal cartoons; and he claims he will post it to all the most scandal-mongering TV and radio talk-show hosts like Jerry Springer and Howard Stern as soon as he has made it as "juicy" as possible. The concept of deliberately sending the tabloid press to 'morph fandom's most embarrassing lunatic fringe, who are eager to portray themselves as What Furry Fandom Is All About, is plausible enough to make a good nightmare for the Internet gossipers to panic over. At least one prominent 'morph artist is already trying to disassociate herself from the fandom to avoid the risk of being "outed" as a perverted porno cartoonist. (Tygger's gossip was confirmed as the current tempest among 'morphic Web fandom, by a Massachusetts 'morph fan who phoned me the day after I got home.
I commented in ¡RR! #1760 that Rick Foss was considering organizing an Aussiecon group tour to start after the NASFiC, since those announced so far overlapped the NASFiC. Someone else had the same idea, because there were fliers at Con-Dor for a new "Aussiecon Three Post Convention Tour" leaving from Los Angeles the day after the NASFiC ends. Its cost is $4,660, though, which is far beyond the means of everyone at Con-Dor with whom I discussed it. And Rick Foss says that he had already dropped the tour idea because his queries indicate that there may not be enough North American fans attending Aussiecon Three to support any group tour. Also, many who do hope to join a tour are not coming to the NASFiC because their budgets are so tight that they need every penny for their Australian sightseeing. But the majority of American fans have the impression that Aussiecon Three will be so small and low-key that it will not be worth the expense of a trip to Australia, except for the most diehard Worldcon participants. This impression began with the negative reactions to the initial high membership price, and the statement that this high price was necessary to get basic expense money from American Worldcon fans because the committee did not expect a lot of support from Australian fandom -- hardly an encouraging admission. This impression was reinforced by the very low profile of Aussiecon at Bucconeer last year. Aussiecon did not do any promotional partying as Chicon 2000 did, or even have any fliers out. (There were fliers for travel agencies offering transport to Aussiecon members who had not made their travel plans yet, but no Aussiecon flyers to attract new members. This made it look as though Aussiecon was either already too poor or too inefficient to provide basic publicity. In fact, Aussiecon did spend money at Bucconeer to host a Hugo Losers' Party. That may have successfully promoted Aussiecon to the pros (and a Worldcon certainly should have as many pros present as possible). But the low profile outside the pros was apparently the wrong decision to persuade fans to join, or to persuade those who already had memberships that it would be worth the expense to attend. Anyhow, the main promotions at Con-Dor this year were for local cons like Loscon XXVI, NASFiC, AgamemCon III, and ConFurence X; and Arizona's Leprecon, Coppercon, and Phoenix's 2002 Westercon bid; plus fliers for Millennium Philcon and the Aussiecon tour.