Arisia 2002 report and pictures by Seven Sawicki

Official Con Site: 

Arisia was held January 18 through 20th at the Park Plaza hotel in Boston. Katherine Kurtz was the guest of honor and there was a Deryni Ball in her honor. The Ball took the place of the typical Vampire Ball which, I have to admit, was more fun and interesting. 

Frederica, originally from Rome, Italy, proves the old adage, When in Arisia....

The artist guest of honor was Tristan Alexander and the fan guest of honor, Eugene Heller. Otherwise the convention was pro-light. I managed to run into Paul Levinson, ex-president of SFWA who talked about his forthcoming book, The Consciousness Plague (Tor - March 2002). Paul was showing everyone the cover and telling us all that he felt he had made it since the publisher now has to show him the cover in advance. He can't do anything about it if he hates it but they still have to show him. Upon hearing this story, Bob Devney regaled us with a tale of another author who, upon scanning the book sellers stalls at a different convention, spied a book with a wonderful cover only to discover that it was hers. Kathleen Goonan was quite amazed. 

Boston is always an adventure but even more so during the big dig. I, however, had no difficulty getting in or out although the $50 for parking did major damage to my wallet. It snowed Saturday night which gave the Patriots fans something to cheer about. Inside the con the only inconvenience the snow created was making it a chilly two minute walk to get to the Ben and Jerry's ice cream store from the hotel lobby. 

Bob Deveny Marvels at the breadth of Warren Lapine's Publishing Empire..."Someday, Warren, one of us is bound to get a Hugo for something." The many time Hugo Nominated publisher of the "Devniad" was heard to remark.

The dealers room was packed but with mostly non-book items and the 8th floor dealers row took all of the overflow with the darker sales items. Needless to say you can get almost anything you can imagine at Arisia so long as it comes in leather, studs, silk or can be found in your local bondage catalog. 

There were about 2,400 people in attendance although the hotel seemed to swallow them without a trace most of the time. Only the elevators seemed to feel the impact. The bars were never crowded and the parties had plenty of space. The gaming room remained mostly empty as did the film and anime rooms. The panels ran the gamut from packed to the gills to barely outnumbering the panelists, although in Arisia's defense this was a very panel heavy con with an average of a dozen items to choose from each hour. 


As for the con-goers there were plenty of large beings stuffed into to little spandex/leather/rubber/corsets. There were fewer vampire teeth than in previous years and the masquerade was lightly entered as well. Speculation ran that since the WorldCon was a left coast phenom this year that many costume fan were taking time off instead of using Arisia as a first run. 

The hotel is old, the rooms small and hot although they do their best such as bringing in the scifi channel for the weekend so people could watch the B5:Legend of the Rangers movie. The one thing that can be said positively about the area is that you are surrounded by pretty decent restaurants. Eating is not a problem. 

Harry Turtledove is the guest of honor for Arisia 2003 which will be held the same time in the same place. Start polishing your leather today.


2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu  el012602