by Peggy Rae Sapienza (Con Chair)
Review by Ernest Lilley
WSFA (Hosting Club) Event ISBN/ITEM#: 0412SMOFCO
Date: 3 ? 5 December 2004 / Show Official Info /
Follow SMOFCON #22 at www.SFRevu.com!
Even as you read this, our intrepid reporter has infiltrated the "SMOF"con taking place in Washington, DC. Could they be plotting to take over the world? Check back later and I'll reveal their secret plans!
Actually, so far (which means Friday night) it's been a congenial con, lots of folks you see working hard at other cons kicking back and catching up. There's a lot of buzz about how the pounds? rise in value might affect the Glasgow Worldcon (2005: Interaction) coming up this summer. A contingent of friendly folks from Japan are here to get tips on their upcoming Worldcon (2007: Nippon 2007). The Washington Science Fiction Association is hosting the con, and they held their regular club meeting as a Friday night activity. There was also a First Night Time Travel event that I missed...I'll have to pop into my wayback machine and check it out. I'll be back later with more news from the convention floor...
Saturday Eve - after a day at the con.
Unlike regular cons, where bid parties abound on Saturday night, SMOFcon winds down pretty early. Actually I skipped out just before the 9pm Noreascon 4 Dissection Panel but caught a few (Publicizing your Convention, How to Prepare for a WorldCon in Just Two Years). I did a lot of chatting with SMOFs old and new about the many faces of fandom and made some new friends among the ranks of this powerful secret organization. I managed to cause a fair amount of ruckus at the "How to publicize your con panel" when I suggested that media fans don't read. Now, that's obviously not true, as any media fan will tell you...myself included...but it's a perception that I'd like to see addressed. Caused quite a stir, and Alexis Gilliland drew up a few comics on the subject.
Though I tossed the hand grenade, I believe that you can have your classic literary orientation and attract media fans too. At the heart of it all is the story, and at some point the story gets written down, whether it's a short story, screenplay, or graphic novel. It's all about story telling, and only the medium changes. So, if you want to preserve the literary nature of SF cons (which people seem to want) go ahead...but, as "Filthy Pierre" pointed out, you need a semi-permeable membrane between the different worlds of fandom to attract people who share your interests.
Sunday - No Rest for SMOFS
The first panel I made Sunday was about finding a hotel, and what to do with one once you've found it. Contract negotiations can easily make or break a con's financial survival, and experienced negotiator (and Master SMOF) Ben Yalow kept a room full of facility finding fans riveted with tales of "making the (room) block", "corkage and forkage fees", and the arcane local liquor laws of Boston Mass.
Finally, I had to duck out, but not before meeting the Nippon Worldcon 2007 contingent, who were willing to stand still long enough for me to get a group shot. In the con suite I picked up a copy of the Japanese Phrase Book (JASFIC edition) full of useful terms like, "hello", "goodbye", and "I am an alien", the latter translates into "Watashi wa Uchuujin de-su". I think.