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CONVENTIONS: REPORTS Descriptions and pictures of past cons.

Conversion '02

Con Report by OWC Helio

I only heard of Conversion/Canvention/Conspec 2002 from SFLovers.org and I made a snap decision to attend, like a kind of precursor to the big one later this month. C-C-C was in essence three mini-cons, Conversion (Calgary), Canvention (Canada) and Conspec (Edmonton), pooling together resources to wow and woo the fans.

On Saturday we took the Greyhound for the 3-hour or so ride from Edmonton to Calgary. It was pouring while we were on the road but for some squidly reason the clouds drifted away when we approached Calgary. Downtown Calgary--skycrapers overshadowing the streets. My sister and I looked at each other; we had seen this layout before. Yes, Calgary has a U.S. city flavour. After checking in at the Westin, I rushed over to the Metropolitan Centre where the C-C-C was held. I was anxious to explore new territory and I had lost a day: the Convention actually started on Friday and they had already awarded the Prix Aurora awards that evening. First stop: the dealers' room. I had to pause. My eyes were magnified to a WorldCon stage and I had to re-adjust. But, 'lo and behold, there was the LA 2006 bid table! Did I pre-support? You bet! Ten people or so stood in line before a small glass partition. Inside, someone was busily scribbling on books. Author in a cage? No, that was Guy Gavriel Kay autographing books.

A quick dash to China Town for a bite. You would think there should be restaurants open at 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. Nope. It was baffling, but we managed to find one that was open. Panel attendance after that, back to the hotel for a shower and change. At 7:00 p.m. was the costume contest, a mini masquerade. Quite a few costumes that were hilarious and imaginative. Then in search of room parties. The doors of LA and Nasfic were still closed though there were all kinds of signs and balloons pointing to them. Consuite was dead. We went off to watch some anime video. At 8:30 back to the 12th floor to see if there were people having fun already. We had a drink at Nasfic and some nachos. There were about four people or so hanging around a made-up bed. Too early to sleep.

What is happening at LA? At last a familiar figure. "Chaz" of Chicago Moon Times fame! He had the best snacks, cheese, lemonade and home-made pretzels. Robert Sawyer then walked in and Murray, the Torcon organizer with a file of Torcon attendants' names under his arm. Are our secrets safe with Murray? Who is going to Torcon? All raising hands. I mentioned there were O*W*C hosts from south of the border coming to Torcon as well. An enthusiastic response from Rob Sawyer who said that someone mentioned Other*Worlds*Cafe at the Consuite. Yaaay, we're famous. Maybe it was those few bookmarks that I could spare. I put them on the free stuff table when I first walked in and they were gone when I came back. We spent the rest of the night watching more anime videos until 1:00 a.m.

The next morning I attended a short story vs. novel panel where Allen Steele was one of the panelists. I buttonholed him afterwards to sign CHRONOSPACE. Remember Gandalara, Mr. Steele? A blank look. He obviously had a late night out with the dinosaurs in Drumheller. Buns of Steele, Mr. Steele? A light turned on. "Oh yes, I haven't seen her for a quite a while!" What about JaniceMars, Mr. Steele? Now, Jan he remembered. He is looking forward to seeing you again, Jan!

The GOH speeches summed up the Con for me. Robert Sawyer on the podium extolling Worldcons and especially Torcon. Banquet halls of panels, floor to floor party rooms, the biggest dealers' room on the planet (OK, I'm just getting excited here). I sure hope people are listening to Robert Sawyer. Then, *Dr.* Geoffrey Landis expounding on the three big no-no's of science fiction. 1) No, you cannot see a ship coming through a black hole because the hole is BLACK, you see. 2) No, don't put your ship in a meteor shower like it is in a SHOWER. Meteor showers are just spit-spits of flashing points; they are not fireworks. 3) No, do not let your hero get up and save the day after he got knocked out by a crack on the jaw. He ought to be in hospital with CONCUSSION instead of running around beating up villains. Should we listen to Dr. Landis. Maybe .

I wasn't able to see much of Conversion/Canvention/Conspec in the short span of time that we had. Plus, we had to spent some time sightseeing in Calgary as well. But I had some interesting conversations and met the people I wanted to meet. This was by no means a big con but according to hearsay, there were more people than ever attending this year and the panels, judging from the few I attended, had some of the best speakers. The organizers certainly put out their best efforts to make everything a success and they succeeded.

OWC Helio