Corflu a Brilliant Success
Apak wins FAAn, Leeds in '96
by Victor M. Gonzalez
Walnut Creek was fine and faannish, and I'm happy to have been there. Situated in a small city about 30 minutes out of Oakland, in the view of darkened Mt. Diablo, the festivities ensued without a single major problem. Fans congregated at the Marriott, conversed at length, convened for auctions and panels, gave speeches, handed out honors, produced clouds and smoked fanzines.
Having spent much of my time in parties with -- among others -- Ted White, Arnie and Joyce Katz, Robert Lichtman, Lenny Bailes, Frank Lunney, Tom Springer, Tammy Funk, Paul Williams, Cindy Lee Berryhill, Andy Hooper, Greg and Jim Benford, and Ken Forman, I can say we were very sedate.
The convention's web page was also skillfully done, and continues to be interesting, with lots of photos. Check it out at www.hidden-knowledge.com/corflu/.
For the record, Ian Gunn, Andy Hooper and Apak won the FAAn Awards; Bill Rotsler (1996) and Lee Hoffman (1951) were elected past presidents of fwa; and Glasgow-native Ian Sorensen hopped back across the pond with next year's Corflu safely tucked away in his pouch. In the least predictable aspect of the con, I became the Guest of Honor when Jeanne Bowman pulled my name from a hat. We still await results from an investigation by the committee appointed by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah to look into election fraud at suburban science-fiction conventions. It is unclear how many other names were in the hat.
My speech, delivered at the banquet, follows shortly.
But I have two complaints that I'd like to get off my chest.
First, I wish there had been a photocopier in the hotel that I could have used. Some Corflus have featured full mimeo services, but I had to -- gasp -- drive a short distance to a store to get my one-shot finished.
I just think it would be appropriate to have on-site reproduction technology at a convention for fanzine fans. No big deal.
The second point relates to the FAAn Awards. I'm proud Apak has received the award for a second year, but I wish more people had voted. As I recall, it was about 50 people. It seems to me that if we can get more than 125 people to pay money to come to Corflu, we should be able to get more than half of them to vote for free.
I think Janice Murray has done a great job administering the awards; it is fan editors such as Andy and me who must accept the burden of getting out the vote. I urge a more sincere effort on the part of every fan editor next year.
Thank you for putting up with me. Yes, I know my complaints are trivial and unlikely to be helpful. Yes. Thank you for listening. Now here's the speech (based on the text I finished writing about 5 a.m. Sunday; I have added stage directions, and the "off-screen" parts are a little different from the speech as delivered):
[Sets up Powerbook and takes seat. Explains that he has to work off the computer because he didn't have the time to find a printer.]
I want to thank you all for coming this morning. I'm actually a little surprised I made it. I'd like to start off by saying that I do feel honored by this designation, despite its random nature. This is my turn in the barrel, and at least I have the satisfaction of knowing it won't be me next time. And I'm happy to say that my reputation for brevity shall be wholly confirmed today.
I would also like to extend my thanks to the organizers of this convention. I've found the facilities nice and the attendance seems to have been excellent. I hear there was even programming. It's been everything I would expect of the best convention going these days.
I'd specifically like to thank Tom Becker for providing technical assistance for my fanzine.
I was told that a humorous approach to this speech would be a good idea. But nothing has occurred to me, so instead I've decided to take on the most serious fannish subject I can think of.
A total of 977 fans have attended the Sunday morning banquet from Corflu One through Corflu Wave. Of those, 426 had produced a fanzine in the previous year, and 121 had produced more than one issue. Only 1.2 percent had never produced a fanzine.
In addition, 12.76 percent of the multiple-fanzine-producing banquet attendees had hangovers during the banquet. A surprising 2.44 percent of those had to leave the banquet hall in order to blow chunks.
[Stops and clenches up, then looks up from the screen.]
Um, wait a minute. Oh man, I'm so tired, I forgot that I changed my mind last night. I got this far along in writing it, and then I changed my mind. Here, give me a chance to open the other file . . .
That's right; my topic is, "Where do we draw the line in fandom?"
[Starts reading from the screen again.]
What I mean is, what sort of issue is important enough that we'd exclude someone from fandom for breaking that rule? What kind of transgression is sufficient? Most of us probably think someone is so much of a fugghead that fandom would be better off without them.
For example, should I consider those who disagree with me about Corflu's whereabouts in 1998 people I'd rather do without? Probably not. Political discourse should be free within a small society with almost no formal organization. I accept other views of Corflu and TAFF without feeling deeply wronged.
Then there is a set of wider political and social disputes that have the potential to derail relationships. Acceptance -- or the lack of acceptance -- of women's rights, different races, homosexuality, drug use, or having voted for Ronald Reagan, can all create divisions among people with different opinions.
I feel more strongly about some of these subjects than others. But, generally, I think it's better to be tolerant of different opinions so long as polite discourse is a remedy to the dispute. Despite the fact that there are plenty of ready targets, I don't think fandom should be divided along political lines.
But, as I was thinking about this, I settled on one group that I would exclude, should I have the power to do so. They are the one group of people who work to make life more stressful and less friendly while at the same time thwarting the work of two generations of freeway engineers.
That's right: I call to you to man the guns against those who defend their malicious driving habits as fun. I have absolutely nothing else to hold against Dale Speirs, but his suggestion that drivers should do the speed limit in the fast lane of multi-lane freeways is deserving of a forced gafiation, if not Plan Makarov.
If Dale thinks that's fun, I have a suggestion for him that might fuck with the minds of speeders even more effectively. This would be unorthodox for Dale, but I would suggest he move to the lane just inside the fast lane, right at the speed limit. Cars will come up in the fast lane from behind, doing five or ten miles more than Dale. The trick is, just as they get a few yards from your back bumper, you hit the left turn signal.
Boy does that put the errant speeder in their place. There they were, just driving along, safely passing another vehicle, and suddenly they have a quick choice of hitting the brakes, evading or doing nothing. Whatever happens, you can bet that lawbreaking scum's asshole took a big bite out of his seat.
I bet it would be really fun, Dale.
[Again stops and looks up from the screen.]
Wait a minute. Shit. I did it again, folks. This file stops right there. I remember now, I realized last night that my premise was fatally flawed. Even though I disagree with Dale, I wouldn't have him expelled from fandom. After all, he's a pretty good fan editor.
Hold on a sec. Let me see if I can find that other file. That's right, I ended up trying to write about how social and written fandoms interact, and the ways that conventions enhance fanzines and vice versa. And it had something to do with E. B. Frohvet hosting a Corflu. I think Paul Kincaid played Dorothy Parker in a grotesque parody of the Algonquin Round Table.
Oh, forget it. I've gone on about long enough. I'll end here on a note entirely without sarcasm: despite a number of pitfalls, I've always found fandom to be an interesting place to be, a place where I'm happy to contribute and comfortable with my friends. Thank you very much.
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Next article: A Con From California, by Andy Hooper.