(Don - 110th)(Thomas - 114th)
1997: October 17-19
GOH: Melissa Scott
If Thomas and Don had not known that this was only the second Albacon, they would have guessed that it was at least the tenth. Everything about the con was polished, smooth-running, and well-thought-out. Well, everything except the masquerade . . . .
The con had a first-rate selection of guests, all the kind of stimulating, well-spoken people that one expects to see at cons -- and, too often, one is disappointed. Panels were excellent: Don was on a total of seven, each more fun and thought-provoking than the last. Two in particular stand out in his mind. The first was a cozy little discussion group with Eluki bes Shahar, Alexis Gilliland, and half a dozen others on the topic "Social Tolerance, Mundanity, and Fandom." The second was a large, rollicking panel titled "Future Family Values," which brought together a straight male Yuppie new husband, a traditional grandmother, a formerly-married lesbian raising her children in a communal family, and a childless gay male celebrating ten years with his spouse. "Culture conflict" does not even begin to describe it!
Thomas was on a panel called "You Can't Take it With You," talking about a problem which is becoming more relevant in fandom: how to dispose of one's fannish collections after one's death. Horror stories were told of 50-year-old collections of fanzines and pulps tossed into the garbage by unknowing heirs. This panel got both Thoams and Don thinking, and led directly to the formation of The Star Toys Museum, Inc.
Thomas also participated in the masquerade (along with two other contestants). Somehow, in such a well-planned convention, the masquerade just fell through the cracks -- it started late, there was no emcee as such, and there were no provisions for a stage, presentations, or any of the modern trappings of masquerades. In fact, some in the back of the room did not even realize that a masquerade was going on. (Things got much better the next year.)
One rather macabre bit: Paul Edwin Zimmer, an elderly writer who was one of the guests at the con, passed away on Saturday. He died quickly and painlessly, and when his family was notified, they made a statement to the whole con saying that they were glad that Paul had died doing what he loved, surrounded by friends and happy up until the last moment.
With Lisa and Melissa, Thomas and Don stayed over Sunday night; they all had a lovely dinner in Lisa & Melissa's room, then turned into pumpkins in order to rest up for the next day's drive home.