The second audio tape recorded at the 1977 Worldcon – Suncon, the 35th World Science Fiction Covnention – has now been restored and made available for everyone’s listening pleasure.
The copies of the tape and their digital versions were supplied by Michael Kerpan. The original recording was made by Deborah King; the tapes themselves were restored by Hobbit of Techno-Fandom.
The two tapes (the 2nd tape – made available first – was previously linked to here on Amazing) can be found here:
Why keep on bringing this moldy oldy to your attention?
Selfish reasons. As I am not ashamed to admit (and usually quite eager to do so) I was a member of the convention committee and specifically the manager of the Hugo Awards Banquet. Arranging to feed rubber chicken to several hundred of my closest fannish friends was an awesome responsibility, a fantastic opportunity and a trial-by-fire that hardened and tempered me rather than consuming me.
For years I have been looking for “proof” of my participation in this last minute convention that managed to come off so well that Toastmaster – Robert Silverberg (who’d done twenty-five Worldcons at this point), the Fan GoH, Robert Madle, the TAFF winner – Peter Roberts – can all be heard proclaiming Suncon one of, if not THE best Worldcon they’d attended to date.
A bit of history on the convention: the original winning bid for the convention was to have taken place in Orlando and collapsed when the hotel it was scheduled for went bankrupt. A new ad-hoc committee was assembled by Don Lundry (chair) and they quickly found and vetted a hotel in Miami – The Fountainbleu, which turned out to be a crumbling relic of its former glory – and another hotel that was in receivership.
This was one of the first times (if not the first time) that a Worldcon was handled by a non-native committee: the Lundrys lived in Cherry Hill NJ, as did I; others were located in NYC, Brooklyn and various rural areas of NJ, DE, MD.
Don Lundry and I made the trip to the hotel a few days early in order to discover what last minute adjustments might need to be made. We found: a ballroom slated for the art show that had leaking ceilings and mildew, several other function space rooms that were not suitable for use, a banquet hall that could not be used in the manner in which we had originally intended and discovered that our only alternative venue for the Huckster’s room was the hotel parking garage. Other nightmares existed but have faded in my memory.
We cordoned off an area under the leaks, re-configured our take on the banquet and had the floor of the parking garage painted, crossing our fingers that it would dry in time. (How do you dry paint quickly in the Florida heat and humidity? FANS! Get it?)
We also had politics going on; Anita Bryant, the spokesperson for Florida Orange Juice, was on a messianic mission to rid the world of Gays. The Save Our Children campaign was organized to repeal anti-discrimination laws in Miami. The vast majority of fans at the convention were opposed to SOC – listen to the tape and you’ll hear it. (Silverberg presents himself as the delegate from San Francisco’s heterosexual underground….)
This was also the year of Star Wars, with fairly constant jokes being made at Chewbacca’s expense.
But the thing that thrills me the most (quite naturally I suppose) is the mention of my name in the list of people to be thanked for the convention at 1:08 into tape 1.
Woo Hoo! Thirty Seven years in the waiting! I’m pleased to be mentioned in the company of people like Ross Pavlac, Gary Farber, Eliot Shorter, Perdita Boardman, Jeannie DiModica, Joe Siclari, Mike Walsh, Lee Smoire, Dave Kyle, George Scithers, Ginjer Buchanan and more.
Now all I need are pictures! I AM LOOKING FOR PICTURES FROM SUNCON (especially ones that have me in them, lol). I wore an aussie digger hat (when I wasn’t wearing the orange bowlers we gave out to staff and guests) and don’t look anything like I do now.
Listen to those tapes. I think you will come away from the experience with a different view of fandom in the 70s.