Hiatus for the Silly Season

As the end of year approaches time becomes very limited and we here at This! are taking a bit of a break until the New Year (sometime, probably early January). So no new posts are likely before 2018.

All the best for the rest of 2017!

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by Doug

Here’s an amusing little anecdote from someone in our community who has hotel-liaison’ed multiple times in the past:

A Swancon hotel contract contained a description of what the hotel would provide for the tea, coffee etc. station. This was supposed to include a tin of Milo.

Due to a typo, the hotel signed a contract in which they agreed to provide us a ton of Milo.

That’s about 907 kilograms — at current prices worth around $10,000.

Sadly, we never collected.

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SwanCon XV PR2 – Con Closed by Hotel Management (News)

Page 5 of PR2 for SwanCon XV, it is related to the desire for Incorporation that was covered in a previous post on page 4 of the same PR. Transcribed by Elaine Walker


News from Stephen Dedman

On May 5th, 1989, Miscon 4 was evicted from its hotel in Missoula, Montana, a mere five hours after opening. The reasons cited included weapons on the premises, an unpaid hotel bill and unsigned hotel contract, and selling liquor without a license. For the last offense (the con’s hospitality room was demanding “mandatory donations” for drinks), Miscon may face a $1000 fine, and the Hotel is in danger of losing its liquor license. As Miscon was not incorporated, the committee members may be held personally liable for any financial or legal complications.

Despite several years of discussion, SwanCon has not become incorporated. SwanCon committee members could therefore be held liable for any costs if a Con lost money. This has happened: the committee member, who was threatened with a lawsuit, paid the bill and was later bailed out by the next SwanCon committee. While this was an extremely minor disaster compared to the fate of Miscon, it caused considerable controversy (and even acrimony) within W.A. fandom. Incorporation would protect committee members if such incidents recurred. It would also protect us in the instance of any lawsuits, or any accidents not covered by our third party insurance.

The SwanCon XV committee hereby invites all interested parties to attend a meeting to frame a Constitution for the formation of SwanCon Inc.

Unit X/XX Cxxxxx Txxxxx, Daglish (until further notice)

All interested parties are requested to contact Don Griffiths (xxx-xxxx) or Tara Smith (xxx-xxxx), or write to The Swancon Committeee, P.O. Box XXX, Nedlands 6009.

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Welcome to SwanCon XV

Transcribed by Doug



By Don Griffiths B-)

The Fifteenth Western Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. Fifteenth? Already? Time flies when you’re having fun…

Seriously though, I have been attending SF conventions for 13 years, the first being SwanCon 3. Considering there is no formal organisation to manage the succession of SwanCons, it seems amazing that year after year volunteers emerge to form committees for subsequent SwanCons, including three National Conventions.

I will be happy to stand corrected, but from the minimal research I’ve done I believe that as far as Australian conventions go, fifteen consecutive years is a record. The Natcon has been going for twenty eight years, but this of course moves from state to state.

With the risk of being boring, I’ll repeat my message from Progress Report One. The reason, I believe, for SwanCon’s success is our ability to attract new devotees of our particular madness. Each year a group of new faces emerge from the convention with an enthusiasm that is stunning. Stunning, in that is, until you think back to when you got involved. The second year of my involvement with SwanCon saw me on the committee for WA’s first National convention. So a particular welcome to people who are attending SwanCon for the first time.

To the many of you who have been involved in SwanCons before, welcome back. It is the continuity you provide that maintains the unique flavour of SwanCon.

Finally a word about our theme, “Survival in a Dark Future”.

This was dreamed up when looking at the year 1990. Some of you may remember a TV series called 1990 about a totalitarian Britain. The ideas that developed from this are many and varied. SF authors for years have been dwelling on the topics of Cautionary Tales, ever since Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein and Herbert George Wells wrote The Time Machine. We hope the theme will provide a platform for stimulating debate.

In closing, I will quote the Coordinator of SwanCon 10:


“Have fun, enjoy”


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Swancon XV – Progress Report 3 – Editorial

being page 5 of the Swancon XV Progress Report 3. The Header here says ‘Editorial’, but the actual heading says ‘Potentially Dangerous Visions’. The editor/author in question is Jeremy Byrne

Transcription by Anna Hepworth. As ever, typos faithlessly reproduced

Well, as the Con date appears over the horizon of New Year’s Day, everything is marvelously calm and under control in the programming and editing department (I’m glad I’m typing this – you can’t tell my hands are shaking). This is, of course, the last of the Progress Reports. It’s a little over a week late (I promised you Xmas) and perhaps a bit light on serious content, but the Program Book is looming large in everyone’s mind and PR3 barely avoided cancellation!

I’m going to take a couple of lines to praise the high quality of Artwork we’ve received for the PRs and the PB. I feel (and I know this sentiment is shared by a number of the fan artists) that we’ve tended to take those folks whose talent for expression is visually orient a little for granted. We expect art from them, we often demand it, and at a moment’s notice too. The habit of giving little recognition, not listing a publication’s artwork prominently and taking considerable liberty with the artwork (even the original piece) has become a bit too widespread for comfort. Certainly, none of this is deliberate or even especially blameworthy, but perhaps we need to think a bit more about the time, effort and creative feeling that goes into most pieces of artwork, and to respect the artist’s wishes concerning editing, usage et cetera. After all, we extent that respect to the writers amongst us without a second thought. Anyway, let’s give some serious consideration to our nomination for the Best Fan Artist Tin Duck Award – it’s the least we can do.

Stepping off one soapbox and right onto another, I’d like to pass a few comments on that mildly controversial programming issue: the Rail Baron Tournament. Now, there’s nothing particularly strange about running a Rail Baron Tournament at an SF Con. There is a long tradition behind the event, and it’s a game with a genuine following among fans. It has just as much right as any other non-genre activity to have official Con support. Look at Fannish Impros (based on the popular “Theatre Sports” as closely as Copyright Law will let us), the Cocktails and the Dance. These items have only a loose connection to the genre and yet are officially programmed – taking up several valuable hours when we could all be listening to academic papers or watching Blake’s Seven episodes! But these items and the Rail Baron are social events. That means that they exist to promote interaction between the attendees of the Con which might otherwise not occur: watching one another get drunk, display inhuman command of the dance floor or survive stage-paralysis whilst attempting to rhyme with “Hepsprung-Voltaire Plateau” is socially enlightening, and leads either to new friendships or abject ridicule. However, there must be a cut-off point. Rail Baron, Scrabble, Bridge and 4-D Combat Tic-Tac-Toe may be genuinely important to a number of Con goers but are unlikely to appeal to, or involve, the majority. Thus, whilst there will be space made in the Gaming Room for the tournament, multiple column inches provided in the Program Book for the publicity and time made at the Awards Ceremony to acknowledge the victor, Rain Baron won’t be officially programmed at SwanCon XV. I sincerely hope everyone understands my reasons. I’m not out to ruin anyone’s Con.

We’re still looking for panellists in a number of areas (see THE PROGRAM). It isn’t too late to join one, and it’s often more fun than watching from the audience. As well, we’ll need GMs for the AD&D tournament, NPCs in the “Big Blue is Watching You” Live RPG, Day and Night Managers, Assistant Sound Technicians (Bob Ogden would like to see something other than a mixing board this time!), and Gophers. Contact us if you’re interested, ASAP. Please!

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It’s titled in all caps, so you know it must be important.

Transcribed by Doug.


by Don Griffiths B-)

I’m taking the occasion of the second progress report for SwanCon XV to raise a very serious proposal for the future organisation of SwanCon. For the past fourteen years, the committees in Swancon have been very fortunate not to have had any legal hassles with anybody. The reason I say very fortunate is that had there been any problems, the onus, including any legal fees or fines, would have fallen individually on the members of the committee. Recently in the US, a convention lost its venue and is likely both to be fined by state authorities and sued by the hotel over an incident involving unlicensed liquor sales.

There is a mechanism for non-profit organisations to limit any financial liability to the assets of the organisation rather than the individual assets of the members. This mechanism is known as Incorporation. The mechanics of Incorporation are fairly simple, if time consuming. Basically, it involves the drafting of a constitution conforming to State Legal requirements. The constitution must then be voted upon and accepted by members of the organisation. Following this, the members must nominate and vote for a representative to act on their behalf. This representative then presents the application for incorporation, along with the constitution, to the Commissioner for Corporate Affairs. The application must be gazetted twice in a specified time period. If there is no objection, a certificate of incorporation is issued.

The following is an excerpt from the Legal Aid Commission’s excellent brochure “Incorporating an Association” describing the advantages and disadvantages of Incorporation.


  1. No trustee, officer or member of any incorporated association has any personal liability for the debts of the association (other than for any of the association’s property which may be in his hands)
  2. The association may acquire and hold property and may sue in its own name.
  3. The association may use the word “Incorporated” (or the abbreviation “Inc.” after its name.


  1. The name of the association may not be changed without the written approval of the Commissioner.
  2. The objects cannot be effectively changed or added to unless the Attorney-General certifies that after such change or addition the association continues to be one which should be incorporated.
  3. The safeguards achieved by incorporation must be constantly policed to be retained. They may be lost if a change in the constitution of the association is not notified to the Commissioner within the time and manner set out in the Act. A common example is noncompliance with the provisions of the Act whenever there is a change in the executive or management committee – particularly with respect to those officers authorised to use and hold the seal.
  4. It is the members as a body who constitute the Association and so under the law there are likely to be restrictions upon (if not absolute prohibitions against) individual members having commercial dealings with the Association.

It is my opinion that to protect members of the fan community who donate their time and efforts to SwanCons that we should proceed with incorporation. Included in this progress report is an article calling for the formation of Swancon Inc [Following – Ed.] Please give your active support to this venture, after all it is you who gain from it’s successful results.

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Swancon 14 – Progress Report 2 – Page 5 – Australian Science Fiction Awards 1989

Because it is good to know how things were done in the past, here’s the information on the awards to be presented at Swancon 14. All typos faithfully recorded. Transcribed by Elaine Walker.

Australian Science Fiction Awards, 1989

Two types of awards will be presented at Swancon 14, the nominees and winners of which are decided by convention members. The Ditmar award is the Australian award for Science Fiction achievement. The William Atheling is a special award presented for Science Fiction criticism by an Australian writer.

The specific awards will be outlined below, along with eligibility requirements. All nominations must be recieved by January 27 1989, to allow inclusion in PR4. Voting will take place at the convention. A special “voting only” membership is available for those unable to attend the convention. For the nominal fee of $5.00, voting members may cast their vote for the Ditmar and William Atheling awards.

Ditmar Awards 1989

The awards to be presented fall into three categories, all awards apply to the calendar year 1988. A list of all works eligible for the International Fiction and Australian Fiction categories will be compiled by the Australian Science Fiction Association. We will endeavour to include this list in TRO PR3.

International Fiction.

1) Best International Fiction.

A work shall be deemed eligible for this category if the work has been published for the first time, in either hard or paperback, in english, and distributed to the Australian readership by an Australian book publisher of distributor in the calendar year 1988. The award applies to both novels and anthologies.

Australian Fiction
In addition to the requirements for the International Fiction award, nominees for these awards must be Australian citizens or residents of at least seven years.

2) Best Australian Novel.
3) Best Australian Short Fiction.

Australian Fanzines, Fan Writers and Artists
A general requirement of these awards is that the work be generally available to Australian readers. To assist voters we hope to have copies of the nominated fanzines available at Swancon 14. To this end, we ask those nominating a fanzine to either send us representative copies or to provide us with the postal address of the fanzine to allow us to contact the editor.

4) Best Australian Fanzine.
5) Best Fan Writer.
6) Best Fan Artist.

The work of the fan artist and fan writer nominees must have appeared in at least two fanzines generally available in the calendar year 1988.

William Atheling Award 1989

7) William Atheling Award (Australian Criticism).

To be eligible for this award, the critic must have produced either a substantial critical piece or a body of shorter pieces in the calendar year 1988.

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SwanCon 17 Progress Report July 1991

Rambled by Doug

A progress report. Well.

I see this was a StudlyCaps SwanCon. (I think the Singlecap Swancon is slightly more common, but I haven’t done a study. And at least one year ALLCAPSed to avoid the decision.)

This PR is 24 A4 pages, including covers, being 6 A3 sheets folded and stapled on the spine. The internal pages are numbered 3 through 19. This is perplexing, as you’d expect the inside back cover to be page 23, not page 19, but after repeated counting to ensure that there really really were 6 A3 sheets and not 5, it emerged that the A3 sheet between pages 8 and 9 and between 11 and 12 is four A4 pages of advertising, and is unnumbered. The full-page ad on page 18, however, does consume a page number, to avoid throwing off the even/odd left/right rhythm.

This is a Festival of the Imagination convention, so the production quality is as high as it can be in a photocopied and staple-stitched PR, with elegant font choices and layout, but contains the odd idiosyncrasy (such as the page numbering).

The Table of Contents declares:

Page   Content
2         Convention Details Summary
3         Table of Contents
4         Programme
6         Social Programme
8         Video Programme
10       Hotel Feature
12       Gaming Programme
16       Writers’ Workshop
19       Education Seminar
19       Short Story Competition
20       Afterword & Committee

Except that of course the page numbers column is right-aligned in their version, whereas I am too lazy to do that in this transcription.

“Hotel Feature”, in case you’re wondering, is a one-page description of the venue, and a map.

I declare this to be enough of a summary of this PR. Perhaps we will delve into more detail on it in future articles.

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Swancon XIII Programme Book – Who is Tim Richards?

The index claims this is on page 4 of the Programme Book for Swancon XIII. It has been transcribed by Elaine Walker because she did the other Tim Richards one and thus balance. Any typos will be reproduced to the best of her ability.

Who is Tim Richards

Tim Richards is, I suppose, a Well Known Fan. This is not necessarily because he has done a lot (although he has). mostly its because he’s so noticeable. People remember Tim Richards. Its hard not to really – at 6’3″, a big man with a high profile personality and since July ’87, a red beard, he looks quite fearsome. Never fear, however. Like planet earth he is mostly harmless.


Tim was a founding member of the West Lodge, the local Dr Who club, and was its chairman for a year. He is the editor of the Dr Who zine Mentalis, its sister publication the Mentalis Annuals and children of Zeos, and soon to be co-editor of Inconsequential Parallax (a proposed genzine). He has contributed to fanzines Australia-wide and overseas. He was the chairman of the committee for the recent WHOCON 4, the fourth national Dr Who convention in Australia. At Eccentricon he backed the Village’s Number Two in the Galactic Elections 9and came second….). He has organised and appeared in panels at previous Swancons. He is responsible for the weird cult club The Mentalis Folding Society ( the idea? Why fold, envelope-stuff and seal 100 odd copies of Mentalis every few months by yourself when you can get a bunch of friends to come around, do most of it for you, get them to bring munchies and drinks, and call it a party so no-one will realise that they are doing all the work for you, and supplying the food at the same time!). Tim also likes travelling, meeting people, and raging.

A favourite pasttime of the amazing Tim Richards is to casually place devastating and superb issues of various comics under the noses of unsuspecting comics-pooh-poohers, and say “Oh, just try this one issue…” He has subverted at least four people to the appreciation of graphic literature in this manner to date. This is a warning.

For other reading matter, Tim enjoys Sherlock Holmes, most science fiction and the backs of cereal packets. He reads Doonebury in the Australian, won’t dignify the Daily News by calling it a newspaper and admires Joanna Lumley for her works for charity and skill in foreign languages.

Pets-wise, he has a black Labrador named Kelly, who would much rather live on an orchard in Donnybrook than with him in Perth, and Princess the Dead Cat, who really couldn’t care less.

Better Homes and Gardens wouldn’t deign to inspect Mr Richards former home in Nedlands, and their disinterest has continued with his move to South Perth, but his decor remains unchanged. Not a single stitch of furniture matches. The marked individuality of this organised chaos is a trademark of the man. “Never do anything that anyone else expects you to do” he proclaims. “If simply everyone is doing it, then unless I think its a good idea I simply won’t.” Hence, although he will drive on the left side of the road (it’s a good idea to not get run down by cars coming the down the regualar way) he wouldn’t get his licence at the usual 17 years, just because “you’re supposed to.”

Tim Richards had this to say about death. “I don’t believe in an afterlife, but for my last bit of fun, I think I’ll find the best trilogy in my collection, leave the first and third books to someone, and leave the middle book to a name picked randomly from the telephone book. Hey, hey, hey,…”

Narelle M. Harris

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Swancon XIII – Programme Book – Barlowe’s Guide to the SWANCON committee

Transcribed by Doug Burbidge.

The table of contents claims that this article is on page 2, but it is on a right-hand page, with two pieces of paper before it. So I call shenanigans.

Barlowe’s Guide to the SWANCON Committee

First Encountered: Swancon 10
Previous convictions: Treasurer, Swancon 12

Notes: Attends Swancon committee meetings for fun. Don’t let the mild-mannered exterior fool you: remove those glasses and he becomes The Famous Cindy Evan’s other half – plus property tax of course.

First Encountered: Swancon 8

Notes: The Backbone of the FM’s. If she looks hot and bothered, offer her a cup of frozen peas.

DON GRIFFITHS: Programme Coordinator
First Encountered: Swancon 3
Previous convictions: Fund-raiser and General Dogsbody Swancon 5. Has volunteered to Chair Swancon 15.

Notes: Technophile, Hard SF addict and computer nut: can’t order fish and chips without trying to count the kilobytes.

GREG TURKICH: Hotel Liaison
First Encountered: Swancon 6
Previous convictions: Chairman Swancon 7; Hotel Liaison Swancon 9,10,13,14 ad infinitum.

Notes: Don’t be put off by his muscles (he doesn’t take them to parties), his sadistic way with drumsticks, or his ability to sounds like your girlfriend’s father. He’s really a pussycat: he just growls like a Kzin!

STEPHEN DEDMAN: Publicity Officer
First Encountered: Swancon 2
Previous convictions: Film co-ordinator Swancon 6, 7; Secretary Swancon 8.

Notes: RPG adventure designer, ex-dinosaur salesman, ex-manager of an sf bookshop. Don’t get strung out by the way he looks – he hasn’t bitten anybody in months! Has a regrettable fetish for puns, but it beats whips and creams.

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