Swancon 4 (Waycon ’79) Program – Fans?

Transcribed by Elaine Walker, retaining interesting punctuation and spelling.

Picture of a desk fan to the left of the title.

Fans?

This article can be skipped by those who have attended a science fiction convention (con) before, as it is intended for those attending their first con and, in particular, those people who have not had any previous contact with sf fandom. By attending a con you have shown an interest in sf beyond merely reading it, and that you are in fact an sf fan even if you had not realised this. Sf is unusual, of the many fields of literature, in having such a large and active body of people involved in activities that are based on their interest in sf. For many of these fans this activity is limited mainly to socializing, sf being the initial common interest. Other fans however, indulge in various activities more directly related to their interest in sf, prticularly the publishing of fan magazines (fanzines). At a convention you will meet both types of fans, those who attend simply to enjoy themselves, and those those who have a special interest in a particular aspect of sf, whether that be a particular type such as sword and sorcery, or a particular series of books such as the Dragon series by Anne McCaffrey.

Fans attend a con to socialize, to discuss and learn about the genres, and, where possible, to meet well known people in sf, such as authors and artists, and fans from other places. There have always been close contacts between sf authors and fans. In fact many authors started as fans. In the US and England it is usually possible to have an author attend a con as a Guest of Honour (GOH). The first cons were held in the US and England in the late 1930’s. In 1939 the first Worldcon was held in New York. There have been cons held in Australia since the early 1950’s and in 1975 the worldcon for that year (known as AUSSIECON) was held in Melbourne. It was several WA fans who met at Aussiecon who decided to hold a con in WA, which they did the following year (called SWANCON I), WASFA, which was formed after Swancon I, has held a con each year since then. The name WAYCON ’79 was chosen this year, in preference to SWANCON 4, in honour of WA year. The financial resources of WASFA are not sufficient to pay for a professional author to come to WA so we are limited to bringing over someone over from the Eastern States as GOH.

The activities listed on the program are fairly typical for a con. The con opens with an introductory talk following which the rest of the evening can be spent getting to know other fans and talking about whatever interests you. A number of films will be shown, including some feature films, some documemtaries, and some purely fun films. The panels cover a variety of topics and there are a couple of talks. There is an auction of books and other sf related material. As well as the main program there are various sudsidiary activities for those not interested in particular program items. These include, displays of books and artwork, computer games and kiteflying (weather permitting). The main socializing activities of the con are the banquet and fancy dress party on Saturday night. As we have booked the entire hotel for the weekend (except the Public Bar) there is no formal finishing at night. Some fans are staying at the hotel and for those who stay the course the traditional con activity of room parties will be indulged in.

One continuous activity through out the con will be the fanzine factory. Anyone who feels so inclined is invited to put pen to paper and write something that will be printed in the con zine. There is no limit on the subject matter in a zine. You may have a story you want to write (all you budding authors, here is your chance to get it published), or it may be some personal experience you wish to share with others.

Whatever the reason you cam along, I am sure that you will enjoy WAYCON ’79.

Roy Ferguson.

About australian sf-history

ASFDAP was set up in 2011 after the rediscovery by the wider SF community of an impressive hoard of Australian SF community related ephemera, fanzines and other materials in the Murdoch University basement.

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