Conviction – SynCon 88 – Program Book: The Convenor’s Polemic

transcription by Anna Hepworth


[p3]

The Convenor’s Polemic

When I finished SYNCON 83 I said I’d never work another Convention. This is it.

The organisation of CONVICTION has been fairly easy. The Core Committee has worked well and it has been a great pleasure to work with them. A co-operative and eager putative membership has emerged although never a large enough one to satisfy the Treasurer or the optimistic demands of our ideal budget. We have put together what I think is the best mix of Program a Con could have. Cath has been mainly responsible for the creative side of the Program, which balances well the more serious stuff that I have put together. After all, cons are for the people who pay a fair bit of money to be entertained and enlightened, so the Program is the central part of the organisation. We’ve even managed to do a fair bit of publicity. All of which has got you here.

Which brings us to the traditional message: we’ve done what we had to do: there’s the Hotel, the Program, the parties and the people, now it’s up to you to make the con work. You’re the people that will make or break CONVICTION and will be responsible for our good or bad reviews.

Now the other side. This is DEFINITELY the last Con of which I will be a part as an amateur organiser, so there are a few things I need to say in passing, after 12 years of Con organisation.

There are those in fandom who feel that they have THE ANSWER to how to run fandom and that everyone else does it wrong. There is a major media fan group that has organised a ‘get together’ 400km away on the same weekend as the National Con. They will tell you that this is their Con, not ours. There are the one-true-way Melbourne fans who have conveyed a message through their Sydney mouthpiece that Sydney cons are ‘boring’, not at all like the funs ones they organise. So, why bother to attend? Members of the SCA have ‘outgrown’ fandom now they have their own bailiwick to play in. The Natcon, others will say, does nothing for DR WHOers or Gamers or Lucasfilm fans or some other schism of fandom. Fandom is not like that. Conventions should not be like that. The Natcon, particularly, should not be a victim of this self-imposed ghettoisation. Just as Science Fiction as a genre is breaking out of its ghetto and reaching a mainstream audience, those within the genre want to put another brick into their own walls.

CONVICTION, like any major SF con, is not a ‘literary’ con. Nor is it a ‘media’ con. Nor a ‘fannish’ con. Nor a ‘gaming’ con. Nor a ‘costume’ con. Nor a ‘comics’ con. Or a ‘science groupies’ con. It is a bit of each and something more. It is (or should be) the annual gathering of ALL those interested and involved in SF, in all its myriad forms, and the sooner those who want to Balkanised fandom realise they are killing it by isolating us from each other, the sooner fandom’s health will begin to reflect the health of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the market-place.

It is the ultimate irony that SF fandom and Conventions are facing their leanest times while the books, the films and the TV shows are waxing the most.

Have a good con and see you ALL at SWANCON in 1989.

JACK R HERMAN

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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