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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