SwanCon Twenty3 separated out the various common items of program books into several A5 saddle-stapled booklets. [At this remove, while I remember being part of the decision making, I don’t remember why we did this. -AH]. The general con information is included in a 16pp booklet with a vaguely planet + moon image on the cream card cover. Pages 1-3 contain the introduction:
Perspective is a funny thing.
By reading this introduction, you’re most likely in attendance at Swancon Twenty3. Maybe you turned up at the door after hearing about it on the radio. Maybe you’ve been waiting for months. You may even be one of the ninety-odd people who purchased their membership a year ago, and have been impatiently drumming your fingers ever since.
As I said, perspective is a funny thing.
We first started work on Swancon Twenty3 in March 1996. It has to be that long ago, because each bid to run a Swancon must be made to WASFF two years in advance. Throughout 1996 we looked for guests, surveyed possible venues and considered in a vague manner the sorts of things we wanted to try out. Hopefully this year you’ve encountered a pleasant blend of past traditions and new ideas. If you have, then we’ve achieved at least one of our objectives.
We had other objectives too. For one, we wanted to have a very busy convention. With three streams of live action, two video rooms, gaming, an art exhibition, a fan lounge and some wonderfully outdated computers to play on, there should hopefully be enough to keep even the most passive of fan occupied.
We wanted to provide a wide variety of guests. Ultimately we notched up thirteen (ten short of our much-suggested target), ranging from authors to critics to comic book artists. We also decided to try something new with a Dead Guest of Honour – celebrating the works of one of science fiction’s founding figures. The selection of Jules Verne was a natural one, given his phenomenal influence on the genre.
At any rate, by this stage the truth of all our efforts will be revealed and all that we have to rely on are gracious acceptance – to either praise or condemnation. I think we’d prefer the former, and hope that we deserve it.
I once read an introduction to a book by James Cameron (you may have heard of him – he’s the director of little arthouse flicks like Titanic and Terminator 2). He described the creative process as being an exponential one. That is, when you start work on a particular project, you do it fairly slowly. As you move closer and closer to the end, you begin working more and more until in the final moments you’re working so fast that you aren’t consciously aware of doing it. Running a convention is just like that. Swancon Twenty3 has been in development for over two years, but the largest body of work has only occurred in the final few weeks preceding this weekend.
An awful lot of people have put in incredible amounts of time and help over the past few weeks, and they are all well deserving of thanks. Firstly, and more importantly than anyone else, we’d like to thank everyone for attending the convention. Your strong and enthusiastic response was, quite frankly, the reason this all took place. Thank you all for helping to ensure Swancon Twenty3 didn’t wind up a fallen tree in a very Zen forest.
Thanks should also be extended to our guests: Lois McMaster Bujold, Tess Williams, Gina Goddard, Simon Brown, Jack Dann, Stephen Dedman, Craig Hilton, Sue Isle, Paul Kidd, Dave Luckett, Grant Stone, Janeen Webb and Sean Williams.
We extend our most extreme and heartfelt gratitude towards both HarperCollins Publishers and Ticonderoga Publications. It is thanks to HarperCollins that we bring you Jack Dann and Janeen Webb, and to Russell B. Farr’s independent press Ticonderoga Publications that we bring you Simon Brown. If you would like to express your gratitude as well, we can only urge you in the strongest possible terms to go and buy their books.
We would like to thank Sarah Sheridan and John Parker for their work on the masquerade; Jamie and NICAS art studios; Damian Magee for his superb turn as Jules Verne; Burke Rogers, Damian Kneale, Peter Kelly, Scott Snow, Sarah Weilan and Jade Todd for providing security; Cathy Cupitt and Gigi Boudville for their work in the week preceding the con taking care of Lois; Catherine Chamberlain for much required assistance all over the place and time; Mike Studte, Tom Edge, Dale Verdi, Charles Clarke, Steve McGlone, Jinx Orton and Ruth and Rachel Turner for helping with the video programme; Geoff Tilley and Kita Coles, for providing early assistance to the committee; Robin Pen, David Cake, John Parker and Danny Heap for suggestions, support and comments on programming; UniSFA, JAFWA, The Neutral Zone and the West Lodge for their continuing support; Sue-Ann Barber and Trevor Clarke for last-minute assistance; Simon’s Dad and Grant’s Mum; Roadshow, Columbia Tristar, 20th Century Fox and UIP for the free posters; Schweppes for the free Dr Pepper; Admiral Printing for their wonderful work printing progress reports for the past year; Sharon at Walkabout Travel; Cavaliers School of Fencing; Theatre and Drama Studies at Murdoch University; A Touch of Strange, Quality Comics and Valhalla for continuing support… the list can go on and on, and no matter how hard we try we will be guaranteed to rudely forget many people. Thank you to you all.
Above all, tell us what you think. Tell us what you liked, what you disliked, what you would love to see again and what you’d love to see improved. We’ve gone as far as we can to present a large-scale, enjoyable weekend of science fiction and fantasy for all Western Australian fans – and we’d like to know how we went.