Albacon '98

(Don - 115th)(Thomas - 120th)

1998: October 18-20

Ramada Inn

Schenectady, NY

GOH: Esther Friesner
Artist GOH: Jael
Fan GOH: Joe Mayhew
Musical Guests: Don't Quit Your Day Job Players

The subtitle of ALbacon '98 was "Hamsters Over Schenectady," and it was certainly that sort of con. Esther, the Queen of Hamsters, kept things hopping.

The panels at Albacon were the best, most thought-provoking of any con since Unicon. Thomas was on a Friday-night panel called "SFX replaces SF," and he also presented a showing and discussion of one of his (and Don's) favorite SF films ever, The Lathe of Heaven. Don was on various panels; he particularly remembers one on conspiracy theories, and a spirited panel on the future of libraries, in which about half the audience were librarians.

The high point, however, was "Hamsters in SF & Fantasy: a critical study of the importance of rodents in forming our fantastic worldview. Discuss Asimov's 'I, Hamster,' Bradbury's The Gerbil Chronicles, Heinlein's The Chinchilla is a Harsh Mistress and other classics in the genre." With Don moderating, the panelists went with the joke, bringing up hundreds of rodent-related sf books, stories, movies, tv shows, and authors.

The masquerade was much better than last year's; there was an official emcee with a microphone, the event started on time, and there were half a dozen participants.

On a much sadder note, Thomas & Don's friend Brian Hurley had some trouble -- he had somehow lost his wallet on the train to Albany, and was without both cash and credit cards. Fortunately, an Amtrack employee found the wallet (intact) and it was delivered to the hotel the next morning. Meanwhile, the con committee signed for Brian's room and took up a collection to give him some spending money (just one more example of the generosity of fandom.) By the time Sunday rolled around, Brian was in good spirits; when he left the con, Thomas & Don hugged him tightly and told him how glad they were to have seen him. Several months later, Brian died from AIDS.

Thomas and Don stayed over Sunday night again, but Lisa and Melissa were unable to stay.



Esther Friesner, Queen of Hamsters, with her Royal Consort Walt Stutzman.


A couple in matching hall costumes.



A masqerade participant pauses to be photographed.


Masquerade audience and a participant.


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