ConStellation (41st Worldcon)

(Don - 24th)[Don - 9th Worldcon]

(Thomas - 9th)[Thomas - 1st Worldcon]

1983: September 1-5

Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor & Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

GOH: John Brunner
Fan GOH: David Kyle
Toastmaster: Jack Chalker

Attendance: 6400

There is a special thrill at having Worldcon in one's own home town. When it is also one's first Worldcon as a program participant, the thrill becomes ecstasy.

From an objective standpoint, the ConStellation was not one of the most successful Worldcons ever. Oh, it had wonderful facilities and made everyone happy...but when all was said and done and the debris cleared away, the con was a good $40,000 in debt. Never before or since has a Worldcon gone so desperately into the hole. Fandom has a long memory; for quite a while, "Baltimore" was a very dirty word for Worldcons.

Nevertheless, Don had a stupendous time. All his friends were there, he was on a number of panels, and it was, after all, Baltimore.

The Cedar Grove (then "Somerville") Movement made its first attempt at Suite living in the Hyatt [the attempt would not completely succeed until Noreascon III six years later]. Don's friends Steve and Jill stayed with them, as well as Steve's brother Jim.

Don had a full schedule of panels: one Thursday, two Friday, and one each Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Other program items included the launch of a Viking longship in the harbor and a Hugo Awards crab feast which did not particularly thrill out-of-towners.

The ConStellation's "In Memoriam" page included Stanton A Coblentz, Ayn Rand and Mack Reynolds as well as committee member Bob Pavlat and Chicon IV co-chair Larry Propp.

ConStellation had a Kid's track as well as many adult tracks of programming; some of the kid's items were so popular among adults that grownups had to be asked to leave the room. The convention also had a "Queen" -- Queen Ellen, whose court included "Court Editor," "Costumer to the Queen," "Software Engineer, by appointment to the Queen" and "Teacher of Yiddish to Moose."

Scuttlebutt, the daily newsletter, carried these interesting tidbits:

"The ConStellation Committee denies that they are using homing sparrows to relay messages from the first to third floor. The bird is not registered with the con. What the hey -- at least it's not a cow."

"Hilton Hotel Request: Be kind to their elevators. For a duck may be somebody's mother. Er, wrong reference. Sorry."

"BIG BROTHER is watching every one of us all of the time and he said, `You May have a Science Fiction Convention, But You May Not and Will Not run around with Naked Feet (Bare Footsies)'!!! If you are caught with Bare Footsies in the Convention Center, you will be asked to go put something on. So please wear something on your feet."

"Atlanta in '86 thanks the ChattaCon com for hosting Sunday's bid party. 'We know you could have made it through to noon, Tim, but there will be other cons,' apologized co-chairs Ron Zukowski and Penny Frierson. 'We also thank the many groups and cons who have donated supplies to the bids.' 'Bromoseltzer,' suggested the clock tower."

Finally, at the ConStellation (encouraged by Lisa and Melissa), Don hung around for a while with Thomas. More news on this topic later.

Thomas spent most of his first Worldcon in his Jedi Knight outfit, although he did wear other costumes as well. Early on, he lost his con badge; it was found and turned in to Lost & Found fairly quickly. As a result, Thomas remembers that for the rest of the con, he wore the badge pinned to the cuff of his sleeve, where he could hold onto it.

Will Burnham's friend Mike Marshall stopped by, briefly, with a friend of his from New Jersey, Rick Lankford. It was the start of another wonderful friendship.

Thomas also (very briefly) met Lisa and Melissa at the ConStellation.

He also remembers seeing Jim Henson, of Muppet fame, wandering about the con.

Evelyn C. Leeper's ConStellation report