Rovacon 14

(Don - 63rd)(Thomas - 59th)

1989: 6-8 October

Salem Convention Center, Salem, VA

GOH: Vonda McIntyre
Media GOH: Grace Lee Whitney
Artist GOH: Bob Eggleton

This year they were four: Amanda, Dan, Thomas, and Don. They rode to Rovacon in the Tan Van, stopping along the way to enjoy the Endless Caverns. That is, Thomas and Dan and Don enjoyed them -- Amanda, who is claustrophobic, had a terrible time. And Dan and Don made it no easier, following behind with comments like "Look at the cracks in that ceiling!" or "You don't have to worry about bats getting caught in your hair -- they usually go straight for the throat."

Somehow, all four survived.

Rovacon was its usual delightful self. The Motel 8 didn't have connecting rooms, so they got a pair of rooms across the hall from one another -- it made visiting back and forth rather interesting.

Don had a few panels at the con, including one on Humor in SF, at which he wore my Carmen Miranda hat and told funny stories about the anthology. But Vonda McIntyre stole the show with her story about Starfarers.

Many years ago, it seems, Vonda was on a panel called "SF in the Media." Now, she knew how these panels usually go: everyone bitches about how bad media SF is. So she perpetrated a hoax: as soon as the bitching started, she said, "But haven't you seen Starfarers?"

Pressed for details, she said, "Well, it was easy to miss. I think it was only six episodes, and CBS kept moving it around. I think two of the episodes were pre-empted for a football game or something." She went on to describe a perfectly rational, scientifically correct and artistically
gripping plot.

She said she was mobbed by people demanding to know where they could find Starfarers. Some folks even called the local CBS affiliate to complain that they hadn't carried it. She repeated the hoax at several subsequent cons -- at one, a friend of hers had even put together a 60-second trailer for Starfarers.

When she revealed the hoax, she said that she feared her life was in danger -- so she had to write the book.

What else? The Masquerade was tremendous: lots of good costumes, lots of talented costumers. Amanda wore her newest Elizabethan, competed as a Master, and carried off a deserved Best In Show award. (Allen Wold, one of the judges, was amazed to find that she was -- authentically -- sewn into her gown. What happened was that she'd accidentally made the waistband too small, so Thomas had to stitch her into it.)

Andy Shoemaker hung around as part of the entourage at this con, and on Friday night Don and Thomas were able to introduce him to the show Kids in the Hall.

After the ritual dinner at Pizza Hut, the Valiant Four drove home through sub-freezing temperatures and wet snow (the Van still has little heat: enough in the front seat to keep one from actually freezing to death, but what trickles back to the back seat hardly qualifies as "heat" at all.) They stopped along the way for some brown water that the restaurant jokingly called "Hot Chocolate," and that may be the sole reason the made it back alive . . . .

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