Albacon 2001 - Maybe they should call it Schenectecon?
by Ernest Lilley

Where do the wacky ideas in Science Fiction come from? Legend, propagated whimsically by Harlan Ellison, has it that they come from Schenectady, New York. Of course, we know that was just a joke...right?

Schenectady is the home of Albacon, which makes as much sense as anything, considering that the original hotel site actually in Albany, NY was torn down the year after the first Albacon. No, fans didn't demolish it. Maybe they should change the name to Schenectacon? Or, given the city's sole big employer, General Electric...how about ElectroCon? They'd need Van De Graff generators in the lobby, of course. ...continued

Con Photos by Ernest Lilley

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l - Albacon Central, Schenctady NY...it was a pleasant early fall weekend. c - Ribbon sluts (like me) appreciated the variety of Niven related ribbons. Eyebrows arched when someone asked what an ARM Agent was, or some other obvious Niven reference. r - The GOH mugs with SFRevu editor Ernest Lilley. Or possibly the other way around.

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Standing in line at the Ice Cream social on Friday night, for goopy confections created on the spot, to be topped by as many cherries as one's heart desires.

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Child, Marsupial and Hamster Queen and alike were attracted by the siren call of frozen dairy deserts.

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l - John-Allen Price on a bad movie panel gives two thumbs up for the guilty pleasures of "B" movies. Either that or he's describing how to shoot a 50 cal machine gun. c - Not exactly Mom's Apple Pie,  Michaela Nastasia baked apples and brought bagfuls from the orchard she lives in. She arrived after the ice cream was gone, but that didn't slow us down.. r - Steve Sawicki, master of sartorial satire.

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l - Catherine Asaro, who suffered considerable leering, on the "Hard" SF panel, and Canada's most modest SF Author, Robert Sawyer. By the way, did you know that SF's most curvaceous physicist is a former ballerina? No, not Robert. c - Yours Truly on the "Should Women be in the military?" panel. Before you say anything, no women applied for this panel, though programming should probably have instituted a draft. r -  The Aliteracy panel, Saturday afternoon - David De Graff, Steve Sawicki, Paul Levinson, Lucy Scheidler, Billie Aul, Shane Tourtellotte.

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l - The "Is Hard SF Dead?" Panel agreed that it was alive and kicking, though many of them had been surprised to find out (usually from reviewers) that they had been writing it. c - Dr. Charles Gannon, Allen Steele  and Wombat hang out in the hall.  r - Bob Eggleton is a Japanese toy addict. Since he doesn't actually read Japanese, he finds stuff he likes in this hobby mag, calls a guy in NYC with a Japanese toy store, and tells him what page to turn to.

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l - Michaela Nastasia, Fantasy Artist, and Lenny Provenzano, Sciffy Photographer at Large. c - Hal Clement appreciated being tapped as a masquerade judge, but asks the MC...do we get paper to go with the clipboard? r - It's a purple thing.

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l - Michaela wasn't actually in the masquerade, but Lenny had these props, see, so we had to shoot her. You'se got a problem wid dat? c - Younger Masqueraders. I wonder what they're planning for Halloween? r - There was a lot of purple in evidence, for no apparent reason. The costume on the left was an entry, but the outfit on the right "was just something I picked up for a date. He seemed to like it."

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l - Artist GOH Eggleton and Marianne Plumridge were treated to a surprise 3rd Wedding Anniversary tribute at the Saturday Night GOH Extravaganza. m - Suford and Tony Lewis grill the GOH over anniversary cake for the amusement of the Saturday night audience. r - A Jedi Fly exchanges greetings with Larry Niven.

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l -Joe Berlant, doing what a Con Chair does. m - Sharon Lee and Steve Miller hosted a fine Liaden Universe (Partners in Necesity, Plan B, Pilots Choice...) Bash Saturday night, while down the hall TV-narcolepsy struck at the Prydonians of Princeton's party, where the evil brain sucking machine reduced the GOH, and everyone else in range, to zombies, at least until Saturday Night Live was over..

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l - Terry McGarry and a host of others put the myth of "It Came From Schenectady" to death. m - The Donnewitz and Gary Blog hold down the Prydonians table. r - Sunday afternoon, as the con wound up, the bar filled up with folks watching the first wave of missile launchings into Afghanistan.

 

Albacon...continued from above - Albacon is always a fairly relaxing affair, and this year was no different, even though the GOH was none other than SF Luminary Larry Niven, and the Artist GOH was the multihugoed, hair flipping, big green monster loving...Bob Eggleton. 

Hotel rooms were hard come by as the local college had scheduled a homecoming weekend opposite the con, but it all worked out in the end. Things kicked off with the traditional Ice Cream Social, which was followed by an impromptu Apple Pie Party in the Con Suite when Michaela Nastasia showed up with bags and bags of fresh apples and a collection of pies she'd spent the day cooking. She lives in an orchard.

We paneled away through the evening, and I got to share a panel on the future of fanzines with Larry Niven, Billie Aul, and Steve Sawicki. Later I showed up on a panel about whether women should be in the military...which had a fairly good draw, but while the audience had plenty of women, in perfectly good voice, there were none on the panel. None applied, but we should have drafted them.

We moseyed our way through panels on Saturday, and came to the Extravaganza in the evening, a parade of events starting with Masquerade, GOH presentation (an interview by Suford and Tony Lewis), a third wedding anniversary for the hair tossing Bob Eggleton and Marianne Plumridge and an award ceremony to cap it all. 

I wandered around the parties, wound up at the Prydonians until the wee hours of the morning, and completely blew my resolve to leave early Sunday morning, instead hanging around for readings and Lenny Provenzano's Philcon slide show. Just as I was about to tear myself away from the Con, the news that US Forces had launched strikes against Afghanistan spread across the lobby. We all piled into the bar and watched grainy night vision on CNN for a few hours.

As always, I had a good time at Albacon. Much credit goes to , programming mammals Wombat and Chuck Rothman, and Joe Berlant, the low key and amiable Con chair.

2001 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu