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Science Fiction Convention
Name: ChambanaCon
Dates: 1971 to at least 1995
Frequency: annual
Location: Champaign, IL
Founding Date:
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ChambanaCon was a science fiction convention held in Champaign, IL.

It may have been sponsored by Science Fiction and Fantasy Society of SIU.



Con Report: 4

Here we go, adventuring into deepest, darkest southern Illinois, stalking the rare and elusive Straight Science Fiction Regional. The password is "Spock must die!" No Trekkies allowed, gang, and this means you! Luckily, my rubber mask and false mustache stayed on, and my affected Peruvian accent went unsuspected.

As Buck Coulson, BNF extraordinaire, said, "There is no subtle discrimination against Trekkies at sf cons. It's blatant." The straight sf crowd simply do not like Star Trek, or at very best, merely tolerate it; if anything, they my root the Klingons. And they have a perfect right, for the straights are legitimate. The trekkers aren't --yet, and may never be until original trekfiction can published by a real house; until trash trekfiction is not treasured to the bosom because the genre's dearth makes even crud appealing. Until Anna Mary Hall, or Ruth Berman, or Laura Basta can get their byline onto a real paperback, trekfic will not be acceptable; and neither will trekfen.

Let me digress somewhat. I am a science fiction fan. First and foremost, I am a science fiction fan. If I came to my last dollar at a con, and had a choice between Tiptree's latest collection and Kraith Collected 5, I'd buy the Tiptree, because I'll be getting a contributor's copy of KCol15 anyway. But real sf comes first.

Real sf came first—over 15 years ago, when I filched Dad's books and magazines. I have belonged to informal sf reading circles in high school, undeclared rocket clubs in various physics classes, and two different college and university straight sf societies, one where immediate ostracism was the mildest penalty for admitting to the watching of ST. I would rather read sf than ST, because the former obeys the rules of literature. I prefer sf, because it has discipline.

The discipline of sf fandom is the professional magazines, which may make the fanzines profoundly dull as far as fiction goes, since all the better stuff can be sold to the prozines, but this discipline is best for fandom as a whole. There is incentive to produce better, more imaginative, more logical, better plotted stories, because you'll be paid; because you, too, can turn filthypro and become that god of gods, an sf writer. Under general science fiction's conventions, the human condition can be seen in the guise of a billion characterizations, instead of three—or, as many trek writer seem to see it, one. There is more variety, more thought, more consistency in a tale, more reality in general sf because there is an infinity of universes that can be built, and a finer sieve to sift the best to the public. Of course, trash is still published; Sturgeon's Law demands this, but sf trash is better now than trash had been 15 years ago, than 30 or 50 years ago, and published sf trash is far better than a good deal of trekfic. The Issue at Hand should be the issue at hand—we need good criticism of trekfiction not based only on how much we dig the (usually contrived) situation Our Heroes find themselves in, but on how good a story it is, how well it obeys the rules of prose and English grammar, how coherent, how consistent it is, on whether or not it has a plot. At this time, trekfiction is the sole rational raison d'etre of trekfen, for the show is dead, and movie is a long time coming. The legitimization of trekfiction should be, then, the prime interest of any thoughtful trekfan.

Anyway, getting back to Chambanacon, there were Gordie Dickson, Bob Tucker, Keith Laumer, andy offutt, Juanita and Buck Coulson, and a rumor that didn't show up (said rumor was Kelly Freas). I finally— finally got to see 2001: A Space Odyssey all the way thru; and we were informed by Mr. Tucker that one can tell the state of neo in a fan by the sort of jigsaw puzzles she or he puts together—our choice showed that we were hopeless, so we threw the box at him. Each night there was filksinging—an admirable custom, particularly when done, as it was, by Juanita and Bob (Y. T. Nauseating) Asprin—and new and old songs were singed. The art show and auction went superbly, enhanced, as they were, by Kelly's art and that of Denise Peterson and Michael Stein, as well as a "Souvenir of Chabanacon (sic)" plate rendered by our own up and coming Phil "Fingers" Foglio, and the fannish articles auctioned off for the "Get Bob Tucker Off the North American Continent Now" fund, aka the Tucker Bag.

Yeah, gang, funzies abound at regionals. Remember to pack your lightning repartee and rapier-like wit, and don't forget your eidetic memory. Mnemonic aids are usually supplied, but you may want to bring your free association. Listen, could it hurt?


November 24-26, 1995


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