Contagion (convention)

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Star Trek Convention
Name: Contagion
Dates: 1992-2002
Frequency: annual
Location: Scotland
Type: fan run fan con with actor guests
Focus:
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL: Early years of the convention's history are archived here & last updated website announcing the convention's cancellation
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Contagion was one of the earliest Star Trek fan run conventions held in Scotland. While the convention attracted actors as guests, a wide variety of fan run programming was also featured, including panels, a dealer's room and a Writing Competition which resulted in the publication of at least one fanzine, Contagion.

1992

Contagion 2 was held July 18-20, 1992 at the Central Hotel in Glasgow. GOHs were Richard Arnold, Susan Sackett, George Takei, and Jean Lorrah.

Reactions and Reviews:

I am glad that I changed my mind after the disappointment of SOL III and did not give up on Star Trek Conventions altogether. I decided to give it another try and went to Glasgow for the second Contagion Convention. It was well worth it and very enjoyable. The general feeling was much more pleasant and the newcomers were made very welcome with the special Scottish sense of hospitality. The guests were particularly interesting; George Takei was guest of honour and the main reason for my decision to go to Glasgow. There were also two guests who I believe were paying their first visits to a British Convention; Susan Sackett, former secretary to Gene Roddenberry and Jean Lorrah, whom all readers of Star Trek books and zines have certainly appreciated, plus of course, Richard Arnold. The Convention took place in the Central Hotel, beginning on Saturday at 9am. I flew from Paris to Glasgow on the previous day and reached the hotel in time to settle down and get my bearings... The following day at breakfast I began to see familiar faces and, by and by, the hotel began to fill with fans and get its typical Star Trek Con atmosphere. After getting my documentation and badge I went to explore the different rooms reserved for the various activities. As was to be expected, a small room with a TV set was reserved for the original series whilst two larger halls were set up for TNG. That is usual now in all Conventions but I don't see why the fans of original Trek could not have the right to see, once in a while, an episode of the series on a large screen. The opening ceremony took place with the usual decorum and fun then, for the next three days we kept running from one place to another to try to see as much as possible. The Contagion committee had lots of original ideas about the organisation of the Con and, for instance, at the opening ceremony a short video was shown on screen to give us all the necessary information about the hotel, the Con, the things to do and not to do, all in a very humourous way.... I had the chance to talk to the other three guests, Richard Arnold, Susan Sackett and, in particular Jean Lorrah; I had to tell her how much I admired her work. The rest of the day was spent in the video room and in the large sales room where I met the Scotpress ladies who had a table loaded with zines; I was very proud to see two of my stories on display among them. The tables selling TNG gadgetry were much more popular then those selling zines. They cater for a new generation of fans, the 15 to 25 year old boys who look for special effects, action, bang-bang etc. in Star Trek and are not interested in the study of the characters, in the psychology or in a moving story. The great days of Star Trek, stories as told in the zines are over and most of these youngsters seem to be TNG fans exclusively with little interest in the original series. Maybe this will change with the showing of Classic Trek on BBC again. Let us hope so; if all they know of Star Trek is TNG and DS9 then they miss all the best part, the genuine Star Trek, which is a pity. The same sad story was told to me by Jean Lorrah on the Sunday morning. The Contagion Committee had arranged a workshop with Jean and I had given my name and, at her request, a short story for her to read, well in advance as I expected that many people would apply. But when we met there were only three women with Jean so we had her to ourselves for two and a half hours. She told us about her experience as a writer, gave advice about writing, what to do and what to avoid and was most interesting and informative. I learned a lot. She also told us why she, like so many other writers which we like so much (.Diane Duane, Ann Crispin, Vonda Mclntyre), no longer write for Pocket Books. Apparently the new executives at Pocket Books want to attract a new audience of fans, teenagers and young men, so they want more adventure and more action; never mind if the psychology of the characters is all wrong, they are not interested in the study of relationships. Preferably they want unknown writers because it is easier to rewrite and change their stories. So now we know why many books produced over the last few years are of poor quality. Fortunately, we still have the zines!... the last thing we attended was the closing ceremony and it was also done in the Scottish way. While the committee members were assembling on the stage, I was outside with Ena Glogowska (GHT president) waiting for George who was to appear in his kilt and full Scottish gear. Looking magnificent he was escorted into the room by a piper to the sound of bagpipes. It was a great success and the tune, which was an original piece created for the occasion, was dedicated by George to Gene Roddenberry. It was wonderful and the parting of all these friends whom we had met for the last three days was very moving... I enjoyed this Contagion weekend immensely; it was a wonderful Convention. [1]

1994

Contagion 3 was held in 1994. Guests were Richard Arnold, Michael Dorn and perhaps others.

Reactions and Reviews:

We arrived at Contagion, the Scottish Star Trek convention, at 10am to a sell out. There were fans from Spain, Holland, the USA, Germany and, of course, England. The atmosphere was very good as we awaited the special guest from TNG. A Klingon delegation, decked out in tartan and kilts, ushered in Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Worf) to enthusiastic applause. Michael told anecdotes from his time working on TNG and particularly the final season. He did brilliant impersonations of Patrick Stewart and told of his lasting friendships with the cast, particularly Marina Sirtis and her husband. During the question session, a fan (female I might add), asked if he would give her a hug. Michael, being the diplomat, told her that if he gave her a hug he would have to give others a hug and so forth. The fan accepted this gracefully although she was obviously disappointed. The dealers' room was well represented by companies from all over the UK. Richard Arnold was, as usual, spot on, giving his personal views on Star Trek in all its forms, past, present and future. Like myself, he feels that Star Trek has lost something with the demise of The Next Generation on television. Sure, we will have the films, but DS9 and Voyager do not carry the message "To boldly go" so has Gene's dream gone? We shall see. Episodes of 7th season TNG and DS9 were being shown around the clock in various rooms. Classic Trek was also being shown, but not to the same extent. There was also a room showing uncut versions of Babylon 5, Lois and Clark and fantasy shows from yesteryear. The highlight of the con was a videotape of Bohemian Rhapsody with footage from Next Gen. It was brilliant to say the least; the words fitted the scenes exactly and it got a well deserved standing ovation for the two fans who made it. It was shown again at the start of the auction and fetched a good price for charity when sold. Michael returned on the Sunday for another talk, this one more of a question and answer session. He had some difficulty understanding the dialects (not all Scottish) but answered as best he could with a lot of wit. There was a debate on the state of fandom and conventions with various members of the committee and representatives from CIC Video and Star Trek: The Official Fan Club of the UK. They discussed whether conventions should be made official and require a license from Paramount, hence being run professionally instead of being run by fans. We finished our visit by watching the bloopers. We had seen them previously and, although they were fun, we were disappointed that there were none from TNG or DS9. My only complaint was that whilst watching the episodes, the lights kept going on and off and on again, spoiling the viewing; when the lights were on you could not see the picture on the screen. Otherwise, a very well organised con and I look forward to the next one. [2]

References

  1. from Star Trek Action Group #107
  2. from Star Trek Action Group #116