DisCon II

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Science Fiction Convention
Name: DisCon II
Dates: Labor Day Weekend, 1974
Founding Date:
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DisCon II was the 1974 Worldcon.

Con Reports

WorldCon 74. DisCon ll. Labor Day weekend in Washington, D. C. DisCon, like the city of Washington, had so much of everything, it's hard to know where to start. According to the daily dispatch, there were 4500 people there, making this the biggest WorldCon ever. It was held, as usual, on Labor Day weekend at the Sheraton Park Motor Hotel in DC, whose help was obviously flummoxed by the convention, its size, and its attendees. DisCon had the usual agenda of WorldCons—parties Friday night, costumes (146 entries—another record) and parties Saturday night, the Banquet, Hugo awards, and parties Sunday night, the Art Auction Sunday and Monday, more parties, and the Dealers' Room all weekend. And parties.

This was a partycon, more so than Torcon was last year. Torcon didn't actually have more to do; it only seemed that way because Torcon had fewer people, and more official meetings of the special interest groups. People needed less to throw their own parties. Oh, like all cons, DisCon was fun. Fun! but sometimes...the grin was a bit strained.

The population explosion has hit the WorldCons. While Trekcons can sort of contain and pretty much amuse 10 to 20 kilopeople, because they're all there for just one thing: Trek; at WorldCons, once there are enough people for each group to throw a minicon in an unused room (and they practically do) the whole idea of all fen united breaks down. They may all be there, but there is no longer the camaraderie of all us nuts together, appreciating our mutual love of speculative fiction Cat's ,"sf", gang). That's what's known as diversity. DisCon came close to splintering. I do except, however, the World Premier of "A Boy and His Dog". Oh, sure the hiati between reels, the lousy sound, scratches and so forth were painful, but it was a fine movie. More importantly, most of the attendees watched it all together and enjoyed it each in his own way. It was beautiful—and an example of Art transcending us all. Urp.

Again, tho, size. Sheer numbers. Cons, all cons are burgeoning. Nycon with a ridiculous 17,000, WorldCons too big for their intentions. It's only the last five years any Worldcon topped 1000. These supercons are getting entirely too big for any one fan to experience the major part of. Are we any closer to Dr. Asimov for hearing him read one of his essays over a loudspeaker, than to read the very same article in F&SF? Is there FIAWOL in overcrowded, oversmoked rooms? All fen are slen, not sardines.

So what do you do? Drive out the immigrants newly come to the shores of fandom? Splinter cons? How do we save the WorldCon? Should we throw simultaneous regional WorldCons? Who gets which guests? Have we the right to limit membership in WorldCons? Have we the obligation to? What is the optimum number for a gathering of friends? [1]

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  1. ^ con report by Paula Smith, printed in Menagerie #5