Website & fanzine of the SF fan club USS Hudson Bay, Toronto, Canada









Convention report by Karen Bennett

It was the weekend of April 19–21, 2002, and time for the annual EerieCon, in this case EerieCon 4 (or, as their website styled it, EerieCon IV), sponsored by the Buffalo Fantasy League and held in the Days Inn at the Falls, Niagara Falls, NY. A number of Hudson Bay members attended, either as guests or spectators, including Robert Sawyer, Carolyn Clink, Edo and Luke van Belkom, Marah Searle and Alex von Thorn. As April 20 was also the date of a Hudson Bay meeting, it was a challenge for me to attend EerieCon, but I made it, by dint of driving there speedily after the meeting was over. I had enjoyed EerieCon last year and was determined not to miss it this year.

Guests of Honour were artist Heather Bruton, poet David Clink, and authors Octavia Butler and Darrell Schweitzer. I had admired Octavia's work but never seen her in person. There were 21 Special Guests, many familiar from cons such as Ad Astra, Primedia and Toronto Trek. Among them were a host of Canadians—Carolyn Clink, James Alan Gardner, Sephera Giron, Derwin Mak, Robert Sawyer, David Stephenson and Edo van Belkom.

I didn't arrive in time to attend one of my favourite EerieCon panels, "What Line's Mine," or to pipe up with my two cents' worth (as a professional editor) at a panel on how one becomes an editor and on the pleasures and pitfalls of the job. But I went to lots of other panels, the Masquerade, a Harry Potter party, and a reading by Jim Gardner. Another reason I was so determined to make it to this convention was that I had organized a panel, with myself and Lloyd Penney as co-hosts, on the subject of fanzines ("Why do they exist? Are they worthwhile? How has the Internet affected them?") at 10 o'clock on Saturday night. Lloyd gave a talk on the history and purpose of fanzines and handed around samples of 'zines from around the world and the Internet. My thanks go to Lloyd for his well-organized and thoughtful participation. Naturally, I handed around samples of The Voyageur as part of my presentation. The hour allotted to the panel was easily filled with lively and thought-provoking round-table discussion—minus the table, as we decided to pull our chairs into a circle rather than impose the barrier of the panel table.

Amongst all the familiar faces, it was good to see yet another one—that of Buffalo artist Allen Koszowski. I badgered Al into coming to the fanzine panel and taking a look at The Voyageur, and squeezed a compliment or two out of him on the design—compliments that should rightly go to Sharon Lowachee.

Overall attendance was about 150. There need to be about 50 more people paying attendance next year or there won't be an EerieCon 6 in 2004. And that would be a real shame, because this is a fun, interesting, friendly, cozy con—and, as an aside, so handy to southern Ontario!

I urge fans to consider coming out to EerieCon 5, April 11–13, 2003 at the Days Inn at the Falls, Niagara Falls, NY. The Guest of Honour will be Jack McDevitt. EerieCon deserves our support.

Another perspective on the con:
that of Alex von Thorn

Marah and I arrived in Niagara Falls at 11 p.m. Friday, after having dinner on the Canadian side. The Days Inn overlooked the Rainbow Bridge, close enough that we could have walked back to the Canadian side for lunch if we had wanted. We found a poetry round-table going on, with familiar faces David and Carolyn Clink and a number of other accomplished poets. After that, we found a room party by the Buffalo Time Council, a local Doctor Who fan club, going strong. The party was very well-stocked (the new Chocolate Oreos were a favourite) and well-attended.

On Saturday we worked the Torcon 3 membership table along with Peter Jarvis; we found a few people who did not yet have memberships for next year's Worldcon. We got to a few panels; many Toronto-area authors were in evidence, and the programming overall leaned very strongly towards the process of writing. Although the con was small, it had all the trappings of a convention: 24-hour video room, gaming, a well-attended masquerade, filking. There was a media panel on Saturday and a discussion of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings on Sunday. Also on Saturday night was a Harry Potter-themed party, with plenty of Every-Flavour Beans, butter beer, wizards' hats, banners from the student houses at Hogwarts, and other paraphernalia. The convention wound down early Sunday, with programming ending at 2 p.m., giving Toronto fans time for the drive home.

The only thing I missed at this con was the small number of Toronto fans present; it almost seemed like there were more local authors than fans.

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