Waterlogged Klingons Copyright © 1994, L. Shawn Aiken All rights reserved
I was hoping to come back from Stellar Occasion '94 with all sorts of
neat things to tell you. Regretfully, I missed most of the Con. Caught the tail end, though. But it was not what I was hoping for - my first time out.
I've never been to a science fiction convention, you see. I was
hoping to experience one. All of one. Alas, the great rains hit. You know that storm that sent Houston and the surrounding bits under water? Not that one. The smaller one that hit Dallas a few days later.
It wasn't a big flood. I've been in those. Back in Houston. In the
'70s. When you see your neighbors going to the 7-11 in canoes, you know it is bad. Dallas just experienced a flash flood this time around. A few people washed away down the Trinity River and never seen again. Small potatoes.
It did not matter that the flood was on Friday and the Con was on
Saturday and Sunday. It still got the car. The alternator on the car drank all the water it could and then went on the fritz. So much for Japanese technology vs. Texas thunderstorms.
Anyway, the car was off-line. I sat there and lamented. My first
Con and this happens. I've been a science fiction fan all of my life. I was brought up on Star Trek, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, and the like. But I never felt a compunction to go to a Con. Buncha weird people, I always thought. Dressed up to the hilt in Spock ears. Goofy. Sure, I can go and memorize every line in the original Star Trek series - but I don't want to meet people who do the same.
But times - and people - change. I wanted to see. Observe what all
the hubbub was about. A little bit. But the real reason I had in mind was to see the experts. People like G. Harry Stine, who has written for Analog magazine since God created cheese. And William Gaubatz, Director-Program Manager for the Delta Clipper rocket. A whole slew of experts in the space field talking for two days straight, in conferences such as "Space Settlement" and "Fork Fights in Zero-G." My kinda stuff.
J. Michael Straczynski was there, giving a six hour workshop on
scriptwiritng. Being a writer, and knowing nothing about scriptwriting, I figured it would be invaluable. Even if Straczynski had come up with "Captain Power." You remember it. That show where you could show at people on the screen? Well, perhaps you don't remember . . .
But NOOOOO. The rain in Spain falls mainly in Texas, damaging
Japanese auto parts. I finally did make it - on Sunday - Sunday afternoon - to be precise. Thirty bucks for my sister and I to enter. But I had to go. Even if I had missed everything interesting, I still had to go. Don't ask why.
First thing we see is a guy in a Starfleet uniform wandering out of
the hotel. "God," my sister muttered. I wasn't surprised. You were supposed to see that kind of thing there. I would have felt cheated if I hadn't.
Surprisingly, there were very few people all dressed up. One woman
was particularly striking. She was dressed up as one of those races in "Babylon 5." The bald ones. Not the reptilian bald ones, but the humanoid bald ones. But not the spiky-hair bald ones. The psychic bald ones. You know who I mean. And if you know who in the heck they are, please let me know.
Anyway, she was dressed up just like on of them. The costume was
perfect. The makeup was perfect. It looked like she had just wandered down from space. This wasn't your 'buy a costume in a package' affair. This had taken time, money, dedication, and a high level of artistic skill. I was, and still am, impressed.
The second thing we saw was Claudia Christian, from Babylon 5,
signing autographs. Warnings about the pain imposed if you cut in line were floating about. I stayed away. I wouldn't know what to do with an autograph if I had one. Keep it as a bookmark, I guess.
The first celebrity I ever saw was in El Paso, in a Walmart. I was
wandering around the shampoo section, and a really scruffy man, smelling a bit, wandered by. He stooped and began examining hair care products. In a flash I realized who it was. Tommy Chong. My suspicions were confirmed when I heard later on the news that Cheech and Chong were in town for a low rider competition.
Having seen such and impressive person as Tommy Chong in the flesh,
I was not impressed with Claudia Christian. No body odor. No scratching of parts that shouldn't be scratched in public. Claudia was a let down.
We eventually ended up in the dealer's room. Lots of stuff for sell.
More Star Trek trading cards than I had ever seen. Not that I understand why anyone would buy them, but they were there. Posters, figures, paste-on Klingon foreheads, little clickety-click Star Trek badges; just about anything you can imagine. Crystal Wood, a local author, was selling her book, Cut Him Out in Little Stars at a table as well.
Eventually I realized that there was going to be a conference
entitled "Vast Possibilities of the Future," with mucho big names in it. But, do to a mix up, I ended up in a room with Judith Ward.
Ms. Ward is what you might call a professional fan. From what I can
tell she lives at conventions and breathes science fiction instead of air. Some people might call her obsessive. I'll just call her dedicated, which indeed she is.
Somehow she helped to get the 1997 WorldCon (World Science Fiction
Convention) to be help in San Antonio. The WorldCon is one of the biggest conventions in the universe, and she talked an hour about it. I had no idea how much was involved in one of those things. Thousands of people gathered from all around the world for five days. Around three official hotels taking part. It should be quite a sight.
Regretfully, I had to get back home after that. It certainly wasn't
fifteen dollars, but it would have if I had been on schedule and got to do everything I had wanted to. But those two hours wandering around lost were kind of fun.
Early in November there is a Star Trek Convention being held close
by. Just Star Trek though. Hmm. It may be interesting - even with no space experts.
And then there is WorldCon in 1997. That should be a blast. The
second Star Wars trilogy should be out about then, if Lucas keeps his promise. Hmm. I'll have to think about it.
Oh, and there were no waterlogged Klingons. Sunday was nice and