The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, January 24, 1979-Page 5
Of time warps and six-packs
By STEFANY COOPERMAN
A MIDDLE-AGED man with longish hair was
plaining the long sliver cylinder with a deep
barrel he held in his hand. His finger squeezed the
trigger, and like the sudden flash from an electronic
eye, a bright yellow light sputtered from the nose of
the barrel. "I make these things from odd parts that
I find in my shop," said Lee Schneider, as he rested
the gun against his shoulder.
Schneider, dressed in a cape and armed with
silver gun, was one of 300 science-fiction fans atten-
ding the Fifth Annual "E/C2 Confusion" convention,
an annual science-fiction convention, in Ann Arbor.
The convention, held at the West Bank Holiday Inn,
was hosted by the Stylagi Air Corps, an Ann Arbor
Participants came from as far as New York to
hear panelists, learn new songs, make friends, and
meet the guests of honor, science fiction authors
Spider and Jeanne Robinson.
Many participants at the "con" (SF lingo for con-
vention) were regular SF convention followers.
Rusty Harper, a retired engineer, said "since my
retirement ten years ago I have been traveling to as
many as fifteen SF cons a years."
The convention was held in two main studios,
three floors, and long expanses of unheated
hallways in the hotel.
The program was filled with presentations, films,
and parties. According to co-chairman of Stylagi
Air Corps David Innes, the most important fun-
ction of the conference was for participants to get
To ensure the smooth functioning of the con,
Stlyagi formed two squads: the "Flying Squirrel
SquAd" (a group of official go-for's) and the ''Cud-
die Squad." Members of the squads were identififed
by special badges. The emblem of the Cuddle Squad
was a teddy bear.
Puns and special terminology are a pervasive
part of the atmosphere of an SF convention. The
"huckster" room was a hotel room used by SF
salesmen to promote SF novels and posters. The
"consuite" was a suite of three adjacent rooms that
were the hub of the con's activities. Conventioneers
who wanted to mingle in a smaller room than the
con studios could rendezvous in the consuite.
The guests of honor, author Spider Robinson and
his wife Jeanne, came from their home in Halifax,
Nova Scotia, to attend the convention. The Robin-
sons recently won the HUGO award, one of the most
prestigious SF writing awards.
Although the convention was unquestionably a
science fiction affair (the preponderance of SF har-
dware illustrated this fact), the emphasis was
really on people.
Jim Frenkel, an SF editor for Dell Publishing
Company, summed it up by saying "the ac-
celerating rate of change in modern society is
causing people to question what may happen to the
individual as a result of rapid technological
"Star Wars couldn't have happened ten years
ago,"Frenkel said, "just twenty five years ago
people scoffed at the concept of man on the moon.
Today, even space colonization does not seem so
Frenkelehas noted that a larger science-fiction
audience is coming from those who are in the fields
of the humanities. There is a sub-culture of fans who
follow SF and attend cons with regularity. Their
See SCI-FI, Page 8