Volume 1, Number 1, December 1982

LFS at Chicon

On the LFS-sponsored panel on “Private Alternatives to the Space Program.”

“Many fans and pros who are readers of Bob Shea had never seen a picture of him before and were enthusiastic when they realized whom they were meeting. This was Shea's first SF convention of any kind. He spent part of his time wandering throughout the con in company with other members of the ‘libertarian SF writers mafia,’ including J. Neil Schulman, Victor Koman, Brad Linaweaver, and Samuel Konkin III.”

Brad Linaweaver and J. Neil Schulman appeared as part of the main-track programming at this convention. Linaweaver did an interview with Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, who was visiting from England. It went over well enough that he was asked to do a second interview with Adams on videotape that can be shown at other cons or on cable television. Linaweaver also moderated a panel on horror fiction that attracted an exceptionally large number of participants.

Schulman autographed books at a signing session and met readers with copies of Alongside Night, a Prometheus nominee. He appeared on a panel entitled, “Big Brother is watching already,” which allowed several libertarian points to be made. Both Schulman and Linaweaver read from their work in the Author’s forum on the last day of the con, the former from his new novel The Rainbow Cadenza, and the Latter from a short story, “Clutter,” which was sold to Amazing.

The LFS panel attracted only about 15 people due to scheduling difficulties. It featured Victor Koman on alternatives to the Space Program, Arthur Hlavaty on “Fandom as a Functioning Anarchy” Sam Konkin on “Utopian, Dystopian and Libertarian views of the Future,” and Brad Linaweaver. Koman complained that NASA had made space exploration “unexciting” and had “sapped it of all adventure.” The subject matter of the panel was broad, covering everything from economics to aesthetics.

From all accounts, the outreach effort of LFS was not well coordinated and could stand some improvement. The LFS party did attract 50–100 people and produce 30 names on the mailing list. But Bonnie Kaplan noted: “I think we need better ways to meet new people.” Most of the libertarians there went out to dinner with each other almost every night, thus isolating themselves from non-libertarians or new libertarians. By the time of the party, Kaplan noted, “the Con was already half over, and there was little opportunity to get to know the people or to make them feel part of a group.”

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