Volume 17, Number 03, Fall 1999

Should LFS Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary at Marcon?

By Michael Grossberg

The Libertarian Futurist Society—founded in the spring of 1982 (but actually inspired by a call I received from L. Neil Smith just after New Year’s Eve of 1981-1982)—will celebrate its 20th anniversary soon. How shall we celebrate it? One possibility is to hold our first LFScon, an exciting opportunity for LFS members to meet each other. We could plan some structured activities—such as panel discussions about libertarian sf; speeches by Prometheus-winning authors; a video room for libertarian sf-oriented films and TV shows; and a face-to-face LFS business meeting to plan our future in the next millennium. We also could plan some less structured activities, such as an LFS hospitality suite, nightly parties and lots of free time for socializing and exploring the local sights. Of course, members' families and friends would be welcome to attend the conference, along with other interested libertarians and sf fans.

A year ago, as part of the LFS reorganization, we asked for and received feedback from LFS members about their interest in attending an LFS-related conference. While a minority said they don't have the time, money or interest to travel, most LFS members do seem interested—in principle. Yet, no one outlined a way to transform principle into practice, perhaps because such an LFS conference would have to overcome some obstacles. For instance, who would organize it? Who would host it? In what city? How much would LFS members be willing to pay in conference registration fees to cover the costs? Most important and difficult to answer, does the LFS have enough members to sustain a break-even conference?

I would like to make a proposal for an LFS conference that has the potential to overcome such obstacles: a 20th anniversary LFS celebration held over the four-day Memorial Day weekend in 2001 as part of the much bigger 36th annual Marcon in Columbus, Ohio. Marcon (which has met in May for decades, but got its name from its original March dates) is Ohio's oldest and largest sf and fantasy con. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people from Ohio and surrounding states attend annually at Columbus's Downtown convention center, headquarted in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. One of the 20 or so largest U.S. cons, Marcon is a full-service, 24-hour event, highlighted by a Saturday night Masquerade contest and post-Masquerade dance; a huge dealer's room, a large art show, many gaming rooms, three to five video/film rooms, filksinging rooms, and panel discussions and speakers on a half-dozen concurrent program tracks with various focuses, from literature to science and visual art. For more information, check out Marcon's Web site: http://www.marcon.org

Marcon's leaders are interested in hosting an LFS conference within their larger umbrella. Brad Linaweaver, a Prometheus Award winner and LFS member, has been a Marcon featured guest for the past two years, and is very excited about the possibility of such a Marcon-LFS joint conference.

Among the tentative possibilities explored in discussions with Marcon officers, Linaweaver and others:

Columbus is relatively inexpensive, compared to most cities, with lower airline fares because of market competition. Marcon usually arranges discount hotel rates at the Hyatt Regency; other nearby hotels include the Holiday Inn, Red Roof Inn, Adams Mark Hotel and Courtyard by Marriott. (Also, the two LFS members in Columbus, Matt Gaylor and I, might be able to arrange crash space and daily transportation for budget-minded LFS members.) Before proceeding with this great idea, though, we need to hear from all LFS members. How many of you can say, now, that you would plan to attend this LFS/Marcon event over Memorial Day weekend in 2001 in Columbus?

I would be willing to serve as conference organizer/chair (or co-chair), but only if enough LFS members say they want to attend. Before meeting formally with Marcon officers, I need to have an estimated attendance figure of how many people our event would add to Marcon's registrations. (That includes not only LFS members, but anyone else they plan to bring along, including spouses, children, friends and other libertarians from your area.)

By the way, Marcon registrations have been about $25 in advance and $40 at the door. Any separately funded LFS events, such as a party or bringing in another Prometheus winner, might require an additional modest registration fee from LFS members. Or the LFS Executive Committee might decide that we have enough money in our general budget to cover some conference expenses. Please let me know as soon as possible of your interest (yes, no or maybe) and how many people you'd expect to bring with you. Contact me at   mikegrossb@aol.com   or write Michael Grossberg, 3164 Plymouth Place, Columbus, OH 43213.

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