Thursday, August 6, 2015

SF Convention Blast from the Past #1 - Beta Draconis

Been awhile since I posted here. Time to get off the couch and make some posts. Lately I have been digitizing a lot of photos from my science fiction convention attendance days and thought I might share them with you. Plenty of author photos and crazy costumes. I'll add some notes and see where it goes.

Beta Draconis - June 15-17, 1979

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This convention held in Toronto was the followup to Alpha Draconis (October 1976). Guest of Honour was Frederik Pohl and the Fan Guest of Honour was Joan Winston. Additional guests included veteran SF authors such as Judith Merril and Phyllis Gotlieb and some authors relatively new to the scene such as Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey. Checking for updates on the various authors as I put this together, I came to realize all but Lynn Abbey have died in the intervening years. (Conspiracy theorists take note that three of the authors mentioned here all passed within a year of one another).

Fred Pohl speaking at GOH dinner. Fred was one of the giants of the science fiction genre with a 75 year career winning multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, a Grand Master and National Book award. Fred was married to Judith Merril from 1948-1952. Fred passed in 2013.
Fred  Pohl with giant chocolate chip cookie presented by con committee
Fred Pohl with grand-daughter and Robert Asprin in background. Bob was also a new author with the first book in his Myth Adventures series just released. Over the course of his career Bob published dozens of novels and anthologies. He passed away in 2008.
Joan Winston FGOH with her appropriate Star Trek cookie.
Joan was one of the original Trekkers and organized the very first Star Trek convention. She wrote a couple of books on the topic including Star Trek Lives (with Jacqueline Lichtenberg) and The Making of the Trek Conventions. She passed away in 2008. She was a popular and frequent FGOH at conventions.
Canadian SF writer and poet Phyllis Gotlieb, Phyllis passed in 2009.
First time author Lynn Abbey
I believe Lynn's first fantasy book Daughter of the Bright Moon was just released. She attended with Robert Asprin who she later married in 1982. Since then she has edited or published nearly twenty novels and anthologies.
L to R: Bob Asprin, Lynn Abbey, Fred Pohl, Judith Merril and Phyllis Gotlieb
As anyone from Ontario knows, Judith Merril was very busy with her Doctor Who shows on TVOntario at the time and did some live interviews at the convention, a portion of which can be viewed on YouTube. Judy was at the convention speaking to the Dr Who Appreciation Society. Judy also wrote under the name Cyril Judd. She passed in 1997.

Group shot of costume show
Dorsai Irregulars based on the Gordon R. Dickson novels.
Another group shot from the costume ball. Pretty good for the time but not a match
for the zaniness of effort that some ComiCon attendees devote
If you attended this con or have anecdotes about the authors, please leave a comment and share your experience.


  1. These are great photos, thank you so much for posting them. I really love to see the roots of things and I cannot even fathom the prolific careers of people who wrote (and edited) using a typewriter. It definitely puts my whiney moaning in perspective.

    1. Hey David, thanks for stopping by and glad you appreciated the "history" angle. I plan to do quite a few of these over the coming months.

  2. Replies
    1. Good to hear from you. Yeah I thought I would dip my toe in the blogging waters again.

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