— The Vancouver area Flying Saucer Club was founded in July of 1956 by Mr. Herbert Clark and by Miss L. Margaret Fewster. By March of 1958 the club had grown to 180 members and was actively considering incorporating as a society. How long it survived after that I do not know.

While it existed, VAFSC cost $2.00 to join, for which members were given a club card and a subscription to the single-sheet monthly newsletter. Any non-member was welcome to attend monthly meetings, in the fervent hope they would be moved to join, or at least toss some coins into the collection plate. Given the size of the club, meetings were probably held in rented halls, on at least one occasion at the Hermes Lodge of the Theosophical Society at 5th Avenue & Cypress.

Members were encouraged to write up their ‘sightings’, and to actively ‘spot’ UFOs. Wrote Miss Fewster: “The junior branch are organizing themselves as U.F.O. ‘spotters’ and have taken a business-like inventory of their equipment… Any senior members of V.A.S.F.C. who are equally keen, possess a car, camera and binoculars, and enough gas to drive said car, is welcome to arrange field trips for ( juniors & other ) members of the club…discourage yourself from going alone.. you will need reliable witnesses…and don’t forget your sandwiches; I am told extensive ‘spotting’ is a hungry business!”

‘Spotting’ evidently came easy for some:

“The Secretary has been lucky enough to make five sightings this month, over Kerrisdale, at night, after 10 o’clock, in each case the object was a glowing orange colour, which manoeuvred in various directions, at incredible speed… sizes varying from that of an orange to half the size of the moon!”

“Mr. & Mrs. J. Rea, club members, made a wonderful sighting… at their home… (in) North Burnaby. Mrs. Rea, while gazing north over Mount Seymour, spotted a cigar-shaped U.F.O….She called her husband, who also saw object, both with naked eye and binoculars… and while watching object for three quarters of an hour, saw it change shape from cigar to star shape, and also saw lights in the middle and end of object… and at the same time red lights or discs seem to emerge from the object. Size of object 8 to 10 inches, height at top of mountain about 3,500 feet.”

The club bulletin contained numerous quotes from other sources, most trending towards the idea that an advanced civilization of aliens is urging humanity to cast off its primitive limitations and become one with the aliens through a meeting of the minds.

One quote, from London, England, is almost cheerfully reassuring: “A friend of mine, whom I respect and revere, informs me that he traveled beyond the stratosphere in one of those vehicles (flying saucers) many years ago, that he knows how space ships work, why they can turn so quickly, and why those within them are not affected by centrifugal force. Those who man them, some of them from other planets, are concerned with safe-guarding life — and not merely human life, which is not at the top of the evolutionary tree…”

Given the nature of these quotes, and the reviews of books offering similar views, I am inclined to think they were selected because they probably corresponded to the philosophy of the majority of VAFSC members, who seem to have been nothing less than a spiritualist movement of utopianists waiting for aliens to guide mankind to the next stage of evolution.


— Founded by Norman G. Browne in December of 1951. According to Harry Warner Jr., “Vancouver got a local fan club for an odd reason. The unknown Norman G. Browne of that city had gone all the way to Nolacon,” (the 1951 Worldcon in New Orleans) “where he saw nobody he knew. This sense of being an outsider left him upon his return with a determination to become a real part of fandom. So he organized the Vancouver Science Fiction Society before he learned about the existence of CSFA” — the latter being the Canadian Science Fiction Association, which the Vancouver SF Society joined in 1952 and was still affiliated with in early 1953, so we know the club lasted at least that long.

Here is what Browne himself wrote about the founding of the club, excerpted from his ‘NORMAN G. BROWNE: FAN’ article in VANATIONS #4:

 “I left the Nolacon with an overwhelming desire to become a fan…. My first act when I got home from the Nolacon was to organize a S-F club. This took considerable time due to the fact that I had no knowledge or experience in fandom or stf and knew nothing about organizing clubs. But by dint of sheer work and luck, the club was organized and had its first meeting in December of that same year (1951). At a later meeting I was installed as President of the club.”

“As President of the Vancouver SF Society I pushed stf (Scientifiction) and my club as hard and strong as I could in my immediate area. Thus, from an utter unknown, I had made myself known and had created a sphere of influence to cover the Vancouver area. Gradually, I extended this sphere of influence to cover the whole of British Columbia.”

“As President of this club, I became contact man with outside fandom. Through a prozine letter-column, I learned of the existence of the Canadian S-F Association and contacted them. Also, through the same medium, I learned of the existence of the Seattle SF Society 100 miles to the South of us and got in touch with them…”

Browne informally called the club ‘THE HIBITED MEN’, presumably based on a short story of the same title by L. Sprague de Camp. Members met in Browne’s home, and presumably in each other’s. At one club meeting Browne and Curt Lang “got into quite an argument over the relative merits of certain comic books. Curt has taken fencing lessons and I own two swords…”

Because members referred to themselves as ‘THE HIBITED MEN’, the Vancouver SF Society newsletter was titled HIBITED HAPPENINGS. In explaining how the first nine months of his fan activity after Nolacon brought him to the point of feeling qualified enough to start work on his perzine VANATIONS, Browne wrote: “I had spent nine months studying and learning about fandom. I had learned about fan publishing and editing by studying fanzines and by editing a club newsletter….” Thus he was both President AND Newsletter Editor for the Vancouver SF Society. However, after issue #3 of HIBITED HAPPENINGS he moved to Edmonton, and Frank Stephens took over as club newsletter editor.

What is clear about the Vancouver SF Society’s involvement with VANATIONS is that the members of the club early on devoted their resources to helping Browne produce his first issue. They contributed art, articles, and a cover which was printed in Vancouver. The issue was actually mailed from Edmonton, where Browne had moved, in June of 1952. In #2 he commented: “The planning for the first issue of VANATIONS covered a period of four months. The actual construction and work was done over a period of another three months.” This would appear to indicate he started planning the zine the very month he formed the club, and that fellow members contributed by April, if not earlier.

As to who belonged to the club, Norman G. Browne, Alfred W. Purdy (later a famous poet), Victor Samoila, Frank Stephens, Jim (James) Wills & Curt Lang are known members. Close reading of issues of VANATIONS suggests other prospects, some probable, others merely possible. Of the probable members I include 2 Vancouver fans in touch with Browne: Vic Miller & Bill Galliene, 3 Vancouver fans known across Canada: Alan Child, Gordon Peck & Shirley K. Peck, & 2 fans located outside Vancouver but who contributed to VANATIONS & may well have belonged to the club: Terence Barker (of Westview, B.C.), & L. Lockhart Layton (of Prince Rupert, B.C.).

Of the possible club members, I quote from the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY (donated to the B.C.S.F.A. archive by Chester D. Cuthbert) published by the Canadian Science Fiction Association in Fall of 1952. This includes the names & addresses of Vancouver fans who were members of the Vancouver SF Society which was affiliated with the CSFA, single members of CSFA not involved with the VSFS, and well-known fans not members of either organization. Unfortunately the directory does not indicate their status. Consequently the following list merely consists of Vancouver fans contemporary with the VSFS, but since the basic source material used to compile the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY was undoubtedly the membership of the affiliated organizations, it is highly likely that most of the following persons named belonged to the Vancouver Science Fiction Society. Especially since Norman G. Browne himself was the primary source of information for the B.C. listings. He must have known, or known of, all of the following fans:

Allen Baratelli, M.S. Barnett, P.L. Booke, Robert H. Bowman, Edward Bowser, Mary Brock, E.J. Broome, H.O. Clarke, Yvonne Cooper, B. Creer, Roy Davidson, Peter Duncan, Donald Foster, Rose Frew, Gordon Futcher, Gordon Gibson Jr., Terry Graham, Peter Grant, Gordon Hackett, Rose Hafley, Arthur Harris, Terence W. Hibbert, James Hill, James C. Hinds, Brian Hurst, George M. Kerr, C.R. Mackenzie, Don Maclaren, Claude Mayes, S. McIntyre, Tom McKitch, G. McPherson, Barry Nelson, J.W. O’Connell, Otto Pfeifer, Jim Polson, S.R. Price, Ralph Redden, Gordon W. Rix, Eric Rogerson, Tom Rosenburg, Helen Smith, Charles Stephens, George Stephens, Peter Whalley, R. White, & Bob Wilson.

(Note; the names I listed as ‘known’ & ‘probable’ members of the VSFS are also listed in the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY, with the exceptions of Victor Samoila & Shirley K. Peck.)

In sum, I have listed 60 fans who, if not all members of the VSFS, were known active fans, most of them from Vancouver. I haven’t even mentioned the fans living in Victoria, Squamish, Penticton, Kelowna & elsewhere in B. C., some of whom may also have been members, given Browne’s statement he “extended this sphere of influence to cover the whole of British Columbia.” From the numbers it appears Science Fiction fandom was alive and thriving in B.C. in 1952!

If any of the above mentioned people come across this entry I would be happy to hear from them at:

< rgraeme[at]shaw.ca >   (RGC) & (HWJ) & (GS) & (CC)



— Vancouver’s annual Science Fiction convention. ( ‘VCON’ is a registered trademark owned by the British Columbia Science Fiction Association. ) Apart from the occasional Canadian Worldcon, VCON, started in 1971, is Canada’s oldest ongoing convention. For comparison’s sake, here are the startup dates of several Canadian Conventions, followed by some North West American conventions:

CANADIAN: VCON 1 – ( 1971 ), Halcon 1 – ( 1978 ), Maplecon 1 – ( 1978 ), Noncon 1 – ( 1978 ), Boreal 1 – ( 1979 ), Canvention 1 – ( 1980 ), Ad Astra 1 – ( 1981 ), Conversion 1 – ( 1984 ), Keycon 1 – ( 1984 ), PineKone 1 – ( 1988 ) & Cancon 1 – ( 1989 ).

AMERICAN NORTH WEST: Norwescon 1 – ( 1978 ), Moscon 1 – ( 1979 ), Orycon 1 – ( 1979 ), Vikingcon 1 – ( 1980 ), & Rustycon 1 – ( 1984 ).

Note: events are as listed in program books. Some may have been cancelled and replaced with other items. Future research may result in some changes to listings, but at least as they stand the listings give an excellent idea as to what was planned for each VCON. )

Warning! Excessive amount of programming detail! But this CanFancyclopedia is written on behalf of both BCSFA & WCSFA, the traditional sponsors of VCON, and the VCON entry is intended to provide the maximum amount of information possible for members of both organizations to understand their VCON heritage, and for the sake of old-timers like myself, to reminisce.

Them as has no interest are advised to scroll quickly through the pages devoted to VCON. Conrunners and Programmers, on the other hand, may find it of interest to track the evolution of programming over the decades in this, Canada’s most venerable SF convention. And given that the programming involves changing tastes and interests among fans of the day, fan historians may find it of use as well.


NOTE: The following entries will be completed in the above format sometime in the near future. Currently constitute working notes.

1986 – (May 23-25) – VCON 14 / Canvention 6:

GoH: Frederik Pohl. TM: Randy Reichardt. Special GoH: Eileen Kernaghan. Artist GoH: Katherine Howes. Fan GoH’s: Beth & Mike Finkbiner. Chair: Fran Skene. Venue: Totem Residence, UBC, Vancouver. Attending: 595.

1987 – (May 22-24) – VCON 15:

GoH: Sam Moskowitz. Artist GoH: Alex Schomburg. TM: Michael Walsh. Fan GoH: Forrest J. Ackerman (Unable to attend). Chair: Al Betz. Venue: Gage Residence, UBC, Vancouver. Theme: ‘Celebrating the History of Science Fiction’. Attending: 725.

1988 – (May 27-29) – VCON 16:

GoH: Hal Clement. TM: James P. Hogan. Science GoH: John G. Cramer. Chair: Ed Beauregard. Venue: Gage Residence, UBC, Vancouver. Theme: ‘The Science in Science Fiction’. Attending: 690.

1989 – (May 26-28) – VCON 17:

GoHs: Spider & Jeanne Robinson. Special GoH: Robert Sheckley. TM: Bob Shaw. Artist GoH: Donna Barr. Co-Chairs: Constantin Hiebner & Lisa Smedman. Venue: Totem Residence, UBC, Vancouver. Theme: ‘Humour & Satire in Science Fiction’. Attending: 772.

1990 – (May 25-27) – VCON 18:

GoH: Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Cdn GoH: Dave Duncan. TM: Elizabeth A. Lynn. Artist GoH: Roger Raupp. Chair: Lisa Smedman. Venue: Totem Residence, UBC, Vancouver. Theme: ‘Worlds of Fantasy’. Attending: 853.

1991 – (Feb 15-17) – VCON 18.5:

GoH: Eileen Kernaghan. Fan GoH: Constantin Hiebner. Chair: Terry Fowler. Venue: Relax Hotel, Richmond. Theme: ‘Sanctuary – A Relaxacon’. Attending: 100 +

This relaxacon featured pool parties with hot tub, 2 hospitality suites (smoking & non-smoking), a chocolate-making workshop, Lonely Cry Theatre, lingerie party, videos, author readings, turkey reading, artist’s seminar & ‘Burning Issues’ panel.

1991 – (Jul 4-7) – VCON 19 / WESTERCON 44:

GOHs: C.J. Cherryh & William Gibson. Special GoH: Verna Smith-Trestrail. Artist GoH: Warren Oddson. Gaming GoH: Steve Jackson. TM: Steve Fahnestalk. Editor GoHs: Patrick & Teresa Neilsen Hayden. Fan GoHs: Jerry Kaufmann & Suzanne Tomkins. Chair: Terry Fowler. Venue: Gage Residence, UBC, Vancouver. Attending: 2,200.

1992 – (May 22-24) — VCON 19.5:

Multiu-purpose GoH: Don H. DeBrandt. Co-Chairs: Vicki Oates & Jackie Wilson. Venue: Relax Plaza Hotel, Richmond. Theme: ‘Small but Deadly’. Attending: 120.

1993 – (May 28-30) – VCON 20:

GoH: Charles de Lint. TM: Michael Coney. Artist GoH: Rob Alexander. Attending: 500

Note: Decision made to stick with small relaxacons till resources of club built back up to point of handling full-scale cons.

1994 – (Mar 19) – THE SCIENCE OF MURDER:

Chair: Clint Budd. Venue: Biltmore Hotel, Vancouver. Attending: 87.

This single day event’s focus was on factual background to writing murder mystery. Vancouver Coroner Mary Lou Merner gave a slide show talk on how Coroners discover the facts, UBC Forensic Pathologist Dr. James ‘Rex’ Ferris discussed unusual cases (astonishing how many bodies are discovered after they’ve passed thru the digestive system of bears), and Professor of Pathology Dr. Anne P. Autor gave a talk on DNA profiling. Reps from a private investigation firm explained how they handle cases, and Charlie Grant, a freelance special effects expert, described his work in such films as THE FLY 2 & EXTRO 2.

At 7:00 pm members sat down for a combined banquet/murder mystery. Each table represented a different starship or planet, those seated its diplomats. All had to play according to the characteristics of their assigned culture. The game involved regular police reports, diplomatic communiques, trading of secret information, bribery, and even theft. This complex role-playing game, full of humour & surprise, was a great success. It was followed by an anarchist scavenger hunt, & then partying in the hospitality suite.

1995 – (Mar 19) – THE SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL:

Chair: Clint Budd. Venue: Biltmore Hotel, Vancouver. Attending: 63.

The theme of this one day event was ‘Living and Working in Hazardous Environments’. Underwater Robotics expert Harry Bohm gave a talk on the future of undersea exploration, John C. Pollack spoke on diving in flooded caves, Oceanographer Clark Carmack discussed arctic survival (revealing that the further north you go, the worse pollution becomes, as chemical pollutants are concentrated by precipitation cycles), and Hugh M. Kelso spoke on current studies on the feasibility of a Lunar base. The Vancouver Fire Department parked its Hazardous Materials rig outside the hotel & everyone got a free tour. The evening programming included a buffet banquet, Elron awards & a dance. During the banquet people participated in an interactive event, a trading card role-playing game involving the creation of habitats in five environments: arctic, space, underwater, volcanic & underground. It was necessary to answer numerous scientific questions correctly to collect appropriate cards. Event ended with the usual partying.


GoH: William Gibson. Chair: Donna McMahon. Theme: Memorial celebration of the life of Evelyn (Beheshti) Hildebrandt. Venue: Century Plaza Hotel, Vancouver. Attending: 167.

Authors Eileen Kernaghan, Mary Choo, Lisa Smedman, Don DeBrandt (Evelyn’s husband), Dale Sproule, Donna Farley, William Gibson and Spider & Jeanne Robinson gave readings.

Lectures & panels included: ‘At the SF Films’ by R. Graeme Cameron & Michael Walsh, ‘Breaking into Writing for TV & Movies’ by Allan DiFiore, ‘The History of SF Television 1959-1989’ by Frank Garcia, ‘Writing Game Books & Novels for Role Playing Games’ by lisa Smedman, & ‘The Safer Sex Life of Godzilla’ by R. Graeme Cameron & Stan G. Hyde.

Stan Hyde also presented his students from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary in a theatrical production of ‘What’s My Century’ by Lisa Smedman.

The highlight was a special ‘Hour with William Gibson’. He had been just another fan and a member of BCSFA back in the mid 70s, contributing art & articles to the newsletter, and had known Evelyn from her early days in the club. That he cut short his publicity tour for the movie JOHNNY MNEMONIC with its premiere in Toronto on the Friday and fly home the very next day to attend the benefit honouring her memory was greatly appreciated by all.

1996 – (May 17-19) – VCON 21:

GoH: Kim Stanley Robinson. Fan GoH: William Gibson. TM: R. Graeme Cameron. Co-Chairs: Palle Hoffstein & David New. Venue: Delta Pacific resort, Richmond. Theme: ‘Mars Wins!’ Attending: “Nearly 500”

1997 – (May 25-27) — VCON 22:

GoH: Steven Brust. Artist GoH: Stan G. Hyde. TM: Catherine Donahue. Chair: Palle Hoffstein. Venue: Surrey Inn, Surrey. Attending: ?

1998 – (May 15-17) — VCON 23:

GoH: David Gerrold. Artist GoH: Mike Jackson. Chair: Les Shewchuk. Venue: Days Inn Surrey Centre, Surrey. Theme: ‘Infestation!’ Attending: 400 +

1999 – (May 21-23) — VCON 24:

GoH: A.C. Crispin. Artist GoH: Betty Bigelow. Toastmaster: David Bigalow. Venue: Days Inn Surrey Centre, Surrey. Theme: ‘Life In Space?’ Attending: ?

Panels & lectures included: ‘Wonderfully Bad SF B Movies’, Triumph of Feminism in SF’, ‘The SCA – an Armed Society is a Polite Society’, ‘Homoerotic Themes in Classic SF’, ‘Advice to New Writers’, ‘Forgotten Editorial Giants of the Past’ by Algis Budrys, ‘Modeling With Attack Team Canada’, ‘Social Satire in SF’, ‘The Decline of the Real Prozine’, ‘Secret Life of Godzilla’, ‘The Art of Shameless Self Promotion’, ‘Trashing The Romantic Vampire’, ‘Life in Space: Rocket Exhaust or Vacuum Breath?’, ‘Creating Believable Aliens’, ‘Halls of Haggis – a Highlander Panel’, etc.

Also author’s readings, dealer’s room, belly dancing, ‘staging a fight for TV’ demonstration, charity auction, Elron awards, Camarilla Kissing Auction, rocket construction, turkey reading, SCA demo, Cantina dance, & a performance Bacchanal.

2000 – (May 26-28) — VCON 25:

GoH: Robert J. Sawyer. Fan GoHs: Lloyd & Yvonne Penney. Artist Ghost of Honour: The late Shane Desjardins. Artist GoH: Robert Kalthoff. TM: Mr. Science. Chair: R. Graeme Cameron. Venue: Days Inn Surrey Centre, Surrey. Theme: ‘Mammals Beware! Dinosaurs Attack!’ Attending: 400 +

Panels & lectures included: ‘Origin of SF fandom & fanzines’, ‘How to Keep Writing When the Going Gets Tough’, ‘SF as Idea: Obsolete? Or Still Relevant?’, ‘Where Giant Monsters Come From’, ‘Mascots & Puppetry’, ‘History of SF comics’, ‘High Fantasy? Low Fantasy? What’s the Difference?’, ‘Will fandom survive into the New Century?’, ‘Hugo Gernsback; Founder of modern SF’, ‘Sex Life of Godzilla’, ‘Anime fandom’, ‘The Life of S.H. Desjardins’, ‘Comic Book Writing: Oxymoron or Legit-lit?’, ‘Can the Main Character be Gay?’, ‘Phenomenon of Slash Fiction’, ‘Alternate Genders in Alien Biology’, ‘How to Domesticate your Dinosaur’, ‘Anecdotes from the History of SF Art’, ‘Building, Painting & Sculpting Dinosaurs’, etc.

Also Gaming room, dealer’s room, art show, fanzine room, Mr. Science experiment, Elron Awards, Lonely Cry Theatre, Science Fiction Jeopardy Contest, Writer’s workshops, Beatles music jam session, readings from rare fanzines, turkey readings, authors readings, art auction, Camarilla kissing auction, a dance with live music by Darkest of the Hillside Thickets (an H.P. Lovecraft Tribute band), Fidgital (trip hop & techno band) & Landscape Body Machine (progressive ambient/industrial techno band), and a Bacchanal with Moog The Magnificent (Solar System’s Worst Stand-up Comic) as MC, followed by another dance with music by Millennia Music & DJ Special K.

2001 – (May 4-6) – VCON 26 / Canvention 21:

GoH: Lynne Abbey. Gaming GoH: James Ernest. Costuming GoHs: Betty & David Bigelow. Science GoH: George Dyson. Canvention GoH: Candas Jane Dorsey. CUFF Winner GoH: Murray Moore. Fan GoH: Al Betz. TM: Robert J. Sawyer. Chair: Chris Sturges. Venue: Burnaby Radisson Hotel, Burnaby. Theme: ‘2001 — A Space Oddity (Humour in SF)’ Attending: 250 (The bus strike killed us!)

Panels & Lectures included: ‘Gaming 101’, ‘Fanfiction as Mythology’, ‘Creating an Internally Consistent Religion’, ‘Obscure Space Programs as Documented by B Movies’, ‘Origins of Modern Feminism in B Movies’, ‘Getting Published Without Getting Ripped Off’, ‘Dinosaurs in SF’, ‘Small Press Publishing’, ‘Fantastic Technology Through the Ages’, ‘Business Side of Writing’, ‘History of Auroras, Canvention & Cuff”, etc.

Also Aurora awards & banquet, belly dancing, author’s readings, dealer’s room, writer’s workshops, Mr. Science creating Nitrogen Ice Cream, make-up demo, Lonely Cry Theatre, turkey reading, Fanzine lounge, & Bacchanal (including dreaded “Oh no! He’s back!” 2nd performance of Moog The Magnificent.)

2002 – (Oct 11-13) – VCON 27:

GoHs: Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, Brom. Chair: Palle Hoffstein. Venue: Plaza 500 Hotel, Vancouver. Attending: “Nearly 600”.

Panels & lectures included: ‘What’s Up With Godzilla?” – Stan Hyde, ‘After cyberpunk’, ‘Adventures Of A First Time Novelist’ – Donna McMahon, ‘The Rise Of Dark Fantasy’, ‘Horror Without Gore’, ‘Comics To Film’, ‘On The Making Of Villains’, ‘Survival Of The Adequate’, ‘The Future Of Medicine’, ‘Surviving The Gaming Business’, ‘B-Movie Confessions’, ‘The Search For Exoplanets’, ‘How To Build A Game Board In An Hour’, ‘Shopping Your Work Around’, etc.

Also author’s readings, writer’s workshop, dance, dealer’s room, gaming room, art slide show, turkey reading, Elron awards, Judith Merril Memorial Beatles Singalong (hosted by Spider & Jeanne Robinson), and a Bacchanal (with the 3rd appearance of Moog The Magnificent, the least of the talent presented).

2003 – (Oct 10-12) – VCON 28:

GoHs: Nalo Hopkinson & Esther Friesner. Artist GoH: Adrian Kleinbergen. Science GoH: Jordin Kare. Chair: Paul M. Carpentier. Venue: ?

2004 – (Oct 8-10) – VCON 29:

GoHs: Dave Duncan. Artist GoH: Todd Lockwood. Science GoH: Dr. Jamie Matthews. Special GoH: Lisa Smedman. Co-Chairs: Marie-Louise Beesley & Greg Cairns. Venue: Hilton Hotel Metrotown, Burnaby.

2005 – (Oct 7-9) – VCON 30:

GoHs: Robert Silverberg. Artist GoH: Todd Lockwood. Chair: Palle Hoffstein. Venue: Executive Airport Plaza Hotel, Richmond.

2006 – (Oct 6-8) – VCON 31:

GoH: Barbara Hambly. Artist GoH: Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk. Fan GoH: Randy McCharles. Chair: Clint Budd. Venue: Executive Airport Plaza Hotel, Richmond.

2007 – (Oct 19-21) – VCON 32 / Canvention 27:

GoH: Peter S. Beagle. Artist GoH: Martin Springett. Gaming GoH: Lisa Smedman. Canvention GoH: Matt Hughes. Filk GoH: vixy & Tony. Chair: Danielle Stephens. Venue: Radisson President Hotel, Richmond.

2008 – (Oct 3-5) – VCON 33:

Guests of Honour: KELLY ARMSTRONG & PATRICK ROTHFUSS. Artist GoH: LISA SNELLINGS. Gaming GoH: JAMES ERNEST. Science GoH: DR. JAYMIE MATTHEWS. Toastmaster: MICHAEL WALSH. Venue: Compass Point Inn, Surrey. Attending: 400+?

CONCOM: Chair – Danielle Stephens; Dance – Trevor Jason; Dealer’s Room – Jeff Currey; Elrons – R. Graeme Cameron; Fan Clubs – Keith Lim; Filking – Cindy Turner; Games – Rick Arino; GoH Liaison – Kristina Gray; Guest Services – Deej Barens; Hospitality – Jasmine Turner; KidCon – Andrew Brechin; Media Liaison – Michael Walsh; Operations – Trapa; Program Book – Pauline Walsh; Programming – Tammy Midttun; Publications – Pauline Walsh; Publicity – Russ Quick; Registrar – Les Shewchuck; Tech & Transport – Ashton Green; Treasurer – Tatina Lee; Vice-Chair – Pauline Walsh; Volunteers – Trevor Jason; Webmaster – Jenni Merrifield; ConCom Support – Susan Walsh, Chiulam & Paul Carpentier.

Sponsored by WCSFA, the West Coast Science Fiction Association. Three days of quadruple-track programming with separate rooms for art show, dealers, gaming, filking, Kidcon, & hospitality con-suite. Also a book launch party & The Retro Nightmare A-Go-Go Dance in Jake’s Pub.

FRIDAY (Oct 3 – Vcon 33) included:

–          NAME GAMES: ALL ABOUT ALIASES with Nick Aires, Alma Alexander, Don DeBrandt & Arinn Dembo.

–          CHILDREN’S WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS OF B.C. with Linda Demeulemeester & Lynn Kruszewski.

–          IS TECHNOLOGY REPLACING IDEOLOGY AS THE DRIVING FORCE IN HUMAN EVENTS? With Arinn Dembo, Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Nina Munteanu, Justyn Perry & Lynda Williams.

–          THE GROWING SFF/ROMANCE CROSSOVER MARKET with Celu Amberstone, Brenda Carre & Nina Munteanu.

–          I’LL JUST BE OVER HERE TWIDDLING MY THUMBS panel on group writing with Arinn Dembo, Virginia O’Dine & Justin Perry.

–          REVISE, REVISE, REVISE! With Kelly Armstrong, Mary Choo, Lee Danielle Hubbard & Judith McCrosky.

–          TABLE TOP GAMING VS BOARD GAMES with Clinton Boomer, Arinn Dembo, James Ernest & Jason Nelson.

–          WHAT IS ANIME & MANGA? With Kristian Gray.

–          IS SCIENTIFIC METHOD THE DEATH OF GOD? With Karl Johanson, Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Nina Munteanu, Lisa Snellings & Rick Sutcliffe.

–          LONG & SHORT OF IT: SHORT STORIES VS NOVELS with Patrick Rothfuss, Rhea Rose & Bruce Taylor.

–          CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM with Judith McCrosky, Stephanie Ann Johanson, Justyn Perry, Alyx J. Shaw, Marcie Tentchoff & C. June Wolf.

–          OKAY, YOU’VE GOT THE MOON, WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO WITH IT? Lunar colony panel with Eric Choi, Daniel D. Dubrick & Dr. Jaymie Matthews.

–          MARTIAL ARTS IN SCIENCE FICTION with Devon Boorman, Tarol Hunt, Nathalie Mallet, Tamara Sheehan & Lynda Williams.

–          THE WORLD OF FANFIC with Cindy Turner, Jennifer Lott & Tamara Sheehan.

–          YOUNG ADULT SF & FANTASY 101 with Kelly Armstrong, Linda DeMeulemeester, Paula Johanson, Marcie Tentchoff & Lynda Williams.

–          JAPAN’S SPACE PROGRAM with Daniel D. Dubrick.

–          HOW STORIES END with Alma Alexander, Lee Danielle Hubbard, Jennifer Lott, Patrick Rothfuss & Alyx J. Shaw.


–          FAMILY FRIENDLY GAMES with James Ernest & Lisa Smedman.

–          MEDIA FILK with John Caspell, Juliana McCorison, Allegra Sloman & Cindy Turner.

–          RPGS (Role Playing Games) with Clinton Boomer & Jason Nelson.

–          FILK CONCERT.

–          READINGS by Lisa Smedman, Bruce Taylor, Brenda Carre, Judith McCrosky,


SATURDAY (Oct 4 – Vcon 33) had:

–          ELECTRIC FENCING DEMO with Craig Bowlsby.

–          GREAT CLICHES IN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY with Donna McMahon, Lee Danielle Hubard, Tarol Hunt, Julie McGalliard & Patrick Rothfuss.

–          DARK FANTASY: IS IT JUST ANOTHER NAME FOR HORROR? With Kelly Armstrong, Louise Bohmer, Janine Cross, Julie McGalliard & Lisa Snellings.

–          MEET THE 501ST GARRISON (of Star Wars).

–          SF POETRY: WHAT SETS IT APART? With Mary Choo, Eileen Kernaghan & Marci Trentchoff.

–          KINDERFILK with Steve DEixon & Creede Lambard.

–          GAME DESIGN FROM START TO FINISH with James Ernest.

–          COMICS: WORDS AND PICTURES with Nick Aires, Tarol Hunt, Julie McGalliard & Michael Walsh.

–          MOVIES OF 2009 – 2012 AND BEYOND with Gareth Von Kallenbach.

–          MORALITY, SF AND POSITIVE FUTURES with Jason Nelson, Spider Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, Rick Sutcliffe & Lynda Williams.

–          THE PHYSICS OF FANTASY with Alyx Dellamonica, Lee Danielle Hubbard, Nathalie Mallet, Julie McGalliard & Patrick Rothfuss.

–          WHERE IS EVERYBODY? THE SETI CONUNDRUM with Alan R. Betz, Karl Johanson, Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Spider Robinson & Robert J. Sawyer.

–          ARTIST GoH PRESENTATION: THE POPPET’S VISION with Lisa Snellings.

–          ALTERNATE ROUTES TO PUBLICATION with Eileen Kernaghan, Louise Bohmer, Mary Choo, Paula Johanson, Justyn Perry & Rick Sutcliff.

–          SF WRITING FOR TELEVISION with Jon Cooksey, Frank Garcia & Chirs Sturges.


–          CRAFTING MUSIC AND LYRICS: FINE ART OF WRITING A SONG with Jane Garthson, Steve Dixon, Callie Hills, Creede Lambard & Cindy Turner.

–          AUTOGRAPH SESSION with Alma Alexander, Eric Choi, Eileen Kernaghan, Nina Munteanu, Spider Robinson, Jeanne Robinson, Patrick Rothfuss & Lisa Smedman.

–          READINGS by Mary Choo, Rhea Rose, Spider Robinson, Lynne Kruszewski, Jennifer Lott, Eileen Kernaghan, C. June Wolf, Alma Alexander, Marcie Trentchoff, Nina Munteanu & Alyx J. Shaw.

–          BELIEVABLE EVIL with Alma Alexander, Kelly Armstrong, Tarol Hunt, Patrick Rothfuss & Alyx J. Shaw.

–          BLOGS AND THE MEDIA with Alyx Dellamonica, Creede Lambard, Nina Munteanu & Virginia O’Dine.

–          AUTHOR GoH Q&A with Patrick Rothfuss.

–          KILLING OFF CHARACTERS with Don DeBrandt & Tarol Hunt.

–          RUNNING TV SHOWS with Jon Cooksey & Chris Sturges.

–          BACK STORY with Kelly Armstrong & Patrick Rothfuss,

–          PHYSICS OF SUPERHEROES with Don DeBrandt, Arinn Dembo, Dr. Jaymie Matthews & Julie McGalliard.

–          FILK CONCERT.

–          FAN FILMS ‘Mosquito’ by Nathan Town & ‘Fishbowl’ by Eric Johnson.

–          SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM IN SCHOOLS AND IN SOCIETY with Eric Choi, Karl Johanson, Dr. Jaymie Matthews & Rick Sutcliffe.

–          OKAL REL UNIVERSE BRIEFING with Lynda Williams & Craig Bowlsby.

–          HOW TO UNFAIRLY JUDGE A BOOK BY PAGE 119 with Stephanie Ann Johanson & C. June Wolf.

–          MASQUERADE.

–          CRAFTING A GOOD SEX SCENE AND/OR BATTLE SCENE with Kelly Armstrong, Devon Boorman, Brenda Carre, Judith McCrosky & Nina Munteanu.

–          FIRE, FIRE, FIRE, BURNING MAN (festival) with Don DeBrandt & Chris Sturges.

–          DANCE in Jake’s Pub.

–          BROAD UNIVERSE: RAPID FIRE READINGS with Alma Alexander, Brenda Carre, Alyx Dellamonica, Eileen Kernaghan, Nina Muneanu & Lynda Williams.

–          MAD SCIENCE CABARET with John Caspell & Brooke Lunderville.

–          SF PICTIONARY with Susan Walsh.

–          OPEN FILK with Steve Dixon, Creede Lambard, Douglas McCorison, Juliana McCorison, Allegra Sloman & Cindy Turner.

SUNDAY (Oct 5 – Vcon 33) featured:

–          GREAT FIRST LINES with Kelly Armstrong, Alyx Dellamonica, Karl Johanson, Virginia O’Dine & Robert J. Sawyer.

–          IS THERE TOO MUCH VIOLENCE IN COMICS, ANIMATION AND GAMING? With Janine Cross, James Ernest, Tarol Hunt & Jason Nelson.

–          BOOKS WE READ AS KIDS THAT INFLUENCED WHERE AND WHO WE ARE NOW with Clint Budd, Linda DeMeulemeester, Lee Danielle Hubbard, Stephanie Ann Johanson, Dr. Jaymie Matthews & C. June Wolf.

–          FANTASTIC WOMEN (in Fantasy) with Alma Alexander, Janine Cross, Arinn Dembo, Patrick Rothfuss, Tamar Sheehan.


–          READING with Robert J. Sawyer.


–          PENCILS AT HIGH NOON (Cartoon duel) between Lynne Fahynestalk & Chilam.

–          BUSINESS SIDE OF WRITING: CONTRACTS, TAXES, AGENTS AND MORE with Alex Dellamonica, Patrick Rothfuss & Robert J. Sawyer.

–          ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ROBOTICS IN SF AND REALITY with Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Nina Munteaunu & Lynda Williams.

–          JAM IN THE KEY OF C (music jam) with Douglas McCorison & Juliana McCorison.

–          RUNNING CONVENTIONS: WHY DO YOU DO IT? With Bobbie DeFault, Clint Budd, Paul M. Carpentier, Donna McMahon, Danielle Stephens & Pauline Walsh.

–          ART SHOW AUCTION.

–          BEGINNINGS, MIDLES AND ENDS: THE CHALLENGES OF LONGER FORMS with Nick Aires, Judith McCrosky, Nina Munteaunu, Patrick Rothfuss & Lynda Williams.

–          MAGIC REALISM IN FILMS with Arinn Dembo, Julie McGalliard, Bruce Taylor & Michael Walsh.

–          CANADIAN SF: WHAT DISTINGUISHES IT? With Mary Choo, Judith McCrosky, Nina Munteaunu, Justyn Perry & Lynda Williams.

–          WORLDS OF JOSS WHEDON: FROM THE HELLMOUTH TO THE DOLLHOUSE with Don DeBrandt, Julie McGalliard, Pauline Walsh, Susan Walsh & Michael Walsh.

–          MCSI: MAGICAL CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION with Arinn Dembo & Nathalie Mallet.

–          TURKEY READINGS (audience participation) with Fran Skene, Virginia O’Dine & C. June Wolf.

–          USING MYTHS AND FAIRY-TALES IN WRITING with Louise Bohmer, Brenda Carre, Donna Farley, Nathalie Mallet & Lynda Williams.

–          BRINGING ORDER TO CHAOS (world building) with Kelly Armstrong, Don DeBrandt, Arinn Dembo & Lynn Kruzewski.

–          CON REVIEW (summing up).

–          WRITING IN OTHER PEOPLE’S UNIVERSES with Don DeBrandt, Jennifer Lott, Jason Nelson & Cindy Turner.

–          CLOSING CEREMONIES with Kelly Armstrong, James Ernest, Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Patrick Rothfuss, Lisa Snellings & Toastmaster Michael Walsh with Chair Danielle Stephens.

–          ELRONS with R. Graeme Cameron.



– An interlination running from top to bottom of the page instead of side to side across it. Seldom done if only because it doesn’t usefully function as a page break (unless between columns) and is a tad more difficult to read than the normal interlineation.



– Original meaning and context now obsolete; once referred to any fan who was a fan before the ‘Barbarian Invasion’ of 1938/1939.



— Affectionate term for any fan of science fiction who has successfully established a career in the field. Classic examples would include Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Frederik Pohl, Lester del Rey, Bob Shaw, Robert Silverberg, Donald Wollheim, & James White. Concept first originated as ‘Dirty Old Pro’ in 1948. (HWJ)



– In fannish terms, a sort of expedition, prepared or spontaneous, by individual fans or groups of fans, to the home of a particular fan for the purpose of showering them with attention and egoboo (not to mention reading their collection of fanzines and prozines), or for utilizing said fan’s hospitality (food, bath, place to sleep) as a way stop (in order to avoid motel/hotel bills) on a major trip to some distant convention.

As more and more of the early 1930s fans aged to the extent of acquiring part time jobs and automobiles, the number of visits increased dramatically especially in 1939. As often as not the visitors and visitee knew each other only by third party reputation. It became more and more common to arrive unannounced. Yet such was the perceived brotherhood of fandom , visits by hordes of strange fen being eminently suitable for writing up in perzines, that all such visits, no matter how inconvenient, were welcome. Travelling fans came to depend on the tradition as a matter of course.

Unfortunately, the infamous Claude Degler abused the concept to the point of driving the majority away from the practice by the mid-1940s. Visits still occurred, but only by prior arrangement. Dropping in on fans who don’t know you from Adam was (and probably still is) considered impolite if not downright rude. (JS)



— Douglas Adams introduced the concept (the worst poetry in the universe) in his extremely funny 1979 novel “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. It caught on as a fannish fad and spawned numerous Vogon poetry contests at various conventions worldwide during the last two decades of the 20th century (though seldom lately). Canada can hold up its head with pride, as witness this superb example by long-time Vancouver fan (and recent author) Donna McMahon which she wrote in 1984 for Rustycon, an American convention (she placed second runner-up in the contest): 

“In null gravity

your dandruff bobs

like swirling serpent scales

blown from carcasses


rotting in the sun.

Ah, for free fall

where your fulsome folds of fat

float fretlessly; frolicking…

Your globular self

ignites my groans…

Ah, I remember your legs….

Where are they now?”


— Canadian fan Boyd Raeburn invented the term Sercon (Serious Constructive). “The opposite number of the serious-constructive fan was the volatile-destructive fan, which Raeburn abbreviated as ‘VOLDESFAN’. The vagaries of fannish legend making have failed to preserve Sercon’s counterpart. Pity; I can think of a few Voldesfen.” – (TW)

The term VOLDESFAN was self-applied to the Toronto Derelict Insurgents, of whom Raeburn was a member. Probably meant in the positive sense as a kind of boasting as to how hip and iconoclastic they were. Definitely meant to imply the opposite of ‘Serious Constructive’ or ‘Sercon’.

Or to put it another way, a means of declaring “We’re not a bunch of stuffed shirts! We know how to have fun!”

However, ‘Volatile Destructive’ may have struck some fans as too negative sounding, implying an anarchistic tendency to demean fanac and most fans. May have failed to catch on for that reason (and also because it’s a rather awkward word which has to be explained for its meaning to be clear…).


— A fanzine pubbed by Forrest J. Ackerman and Morojo from 1939 to 1947. In origin the letter section of the LASFS publication IMAGINATION!, which ceased publication in 1938, Ackerman created VOM as a loczine continuation of the now defunct clubzine. It became notorious as a jousting ground for argumentative discussion between fans about many and varied topics such as: “child rearing, the black arts, Michelism, religion, and what the postwar era might bring.” Even worse, it contained “an interminable barrage of Ackerman puns”. (Familiar to anyone like myself who grew up reading his later promag FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.)

VOM was very influential, or at least widely read and discussed. More than 200 fans contributed locs over its 50 issues, one of whom was Canada’s Leslie A. Croutch, usually employing the pseudonym ‘The Professor’. Another was the infamous Claude Degler, whose April 1941 loc denouncing Ghu — “Down with the hordes of Ghu. Hail, Foo! Fight to make the world safe for science fiction. We will not accept any peace dictated by Ghu!” — is his first known appearance in fannish print. (HWJ) & (JS)



— These are the subjects of “sketches of physiologically unique women” which frequently appeared on the cover of issues of Ackerman’s VOM. Which is to say pneumatically-breasted and surprisingly nude ( in light of the post office censorship policy of the day) Leslie A. Croutch had much to say about this in his guise as ‘The Professor’. (HWJ)



— VOMB – Latin root word, derived from the prehistorical ‘Waahmb’, meaning fear or dread of the alien Vombii who rule the Earth ( as they may well still do ). ‘Vomb’ was coined by the Roman scholar who rediscovered the existence of the Vombii, probably Pliny the Elder…. Or so fans claimed circa 1938. (HWJ)

[ See VOMBI ]


— Someone who believes in the existence of the alien Vombii. This has to do with a mock or spoof fannish conspiracy theory involving aliens in our midst ( called Vombii )whose believers term themselves Vombi, or Vombists, sometimes known as the Society for the Advancement of Vombists. Existed circa 1938. Went about using the catch phrase, “It’s utterly Vombish!” and explaining the meaning of the word ‘Vomb’ via such concepts as “If that chair you’re sitting in turned into a stack of Bar-O at 15¢ for two cans, that would be utterly Vombish!”

n time an entire vocabulary was developed:

LE VOMBITEUR – A weekly zine pubbed by Robert Lowndes from Dec 1938 to Dec 1940 in an effort to keep fans informed about anything that struck the faned’s fancy, but presumably expressed in a Vombish fashion.

SAV – Society for the Advancment of Vombists.

THE VOMBUS – One shot zine pubbed by James V. Taurasi & Richard Wilson in Oct 1937. Perhaps the first modern revelation of the existence of the Vombii?

VOMBIC – Being Vombish by your ( or its ) very nature.

VOMBII – Plural of both Vombis ( alien ) and Vombus / Vombi ( human ).

VOMBICISM – Study of all things Vombic.

VOMBIS – Intelligent alien shapeshifter. Source of all mythological legends of shapeshifters. Many faned typewriters suspected of being such, And today, who knows? Many a PC.

VOMBISH – Weird, unpredictable, and possibly sinister.

VOMBIST – Those aware of the existence of the Vombii, and consequently concerned enough to belong to the SAV.

VOMBITATE – To go around doing Vombish things.

VOMBITORIA – A private collection of vombish artifacts, or a personal repertoire of Vombic tricks, behaviour, etc.

VOMBULATE – To appear Vombic without doing anything Vombic.

VOMBUS – One who is Vombic.

WAAHMB – Cro-Magnon root word origin of latinized ‘Vomb’, which just goes to show how long the Vombii have been interfering in our affairs.