VCON 1 (1971)

1971 – (April 9-10) – VCON 1:   ( Actually called Vancouver Science Fiction Convention ).

Guest of Honour: URSULA K. LE GUIN.

Venue: Hotel Georgia, Vancouver.

Attending: 75.

CONCOM: Co-Chairmen – Mike Bailey & Daniel Say; Treasurer – Mike Bailey; Operations – Mike Bailey; Publicity – Rob Scott & Daniel Say; Guest Liaison – Daniel Say; Short Films – R. Graeme Cameron; Elron Awards – Mike Bailey.

Sponsored jointly by the B.C. Science Fiction Association, the Simon Fraser University Science Fiction Society ( SF3 ), & the University of B.C. Science Fiction Society ( UBC SFFEN ). One day of single track programming in a ballroom, plus two days of displays, including some sort of computer gizmo, in a small room. There was a hospitality con-suite open both days..

FRIDAY (Apr 9/71-Vcon 1): Apart from a prolonged get-together in the con-suite, the sole event was:

— a panel SF LOVES AND HATES with Bill Dodds, Brent MaClean & John Park conducted in the con suite.

SATURDAY (Apr 10/71- Vcon 1) was more formal, with events taking place in the York room. A talk on ‘Russian Fantasy’ was cancelled, Professor Mason Harris filling in with a wonderful off-the-cuff talk:


— This was followed by Ursula K. Le Guin (first time ever at an SF con) delivering a speech titled: THE CRAB NEBULA, THE PARAMECIUM, AND TOLSTOY arguing the existence of an all encompassing order to the universe.

— After lunch break Professor R.D. Callahan gave a talk: SF, INSULATION OR ILLUMINATION? which took two hours to explain that SF literature was essentially worthless.

— Then followed a panel on SF AND SOCIAL REALISM.

— Supper break involved 29 people including Le Guin and her husband having dinner at the Ho Inn in China Town.

— Afterwards at the hotel the ELRON AWARDS were presented for the first time, by Mike Bailey, with “selected passages from the nominated novels read, to hilarious advantage, by Paul Green.”

The ConCom had hoped to include a dealers room, a banquet, and an art show, but not enough interest was shown to warrant their inclusion. One film was shown during the Saturday lunch break. The rest of the time R. Graeme Cameron provided an 8mm projector and a stack of 12 minute versions of SF classics in the bedroom of the consuite. Anyone who wanted to watch them was welcome to operate the projector themselves.

Summing up the con in a Province Newspaper article the following Monday, Michael Walsh wrote: “The tone of the convention, one of literate appreciation rather than fascinated adulation, was set from the beginning by the science fiction sophisticates from the sponsoring clubs.”