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The 62nd World Science Fiction Convention

  • Sept. 2-6, 2004
  • Boston, MA

Committee News Introduction

  • If you have items of interest or amusement to add to this weblog, please contact Leslie Turek.

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August 29, 2004

The committee members from out of town are starting to arrive. Jim Hudson, Ariel Franklin-Hudson, Naomi Fisher, Pat Molloy, and Jim Mann arrived at the clubhouse this afternoon.


We were running out of crates so we did some digging at the back of the clubhouse to try to find some crates we could empty and use. This archeological dig yielded a box labeled "Sign Shop" apparently unopened since Noreascon 3, and containing (shudder) dried up sheets of Letraset transfer type. [Another obsolete technology that I used to be really good at... --LT]


And on Sunday, the truck-loading begins...


August 28, 2004

Today's work session was amazing, and accomplished tons of stuff. Some really wonderful work got done on the Mended Drum decorations by our creative volunteers. (I didn't take pictures because I wanted it to be a surprise.) The Drum will definitely be an interesting space. Toward the end of the evening, Geri Sullivan arrived triumphantly with a) Bobbi Armbruster, who she'd picked up at the airport, and b) the first hot-off-the-presses copy of our gorgeous Souvenir Book.

More work tomorrow. We'll continue to churn out signs, finish the gizmos, finish up some packing, begin truck-loading, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff. If you're in the Boston area, come on by and join the fun.

Two new projects have started up...

cover_artA team is tracking down books from the NESFA library that have the cover art corresponding to the pieces that will be in the Retrospective Art Exhibit.

Shutters2And another team is painting shutters for The Mended Drum.

The August 28 Work Session is underway. A million things are happening and the fried chicken was just delivered. Yum.

P1010003Putting together lighting fixtures to light the Saturn rings.

P1010004Processing membership transfers.

P1010005Cutting foam core for the triangular dealers' island signs.

P1010006Trimming signs.

P1010007Making gizmos.

P1010008Making maps for Logistics pickups.

Sign Mistress Pam Fremon send this tantalizing hint from the depths of the sign shop, "I'm doing the Mended Drum restaurant menus right now. They've very funny." Guess we'll have to wait until we get there to see them for ourselves...

August 27, 2004

Shirt Designs Available

webLensFamScott and Jane Dennis have a selection of Noreascon 4 T-shirt and embroidered shirt designs available for preorder here.

August 26, 2004

In hearing the discussions at the work sessions, I get the impression that convention management is dealing with gotchas of various sorts on almost a daily basis. Here's one example of disaster narrowly averted that Deb wrote about on the SMOFs mailing list...

After Interaction announced that they were conducting a Hugo base design competition similar to Noreascon Four's, Deb wrote:

Um, I have to tell you that your spec is wrong -- and I suspect I know where you got the wrong spec. I'm posting this openly because it's one of those sorts of Smoffish "gotchas" that other folks need to know about.

So N4 had this contest. And we got the rocket spec by measuring an old un-trophied rocket that was in the NESFA Clubhouse from, I believe, Noreascon Three. And we gave this rocket to our Hugo designer so he could make everything work out.

We also had a contest for the Retro Hugo trophies, and, since we'd given the spare rocket to our Hugo designer, we sent a Retro trophy from MilPhil off to the Retro designer.

Ahem. Somewhere in the 12 years since we got the rocket we've had kicking around in Boston, and MilPhil in 2001, the thread spec changed. The bolt to be used (and, hence, the bore of the rocket) is now 5/16-18 bolt, rather than 1/4-20.

All 38 of the rockets we got from the UK were the new spec. (I'd never thought to ask...just ordered the rockets. This was a *doh* I'm not sure I could have anticipated or planned for.)

Fortunately, our Hugo designer is an ME...but the words "rebore the rockets" were being bandied about a bit, before he found another design solution.

August 25 Work Session

lighted_ringYour intrepid blogger was a bit lax in taking pictures at the worksession last night because I was doing a bunch of other projects, including completing signs for First Night and helping Pam, who was working on all the rest of the signs, with some of the other areas. But I grabbed my camera to catch this test of lighting the Saturn rings. Paula Lieberman, in front, is working on filing badges, while Chip Hitchock shines a light up at the ring being help aloft by Ann Broomhead and other volunteers.

AlexTypingMeanwhile, Alexis Layton was working on his spiffy new 15-inch PowerBook, creating a program to generate labels for "gizmos" (which are the attachments to the badges that indicate what area a committee member is working in at the convention).

DebUnpackingChairman Deb Geisler unpacking something (I never did find out what), while Priscilla Olson looks on and Mark Olson and Elaine Brennan confer. (That's Geri Sullivan's 17-inch PowerBook in the foreground. Along with my 12-inch model, we had the full range of all the PowerBook family represented at the clubhouse last night.)

-- Leslie Turek

ConGuide_elvesHere's another photo from Geri, of this past Saturday's Convention Guide worksession at Mark and Priscilla's. But where are the people? Geri says, "Leaving milk for the brownies, we left everything set up hoping the graphics elves would come along and put it together overnight." But, alas, it was not to be, and the work sessions continued through Sunday and Monday before the Convention Guide was finally delivered to the printers on Tuesday - all 110 pages of it.

August 25, 2004

Program Book Cover Printing

A report from Geri Sullivan...

The Souvenir Book cover was printed on an offset press at Saltus, the printer who's done all of our progress reports. Here Jerry, the press operator, compares the color against the proof. My instructions were that I wanted the colors to "glow." I think they succeeded...

2PullingSheetRepresentive sample sheets are pulled while the press is running. It's then stopped while we study the results.

3DenistometerJerry checks the color with a densitometer,


5JerrywithSheetThen we go through the process again.

6FullPress5-color Heidelberg press. Or, in our case, 4 colors plus varnish.

7GlowingPressFrom glowing press to glowing sheet.

8IntoEnvelopeJerry packages up our samples; one is hanging at the clubhouse now.


August 24, 2004

Note from Chairman Deb

This is a brief note to thank everyone who was involved in the series of work sessions we had over the weekend at the NESFA Clubhouse. As a result of your many hard labors:

  • We have all but one Saturn ready to go -- and more paper coming to finish the job this week.

  • The knee wall that Hobbit was working on is complete.

  • Nearly all of the pre-registration badges are all laminated, alphabetized, and ready to rock. Additional laminating of special badges will continue tomorrow evening and Saturday as needed.

  • The Convention Schedule is at the printer and is current as of *yesterday* noon. This was a mammoth effort, andeveryone involved did great work.

  • More stuff is labeled and ready to move to the convention.
We will be at the NESFA Clubhouse working tomorrow and again on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, we load a truck, which will head out Monday. Truck loadings will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday at NESFA and at N4 storage in Waltham.

This is so cool. And you all rock. We had a number of very, very helpful volunteers show up, and they made things run smoothly. With luck, many of them can come back this week!



August 23, 2004

Partial update on the Convention Guide crew (from Priscilla): I left the clubhouse at 11:30, having written all the corrections I had (4 more on email when I got home, alas....!). Mark followed about 20 minutes later. I don't know yet if work continued with Deb-Geri in the clubhouse or at Deb's house until the early morning......But: it should be going to the press later today - I'll be driving Geri to Worcester, so she won't nod off in the car....

August 22, 2004

Rick Katze sent these pictures he took at Jill Eastlake's place while working on producing titles for the Hugo and Retro Hugo ceremonies on August 18. The group included Jill Eastlake, Elaine Brennan, Bridgett Boyle and Rick, plus Bridgett's baby.


August 21 worksession, day 2. We continue to work on the name badges; today we're doing the dailies and the blank badges for at-the-door memberships. The Convention Guide production team has moved into the Blue Room. And in between, we're working on signs, including island signs for the Dealer's Room. Trying to come up with science-fictional place names, like "A" is for Ankh-Morpork, "B" is for Beetlejuice, etc...

SeparatingBadgesFirst step in badge production is separating the badges printed on perforated sheets.

StuffingBadgesStep 2, stuff the card stock into the laminate pouch.

LaminatingBadgesStep 3, Run them through the laminators.

PunchingBadges Step 4, Punch a hole in the top.

AlphabetizingBadgesLast step, sort them into alphabetical order.

ConventionGuide2And here's the Convention Guide staff working away.

SamuraiGeriSamurai Geri

Priscilla reports that an intense and productive Convention Guide production session was held at her house yesterday. She describes people furiously working at four different computers, while the thunder and lightning raged outside and everyone prayed for no power failures. Convention Guide production continues at the clubhouse today.

August 21, 2004

Today's work session broke up around 7:30, after laminating all of the full membership badges, and alphabetizing about half of them. We've printed all the Saturday one-days, but haven't started any of that lamination yet. So the bulk of the work is done, but there will still be more to do tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who helped - you guys were awsome!

UptotheMs And the work goes on.... We're up to the M's now...

more_saturnsThe August 21 work session has begun. In addition to the usual work of producing signs and building Saturn's rings...

dotting_badges... the main goal for today is to laminate badges. Here we're marking the program participant's badges with blue dots ...

... before they go into the lamination production line.

August 17, 2004

Live from Cummings Printers

Report from Geri Sullivan:

The first signature of the Souvenir Book (8 pages of color; 8 pages black and white) is on the press and looking good. I'm camped out overlooking the press floor, so I can see the press operators looking over the folded signatures as they come out the end of the press. It's fun, and they're clearly keeping quality up as they just tossed several handfuls into a recyclebin before judging some settings sufficient to stack on the pallet.

I've just snapped a few digital pictures, and will take more when I go back down onto the press floor to press check the next signature. [See photos below]

In other Publications and Design news, on the way here, I stopped at the Insty-Prints in Bedford and approved proofs of the N4 name badges. If all goes well, I'll stop by Saltus on the way home and approve the cover proof they're re-doing. If it's not ready this afternoon, it will be tomorrow -- the cover goes on the press Thursday morning.

Three printers, two different states, one afternoon's volunteer work. Oh, yes, plus uploading the 30 meg Lensman art for the decorator to use before I left Wales [ed note: that's Geri's home town in Massachusetts, not the country].

I'm seeing enough of the rest of the convention to know that many of us are juggling similiar levels of interocking complexities and challenges. We're doing amazing stuff here, and I hope other folks are having as much fun as I am right now...and are at least somewhat less frazzled and overwhelmed by the challenges still to come, of which there are rather more than any of us would wish.

It's not soup yet, but it's certainly getting there!

And that's the report live from the Funway,

And here are Geri's pictures:


Printers all around North America do this; it's utterly sweet. The sign would have said "Noreascon," too, but I confused them by giving our rep my PROmote business card last week, so he played it safe and went just for the name.


The Cummings press floor. Saltus printed all of the N4 Progress Reports, and many other publications, too, but they farmed the interior pages out to Cummings when it became apparent that the Souvenir Book needed the added resolution offered by a hot web press.


I've seen a press or two in my day; they never fail to amaze me. It is so *cool* to watch ink going into paper.


John ran the first two color signatures before leaving for the day and turning the job over to Mike on the second shift.


Signature 1. This was actually the second signature they ran, but the first I took pictures of.


Flipping the sheet to get a better look at the pages that were upside down before.


27000+ impressions/hour...


...a page at a time.


From flat sheet to folded signatures.


Signature 1, near the end of its trip through the press.


"Every book run over by a truck on it's way to you."


Tips for when things go wrong.


Automatic stacking


Ready for the pallet.


And here's Brent, ready to put it there.


Our second shift press crew: Bob, Mike, and Jeff. If you see any of them at N4, please tell them what a lovely job they did printing the book. (They aren't fans...yet...but Bob was full of questions about Farenheit 451 and runes, and may well stop by for an afternoon.)


Geri with Signature 1. Fourteen more to go...

August 14, 2004

We finally wrapped it up around 7 or 7:30. We had completed cutting all 7 Saturns - 3 of them were completed with glitter paper and support lath; one had paper but no lath, and 3 were just cut and not finished. We have enough glitter paper for one of the remaining 3, but we'll have to find something else to cover the last 2. We also made all of the quotation signs for the ConCourse (see some samples in the photos below), 50+ crepe paper decorations for First Night, and many sections of stage kneewall. So there's still some things to finish up, but we got a lot done. Thanks to all the people who came and helped out! We appreciate it! Hope to see some of you again next weekend, when we get to laminate badges and do other fun stuff.

It's 6:00 and the work goes on....


During the work session today, we kept getting reports of the various committee members living in the path of Charley. Melanie Herz reports that she had to evacuate, but she's fine and she reports that she took the N4 volunteers database with her, so that's fine, too. Steve and Sue Francis report that Pat and Roger Sims and Dick Spelman are fine, with only some minor damage to their houses. Steve and Sue report that a neighbor's grapefruit fell over and knocked down Roger's fence... I suspect that was a grapefruit tree that she's talking about, or else that's some mighty big grapefruit.

More pictures. First Night decorations, lots of Saturn ring parts, and starting to apply the glitter paper to the rings.

The August 14 work session is underway at the NESFA Clubhouse. After finishing off the Progress Report mailing (which we needed to do first because it was piled on the table in the middle of the main room, we started in making Saturn rings, signs, and stage kneewall.


August 13, 2004

Cory Doctorow just posted his Worldcon schedule and a link to our home page on That should get us some hits and maybe some memberships.

August 12, 2004

There was another massive Progress Report catch-up mailing last night at the NESFA clubhouse, along with numerous other discussions on publications, logistics, Mended Drum decorations, First Night, and probably many others that I wasn't aware of.

Gay Ellen gave me the names of several artists who might be interested in First Night tables, so I sent out invitations. Already by this morning I've gotten replies from 5 artists who would like to do it, including this very nice response from Sophie Klesen that I'd like to share with you all:

"Hi leslie,

Count me in for the 7-9 hours :)
I'll bring silver wires and wax to demonstrate weaving/carving techniques and/or pigments for illuminated manuscripts (Don't know yet :p) but I'll prepare something :)
thanks for the opportunity, I'm so happy to go to this con that already seems amazing !


(If any of you have similar positive messages so share, let me know. I'm sure we can all use the morale boost as we go into these final weeks.)

August 09, 2004

A few more photos from the open meeting general session on Sunday:



One of the more amusing stories came from the Registration break-out session. The group was admiring the output of the badge label printers that had been passed on from a previous Worldcon. Someone asked what sort of ink we needed to get for it. Someone else pointed out that they don't need ink, as they are thermal printers. Then a few other people gulped and pointed out that that might be a small problem, as we were planning to laminate the badges (which, if you're ever used a laminator, you'll know that produces a lot of heat). Instant all-black badges. Oops! Revised plan is to laminate the badge stock ahead of time, and then print onto clear stickers which will be affixed on top of the laminate.

August 07, 2004

Photos from the Saturday 8am (shudder) construction meeting at the Hynes can be found in the photo album in the left sidebar.

Some pictures from the Friday night Tech/Exhibits meeting:

Chairman Deb writes:

Well, as usual, the Open Meeting is more fun than about half of the conventions I've ever attended - not that the cons weren't fun, but I believe we have amassed one cool psycho group to work on this here Worldcon thang.

To give you some idea of what's going on:

  • We've had a very positive meeting with our decorator, Freeman, and then got to wander through the Hynes as they set it for the Drug Discovery (not as much fun as it sounds) show. We want all of their cool toys.[See Freeman Stuff photo album on the left for pictures taken during the Hynes tour.]
  • Our hospitality area is very pleasant, and it's been getting a workout. (And many thanks to Rick Kovalcik, Laurie Mann, Gay Ellen Dennett, Sharon Sbarsky, Ruth Sachter, and everyone who's cleaning up after themselves.)
  • We've spent a good couple of hours working through tech and related concerns in the ConCourse ... lamenting that there was no place we could put a 30' tall inflatable shuttle (fins down) (and wondering just how full the dealers room really *is*), and figuring out how to make the Mended Drum look right (without the bar fights and scorched wizards).
  • Information has been going through all of the things people will want to know (and we suggested to Chuck Shimada, quite jetlagged from the west coast, that he could beta test information, since he's about as sleep-deprived as most con-goers will be on Friday).

Best conversational snippet:

About Boston's desire to emphasize the new convention center and not the Hynes, one person observed, "There's a rumor that they're going to tear down the Hynes."

Paul Kraus, technical services director for N4, rejoined, "That'll make strike easier."

Hope you're having fun wherever you are, too, and getting ready for this phenomenal party we're hosting in 26.5 days.

August 04, 2004

There was a work session at the NESFA clubhouse tonight. All sorts of things were happening in many side meetings, but there were also two medium-sized mailings. Here we're working on folding, stuffing, and labeling 450 foreign Progress Report 7's.


And here's Gay Ellen Dennett getting the Art Show mailing organized. Another effort that involved lots of collating, stuffing, labeling and stamping. And there's Priscilla in her favorite chair, still trying to beat the program into submission.


So some of us are getting just the teeniest little bit testy as the convention approaches. Of course, some of us have more reason than others...

Leslie writes:

Hi, Priscilla, I'm still waiting to hear those funny program stories that you promised me for the committee blog.

Priscilla writes:

How about this for a start.....

Priscilla wants to tell some amusing program stories, but is afraid that her mood right now would render most of what she chooses to share unprintable....

However, if anyone really wants to get more details on how she alternated typing in programming descriptions and running to the bathroom on the night before her recent colonscopy, she will be happy to regale you with them.

All of which might explain some of the program choices....

(Mutter, mutter.....)

Oh, dear, sorry I asked...

I, on the other hand, have been getting positively giddy as the convention approaches. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm running First Night, so where others get to deal with boring stuff, I get to order silly prizes from Oriental Trading Company and figure out how to construct glow-stick hoops for the Hugo Ring Toss.

Today's project was to come up with a fanfare to open First Night. David Grubbs had offered to get a group of musicians together, but asked me to decide what they should play. It had to be short and fairly simple, and I wanted it to be related to genre, if possible, and upbeat. So I started browsing the iTunes Music Store looking for fanfares, playing the free 30-second snippet of each one. I finally stumbled across the perfect choice: Arthur's Fanfare, by Jerry Goldsmith, from the score of "First Knight". How often do you find a great pun, a tribute to a recently-departed master, and the perfect 45-second piece of music all rolled into one!