Reviews from Marianne Plumridge


I've been trying to write a Con report for the Millenium Philcon, but in light of the "other days" it's been a bit difficult. We did really enjoy the con itself, in fact it passed in a kind of pleasant blur with only one or two bizaare happenings to mar it's occurence. It felt more like a giant Philcon instead of a Worldcon - the outpouring of affection from everyone more than made up for the residual frustration and anger leftover from Chicon last year. One thing made me laugh though. In the first three hours of the con, five people asked me if I had brought any chocolate truffles with me. Thanks Jean-Marie, word got around. I promised Jael that I would now make some for Albacon. Anyway, back to Philcon, er MilPhil...

Highlights of the con included: meeting the singer, Janis Ian who was a huge SF and Fantasy fan and having fun at her first convention; Bob giving the Chesley Award for Best Art Director to Irene Gallo of Tor Books; hanging out with friends; eating good sushi; going to the parties - especially the Japanese invitation only party where everybody got to pat Bob's Hugo awards; oh and Bob's unprecedented winning of the Best Professional Artist and Best Related Book (Greetings from Earth) Hugos. And Bob's new Dragonhenge paintings winning Artshow - Best in Show. Wow, that was overwhelming. Eating more good sushi. Bob signing things for approx 150 people in his first signing in the dealers' room.

Some of the bizaare happenings included: some moron, we think a young person, merrily going around the artshow and switching the winners ribbons on some of the paintings, including Bob's Best in Show; getting a 'bad' bid on one of my Koala paintings in which the bidder never seemed to come and fix - someone eventually took it home with a bid above the minimum bid (Thanks Michael and Allison); invasion by an intrusive Christian Convention some of whose members made themselves extremely obnoxious in various ways - creating as much noise as they possibly could while our panels were in progress, singing loudly and mostly unintelligbly, gatecrashing our con parties and panels, etc. Made one wish for a few persuasive lions or vampires to send their way. Blackmail by the teamsters.

Hauling endless loads of artwork from the far end of the hotel (our room) to the far end of the convention centre (artshow), and then back again three days later - all with out a trolley.

We ended up taking an Australian friend and fellow artist, Nick Stathopoulos, home with us at the end of the con. He made us laugh so much those next few days - and god knows we needed it. That Tuesday morning we woke up to an email of unparalleled vitriol from the gentleman who came second in the Best Related Book Hugo Award category. He said that the award was his, and no amount of cooked accounts would make it otherwise, and finished with "I won't *ask* Bob... but I expect you to be a gentleman". For the amount of intense pain and hurt that this email caused my husband, I could furiously kick the 'gentleman' from one end of the country to the other and back again. Bob was a nominee just like the gentleman who didn't get that Prize, and equally had no control of what the voters voted for. But we at least read the voting and counting rules. Apparently several people must have read him the riot act, because we got an emailed apology hours later. It doesn't make up for the hurt. We found out later that the gentleman had sent his vitriol to practically all the SF magazine editors and I think a rather large list server. We have not yet found the words to reply...

We drove Nick back to Snarl Towers on Firefly Hill in New Jersey,and stayed to hang out with friends Paul Barnett, Pam Scoville, the kitties - Strider, Boda and Mugsy - and Jael and Greg. We laughed. We relaxed. And Nick had a very invigorating ride on Greg's Harley Davidson bike. He said that " he enjoyed it so much that he grinned the whole time, and had to pick the bugs out of his teeth when he got home". Saturday, we all went our separate ways: Pam and Paul to take Nick to Newark Airport and we home to Rhode Island.

The same Saturday we got home, we went over to a friend's place (after several hours nap) for an evening viewing of the Movie, THE DISH. It was like an island of peace and friendship with the warmth of the movie washing over us all. It brought back so many memories for we older fans... it became a buffer for the events of the following September 11. And all the horror and tragedy played out that day... Like most of the world, we gazed at our tv sets in helpless horror as the day passed. Calling friends - sometimes twice - to reassure ourselves they were alright. And doing so again for the days following. I can't find the words to express the feelings I felt that day - I don't think I ever will - but some images will remain ingrained in my memory for all time. God Bless America... God Bless so many who didn't come home that day...

That's all.


PS: Bob turned 41 on Thursday, and we went to our favourite expensive restaurant which only ever sees us twice a year - his birthday and mine. The next few days were spent with friends.