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DefCon 1993

Event report by Paul Rigby

DefCon 1993, the 14th National Science Fiction Convention and 11th Australasian Science Fiction Media Convention, has just finished and those who attended will know what a success it was. It was held over Queens Birthday weekend (4-7 June 1993) at the St George Hotel in Wellington, which turned out to be an excellent choice as the con venue. Well over three hundred people attended.

Lana Brown, the con organiser, with her team of behind the scene helpers managed to put together a weekend full of fun, well-organised events of a wide variety, with basically something for everyone.

Although none of the international guests, authors Julian May, D.C. Fontana (from Star Trek), Larry Niven and special effects man Denis Skotak (Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss), had any Doctor Who connections, they still proved to me most entertaining, each involved in various informative and amusing panels.

From a Doctor Who perspective, the con was also a success, with Doctor Who and its fandom prominent throughout the convention.

The NZDWFC ran two of the events held over the weekend, each a success. On Sunday morning Paul Scoones gave a talk entitled 'The New Adventures', which covered all the New Adventures available in New Zealand to date and other upcoming merchandise. Amongst the people who attended were several people who were unaware of the NZDWFC and signed up then and there.

Later the same day, Felicity Scoones hosted Doctor Who charades, ably assisted by Blair Rhodes. Despite initial fears of a low turn out, four teams of four (The Chestertons, The Screaming Victorians, The Comfy Sofas and The Real McCoys) and an audience participated as the teams acted out Doctor Who titles. The Chestertons eventually triumphed.

Perhaps the greatest success for Doctor Who fandom over the weekend was with the New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards, presented on the Sunday evening. The 'Best Artist', 'Best Writer', 'Best General Fanzine', and 'Best Fanzine' awards were all won by the NZDWFC or TSV contributors: Warwick Gray, Jon Preddle, Timestreams, and TSV respectively. The achievement is put into proper perspective when one realises that this represents four of the five awards available. The other, the 'Special Achievement' award, went deservedly to Lana Brown, for her services to fandom.

Jon Preddle also won an award for 'Masterfan', staving off tough competition from other sci-fi super fans with topics such as Sapphire and Steel, Robert A Heinlein, SF Movies since 1977 and Lost in Space. Rochelle Thickpenny won an award in the Masquerade for her stunning Kandy Man costume.

TSV and the NZDWFC were also represented on the Fanzine panel, and of course several Doctor Who items (annuals, novelisations, etc) went in the auction, but sadly no repetition of Paradise Towers as at DoctorCon 1992 (considering that there were over 600 items to auction this is not surprising!).

It's important to note that the convention was a general science fiction convention and not a specific Doctor Who convention; however, being primarily a Doctor Who fan, I really enjoyed the whole weekend, and encourage any TSV reader to go to future such conventions.

Roll on Silicon 1994.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).