ConStellation

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(For other Constellations, see Constellation (Disambiguation).)

The 1983 Worldcon and third in the Baltimore/Washington area, ConStellation (also known as Connie) was held September 1-5 at the Baltimore Convention Centre in Baltimore, MD. GoH: John Brunner, FGoH: David A. Kyle. Jack L. Chalker was Toastmaster. Chairman: Michael Walsh.

The convention newsletter was Scuttlebutt edited by Mike Glyer. The Longship Company, part of Markland Medieval Mercenary Militia had a replica Viking longship, the Fyrdracca in Baltimore harbor all weekend, and even pulled alongside the crippled meet-the-pros cruise to offer a ride.

Special memories from Connie include the steam-bath temperatures and humidity in the convention center during set-up (it charged for air conditioning, and the committee had not paid for it for the start of setup. Another is the Crab Feast/Hugo Banquet which showed the error of giving 500 fans mallets (for opening crabs) and then not serving them fast enough...

See 1983 Hugos, 1985 Site Selection, 1985 NASFiC Site Selection.

Competing bids: Baltimore in '83, Australia in '83, Worldcon Scandinavia in 1983. See 1983 Site Selection for full details.

Diamondvision[edit]

A giant TV system, Diamondvision, was used at Constellation to show expanded images of the Hugo Ceremony and the Masquerade.

Unfortunately, the Diamondvision was very expensive and ... well, was — uh — sortof not actually in the budget, but was rented anyway. It was the most visible contributor to the Constellation Bankruptcy, and it became the poster child for Connie’s profligate spending and bad management.

Fandom's reaction was predictable, with much finger-shaking, alarm and despondency, and expressions of dismay. It was the talk of fandom. The second-guessing (especially by people who shared the Columbus Cavalry's approach to con-running) seemed endless and got to the point where the following year at LAcon II there was a very funny masquerade entry skit of smofs going on about it while wearing t-shirts which read "Blah, blah, blah, fiscal responsibility. Blah, blah, blah, Diamondvision.")

(See St. Louiscon Movie Screen Affair for another big-screen Worldcon brouhaha.)

Because of Diamondvision and other mistakes, Constellation went bankrupt, and this is discussed in detail at Constellation bankruptcy.


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