Hal Clement's Aussiecon 2 Reminiscence

1985Aussiecon II, Melbourne
by Hal Clement
From the Noreascon Three PB

I prefer to believe that the haziness of the memories I hold of Aussiecon in 1985 is not my advancing age but the fact that for me it was over fifty cons ago. Such affairs are not, of course, all alike, but they tend to have quite a bit in common; and when one occurs not merely in a city but in a major geographical area where one has never been before, the frame may draw more attention that the picture.

I remember meeting many pleasant and interesting people, but I remember more vividly the thermal area at Rotorua. I have a clear mental image of the bull statue behind the Taurus Books table in one of the hucksters' rooms, but much clearer ones of the view from the top of Ayers Rock and of a shapely female fellow fan, appropriately clad, building a sand castle on the beach at Green Island.

I remember details of a program which was well enough organized so that the plan glitches which must have occurred — I can't believe there has ever been a con with none — were not obvious to me either as a guest or as a participant. I had no trouble finding out any time where I wanted to be or was supposed to be. I also remember standing out at night looking at an upside-down Northern Cross, and in early dawn watching Orion standing on his head, and becoming really conscious for the first time in my (then) sixty-three years that the world is really round and that my head was actually pointing the other way in space. I remember with gratitude the arrangements made to get me in touch with a local astronomer, and with regret the fact that Melbourne weather prevented me from seeing Proxima Centauri (no problem with Alpha and the Southern Cross; no telescope needed, and not all the nights were spent in Melbourne). I am also grateful to whoever heard me regretting my inability to find any geological maps of Australia, and went to the trouble and expense of sending me a set at my home address a few weeks later. No covering letter, and return address only the publishing office for the maps…
This is one non-drinker who has fond memories of Australia and Australian fans. The people are great; I am not qualified to judge the beer.

The memories, in short, are all pleasant, and I hope to get back. Push your bid, Sydney or Perth or Darwin!