Tim Kyger: How Iguanacon Came to Be

The Provenance of IguanaCon II
By Tim Kyger, Iggy Chair
as recounted to Carol De Priest

I arrived in Phoenix (and into fandom itself) in January 1974. This is now almost 35 years ago, and (pardon me whilst I move my cane) my memory will no doubt get quite a few things wrong. Please keep that in mind.

Fandom, as I arrived in Phoenix in 1974, hadn't been very active, or so I gathered at the time, and so others informed me. That subject is a different story than the one I want to tell, and probably a story that is not mine to tell in any case, but suffice it to say that, even for sf fen, the phans in Phoenix at that time weren't much connected to the rest of fandom — that world of fen in places such as distant Los Angeles or Albuquerque. Or even Tucson.

Only a few phen in Phoenix had at that time produced any fanzines of any sort. Nevertheless, somes ishs had been pubbed, and one of them was Socialist Realism Science Fiction written by Bob Prokop, who was a Russian major in college and familiar with all of the standard Marxist/Leninist language and tropes.

Secret Agent B.o.B. (Prokop went to work for the Army as an intelligence officer) pubbed, I think, three issues (although it may have only been two), and I thought that they were screamingly funny. YMMV of course.

One of the spoof articles in one of SRSF's issues was done from the viewpoint of Sam X, Ken St. Andre's cat, who wished to be released from its bourgeois slavery to Ken St. Andre. (Um…folks, Ken didn't have a cat by that name, OK?) Sam X reported on Phoenix's first sf con, "Iguanacon." The phans in Phoenix at that time, as I've intimated, were incredibly timid for some reason about undertaking an sf convention. Bob Prokop looked askance at all of their quailing, and Sam X's article made tremendous fun of their fears.

One of the illos for Sam X's article was of the "convention" hotel. It showed a big "Welcome, Scientists!" sign hanging in front of it, welcoming attendees to the first Iguanacon.

So, that was my/our attempt at some little bit of humor: IguanaCon II. I mean, let's get fannish, shall we? Please? Can't we have at least a littttttle bit of humor and/or whimsy (and a big helping dollop of the absurd) along with our worldcons?

Besides, IguanaCon II was my second choice as to what to call our worldcon. I always wanted to call it "110 Degrees In The Shade Con," but could never convince anyone.