Tropicon VII

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Tropicon VII was a convention held December 2–4, 1988, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, The GoHs were Poul and Karen Anderson, and Walt and Madeleine Willis.

The convention also featured Frank Hayes as the special filk guest. Other guests included F. M. Busby (also known as Buz), Gary Alan Ruse, Hal Clement, Robert Adams, Sarah Clemens, Ginger Curry, Will Eisner, Charles Fontenay, Alexis Gilliland, Tom Maddox, Joseph Green, Jack C. Haldeman II, Lee Hoffman, Vincent Miranda, Gregory Nicoll and Steve Stiles. The Chair was Edie Stern. Membership was 265, making this the second largest Tropicon.

This was the first time that Walt Willis had been in the United States in 25 years, and brought the fanzine fans out in small droves. Walt Willis had been invited to the US many times for both local conventions and for Worldcons, but had not accepted any of the invitations. An invitation to South Florida in the middle of winter, promising that he could do as little or as much as he wanted for the convention, was enough to entice Walt and Madeleine to agree. Walt later agreed to be GoH for MagiCon based on his experience with Joe Siclari and Edie Stern, and with Tropicon.

Fans came from all over the country. Elinor and Buz Busby came from Seattle, as did Amy Thomson. rich brown and Ted White came from the Washington area. Rusty Hevelin came from Ohio, Richard Brandt from Texas, and Geri Sullivan came from Minneapolis. The convention drew a large and welcome contingent of fanzine fans. rich brown lost his job because of Tropicon 7; he couldn't get vacation time, but he went to the convention anyway.

This mass of fannish experience led to some interesting side effects. The first convention panel was an introduction to fandom, with local fans ready to talk to the expected small audience. Forty or so people filled the room, with an astounding collective history of activity. The stunned panel, moderated by Edie Stern, responded by asking the audience to announce how many years each had been in fandom. The total was around 950 years, with only one fan being in fact a neo. By the end of the panel, the neo had had no end of advice and counsel on what to do and what to expect.


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