Week of November 3, 2004

Cover Our Ass
We Heart Julia: I found the cover of the RFT's October 20 issue repugnant and dirty. Have you no sense of morals or values? My four-year-old daughter could have nightmares of nerds dressed as Vulcans! The portly and unsightly man/alien pictured is simply revolting. I have told everyone I have ever known to stop reading the RFT because of this filthy and sordid cover picture.
Julia Nelson
St. Louis

The Geeks' Revenge
We Heart Holly: I was an attendee of Archon ["Geeks Gone Wild", October 20] this year (my third Archon). I was also the Wonder Woman featured in the bottom corner picture on the cover. I was surprised and thrilled to see myself there.

I was also very happy with the article, which spoke honestly and truthfully about the convention and didn't paint it any weirder than it really is. It's not easy to make this four-day festival of dorkiness into something that just anyone could comprehend, but somehow Mike Seely made it seem okay.
Holly Hamel
St. Charles

We Heart Anne Rice: I read with interest Mike Seely's rather unflattering article about Archon. For nearly twenty years, I was a St. Louis-based attorney and fortunately, some good friends turned me on to Archon in the early 1980s. I have been a faithful Archon attendee ever since. Even after moving to Massachusetts, where I now reside, to pursue a writing career, I still journey back to St. Louis to attend this event. It is populated by brilliant, creative, imaginative, tolerant, fun people with obvious senses of humor.

True, many of us do not fit the mainstream notions of beauty or cultural poise. However, we are writers, authors, entrepreneurs, artists, actors, singers, sculptors and journalists. We should all remember that before her gastric operation, Anne Rice was a fat woman. Mr. Seely would call her a fat schleb, no doubt, choosing to overlook her accomplishments.

Many of us who attend Archon have been shunned in the mainstream world for one reason or another, whether it be because we are fat, smart, nerdy, imaginative or because we know how to read. I was relieved when I first found Archon: Having been a Trekkie most of my life, a fan of the Conan novels, and a Star Wars fan, I thought that I was all alone. When I came to Archon, I found my subculture and my family. The friends made at Archon and in the larger subculture of fandom have been with me for over 25 years: through fat times, lean times, through sickness, through tragedy and through personal triumph.

Mr. Seely shows numerous personal biases in his coverage of Archon, but I am particularly concerned that he accuses parents who bring their children to this event as being guilty of not giving their children a chance at being mundane first. In Mr. Seely's world, it must be perfectly acceptable to propagandize children into making mainstream choices. Had he asked a few more questions, he would have discovered that there are plenty of children of con parents who have chosen to be Mundanes. It is certainly obvious that Mr. Seely has chosen to be a Mundane, as well.

Next year, please send Mr. Seely somewhere else to cover a more boring event. It will be exactly what he can handle.
Dana D. Eilers
Chathamport, Massachusetts

We Heart Harlan Ellison: Mike Seely's story on Archcon states that WorldCon in 1969 was awash in pot and acid and thousands of people were camping out in Forest Park. Sorry, the total attendance of St. LouisCon was only 1,800, of which number I was one. Drug use was not conspicuous, although I did see one joint smoked while Harlan Ellison was giving a speech. No one wore hall costumes in those days.

That convention did have horrible problems, from hostile elevator operators to angry registration clerks, mostly because they were in the midst of a labor dispute. Ill treatment by the hotel plus typically awful St. Louis weather made the veterans of St. LouisCon ever after feel they'd already "served their time in Hell." Nevertheless, I kept going to WorldCons for another twenty years and became a professional writer from the contacts made there.
Sandra Miesel
Indianapolis, Indiana

We Heart FOX News: If Mike Seely was trying to impress the minions at FOX News with that effort, he succeeded brilliantly.

The tripe you wrote was not only unfair, unbalanced and inaccurate (regarding some of the historical facts surrounding the 1969 World SF Convention), it offended me as a writer and as a proud member of fandom for 28 years.

Your article was also sloppily written, sexist and showed a thinly veiled contempt for its subjects. Yeah, people like to dress in costumes, drink and cavort at conventions; most like-minded people who gather together do. But one thing Archon was not was a 72-hour romp through Sodom and Gomorrah. Check some of the programming items that were offered: Self-Promotion and Publicity for Artists, The Well-Read Fan, Prejudices We Haven't Thought of...Yet and America's Best Comics.

By reporting only the most outrageous behavior and quotes, inferring that we are all overweight, unattractive oversexed "geeks," pandered to the very worst stereotypes the general public has of SF and fantasy readers and fans.

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