Tag Archives: geek girl con

[Oct. 2, 1962] Women of Washington, Unite!  (The Seventh Geek Girl Con in Seattle)

[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]

by Gideon Marcus

Ah, Geek Girl Con.  Every year, Seattle’s clarion call of intellectual feminine fandom calls us to attend Washington’s signature science fiction/fantasy event.  It is an intimate (but growing) gathering of sff devotees with a fascination for things both creative and technical.

This year, as with last year, the Journey was invited to speak on the last 12 months in fandom, and boy did we have a lot to relate.  From coverage of Marvel Comics’ slew of new superheroes to a report on this year’s Hugo winners, and with a special piece on the woman pioneers of space exploration, our four panelists ensured that our several dozen attendees left educated and excited.

Of course, there was plenty more going on this year, from a burgeoning Huckster Hall to an active costuming scene.  There was a host of interesting panels.  We personally attended one on activism and how our breed of fanaticism can be channeled to make a positive difference in the world.  Sort of a “Fen Forward!” or “Beatniks for a Better world!”  With all the racial strife, economic inequality, strife on the foreign scene, and the increasing specter of Goldwater isolationism and reactionary policy going on, we need all of our wacky team united in the cause of improving society. 

There was also an excellent panel on Black fandom (there are more members than you think!) and the hope for the appearance of a Black comic superhero.  My bet is that, of the two big comics houses, Marvel is the more likely to dare in that direction.  But who knows?

Here, then, is a mini-gallery of some of the dressed-up friends I managed to snap photos of.  My apologies for not having so many this year – it was an awfully busy (but very fun!) time:

The radiant Sarah Kauppila as Snow White…and her lovely mother, Luann, as the Evil Queen

Cruella de Ville from last year’s Disney film, 101 Dalmatians

Erika Rae Heins, a Middle Earth enthusiast

Rosemary, a modern-age Wonder Woman

Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble

That’s it for this year, but it’s almost a certainty we’ll be flying back on Alaska Airlines come next October.  Especially now with their swell Convair 880s, which go a bit faster than the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8.  First time we’ve ever ridden in one!


[Oct. 10, 1961] On the Edge of Tomorrow (Geek Girl Con… 2016?)

by Gideon Marcus

Seattle, one of my favorite towns, is about to become big news for it will be the home of the 1962 World Expo, and its futuristic “Space Needle” is under construction.  When it’s done, the city’s skyline will be distinctive, indeed!

But that’s not what brought us to the Emerald City in 1961.  In fact, we fly out each year to visit my sister-in-law and the dozen or so friends we’ve accumulated from visits past.  It is, if course, complete coincidence that our trips always seem to coincide with the annual gathering of female fandom affectionately nicknamed “Geek Girl Con.

Much smaller than the World Con held in Seattle just last month, it nevertheless is a tremendously fun event.  The dozens of attendees are passionate about their genre and deeply intellectual.  At any hour of the day, one might engage in a variety of discussions: on how to break into the pro market, the best techniques of illustration, the travesty of modern science fiction film.  I found myself at the center of one of these impromptu colloquia Sunday afternoon, opining on the current state of science fiction and fantasy and making tentative prophecies of the far future 55 years hence.

I brought my new color film camera, and for those who couldn’t attend (and those who just want to see themselves), please enjoy the following gallery:

First, the (more or less) conventionally dressed attendees:

Some good friends:

Here are the Hicks’, creators of adorable Gothic-monster themed art.

Here’s the radiant Beth, who we met at a similar gathering some four years ago!  She’s very up on the British sf scene.

And here’s The Journey’s very own Erica Frank, imperturbable copy editor and expert of things fannish!

This being a science fiction gathering, there was a good deal of technical tinkery in the works:

And, of course, the highlight of the event was the masquerade ball!

A trio of Peter Pan costumes!

Cinderella and her step-sisters!

Medieval and Renaissance costumes were popular…

As were uniforms from the War:

All in all, it was yet another tremendous time.  I do hope that all of my new friends will drop me a line.  Let’s stay in touch until next October!

[Oct. 12, 1960] For the Girls (a mini-convention in Seattle)

There’s no question about it–conventions are here to stay.

Remember the first “Worldcon,” when a whopping nine fans (all men) showed up in New York?  Now the annual event always draws hundreds of attendees, and I suspect someday soon it will break the thousand-fan barrier.  Since the War, a number of regional conventions have also sprung up: Westercon, Boskone, Eastercon, Disclave, Midwestcon, Lunacon…

And those are just the big formal ones.  There are plenty of smaller events–irregular gatherings associated with local clubs or movements. 

One that I’ve enjoyed over the past several years is a little Seattle event run by a gang of highly motivated and talented female fans.  These are ladies who have seen the 90/10 split between male and female authors (on a good day) and want to see things improve.  As always, the shindig was a great opportunity to engage in intellectual discussions, meet like-minded fans, and learn about up-and-coming female science fiction and fantasy talents.

Perhaps the most valuable episode, for me, was a group conversation regarding liking and recommending fiction that contains troubling elements.  For instance, what do you do when your favorite author includes demeaning depictions of certain races in her/his story?  Or when a creator turns out to be a horrible person in private life?  To what length can you diassociate yourself from the bad parts to continue enjoying the good?  And do you mention the bad bits when recommending the works to your friends?  Do you not recommend them at all?  It’s a highly nuanced issue.

In the end, the consensus was that everybody has their breaking point (for me and Randall Garrett, for instance, it was Queen Bee), but up to that point, we can enjoy what we enjoy without feeling guilt.  If something really bothers us, we can write letters to the authors and editors and urge them to alter their practices.  And when it comes to recommendations, honesty is the best policy.  Even if you worry that mentioning some teensy-weensy little thing will poison someone’s perception of an entire work, it is important that: 1) the recommendee know what s/he is getting into, and 2) that it is understood that you are not blind to the troublesome issue.

On that philosophical note, here are some photos from the gathering!

It’s still World War 2 in some places:


Disney remains a perennial source of popular costumes:

Here’s an interesting take on the “Bat-girl”:

And a rather dapper fellow from another era:

Here are some attendees who came in their street clothes (more or less):

There was even a tiny dealer’s hall!

(Becky and James Hicks of Little Vampires; dig their Breakfast at Tiffany’s parody!)

(Crystal of Crystal’s Idyll)

And, of course, yours truly. 

Thanks to all of you lovely people who made our weekend so enjoyable We will be back next year.

Stay tuned: the third Kennedy/Nixon debate is airing tomorrow.  I hope you’ll all join me for this prime-time event so that we can compare notes the next day…

[Oct. 12, 1959] Seattle’s finest (GGC, a fairer science fiction convention)

Seattle really knows how to throw a science fiction convention.

I had been saddened that I hadn’t gotten to join Bjo Trimble in her caravan across the country to Detention last month.  After once again experiencing the joy that is GGC (the acronym was never explained to me), all of my regrets disappeared.

I mentioned in my last article that GGC is quite remarkable.  Much of the attendance is female, and the emphasis is on female creators and protagonists in our niches of the literary and cinematic worlds.  There were lectures on our woman science fiction luminaries, with Judith Merril and Katherine MacLean particularly prominent.  There was an update on the state of women in the sciences.  Someone from Space Technology Laboratories talked about scientist Frankie van der Wal and engineer Jenny Sanders: the former directed the Mouse In Able project that launched rodents atop several Thor-Able test rockets; the latter is the first woman to work at Cape Canaveral.  There was also a spotlight on women in comic books, Wonder Woman being the obvious example, but with much also made of newcomers Supergirl and Lady Blackhawk.

For those who couldn’t attend the convention (and for those who did and want to see themselves), here is a selection of photographs, on which I rushed development to get quickly to press.  I did not get pictures of the science-fiction play or the costume masquerade–the light level was too low, but I did get a nice selection of attendees.  Take a look!

A superheroine, by the name of Bluebird (a new character, apparently).

This is Nick, a gentleman with whom I had a pleasant conversation, and behind him are a number of attendees playing various card games.

Michael is an interesting chap.  He is part of a growing group of people who finds solace in the past, reveling in past literature, culture, and clothing (he appears to be from the 1920s).  It’s a seductive idea, though I’m certainly not about to go in for that sort of thing.

Miss Molly (good Golly!) is a vendor for a small publishing group called Northwest Press.  They print, among many things, comic books of a rather progressive and subversive nature.  Avante garde indeed!

I’m sure you’ve all seen Walt Disney’s newest masterpiece, Sleeping Beauty.  These costumes are exquisite.

(These are the best I could find amongst my rolls of film, but perhaps other attendees have contributions they’d like to make.  There were certainly plenty of snapshots to take!)

In many ways, the convention was a glimpse into the future of society and fandom.  Someday soon, women and men will work in all arenas of life as equal partners, heading shoulder to shoulder to the stars.  I can’t wait for this golden time to arrive.

Until then, at least we have GGC.  See you next year…

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P.S. Galactic Journey is now a proud member of a constellation of interesting columns.  While you’re waiting for me to publish my next article, why not give one of them a read!

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