Duckon V was held in Lysle, Illinois, one of the Chicago suburbs, over the weekend of May 31-June 2, 1996. Early on May 31 I headed north from my temporary summer quarters to attend one of my favorite Chicago-area conventions, Duckon. This sf con with a furry (anthropomorphic animal) focus started small but in the last two years it has gotten bigger than ever.
This year it was bigger than Capricon, which had been one of the larger cons in the Chicago area. In fact it's gotten so big that it's outgrown its hotel, and next year it will be held in a larger hotel in another of the Chicago suburbs. That meant that this year was the last year in which we would enjoy the ambience of the Corporetum Hyatt in Lysle, or any of the peculiarities of that hotel's layout.
For instance this was the last year in which the dealers would be quartered on a single floor and dealing out of their sleeping rooms, since next year there will be a regular dealers' room in the function space. On the plus side it will prevent problems with crashers (less of a problem this year since the hotel sold out for the weekend and we didn't have to share it with mundanes as we had in previous years), but on the minus side it would mean that dealers would no longer have the flexibility to set their own hours.
Fortunately for anyone who remembered the horrible name-badge snarlup at Duckon IV, registration went smoothly this year and I was able to obtain my badge quite quickly. However the art show was running behind in obtaining their display panels, so I had plenty of time to talk with ops about volunteering and to check to see if the person I was rooming with had checked in yet (she hadn't) before going back to get my art hung and put in some volunteer hours getting all the mail-in art displayed. We were putting the last of it up when the art show opened to the general con attendance.
I spent a goodly amount of time helping with the art show over the course of the weekend, enough that I was able to earn my membership back. However because I'd also been on a panel discussion (the 21st Century in Fact and Fiction) I'd been given a free membership as well. So I got a refund for this year's membership and my gophering hours were rolled over to cover next year's membership.
After the art show closed for the evening I went up to the dealers' floor and finally made connections for my room (I roomed with a friend from Champaign who sells costuming equipment, so I got to sleep in the shop with the weapons and everything). In the course of visiting the various dealers I also was able to find out some news in regards to Dr. Who. I'd heard that a new Dr. Who movie was in the works and that Spielberg would be involved in it, but I was under the impression that it would not be coming out for some time. I was quite astonished to discover that it was already done and had been broadcast without my ever knowing about it.
The other piece of information that I acquired was a little more distressing -- the death of Jon Pertwee, who played the Third Doctor and was in many ways my favorite (he was also the very first one I ever saw, which probably contributed to this feeling that he "was" the Doctor and all the others were just variations on him).
I also made the rounds of the parties, getting to see a number of people that I hadn't seen since Capricon. One of the most enjoyable was Paul Knight's exercise in stage hypnotism, in which he took volunteers from the audience and demonstrated how this special form of consciousness could be put to amusing effect.
However one of the few programming glitches happened that night. Someone managed to schedule the Artists' Jam at midnight, which meant that absolutely no one showed up. After the great fun I'd had in the Artists' Jam at Capricon, I was disappointed.
The next morning I went to the one panel I was on, and actually had a few people show up in spite of it being scheduled at 10AM when everybody was just getting moving. We had an interesting discussion on how close science fiction had come to actually predicting our current time and what was likely to happen as we moved into the 21st century.
After that I spent a goodly number of hours working bag check in the art show. When the art show closed I also helped separate out those items that would be going to auction from those that were sold and those which would be available for Sunday sales. After about an hour we were done and I signed out to go check out the dealers' floor again before the parties began to start up for the evening.
After the Masquerade was over, I went down to watch the Art Auction. I didn't have any pieces going to auction, but at least one of my friends did have a large number of items. There were enough people there that the bidding was fairly competitive and enjoyable to watch. I did have to take a quick break to get up to the Chicago in 2000 Worldcon bid party for the midnight drawing (I didn't win anything), but I got back before the auction was over. After that I went back up to join the partying for a while before turning in for the night.
On Sunday I helped with the final part of the art show, escorting people through the things that were still available for Sunday sales as well as delivering purchased artworks to their purchasers and helping artists check out unsold pieces. When the art show finally closed down I checked out my own unsold pieces and took them back out to my car.
Then I headed up to the con suite to hang out with my friends and socialize as the con shut down. I spent several hours chatting with a number of good friends before things finally got slow enough that I decided it really was time to head back to mundania.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.