Boskone 25 Letter

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After the Boskone from Hell forced NESFA to move Boskone to much smaller facilities, NESFA sent the following letter to all Boskone 24 members:

Dear Boskone 24 Member:

First of all, we want to thank everyone who responded to our special request for extra help at the convention. Many of you helped make Saturday and Sunday work very well this year. The convention received a lot of help from many people who'd never helped at a convention before. We appreciated the number of fans and pros who took the time to talk to us (and to the hotel) about their concerns over the vandalism and disruptions at the con.

Despite this, the Sheraton-Boston has decided that it does not want to host Boskone 25. The hotel's primary complaint was that we were an intense, 24-hour-a-day convention. People were wandering all parts of the hotel at all hours of the night and into the early morning. The minor vandalism Friday was undoubtedly another reason, in large part because it made the hotel management edgy about little things they otherwise might have ignored. Some of the problems were not caused by convention members—-we had many more people crashing the con than ever before. We also had more people than ever before who seemed to be interested not in SF but in having a wild party weekend.

Boskone 25 will be very different from the last few Boskones. Since none of the major Boston hotels would accept Boskone for next year, Boskone will not be held in Boston, and will therefore be much smaller. There isn't a hotel complex in the region that can support a 4,000+ person SF convention, so we must institute a membership cap. We will probably be changing the date from the announced date of February 5-7, 1988. Most important, we will be refocusing the activities of Boskone. We hope to bring back "Classic Boskone,'' to replace the "New Boskone'' of recent years.

New Policies for Next Year

We are implementing a number of new policies next year to make Boskone smaller, better, and more of an event that the committee and the hotels will want to hold, and that the members will enjoy.

  • We will have a membership limit. The exact number will depend upon the facilities used. We anticipate that the membership limit will be between 1,500 and 2,000 people. We will probably not be selling at-the-door memberships. Boskone had over 4100 attending members this year, and about 300 more who bought memberships but didn't come to the convention. The attendance limit for 1988 means that over half of the people who attended Boskone 24 will be unable to attend Boskone 25.
  • Boskone wants parties to be gatherings where fans can get together to talk, rather than bashes for rowdy party animals to get smashed together. There will be a strict no-alcohol policy for open (public) parties. Boskone will do nothing to promote parties in any way (there will be no seeding, and we will not be listing parties in Helmuth). Furthermore, the Con Suite will not be a place to eat and party all night long. Instead, it will be what it was originally intended to be—a place for fans to get together and talk. It will be open until about 2 AM, and will serve limited refreshments (mostly soda and fruit juice).
  • No one under 18 years of age will be admitted without a parent or guardian. If you are under 18, please see the paragraph on the back entitled "Age Restrictions.''
  • The Hucksters' Room and Art Show will have to be smaller, but we will try to maintain the quality. The Hucksters' Room will shrink from 135 tables to about 60. The Art Show will shrink from 170 panels to about 100.
  • We do not want people wearing hall costumes at Boskone. No awards will be given for hall costumes. No weapons may be brought into public areas at Boskone. We are defining staffs and chains as weapons, as well as swords, and toy ray guns.
  • Only convention members will be permitted to reserve rooms in the convention hotel at the convention rate. All requests for hotel rooms will be funneled through the committee for membership verification.
  • Badge-checking will be more thorough. Some of our problems this year were caused by walk-ins who didn't bother to join the con. We will have extra security in 1988 specifically aimed at checking badges.
  • Program and activities at the convention will be focused on written science fiction, SF art, fandom, and science. Main program will probably shrink from 6 tracks to 3, with fewer rooms for discussion groups and no programming after midnight. We won't have a game room. There won't be a separate film program; a few films may be integrated into the main program.

What Won't Change

Boskone 25 will continue its strong tradition of a rich and varied SF-related program, emphasizing the classics of SF literature. Programming will continue to have fan items and science items. Boskone will continue to have one of the best Art Shows you'll see anywhere and a Hucksters' Room in which you can find almost any book you might want. We'll continue to provide a Con Suite where fans can mingle. We'll continue to do things efficiently and without hassling you. We'll continue other Boskone and fannish traditions: Dragonslair, Babysitting, the Meet-the-VIPs Party, the Regency Tea, and Filksinging. In short, we will continue to put on the best con we can.

We feel that we are returning to what Boskone was like 7 or 8 years ago, rather than departing from some "traditional'' Boskone. We hope that many fans who haven't attended in several years because they felt too crowded will come back next year. We also hope that people who attend Boskone only for a wild weekend of partying will stay home.

Age Restrictions

No one under 18 years of age will be admitted without a parent or guardian. We apologize to all those responsible teenagers whom this will inconvenience. However, this year we saw a number of teenagers who seemed to view Boskone not as an SF convention but as a frat party. This tends to upset hotels even more than adults behaving in this fashion. We also heard too many disturbing reports about teenagers saying that Boskone was a "great party con.'' We don't want to exclude teenagers who are really interested in SF, so there are a few exceptions to this rule. Teenagers who have worked at Boskone or another major convention, who belong to an established SF club (such as NESFA, MITSFS, the Lunarians, etc.) which has other members attending Boskone, or who are known to us are definitely welcome. (If you are interested in SF, join one of the clubs in your area. If you don't know how to find one, contact us.)

What Next

Boskone 25 will not have a general mailing. For most of you receiving this letter, it will be the last mailing you'll get from us. Boskone 25 will be publicized only in fannish sources (e.g., Instant Message, Locus, SFC, File 770). Once a site for the next Boskone has been selected, Boskone flyers will be sent to a small number of specific groups, such as NESFA members and Boskone Life members.

Beginning March 1, 1987, NESFA stopped accepting memberships for Boskone 25. We must totally restructure the budget for next year, and this takes time. If you send in money for a membership before we announce our new rate structure, your check will be returned.

If you already purchased a membership for Boskone 25 at Boskone 24, and you don't like the sound of the changes we are proposing, we will refund your membership fee on request between now and September 1, 1987. In a break with past practice, memberships for the 1988 Boskone are not transferable. Once we have reached our membership limit, we will return checks sent in. We do not expect to be selling any memberships at the door next year, but if we do, the at-the-door rate will be substantially higher than this year's rate.

If you have any suggestions or comments, please write to us. We need your help to successfully restructure Boskone, and we are very interested in the opinions of science fiction fans and pros, especially those who have been attending Boskone regularly over the years.

Jim Mann & Laurie Mann Boskone 25 Co-chairs

PS: A camera was lost at the last Boskone. If you can describe the camera, we will mail it to you.

See Boskone 24, Boskone 25, and The Rise and Fall of the Giant Boskones for more information.

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