Friday, November 19, 2021: I arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey to attend the Philadelphia Science Fiction Conference or Philcon. The Philadelphia Science Fiction Society or PSFS has held Philcon since 1936, and it has been at this hotel since 2008—except for last year when it became a virtual convention. Overall, it felt good to be back after two years! Since 2019, I decided that I have seen much that went on at a science fiction convention (SF con) because I have been going to SF cons since 1977. Therefore, I got to the point where I preferred staying in mostly one place and letting the people at the con come past or near me—or letting the con come to me. Nevertheless, despite my staying put, Philcon had something for almost everybody in its programming: panels or presentations about SF literature, SF art, and SF films & TV shows, as well as SF fan activities, costuming, and science. Other activities included writing workshops, gaming, filk singing (putting SF lyrics to popular tunes—mostly folk tunes), author readings, videos of SF films & TV shows, room parties, a masquerade contest, a hospitality room or con suite, an art show room, and a dealers’ or vendors’ room, etc. There were also fan tables out in the hallways for different groups for different purposes such as people from other future SF cons promoting and selling memberships to their SF cons and our group: The National Space Society (NSS)/Philadelphia Area Space Alliance (PASA). After I registered, I headed first to the Con Suite for a short time. Here, I could talk with other SF fans while those running this room offered snacks and soft drinks in a living room setting overlooking Cooper River Park. Then for the next few hours, I sat at our NSS/PASA table.
Saturday, November 20, 2021: Before sitting at the NSS/PASA table for the rest of the day, I toured the Art Show room. Inside this room I noticed that about 90% of the artists showed paintings and drawings, and rest exhibited other forms of art: jewelry, sculptures, dishes, and so forth. Around 75% of the art themes displayed fantasy art, and the rest presented SF and space art.
Saturday night: The one event I saw was the Masquerade. Altogether, I looked at 15 entries, and aside from two of the contestants wearing SF costumes, the rest wore fantasy costumes.
Sunday, November 21, 2021: On this day I went to the Dealers’ Room, browsed around, and bought a magazine. Meanwhile, from what I observed, about half of the dealers sold reading materials of books, magazines, fanzines, and comic books. The other half of the dealers sold other merchandise: artwork, jewelry, and accessories, as well as mugs, sculptures, games, crafts, toys, and so on. Then I spent the last few hours back at the NSS/PASA table trying to recruit more people to join PASA, NSS, or both. Now, I’m looking forward to attending next year’s Philcon.