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05/25/2005 Archived Entry: ""
As the news has been filled with stories of winding fan-lines at various openings of the new Star Wars movie, I thought this email from a correspondent (David K.) might be an antidote....
There's a story in the news today about two people in England who seriously injured themselves by trying to create light-sabres for an amateur film by filling fluorescent light bulbs with a mixture of gasoline and dishwashing liquid and setting them aflame. Perhaps unbeknownst to them, that's what you mix together to make a Molotov cocktail, and as Molotov cocktails do, the mixture exploded. Both of them are now in a hospital burn unit.
I attended a con in L. A. about ten days after THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK first premiered in 1980, in the masquerade of which two guys decided to emulate the Obi-wan vs. Vader sabre-fight from A NEW HOPE. One had an acrylic light-sabre, the other had a broomstick sticking out of a flashlight housing. These morons had just met for the first time *while_waiting_in_the_masquerade_line*, and they went at each other at full speed on the stage. STAR TREK writer D. C. Fontana, the masquerade M.C. (who also was Listmistress of the SCA Kingdom of Caid at the time, and knew something about fighting with fake swords), called a halt and told them to do it in "slo-mo" or get off the stage.
They evidently had never heard the abbreviation for "slow motion" before. They went at it again the same way at the same speed and she threw them off, luckily before either of them were injured. Sometimes I can't believe I belong to the same fandom(s) as some people.
I think certain pro s.f. writers cast too wide a net when they condemn all of convention fandom at once, but there are certainly real examples of the sort of people who upset them so much scattered through it.