by R. Graeme Cameron
AND THEN THERE ARE THE ELRONS...
The ELRON Awards are VCON’s annual recognition of the Most Dubious Achievements in Science Fiction and Fantasy. They are Canada’s oldest Science Fiction Awards and North America’s oldest Fandom spoof awards.
Unlike many other awards, the Elrons are not fan-voted or juried, but instead are bestowed on their hapless winners solely by the Secret Masters of the Elrons (SMOTES). The design of the Elron is the purview of the SMOTE presenter of the year, and almost always consists of bronzed plastic lemons, sometimes mounted on a Gor novel, or some other suitable appendage: a ray gun, a flying saucer, or&emdash;in the case of the Elron presented to Mr.
Science&emdash;a space station.
A VCON tradition
The Elrons were presented for the first time at the very first VCON by Mike Bailey. The original concept was to
reward the ‘worst’ in any given category, as for example the ‘Worst Novel Elron’ awarded to Robert Heinlein in 1971 for his I Will Fear No Evil, with
selected excerpts being read out “to hilarious advantage.” Over time, however, the mandate of the Elrons expanded to gentle japes, with less and less
emphasis on outright condemnation. Indeed, it is now considered (almost) an honour to win an Elron, especially for local fans... like the ‘Special
Spider Robinson Elron’ awarded to Frank Skinner for outdoing Spider in terrible puns at local pun contests.
Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a letter to the BC SF Association in 1974 suggesting that John Norman, author of the Gor novels, surely deserved a “bronze
lentil for semi-literate fetishism,” and such was awarded at VCON 3. Since then John Norman has won over thirty Elrons, including the ‘Special Brass
Bra Elron for Best Feminist Gor Movie’ awarded at VCON 18 in 1980 (it consisted of two brass-painted lemons glued side-by-side). In 1993 he won an
Elron for having won more Elrons than anyone else.
Onwards with laughter
While the early Elrons mimicked other awards with a limited selection of categories confined to fiction (films and novels, for example), subsequent
Elrons have evolved to include politicians, corporations, space programs, genuine mad scientists, crazy inventions, pretentious artists, and, in
general, anyone or anything guilty of realizing splendidly stupid SF&F concepts to our detriment.
The emphasis of the Elrons is, above all, humour. The intent of the awards is sheer entertainment: to raise a few laughs and chuckles, not hackles. For
this reason the Elrons have been a fixture at VCON from the (very) beginning, and an event looked forward to by many.
AND NOW…. THE FANEDS!
The Faneds - Fan Editors - are awarded by the Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards Society (‘Fanac’ is fannish for ‘fan activity’) to the most accomplished fans
contributing to the publication of traditional Canadian SF&F Fanzines. These are brand new awards, having first been presented last year, at VCON
36. The winners were:
BEST FAN ARTIST:
BEST FAN WRITER:
BEST LOC HACK (an affectionate fan-lingo term for most indefatigable letter-of-comment writer):
WARP, the clubzine of the Montreal SF&F Association, edited by Cathy Palmer-Lister.
the unknown editor who published Canada’s first SF fanzine, ‘THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN,’ out of Vancouver BC, way back in
1936. The one surviving review of the zine neglected to give the name of the editor, but the anonymous person is nevertheless deserving for having
begun a hallowed tradition.
‘Traditional’ fanzines (which for our purposes are restricted to hardcopy paper zines or PDF versions posted on the web) are a minor yet thriving
aspect of SF&F fandom, and CFFAS is dedicated to promoting ‘em. These include Clubzines (such as BCSFAzine, published by the BC SF Association),
Newsletters (like AURORAN LIGHTS, published by the people who administer the Aurora Awards), Genzines (general fanzines with articles submitted by
multiple writers on varying SF&F topics; the one Canadian Fanzine to win a Hugo, ENERGUMEN, was one such), and Perzines (personal zines whose
contents represent the editor’s take on SF&F past and present; an example being SPACE CADET by yours truly).
What these zines have in common is enthusiasm for the genre, be it a narrow focus on one aspect in particular (say SF comics, a particular TV series,
or fannish history) or a wider, more general focus on all things SF-ictional. Also in common is the creative self-expression exhibited by all who
contribute, which goes a long way toward explaining why SF&F zinedom is such a satisfying and rewarding hobby.
Come out to the Faneds to learn more!
TO SUM UP:
To shamelessly borrow from a famous TV network, the VCON Hour of Awards is TIME WELL WASTED!