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5MV at Con*Cept 2002

by Marc Richard

Here is a brief report on the Con*Cept 2002 convention that was held in Montreal on Saturday, November 2nd.

Con*Cept is an annual event organized by MonSFFA, the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. For the first time, the convention was held in special cooperation with Canal Z, a francophone science-fiction cable channel based in Quebec. Canal Z broadcast advertisements for the event beginning two weeks prior to the convention, and was represented at the con by several of its TV hosts and performers; a camera crew from Canal Z was also present to interview convention-goers. Other guests at the con included Richard Biggs and Jason Carter from Babylon 5, and Keith R. A. DeCandido, author of several Star Trek and other genre novels.

Five-Minute Voyager was featured at two of the con's sixty thematic events/sessions: a panel and a workshop. The panel, titled "May The Farce Be With You," was presented by Keith Braithwaite, Joe Aspler and myself. Keith described an Ed Wood-style X-Files parody video that was produced by MonSFFA a few years ago; Joe discussed various parody novels that have spoofed works of literature such as The Lord of the Rings. My presentation on 5MV described the fiver format, gave a guided tour of the site's various sections, and tallied how far along we are in our long-term goal of writing a fiver for every single episode of every single Star Trek series, including the movies -- which, by the time that Entreprise finishes its run in 2008, should add up to around 800 titles.

The planned parody-writing workshop, which immediately followed the panel, turned into a non-event owing to the fact that no one (other than myself) showed up for it. Actually, let me correct that statement: one person did show up, but she was under the impression that I was going to give a five-minute workshop (not a ninety-minute one, as the schedule said) on how to write science-fiction novels (not on how to write parodies of science-fiction movies, as the schedule said). I had to disillusion the poor woman, who thereupon looked embarrassed and melted back into the crowd. (The crowd, I should explain, was in the room to see Biggs and Carter, who were signing autographs at a table ten feet away from the space I'd been given to run my workshop. So it's probably just as well that nobody took a shot at writing a fiver: the noise in the room would have made it very difficult to concentrate.)

At any rate, the panel presentation was well-received, and the very small number of 5MV samples that I was able to read in the limited amount of time I had -- it added up to just a few lines -- got a good laugh from the audience. I had enough material in reserve to extend my talk by ten to fifteen minutes if need be (for instance, if one of my co-panelists had been a no-show), so filling my twenty-minute quota fortunately did not prove to be a problem.

To conclude, let me share the following remark from my panel session, which qualifies as the funniest seriously-minded question that I was asked all day:

"Does it take five minutes to read them or five minutes to write them?"

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This article was originally published on November 9, 2002.

DISCLAIMER: These articles make use of numerous Paramount trademarks, and possibly those of other companies. No harm is meant.

All material © 2002, Marc Richard.