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37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79
Page 10
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Seacon. 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 10. August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 8, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/349.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Seacon. (August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979). 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 10. Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/349

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Seacon, 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 10, August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979, Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 8, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/349.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79
Creator (Local)
  • Seacon
Date August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979
Description Information regarding the guests of honor for Seacon '79.
Donor Leiber, Fritz; Leiber, Justin
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Science fiction conventions
  • Fantasy fiction
  • Science fiction
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • Leiber, Fritz
  • Aldiss, Brian W.
  • Shaw, Bob
Subject.Name (Local)
  • Seacon
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Brighton, England
Genre (AAT)
  • brochures
  • documents (object genre)
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
Original Item Location ID 1984-003, Box 57, Folder 29
ArchivesSpace URI /repositories/2/archival_objects/5301
Original Collection Fritz Leiber Papers
Digital Collection Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/1984_003
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction In Copyright
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 10
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
File Name uhlib_1984_003_b057_f029_068_012.jpg
Transcript It was a quiet planet. The quiet had reigned for century piled on century. Until the Earth ship came. Beings externally resembling humans lived on the quiet planet. Their hamlets, villages, towns, slowly covered the habitable parts of the globe. As they spread - slowly, slowly - they drove out the species of animal which had occupied the land. But the animals were not ferocious, and in many cases lived in the hedgerows and copses close by humanoid habitation. They did not prey on the humanoids, or the humanoids on them. The quiet planet's sun was old long before the first amoebae stirred in its ocean. Although it occupied a fifth of the sky at noon, the sun's red warmth was thin. Evolution was a slow affair. The pain of life, its joys, were muted. Even the struggle for existence was curiously muted. Over a half of the planet was land. The oceans were small and shallow. Much of the land was not habitable and the humanoids spread out only slowly from the equator. They encountered deserts where the sand never stirred. Storms were rare. Periods of calm prevailed for hundreds of years. Great silences lay over the land. Until the Earth ship came. Muffled against heat, the people moved through barren regions before settling in clement valleys. Their villages were modest. They were great cultivators. It was their pleasure to tend the land, to groom it, to serve as its a colytes. The god they worshipped lay in the soil, not in the sky. They bred domestic animals, obtaining from them eggs, milk, cheese, in great variety. Their rapport with the animal kingdom was so close that they hesitated to slaughter anything for fear of the pain it brought them. The humanoids procreated rarely. Group marriages took place between four people and lasted throughout the years of life. The children remained many years in childhood, but often became independent when young; then they would strap a few necessities on their backs and move into the hills, to live among the wild things. With adolescence, some inner call would bring them back to the nearest town. In a short while, they would settle down at congenial work, marry, and enjoy life of domesticity without regret. After death, they were buried in cemeteries under the open sky, with a carved stone to preserve their names. This was the way of existence on the quiet planet for many millenia. Until the Earth ship came. The humanoids were in some respects a simple folk. When they slept, they did not dream. When they suffered, they rarely wept. Their pleasures were muted. Yet the sloth of their evolution, its iron peacefulness, had given them integration. They were whole. Within that wholeness, they enjoyed much complexity. From the outside, their lives might have appeared dull. Their interior life was so rich that they required no foolish distractions. In a village called North Oasis, because it was in the high latitudes, on the fringes of a vast, stoney, desert, lived a marriage group of four which served as leaders of the community. Their name was Brattangaa. Many generations earlier, the Brattangaas had commenced to build a Common. Now the present generation of Brattangaas completed it. The village lay in a valley, sheltered by hills. The Common stood on the edge of the village. After the work of the day was done, the people of North Oasis came to the Common. They had no particular reason for meeting face to face. But they derived a mild pleasure from each other's physical company. They sat together on benches round peat fires, touching each other. They drank their sweet-sour parsnip wine. Nerdligs moved among them, slow and woolly. The evenings were unbroken in companionship. Until the Earth ship came. The senior male Brattangaa stood at the window of the tower of the Common. Evening was fading into dusk, dusk into night, in the slow dying of the day. He looked out at the landscape, which at this hour appeared almost lighter than the sky. As was the case with his people, Brattangaa's interest was much less in the sky and the heavens than in the things of earth. He could see the stone roofofhis own marriage homestead from the tower. Inside him, he could sense the mind-bodies ofhis domestic stock, easily distinguishing the shapes of one from the next. He could sense the roots in the ground, growing towards a slow fruition. His attention moved to the cemetery. There, under the ground, he could still catch a faint scent of his parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Their presences, ever fading, were like faint lights caught in a great fog. It was all of fifty miles to the next little town, also clinging to a brook at the fringe of the stoney desert. It had no tower like this. Brattangaa could sense the lives of the people of that town; he knew them well, exchanged peaceable greetings with them, learned the news of the day. He could sense those whose mind- warmth was most akin to his own, his friends, as well as those whose mind-warmth was so different as to make them especial friends. Some welcomed him in - most did - others put him away with a friendly image, a wreath, a stained wooden door, an empty pewter plate, because they were too occupied with other things. Brattangaa also sensed the people he knew by eyesight, the people of North Oasis, including his companions in the room below. He was not absent from them, or they from him. A jostling and enriching harmony prevailed. Until the Earth ship came. As he sensed contentedly over the land, up the hillside, he saw with sudden terror a great flame standing in the sky. Such was his startlement that all in the room of the Common below also sensed it and turned their full attention towards what Brattangaa saw. In North Oasis, people did the same. More faintly, many people in the distant town did the same. Under the earth, even the dead generations protested. All watched as the flame burned in the darkening sky. Ferocious light and flame beat upon the hillsides. And then the Earth ship came. In the ship were five women and four men. They were of many colours and many nations. They talked in one language but they dreamed in nine. Great excitement seized them on landing, as they set about their pre-exploration tasks. "Kind of a drab-looking place, I'd say. Still, signs of habitation right enough." "Can't wait to get out of this damned can. How many months we been cooped up in here?" "Break out the carbines. Don't talk so goddam much." "Chance to get in some big game hunting, maybe. Just imagine a great big bloody steak, fresh off the bone!" "Atmosphere great. We can land ten thousand colonists right here within a twelve-month." "We're made, you realise that, made! Grab a few of the higher life forms, take them back to Earth. Imagine the sensation." "Could be some nasty things out there." "We can handle anything that goes. From now on in, we're in charge, baby." "And remember we come in peace." They went through an hour of rigorous sterile-drill, moving from chamber to chamber, bathed in changing wavelengths and liquids, designed to prevent them from contaminating the atmosphere of the planet they had discovered. At last the great ground-level hatch slid open, grating slightly as it went. The nine stood there in their foil cover-alls, weapons slung easily on their shoulders. Then they stepped out, walked on the hillside. In their heads, in their minds, thoughts raced. A tremendous voltage of various thought-levels, some rising from depths beyond the conscious, beyond control, images hammered on the anvil of a ferocious evolutionary past. They looked down on North Oasis. To Brattangaa in the tower, and to those who sensed him in the room below, in the little town, and in the distant town, nine strange flesh-like shapes formed on the hill. From that moment of contact, poison spread. Emanations, streamers, dark clouds, poured out of their minds. The emanations assumed definite configuration. All the myths of Earth - the whole husbandry of the imagination - burst upon the startled people of the quiet planet. From clashing cultures, warring climates, ancient enmities, the images came, as the nine space- travellers moved forward unknowing. With them came a terrible music - such music as had never been heard before upon the quiet planet, music that slashed at the eardrums like heavy claws. Accompanying the music came wind. It blew upon their mind-senses like a storm. It whirled upon their mental landscapes, it hammered upon the doors of their consciousness. It blew down chimneys and roofs. It was irresistable. And on the pinions of the storm, on the surge of the music, above the brows of the clouds, rode the legends of Earth, all those terrible things in near-human form which haunt the human mind. Pale Nazarene and sweating Buddha, elephants, cats, monkeys, serpents, gods, goddesses, grotesques with many heads, beasts, dragons, things of fire, streamed forth from the hill. Demons, devils, angels, ghouls. Never had such things been loose upon the brow of this placid world. They formed a plague to which there was no local immunity. Immediately, their bad news spread across the face of the globe. Neighbour communed with neighbour, town with town, province with province, until every being on the quiet planet, humanoid or animal, stood and stared transfixed at the terrible monsters unleashed upon their defenceless minds. Last to emerge from the psyches of the nine figures on the hill were four creatures more terrible than any other. Even the frenzied music, even the storm, died as they arrived, as they rose in the saddles of their steeds. Darkness fell upon the face of the planet. Beneath the soil, the lights of the dead flickered out. Forth streamed the four horsemen. Eyes staring, foreheads ablaze, muscles straining, they goaded on their great steeds. With flaring manes, the four horses leaped eagerly forward, rejoicing to be free. The planet was theirs. As the nine space-voyagers began slowly to descend the hillside, they saw nothing of what the humanoids saw - the flowing manes, the flashing hooves, the brandished weapons. Pestilence, Famine, War, these were their names, with Death close behind riding an old grey nag. Death's long beard fluttered in the wind as he galloped into the valley. Over his shoulder he swung his long scythe. The broken minds fell before him. Breathing ash, he stooped to gather up the bodies lying in his path, stooped laughing over the dying and the dead. There was a plentiful harvest for him on the quiet planet, when the Earth ship came.