Minicon 23

Minicon 23 was held 1–3 April 1988 at the Radisson Hotel South (Bloomington). The guests of honor were Eleanor Arnason (author), Eric Heideman (fan), Frederick Pohl (editor), Crystal Marvig (artist), and Richard Feynman (science, posthumous). Honored guests were Jane Yolen, David Hartwell, and Algis Budrys. The executive committee was David Dyer-Bennet, Beth Friedman, Susan K. Grandys, Martin Schafer, and Geof Stone.


The pre-registration was at least 1745, since we have two pre-reg printouts with that many names on them, but it's not clear if this is the final pre-reg number. They are undated. The printout is 159 pages long (on fan-fold). Would we have printed all that if it wasn't final? I don't know.

The total membership was about 2350. This comes from a summary sheet clearly prepared for Minicon 30. It has all roundish numbers and no way to trace it further, so take it with a grain of salt. The column is labeled 'attend.', but I think it means total by comparison between its number for M29 with some better numbers for M29.

Richard Feynman

If one compares the dates of Minicon 23 to the date of Feynman's death (February 15,1988), one might wonder what his status as guest of honor means in this case. We did invite him prior to his death, and indeed, before it was public knowledge that he was ill. From the program book:

"His immediate response to the invitation was 'Interesting, sounds like fun. I'll have to think about it.'

"He considered the proposition for a long time. Long enough that we sent a follow-up letter requesting a decision (encoded in a multiple rotating transposition cipher — after all, the man did claim to be decoding the Mayan Codex on his honeymoon!). By fall of last year his battle with abdominal cancer became public knowledge on his campus and we were informed not to expect him to come. Finally, in December he notified me that he was expecting to be teaching class and was unable to serve as our first Science Guest of Honor.

"[...] Even though he was not able to be with us to be honored in person, we would like to honor him in spirit. We wish Programming had his teaching and storytelling, Art Show had his paintings and Consuite his bongo-playing, but we are left with his memory."

Program Book

Thumbnail of Minicon 23 program book cover

Here is the Minicon 23 Program Book as a PDF (48 MB). On a slow connection? Try this lower quality version (1 MB) instead.

Confused by the format? Someone had the very "clever" idea to make the cover of this program book 8.5×11", but the insides 5.5×8.5".

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Except for the inside back cover, the Minicon 23 program book is in the public domain due to having been published between 1978 and March 1989 without a copyright notice nor subsequent registration.

Creative Commons License The Minicon 23 Program Book inside back cover art by Giovanna Fregni is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States.

Masquerade Video

Here's a video of the Minicon 23 Masquerade. (If you have trouble with the format, try VLC.) It was filmed by Jon Hyers. This video was lost until Jon contacted us in 2009 to ask if we wanted the master. He sent it to us along with a DVD he made of it. The above file is a rip of that DVD. The master is a VHS tape with the following label: "Minicon Masquerade. Center location. 3 Apr 88. Radisson Hotel."

For slightly higher quality video, you can also download all of the files to needed to make yourself a copy of the DVD.

Creative Commons License The Minicon 23 Masquerade Video, by the Minnesota Science Fiction Society, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


Here are photos of the t-shirt, front and back, respectively:

Small image of the front of the Minicon 23 t-shirt: Spring Forward Small image of the back of the Minicon 23 t-shirt: Fall Over


Here's a video including images of some of the button badges used in this Minicon era.