Party opens convention for science fiction fans

A costume party tonight at the Sheraton Penn State, 240 S. Pugh St., will kick off the two-day fifth annual "Revenge of Paracon" science fiction convention of the Central Pennsylvania Science Fiction Association.

The convention will feature lectures by writers, an art show and a panel discussion on nuclear war.

Science fiction writer Janet Morris, author of seven science fiction novels, will speak at 1:30 Saturday afternoon, followed by Jill Bauman, a science fiction graphics artist. Some of Bauman's work, as well as that of State College sculptor Roger Pollok, will be featured at the Paracon art show.

Saturday morning at 11:30 local authors Stuart H. Stock and Kenneth Von Gunden will show clips from what they consider the 20 best science fiction films of all time.

Victoria Poyser, winner of the 1981 Hugo Award for best Fantasy Artist, will also exhibit her work at the show. Other artists exhibiting their work will include George Chastain, Janny Wurts and Andrea Pautz.

A panel discussion on nuclear war, "Should I Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: The Effects of Nuclear War," will include University faculty members Arthur O. Lewis, an associate dean of the liberal arts, Thomas Thwaites, associate professor of Physics and Henry Albinski, a political science professor.

Philip Klass, alias William Tenn to science fiction devotees, will also participate in the convention. Klass has authored eight books, hundreds of stories and edited two anthologies.

Five years ago convention organizers named the event in honor of science fiction author and Central Pennsylvanian H. Beam Piper, convention planner Bob Casto said. The organizers coined "Paracon" from the "Paratime" time travelling police in Piper's novel "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen," which has a Centre County-like setting.

Among the invited authors are: Linda Bushyager, Jack L. Chalker, Theodore Cogswell, Craig Shaw Gardner, Charles L. Grant, Linda Haldeman, Marvin Kaye, Peter Pautz, Nancy Springer, Somtow Sucharitkul and Michael Swanwick.

The convention will also feature an auction, a banquet and wargaming sessions. Convention memberships are still available and will be sold at the event.