Ben Yalow – Fan Guest of Honor
Ben Yalow’s very first convention he attended as a fan was Lunacon in 1971, followed later that year by his first Worldcon, Noreascon. Ben first started staffing conventions at the very first Star Trek convention in January 1972, followed by the Worldcon in 1973, Torcon 2. He has attended roughly eight hundred cons and staffed over three hundred. Discon 3 will be the 50th anniversary of his first Worldcon, and he hasn’t missed any in between.Ben’s contributions to con-running are numerous, and still on-going. Wanting to have a place where convention runners can come together to learn and teach one another, Ben co-founded SMOFcon, the annual convention that focuses exclusively on convention running. He has attended them all (including the one not held). He has been a Worldcon Division Head, co-Division Head, or Assistant Division Head for sixteen different Worldcons (on three continents), on the Chairman’s staff for a half-dozen others, and Comptroller for two more. He has chaired Lunacon (1978) and Boskone (1994), co-chaired one SMOFcon (1984), and was co-Vice Chair at the 1994 SMOFcon (and, with the Chair being a stuffed animal, the Vice-Chair job was a lot more involved than normal). He ran programming for Westercon in the same year he was Assistant Programme Head for Eastercon (2000), when they were about as far apart as they could possibly be (Hawaii and Glasgow).
In non-convention fanac, he is a member of NESFA (having once been President), FACT, LASFS, and SCIFI. He has been a Lunarian, a Fanoclast, and a member of OSFCI and FANAC. He has written a regular column for a fanzine (Jane’s Fighting SMOFs) and edited four books for NESFA Press, two of which have gotten nominated for the Hugo Award (“entirely the credit of the author, Dave Langford, not mine—I’ve just been really fortunate in that that he let me edit them”).