|History of SIGMA TERRA CORPS V 1.2|
IN THE BEGINNING |
The German space opera Perry Rhodan was very popular for over three decades and gave birth to a vast number of Perry Rhodan Fanclubs. On december 5th in 1976 the PRC TERRA CORPS became one of them, founded by Wolf von Witting and Jorg Litschke in northern Germany. All members were German speaking and reading - and most fans that joined lived in Germany.
German writer William Voltz gave us some passive support and became a member on 07-07-1977. This largely contributed to enthuse our small band of PR-fans. Until the first issue of The Peacelord appeared in March 1978, our club hadn't been widely known of. It was about 20 dittographed pages and quite different from contemporary German fanzines. It had cartoons, linoes and short funny sf-stories and jokes. Most German fanzines at this time were quite dry sercon-stuff. Well, The Peacelord was sercon too, but you could hardly call it dry. Even Willi Voltz admitted, that he was reading the funny parts (skipping the bad fan-novels).
The name PEACELORD was taken from the ACE-books-translations of the Perry Rhodan-series. There he was called "The Peacelord of the Universe". The fanzine PEACELORD appeared monthly during 1978 and while it appeared on a regular basis, its print-run went up from 50 to 100 copies. Among the contributors were Joachim Henke, Wolfgang Bolz, Willmar Plewka, Karl-Heinz Schmitz, Klaus Marion, Klaudia Vidmar, Karin Plewka, Stephanie Bockbreder, Rony Kugler and Hans-Juergen Mader. Many of these fans went on later to become quite well known within German fandom for their fanac.
In Sweden George Bobjork joined the club early in 1978. By the end of the year, George and Wolf decided to open up a Swedish section of the club, a purely science fiction-related section however, since Perry Rhodan was mostly unknown in Sweden anyway. And so, in January 1979 they held the first Swedish meeting in order to make contact with Swedish SF fandom. Three Swedish fans, Ahrvid Engholm, Kaj Harju and Leif E Euren turned up to this gathering. First contact with Swedish SF fandom was made.
The Swedish part of Terra Corps went under the name Sigma Terra Corps in which the greek letter Sigma could be standing for Saltsjobaden, Stockholm, Sweden, Scandinavia or the Solar System, depending on just how far it would grow. Using greek letters had become popular in Swedish SF. Sam J Lundwall used Delta and John-Henri Holmberg used Alpha for publishing SF. What could be better suitable than the greek letter for "S" as in "Survivors"?
Tid & Rymd (Time & Space) became the fanzine of Sigma TC. It was first published in May 1979. ...and there would certainly always be a lot of time and space in between every issue. By the end of 1979, Terra Corps had become one of the largest Perry Rhodan/Science Fiction-Clubs in Germany and it had a growing number of followers in Sweden. So we thought it might be a good idea to go into con-running.
The convention was named NaSaCon, short for Nacka-Saltsjobadens science fiction-con and was first arranged in January 1980. The committee was only three fans, Wolf von Witting, Anders Bellis and George Bobjork. Guest of Honour was the swedish composer of electronic music Ralph Lundsten. And it wasn't much of a success.
After the failure with NaSaCon we didn't feel up to doing a second one, but Ahrvid Engholm joined in and convinced us to do a second anyway. NaSaCon II jr was held in the summer of 1981 with a journalist of popular science, Anders Palm, as guest of honour. The second attempt was an improvement on the first as we had more realistic ideas of what we could achieve.
And with this we started a tradition. NaSaCon was held every summer all through the 80's, with a final very ambitious convention in 1990, when we invited Harry Harrison and Brian W Aldiss. Other guests were Mika H Tenhovaara (1982), Mats D Linder (1983), Lars-Olov Strandberg (1984) and Per W Insulander (1985), who were all well known in Swedish fandom. Publisher Jorgen Peterzen (1986), artist Hans Arnold (1987), Norwegian writer Oyvind Myhre (1988) and Sam J Lundwall (1989) shows that we learnt from our experiences enough to go on to better things..
Many people helped with making NaSaCon a success - Ahrvid Engholm, Wolf von Witting, George Bobjork, Elisabeth Almquist, Anders Carlsson, Dan Eriksson, Michael Pargman, Kurt Karneus, Staffan Mossige-Norheim, Mats Lignell, Patric Fors, Janne Johansson, Olle Sahlin, Carina Agebratt, Susanne Bengtson, Anders Bellis, Olof Almquist and others... Upon his departure from the committee, Ahrvid Engholm took most of the old conventions identity with him, since he had been a driving force from 1981 to 1988. However, new ideas and visions were there to be tried.
In Germany two small conventions were held in the vicinity of Bad Kreuznach, arranged by Joachim Henke, Bernd Bartsch and Klaus Marion. They were called Chaoticon I and II and the first was on July 28-29th in 1979. The same team later ran the German national SFCD convention in Hackenheim in 1987. The activities in Germany went on to a level where you could whisper about smofdom. At its peak Terra Corps had over 200 members in 1982.
Many ideas were exchanged in both directions between Swedish and German fandoms. We harvested the best of both worlds and may have had some influence on the developement of fannishness in German fandom. Willmar Plewka, Joachim Henke and Klaus Marion shaped Fandhome Wheekly after the Swedish Veckans Avfentyr (by Anders Bellis and Ahrvid Engholm). The German version became as popular as the Swedish had been.
Joachim Henke and Wolfgang Bolz are some of the German members that have visited Sweden. Wolfgang Bolz witnessed the first NaSaCon in January 1980 and on wednesday July 16th in 1980, Joachim was FGoH at the first Telefangathering in Sverifannish history. Connected through a Hotel switchboard fans got together to talk on the phone by the dozens simultaneously. And then we left a loud message on Sam J Lundwalls answering-machine.
Hans-Jurgen Mader came up through fandom, held many fan gatherings at his home in Orscholz and eventually became the chairman of SFCD. In 1984 the two best German fanzines were published by Terra Corps-people: 1st Andromeda No:112 by Willmar Plewka and 2nd Andromeda No:111 by Wolf von Witting. However, the successes of the individuals had a negative effect on the group as a whole. We never found time or energy to spend on the PRSFC Terra Corps. And then a lethal blow struck all Perry Rhodan-fans and us, writer William Voltz, our hero and icon died on March 24th in 1984. The German half of Terra Corps withered away... It gently fell asleep during 1985.
In January 1987 Sigma TC had a science fiction-exhibition at the local library in Fisksatra. Writer Sten Andersson was invited to read some of his stories to the gathered sf-fans. It was one of Sigma TC's most successful events of the 80's outside of running the convention. Due to annual conventioning, the Swedish half, Sigma TC, was alive and well until 1990 when everyone suddenly felt a collective exhaustion about conrunning. In 1991 Sigma TC was put on ice. We didn't really expect to return.
THE FIRST WINTER
THE NEXT GENERATION
In retrospect, we have to thank Fiona Anderson (London) for the extra momentum we were given. At the time, a sense of collaboration across the borders in European fandom, became almost tangible. The British Eastercons seem to attract a fair contigent of fans from Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. At INTUITION, the Eastercon 1998 in Manchester, Sigma TC was represented by Janne Johansson, Wolf von Witting and Marcus Lindeberg.
Swedish fandom has been running sf-conventions since 1956. How come we didn't have a national convention of our own? This question was raised at a SaltsjöCon and in this time, when Swedish fandom was on its way to recover, several cons were arranged every year. On an initiative of Johan Anglemark (ESFF - Uppsala), Carolina Gomez-Lagerlöf (SFSF), Hans Persson (Linköpings SFF) and Wolf von Witting (Sigma TC) - the series of national Swedish conventions, the SWECON, was started at Confuse in Linköping 1998.
The new team we formed with SaltsjöCon XIV and XV in 1997-98 added with Monica Ringheim and Åsa Anderbalk all we needed for a second peak of con-running activity. With the BaltCon and Junicon of 1999, Sigma TC's series of convention had returned in size and dignity to the level of 1990. At the SWECON in Uppsala 1999, Sigma TC's bid for Nasacon 2000 won a surprise victory over the Confuse bid from Linköping. It was Sigma TC's turn to run the national Swedish convention.
Nasacon 2000 at Scandic Hotel Slussen in central Stockholm became a success in
spite of a shaky start, and it set a new standard for modern Swecons. Ahrvid
Engholm, who acted as our press liaison at this event, did an excellent job.
The convention was mentioned in approximately 50 news articles (all the major
newspapers in Sweden), in six radioshows (among them in Radio Sweden) and three
times in the TV news cast. In media attention, this single convention
attracted more attention than all our previous media coverage put together.
As an encore, half of our team was engaged in the follow-up "Fantastika 2001" ( arranged together with SFSF) at Kulturhuset right in the heart of Stockholm. The Alvar awarded to Wolf von Witting for 2001, is more a result of Sigma TC teamwork than any previous Alvar. Also... not surprisingly... the ability for Sigma TC to successfully run an sf-convention was seriously impaired, when Janne Johansson and Monica Ringheim decided to engage in more mundane activities like getting married and to procreate.
Our 25th Anniversary was celebrated with dinner at Chez Salvador and with impressive fireworks to follow from the traditional rocket launch site near Villa Caprifol in Fisksätra. Among the people who also attended our 10th Anniversary in 1986, and who still (or again) were with us we note George Bobjörk, Lars-Olov Strandberg and Ahrvid Engholm.
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