David Gibbs is a true renaissance person. Some aspects of this include: Life Master at Bridge, avid rock climber and ball room dancer, plays soccer in his spare time, motorcycle riding; he rode his motorcycle to the San Francisco World Con and he tackled a bicycle trip through Europe with his friend David Weil where they invented a game of put-pocket where they would swap a can of beans into each others bags, which they continued for years as they travelled to cons together. Other quirks include that he had specially built bookshelves for his paperback collection in his kitchen, he is a longtime RUSH fan, and he has a history of having his "horses" die underneath him, and then just leaving them by the side of the road and carrying on. His friend Kyle Duncan says he has walked away from at least one vehicle on the 401, never to return.
He can’t recall the first science fiction book he ever read but his favourite authors include Harlan Ellison, Walter Jon Williams, Steven Brust, and Lois McMaster Bujold. His favourite SF movie is “Bladerunner.” An avid war and board games player he started going to Cangames in Ottawa around 1983, this lead to his first SF con Maplecon 7 in 1985 where the teenage David didn't sleep for the whole con 68 1/2 hours without sleep, but he did get 5 meals a day. He followed quickly by his first out of town convention Ad Astra in Toronto in 1986. In 1990 he started to explore the world of American SF cons with Contradiction in Niagara Falls.
His first Michigan con was Immaculate ConFusion in 1991. He found Michigan fandom to be very friendly. He has often been mistaken for past COnFusion Fan Guest of Honor Chuck Firment when both were clean shaven and had long hair or both had beards and long hair. David is always the one with the long hair. He quickly became a regular in Michigan adding ConClave, Contraption, Bacchanal and Penguicon to his yearly round of conventions. He has been to at least 44 Michigan conventions since then and often attends sf fan meetings between cons when his computer business employer QNX sends him to the Detroit area to work.
David has been to at least 137 science fiction conventions from Arisia in Boston to Disclave in Washington DC to Rivercon in Louisville to Windycon in Chicago. His first Worldcon was Chicon V in 1991 in Chicago and he has been to 7 since then most recently working at Anticipation the 2009 worldcon in Montreal. He started working on conventions in 1991 when he started going to many in a year. David says that “Working on the cons doesn't necessarily make them any more/less interesting, except that I find for a con where I don't know many people, working the con is a really good way to meet people.”
His friend Engene Heller has this to say about him: The problem with trying to introduce David is that, if you've been hanging around Michigan convention fandom for a while, then chances are that you already know him. A fan of varied interests, you can often find him in gaming, on a dance floor (nattily dressed), or at a party discussing whatever comes to mind.
In writing about a Fan Guest of Honour, I find myself wanting to tell of rock star fannish exploits, such as chairing a convention or pubbing an ish -- that's not David. He does do his share of volunteering and often agrees with me about the participatory nature of sf cons (that's how you really know that I approve of him) but what brings Confusion to choose to honour him is a much homelier virtue: he's friendly.
David is a social focal point. In Ottawa, he often throws open the doors of his home for gaming days (and unless you are a member of a very select group, he has more games than you do) or grabs people for hiking and climbing expeditions. He is also known for regular port (wine) parties at which he displays what he calls his unfortunately more and more educated palate. Watch out, he's recently started learning about different scotches and chocolates.
In 1991, at Con*cept, a small convention in Montreal, one of my friends who had been working to help keep our staff den and green room running missed her train to return home. She had been confused about the departure time. She also had to be home in order to start the bread in the bakery at which she worked, in Burlington, Vermont. David didn't hesitate to just get in his car and drive for four hours, round trip, to get her there. He got back in time to join us at the dead dog party because, you know, David likes parties.