worldcon

“Worldcon is like a family reunion,” said longtime convention-goer and fanzine writer Curt Phillips, at a panel about the 72-year history of the World Science Fiction Convention.

After a few days at Worldcon, I could only agree. It was indeed like being at a family reunion, in that it felt like you were spending your time with elderly relatives. You might want to talk to them and listen to their stories, but you’ll have to tolerate some offensive and outdated opinions along the way.

The program organizers were obviously aware of the issues presented by Worldcon’s aging population. However, during discussions about how to attract a new generation the convention, I’d hear people talking about how the Internet is isolating and incomprehensible—or how it lacked the personal touch of fanzine mailing lists.

One audience member asked what had happened to slash fanfic. Why didn’t he see it in fanzines any more? What made it die out? Apparently he was unaware of the vast quantity of slashfic being posted online, including in older fandoms like Star Trek, which long ago made the jump from print to Internet.

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At this year’s Hugo Awards, author and blogger Kameron Hurley dominated the fandom categories. First she won Best Fan Writer, before going on to win Best Related Work for her brilliant and widely-shared blog post We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative.

Even in a normal year, this double win would be worth talking about. But this year’s Fan Writer shortlist was interesting in itself, showing a drastic change from the category’s five-decade love affair with a predominantly male demographic of fanzine writers.

One of the most surprising things I learned at WorldCon is that plenty of attendees are still resistant to the idea of Internet fandom. Many seemed borderline unaware of the vibrant community of fans making friends on Twitter all around them, and viewed blogging as a way to shout hopelessly into the void.

To the tens of thousands of Doctor Who and Star Trek fans who have been using the Internet for decades, or to the Millennials whose only fandom experience is online, this stolidly anti-Internet attitude comes across as downright surreal. This year’s Fan Writer shortlist was a welcome sign that at long last, the sci-fi establishment has been dragged into the present day.

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If Gail Simone says it’s Cosplay Appreciation Day, who I am I to contradict her? Here’s a selection of my best and/or favorite costumes from 2010 to today, including all of my award-winning work. Click through the captions to see details. Many, many details.

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I am doing an essay on fanfiction and needed to look up fanfiction history. It found if interesting and thought I would share some of it with you!

  • 1930 First fanzine ‘The Comet’
  • 1936 Eight fans from NY traveled to Philadelphia to meet other fans
  • 1939 The first annual WorldCon in NY
  • 1967 First Star Trek fanzine ‘Spockanalia’
  • 1973 The term ‘Mary-Sue’ is coined
  • 1974 First time that Hugo awards nominees were fanfiction writers
  • 1974 First known slash fanfiction “A Fragment Out of Time”
  • 1978 It was reported that 83% of fanfiction writers are women
  • 1978 First completely slash fanzine the ‘Naked Times’
  • 1980 Usenet a WW distributed internet discussion system is the first website to have fanfictions
  • 1983 Star Wars. Cagney and Lacey are the first lesbian slash
  • 1992 The Forever Knight fandom is the first to have an online mailing list
  • 1996 “A Story About a Women Who Wins and Beds Spock” is first known future relationship fic
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For Loncon 3 weekend: 66% off all ebooks in the Ebooks Direct Store

It’s making both of us a bit crazy, but business that needs to be done at home and in other venues means we can’t do Worldcon this year, even when it’s as close as London.

That said, there’s no reason not to celebrate it and its attendees. So for the convention weekend, all our ebook stock at the Ebooks Direct store is  going for 66% off. No need to use discount codes: the store has already knocked 2/3 off all the prices.

So if you’ve been waiting for a sale, this is a good time to reward your self-control (especially as we don’t discount any lower than this). In particular, the 9-volume Young Wizards New Millennium Edition box set is a good deal at this discount level. ($18.99 instead of nearly $63.00? You do the math.) And there are all kinds of other things available too.

(One note on this: the signed hardcovers and paperbacks are not part of the sale. But you might like looking at them anyway. Another thing: all the physical books are being moved to their new home at signedbooksdirect.com over the weekend. We’ll post here when the store’s ready. For all of you who’ve been saying you prefer physical books to electronic ones… now you’ll be able to get them, signed and personalized. And there are a fair number of rare books and collectibles in the new offering.)

Anyway: if you’d reblog this so that others can see it who otherwise might not have, Peter and I would appreciate it.

Thanks!

An Analysis of the Hugo Art Categories

[Previously, I talked about how the structure of the ‘Pro Art’ and ‘Fan Art’ categories at the Hugos are a little borked.]

First, I should note that there are several awards for science fiction & fantasy (sf&) art: the Hugos have two categories for art, the Chesley Awards are entirely dedicated to sf&f art, we have the Spectrum Fantastic Art Awards, and there is an ‘Artist’ category among the World Fantasy Awards.  

As far as I am aware, those are the most prominent awards for sf&f artists out there aside from medium-specific awards (like the Eisners).  One could of course argue that the Hugos are also ‘medium-specific,’ given their primary focus on literary sf&f, but I would point out that, given their multimedia (and ‘fan’) categories, this distinction is true more in the behavior of its voters than by explicit definition (whereas, say, the Eisners are primarily about ‘comics’ both behaviorally and in practice).

So, then, why am I going to ‘pick on’ the Hugos, if there are other awards for sf&f artists? For two reasons: (1) the Hugos are a Very Big Name (possibly the most recognizable among those listed), and as such, stand out from the crowd in both prestige and longevity; and (2) the Hugos website gives me lots of data to work with.

And that data, my friends, speaks volumes.

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Hi friends.

I swear I’m not turning this into a feed for my Instagram because BORING. it’s just that I have limited access to any internet whatsoever and WE ALL KNOW HOW WELL THE TUMBLR APP WORKS. So I just feed my Instagram photos over so that this doesn’t stay empty for weeks at a time. The last two days were my only non-work days for this trip, hence the live blogging of my day. THIS CITY IS RIDICULOUS.

Anyway, I’m on my way to London now for WorldCon! You should come out if you can. I’ve got panels on queer baiting, representation and whitewashing in fandom, liking problematic shit, and a three hour Mark Does Stuff extravaganza tomorrow night from 11pm to 2am. It’ll be wild. Bring your pajamas.

Also, I have an event open to the public on Monday. You can come to that if you can’t make it to Loncon3. https://www.facebook.com/events/533661370077931/permalink/541330042644397/

(I have been so busy I forgot about the Hugos. OH GOD I AM SO NERVOUS.)

Hope y’all are doing well!