“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 You might want to talk to them and listen to their stories, but you’ll have to tolerate some offensive and outdated opinions along the way.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.
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.
M’athchomaroon! Hei! Hello! My name is David Peterson (on Tumblr, dedalvs), and I’m the language creator for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Syfy’s Defiance, Syfy’s Dominion, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful and the CW’s The 100. I’m writing this post to let you know that I’ll be taking over the Helsinki in 2017 Tumblr!
Helsinki in 2017 is a bid to get the World Science-Fiction Convention (known more popularly as WorldCon) to Helsinki, Finland two years from now. In order to win the bid, we need supporting and attending members to vote for the Helsinki bid this summer over the other competing bids. It’s a multi-round condorcet voting system, so even if we don’t get your first place vote, we’d love your second place vote! If you’d like to go vote now, you may do so here (and for an explanation for how voting works, read the instructions here).
I’m stumping for Helsinki in 2017 for a couple reasons. First, WorldCon is the World Science Fiction Convention, yet most of the time the convention is held in America (out of 74 WorldCons [including this year’s in Spokane, Washington and next year’s in Kansas City, Missouri], 55 have been held in the United States—nearly 75%!). I’m in favor of spreading the love. Plus, Finland is one of the coolest places in the world, and if you follow this Tumblr, you’ll find out why in the weeks to come!
If you’re interested in scifi, fantasy, power metal or Moomins, I encourage you to follow us here and find out what a nice summer trip to Finland in 2017 will be like. Kiitos!
And it’s about our under-appreciated-but-slowly-getting-some-recognition-finally artform conlanging, which is often directly relevant to science-fiction and fantasy—especially as it relates to TV and film in recent years.