From the very beginning science fiction was very male-focused or male-controlled. There were a few women involved, but an awful lot of them were just the wives of the fans. So when Star Trek started, it had a very large female component, which I think the networks never really understood…they persisted in feeling that all Star Trek fans were sixteen-year-old guys with acne who wore eighty-seven buttons on their shirts. I mean, we tried to tell them, but they never listened. A lot of people were drawn into fandom because of Star Trek, many of them women, and the old-line fans started to feel like they were losing their grip on their own hobby…
I’m not being very polite about this but, again, it was just a question of, ‘I want to talk about Asimov and you’ve never even heard of Asimov, so why are you trying to take over? There are so many of you!’ I mean, we had about four thousand attending the Worldcon in 1967, and then when Elyse Rosenstein and I decided to do our own convention, it was so many more people. So the science-fiction fans sort of felt overwhelmed and there was a certain amount of hostility.
Devra Langsam, quoted in The Fifty-Year Mission Volume 1 by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross.
Interesting to hear from one of the key women figures in early Trek fandom on the dynamics of SF cons after Star Trek debuted, and how the resistance to Trek fans in SF was gendered.
Hey Seanan! If you're likely to be at Worldcon this year are there any British sweets etc that you would like as an offering? (Or anything for your majestic floofs)
Thomas cost…so much money. So much money. People were amazing in helping with his vet bills, and I am eternally grateful, but even with help, he cost so much money. So I’m afraid a trip to Helsinki is not in the cards for me this year. :( I wish I could go; I’m gutted to miss it; I love my cat more than I love the idea of attendance.
I may have just booked train and ferry tickets to Helsinki this summer! Go down to London on July 31st, catch the Eurostar and other trains to Hamburg on August 1st. Spend a couple of days in Hamburg, then get the ferry to Helsinki at 3am on August 4th, arriving into Helsinki at 9am on August 5th, in time to meet my friends arriving from the US!!!
I was gonna go via Copenhagen and Stockholm, but the number of train connections was making me nervous and I wouldn’t have had much time to look around anyway so a couple of days in Hamburg and then a short cruise sounds nice ^^
I am slightly freaking out about both the travel and spending money on it but… *shrugs* I’ve been planning this trip since Helsinki won the Worldcon bid.
I really want to start cosplaying, but my parents just don't understand the concept of it and I can't seem to get their permission to take me out and buy supplies, any tips?
How would you explain cosplay to your best friend? Most likely it would be different than explaining to a person on the street. Parents, like regular people, are all unique and you need to explain things in a way that works for them. I can’t tell you how to explain cosplay to your parents and get permission, but I can give you information and resources that can help you out.
What Is Cosplay?
Cosplay is fan costuming. It’s the act of dressing up, and sometimes acting, as a specific character from media such as television, anime, comics, videogames, books or movies. These costumes can be purchased but are often homemade by the wearer, who is often a fan of the character or series. It’s kind of like Halloween, but dressing up as “Captain America” rather than “Witch” and usually the costumes are a lot more accurate.
It is believed to have been started in 1939 (at least in the west) when Myrtle R. Douglas made and wore costumes alongside Forrest J. Ackerman at a convention called Worldcon. It grew in popularity over the years and is continued to this day! You can learn more about cosplay’s history here, here and here.
Cosplayers mainly do their thing at events called conventions. These are large gatherings with a focus on a particular media (such as comic books, like San Diego Comic Con) or multiple media (FanExpo focuses on Anime, Gaming, Horror and Comics).
Sometimes cosplayers will host meetups, like a cosplay picnic or cosplay skate. Some cosplayers also choose to do photoshoots with a photographer outside of conventions and meetups. Some cosplayers will wear their costumes to other local events, like Free Comic Book Day, or during Halloween.
How is Cosplay Beneficial?
Community: Both online and offline, cosplay allows you to connect with a community of fellow costume makers and nerds. It’s a great way to make friends and connect with people who have similar interests.
Useful Skills: Through cosplay you can learn about wig/hairstyling, makeup, sewing, embroidery, engineering, tools and construction, painting, circuits, stage performances, budgeting, time management and even photography.
Career Choices and Side Jobs Cosplay could be the introduction for a future career or just an interesting side job to fall back on: cosmotologist, hairstylist, makeup artist, pattern designer, tailor, photographer, costume designer, fashion designer, party princess/hero, photographer, prop maker or engineer.
But is it a waste? No. I don’t consider it a waste any more than any other sort of hobby or pastime is, or any other personal purchase. I spend my money on costumes, my boyfriend’s sister buys concert tickets, my friend buys books, my boyfriend buys videogames, another friend goes to sports games. It’s all good in moderation.
Isn’t Cosplay … Weird?
Yes and no. It’s not a very mainstream hobby and so there are lots of people who might view it as weird because they don’t understand it or know what it is. However, it’s steadily growing in popularity; Cosplay has been featured on television, regularly makes it’s way into the news and has even been discussed in magazines. For the public, it’s not as ‘weird’ as it once might have been considered.
Are “Party Princesses” weird when they show up to to a birthday party they were invited to? Is it weird to see costumes on Halloween? Is it weird to wear a costume to a costume party? Not really, those are situations where the costumes are appropriate to the situation. Cosplay is a part of the convention event and convention attendees expect cosplayers to be there. So it’s not weird, it is appropriate for that setting and it can be explained as such.
If weirdness is a concern to you, you can always change into the costume at the event to avoid the general public.
How Can Parents Be Involved?
Getting parents involved is a great way to show them the hobby and get them excited about it! Here are some ways you can get your parents involved
Have them help you choose a character to dress as.
Have them help you break the costume down and figure out how to make it
Get them to help you sew or construct a costume or prop!
What is your real-world relationship/history with Heinlein/his writing?
Saying “we were friends” sounds a touch presumptuous, even at this end of time. But it was true enough.
First of all: I am a Heinlein fan. He was one of my major introductions to science fiction (at age eight). I have all his books, some of them signed. Maybe nobody would blame me too much for being particularly protective of my autographed copy of Friday, as I’m one of the women mentioned in the dedication. His entire body of work was, and remains, a basic influence on my own. .
Backtracking a bit: Heinlein read The Door into Fire shortly after it came out, and sent me a fan letter (which I keep around to glance at on occasions when I’m in doubt about my eligibility to call myself a writer). We met physically for the first time when he was Guest of Honor at Worldcon in Miami: and after that he gave me his phone number and told me to call him when I needed writing advice.
So this I did. He got to be something of a kindly-grandfather figure for me over the years that followed: always worth listening to, full of good level-headed advice: courtly (and the only living being ever to call me “honey chile” and get away with it), witty, encouraging, dry, with a broad prospect across decades of publishing and a sharp eye for what worked and what didn’t. He came to be a Young Wizards fan, particularly delighted with Dairine (who he correctly thought was strongly influenced by Poddy’s somewhat amoral and opportunistic little brother in Podkayne of Mars) and Ed (”I’m a Navy man,” Robert* told me in one phone conversation after reading Deep Wizardry: “we don’t like sharks. You made me like that shark. That was a dirty trick.”).
Occasionally I would see him when he passed through the East Coast on his way to one cruise or another – this being one of the things he and Ginny liked to do in their twilight years. I think the last time I saw him in the flesh was at a get-together he threw at his hotel in Manhattan when they were on their way, I think to China. But we spoke often enough after that until he got ill: and then, too suddenly, he was gone.
He remains one of the people in my life who I have trouble believing is dead even though I know it all too well to be the case. He was unfailingly kind to me, and the debt I owe him for his help and friendliness is often on my mind. I miss him a lot, and I try always to do work that he wouldn’t have to take me to task about – that being, I think, the kind of memorial he’d prefer.
*There were people who called him “Bob”, but I wasn’t one of them: he was always “Robert” to me.