“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 You might want to talk to them and listen to their stories, but you’ll have to tolerate some offensive and outdated opinions along the way.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.
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!
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.
Last Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending this ceremony in the company of my beloved Elizabeth Bear and several close friends, and I was feeling richly deserving of all the honors and attention the universe had to offer, for I had spent most of the afternoon re-teaching myself how to properly tie a tie without girlfriend assistance. Gods bless YouTube.
I have a great many things to say on the subject of the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies and the fallout from their massive self-immolation, but I’m going to try to confine my comments here to the ceremony itself.
• First, I want to applaud the administrators for awarding Hugo statuettes to both Cixin Liu and his translator, Ken Liu, and not merely giving Ken a Hugo to hold and pass on to the writer. Translated works are major endeavors on both ends, and I’m pleased that Ken’s hard work wasn’t merely subsumed into Cixin Liu’s. Seemingly minor points of courtesy like this are very important in the grander tapestry of our fandom.
• Second, I want to earnestly exhort future Hugo ceremony planners to please, please drop the clips from nominated films and TV series. Just drop the damn things! They are an awkward and singular interruption in a ceremony that needs to be streamlined whenever possible. We don’t read sample sentences from nominated short stories. We don’t read sample paragraphs from nominated novels. We don’t show sample illustrations by the nominated artists.* So why do we show sample clips from visual media when, not to put too fine a point on it, the creators of that media can so rarely be bothered to even notice (let alone attend) the ceremony? Why do we grant a unique honor to the two formats that are already far more heavily publicized than our other categories ever will be, and are generally produced by people with the greatest degree of dissociation from the Hugo community? Who are we trying to impress, them or ourselves? Either way, I write it off as a waste of time.
• Third, I now ship David Gerrold and Tananarive Due. I know that this is impossible for several reasons but I ship it anyway. They were a marvelously engaging pair, she in her Uhura cosplay and he in his multi-Doctor homage. They were deft when things went goofy and even turned the ongoing disorganization of the script into a running gag. There was a general shortage of staged comedy that I found very pleasant; I think it’s a big mistake to try and make the Hugo ceremony revolve around skits. Just give us a pair of capable entertainers being themselves and let the thing flow. For the most part, that’s exactly what we got.
• I grasp the technical complexities of staging something like the Hugos so I’m going to try not to dwell too long on the minor issues. However, it became very apparent many times that the order of the nominees presented on the viewscreen was not congruent with the order of the nominees as scripted for the two hosts, and even David and Tananarive were getting a bit flustered by it. This isn’t a highly delicate technical trick we’re discussing… it’s a matter of basic organization. So c’mon. But hey, nothing exploded and nobody died.
*If a future Hugo ceremony were to attempt to use tech resources to weave a more coherent visual tapesty, (e.g. an ongoing slideshow of works by nominated artists, covers of nominated novels, sentences from nominated works, etc.), the film and TV clips might seem less starkly incongruous.
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.
i’m traveling (again) and some of you lovely folks live where i’ll be in the next two weeks. i’m reading from my novel, discussing what it’s like being a queer nerd of color in the sci-fi/fantasy community, and then reading terrible things to you.
come hang out, even if you don’t know what i do or don’t care.
There is a Kickstarter that a friend and I have been working
on. It’s a comic history book on the history of fandoms and fan conventions,
with specific focus on the cons of Baltimore/DC area like Otakon, BronyCon,
etc. I wanted to properly promote it but I been on the road traveling from con
to con for a month and haven’t had the time. The project was picked for a
Kickstarter Staff Pick but it doesn’t look like we will met our goal. I plan to
relaunch it again in time for AnthroCon and Otakon. However if you want to help
promote or support the project, every donation helps. Thanks.