Author Archives: Alex von Thorn

Many Generations, All Fandom

David Gerrold posted this to Facebook on August 26; we liked his comment so much we are reposting it here (with his permission):

 

Yesterday’s opinion piece from the daily dot comparing Nine Worlds Convention and Worldcon with the conclusion that SF fandom is aging out — with obligatory put downs about sexism and the generation gap — has generated, and is likely to generate a great deal more, very interesting and serious discussions on FB.

First, everything I’ve read suggests that Loncon3 was a great success, with 10,000 people attending and most of them having a good time.

That’s a pretty good measure of a great convention. So congratulations to the committee for a good job, despite a bit of earlier turbulence.

But let me return to the assertions of the article.

First — fandom really got going post-WWII. It became not only a community, but a family, for what was at that time a very-marginalized fringe genre. And for the first twenty years post-WWII, it was a very insular community. You had to already be a fan to know about fandom.

Today — we are finally at the point where we have an older generation of fans who actually grew up in this community and who have lived in it all their lives. They didn’t arrive on the geezer bus from the local nursing home. They were here mostly from their own adolescence. Most of them have paid their dues in a variety of ways. Elder fandom is now a permanent part of our landscape. Elder fans are our family. And just like in any other family, they are just as entitled to be crotchety, fossilized, curmudgeonly, cranksters, muttering about how, “in my day, we didn’t have interwebz. If we wanted to feud with someone, we had to crank up the mimeo machine and paste stamps on envelopes and schlep it all down to the post office to call someone a ducknoggle.”

And … btw, elder fandom is also a great source of experience, lessons learned, history, traditions, wisdom, insights, and gossip. Especially gossip. You want to learn the stuff that doesn’t make it into the history books — and no, I’m not talking about who sawed Courtney’s boat — you have to talk to someone over fifty or sixty to find out the hoary details of the bare-breasted women in the masquerade at the third Star Trek convention….

Fandom isn’t aging out. It’s maturing. It’s evolving into a complete community. Yes, the average age of a convention attendee is rising. And yes, the current crop of twelve-year-olds is more likely to be involved with movies, TV shows, and video games than trips to the library, and yes, publishing and marketing have changed so it’s getting harder for a writer to not have a day job. (My day job is throwing the ball for the terrier, but it doesn’t pay well.)

And yes, elders will look somewhat askance at the younger generations of fans — part of it is simply not understanding the avalanche of new writers, new interests, new media, new ideas, new everything. I remember my own strange unease seeing the first rise of graphic novels (way back when), before I finally recognized the energy they were bringing to the genre. I remember older male fans in the mid-sixties becoming somewhat askance at the influx of Star Trek fans to SF conventions — especially because so many of them had … you know, vaginas.

But in fandom, the generation gap is there only if you want it to be there — only if you bring it yourself. If you have an issue with youngsters or with oldsters, you’ll be carrying your own personal generation gap — as the author of that daily dot article did.

Mostly, if you look around at the crowds, at the audiences in the room, if you look at all the various gatherings, the masquerades, the gaming rooms, the media rooms — if you look and see who’s just sitting around and chatting with who, you’ll more often see groups that are age-blind. You don’t see that in a lot of other places — but you do see it in fandom, where people of all different ages interact without age being a judgment on ability or insight.

A convention is a place to play — where we all get to be children of all ages.

That’s what the daily dot article missed. And more.

The whole world is changing. Back in the fifties and sixties, we thought the future would look like something out of Buck Rogers, with flying cars and jet packs. We never stopped to consider that jet packs and flying cars are not only not cost effective, they’re simply not practical. They’re a waste of fuel and resources, they’re too expensive, and they represent noise and pollution and danger to the rest of the community. They didn’t represent significant value to us.

But what we got instead — ?!!

Look around yourself. In fact, look at how you’re reading this ramble.

We’re living in the future we really wanted. We have personal computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, digital cameras, wall-size 3D TV, GPS navigation built into hybrid cars (soon to be self-driving), instantaneous global communication, a near cashless society, robots on Mars, solar power panels, an International Space Station, routine organ transplants (with lab grown organs in the pipeline), medical advances that were unthinkable just a generation ago, 3D printers, fresh fruits and vegetables all year round, and so much more, I’ll leave it up to the rest of you to list. We have the future we designed for our own convenience.

Best of all, we have the Internet, which gives us immediate access to friends, family, news, videos, information, education, resources of all kinds.

This changes us. It changes who we are and how we perceive the world. It’s one of the reasons TLGB rights have been recognized as civil rights. It’s one of the reasons why the civil rights of women and African-Americans and immigrants and the poor have become part of the national conversation. It accelerates our ability to hear about issues, learn about them, and make appropriate choices.

Yes, we are stumbling, fumbling, and bumbling our way into the future. But on the long-term scale, the violence in our cities is in decline, the ravages of disease are in decline, even the scale of war has been on a steady decline since WWII. All of this is directly or indirectly related to the various technologies we’ve created to make our lives more efficient.

Now, what does that mean for fandom? It means that all the various cultural phenomena that have changed the world we live in are also at work on science fiction and fantasy and horror. It means that our genres are also evolving. It means that the fandoms of the genres are changing and adapting as well.

If SF was always about pushing the boundaries of what we know about science — as well as what we know about ourselves as human beings — then what’s happening now is just the next part of the process. We’re stretching, growing, learning, becoming.

Take one moment out of time — a single convention — and you’re going to get a distorted view. But look at the continuing changes that occur over time and you get a better sense of the entire process of growth and evolution of the genre.

Where once the Worldcon was THE convention of the year, we now have San Diego Comic-Con and multiple other comic-cons all over the country, we have Dragon-Con, we have multiple anime cons, furry cons, gay cons, media cons, horror cons, Star Trek cons, and so many local and regional cons that fans are often distraught trying to choose which ones to attend. And along the way, non-genre fandoms have started having their own conventions as well. The convention has become the replacement for the state fair in an urban society.

Any assertion that the Worldcon “should be” or “must be” or “is supposed to be” is usually someone’s ego claiming authority to judge. Nope. The Worldcon is going to be what it is — a cross-section of fandom at the moment the Worldcon occurs. It will represent what the committee thinks a good convention should be, and those who choose to attend will represent a cross section of those who think the Worldcon is worth attending.

To those who complain about Worldcon or any other convention — join the committee. Volunteer. Or create your own committee and bid and learn the hard way just how difficult and complex the job is — and how amazing the results are when it all comes together.

Meanwhile — at least here’s my take on it — there’s only one real judgment to have on fandom or conventions. Am I having a good time?

Over here, the answer is still yes. (Of course, I’m not the average attendee, but that’s a different discussion.)

–David Gerrold

Marijuana

Marijuana is legal in the State of Washington; however, it is still prohibited by federal law. And, public consumption of marijuana products is still illegal under the new Washington State law. Therefore, marijuana use is not permitted in any convention space including open parties and parties on the party floor. For more information regarding the new regulations and law, please refer to the Washington State Liquor Control Board page on the matter. This page is updated regularly.

Agents, and a correction

MEDIA RELEASE 2014-2

Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention
19-23 August 2015 at Spokane WA USA
http://sasquan.org

Sasquan announces appointment of international agents

Spokane, 9 August 2014

Sasquan is pleased to announce the appointment of three international agents who will help to represent Sasquan at many conventions throughout the world.

Alan Stewart, of Australia, will be Sasquan’s agent for conventions in Australia and New Zealand. Tamie Inoue of Japan will be Sasquan’s agent for Asia and Japan. Paul Dormer of the United Kingdom will be Sasquan’s agent for Europe.

Sasquan would be glad to hear from people who would like to be agents for Africa, South America, or other regions.

All of the agents for Sasquan may be reached by emailing agents@sasquan.org. The appropriate agent will respond to your question.

Full details of how to become a member of Sasquan are available at
https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php


CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS MEDIA RELEASE:

The new rate for converting a YA membership from Supporting to Attending in the previous media release was incorrect. It was given as $95. The correct amount is $55. The amount on the website is correct. We apologize for the error.


ENDS

For general media enquiries about Sasquan please contact .

ABOUT THE WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION

Founded in 1939, the World Science Fiction Convention is one of the
largest international gatherings of authors, artists, editors,
publishers, and fans of science fiction and fantasy. The annual Hugo
Awards, the leading award for excellence in the fields of science
fiction and fantasy, are voted on by the Worldcon membership and
presented during the convention.

Sasquan is organized under the banner of the SWOC: http://swoc.org/contact.php

“World Science Fiction Society”, “WSFS”, “World Science Fiction
Convention”, “Worldcon”, “NASFiC”, “Hugo Award”, the Hugo Award Logo,
and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Trophy Rocket are service
marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary
society.

Sasquan Listens, as our year begins

We invite you to join us at Loncon 3 on Monday, 18 August 2014, at 3pm at their Closing Ceremonies to pick up the gavel and officially start Sasquan’s year as the current Worldcon! There will be fun and prizes. Monday, August 18, 3:00 PM at Excel Second Stage (level 1).

Following that ceremony, our first program item will appear – “Sasquan Listens”. Our chair, vice-chair, some division heads and committee members will be there to answer questions and take suggestions about what you would like to see at the 2015 Worldcon. Tell us what you think, and what you’d like to do with us. Help us plan another great Worldcon! Monday, August 10, 4:30 PM at Excel Capital Suite 13 (level 3).

International rates for membership

Sasquan announces international rates: Attending memberships will be accepted for £100 or €125. This is only for in-person membership sales at our tables at conventions in Britain and Europe. This rate is good until August 31, 2014.

Other membership types will be:
Supporting: £25, €30
Converting Supporting to Attending: £75, €95
Child: £40, €50
Young Adult: £55, €65

Online registration through the website will continue to be in US dollars. Exchange rates will be calculated by the credit card provider or our financial partner (PayPal).

More information about registration and uogrades are available at the Sasquan Registration page.

Membership rates increase September 1

Membership rates for Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, will increase at 12:01 AM Pacific Time on 1 September 2014. The new rates will be good at least through the end of December 2014.

 

The new rates are:

Full Attending Membership                                      $190

Convert Supporting to Attending                                150

Young Adult Attending                                                  95

Convert YA Supporting to Attending                             95

Child Attending                                                             80

Military Attending                                                          95

 

Through the end of January 2015, those who presupported may take a $20 discount off the appropriate conversion rates. Supporting memberships remain at $40.

Currently, Sasquan has 1,356 Attending Members and 913 Supporting Members (as of 6 August 2014). Sasquan has a total of 2,350 members (including other classes of membership).

 

The current, lower rates will be good past the end of both Loncon 3 and Shamrocon (this year’s Eurocon), and Sasquan will have a fan table at both those conventions.

 

Further information, rates in other currencies, and full details of how to become a member of Sasquan are available the Registration page.

 

Progress Report #1 is online

Members of Sasquan, and anyone else interested, can read our Progress Report #1 online. What’s in it?

  • Brad Foster’s first encounter with real food
  • Tom Smith encountering the papal apocalypse
  • David Gerrold at the first Star Trek convention
  • A piece about Vonda McIntyre, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Christopher Reeve
  • Leslie Turek and the first First Night
  • A remembrance of Bobbie DuFault
  • Something about shipping blueberries from Russia to Phoenix to feed the sasquatches
  • Many strange drawings of sasquatches by Brad Foster
  • Plus the usual, membership list, conventions updates, and so on. Lots of good stuff here, don’t miss it!

    Hugo voting? Join Loncon!

    Are you a member of Sasquan? Then you are eligible to vote in the Hugos. Next year! If you would like to participate in voting in this year’s Hugo Awards, you need to be a member of this year’s Worldcon, Loncon 3. Celebrating the best of science fiction and fantasy is what Worldcons are about, and the Hugo Awards are a very important part of that. If you can’t attend in person, you can become a supporting member for only US$40. You can join Loncon 3 today at http://www.loncon3.org/memberships/.

    73rd Worldcon Announces Rate Increase Effective January 31, 2014

    December 31, 2013

    73rd Worldcon Announces Rate Increase Effective January 31, 2014

    Spokane WA – Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), announces that some pre-registration rates will go up on January 31, 2014.

    As of January 31, 2014, full adult attending membership prices will go up by $30, from $140 to $170. Supporting memberships remain unchanged at $40. Online registration and a printable form are available at https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php.

    Pre-supporter discounts currently remain in effect for pre-registrations. Please check the website for these discounts.

    Sasquan will be held August 19-23, 2015, in Spokane WA. The World Science Fiction Convention, founded in 1939, is one of the best places to meet and converse with writers, editors, artists, fans, and others connected to the science fiction and fantasy universe.

    ###

    PRESS INFORMATION FOR THE 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, Sasquan

    To subscribe or unsubscribe to our Press Release mailing list, go to
    http://lists.sasquan.org/mailman/listinfo/pressrelease.

    Memberships for Sasquan can be purchased at http://www.sasquan/org.

    For more details on Sasquan, visit http://www.sasquan/org.

    “World Science Fiction Society,” “WSFS,” “World Science Fiction Convention,” “Worldcon,” “NASFiC,” “Hugo Award,” the Hugo Award Logo, and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Trophy Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.

    Thanks for your generosity!

    Earlier this week, our guest of honor, David Gerrold, posted a request on Facebook for help paying for a critical operation for his son. This was referred to us earlier today, and this post was going to pass on David’s request.

    But it now appears that David has been a bit overwhelmed by the generosity of his friends and friends-of-friends, and as of half an hour ago he has just posted:

    “Okay, we have officially overshot the target.
    Everybody please stop sending money! (I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.)
    Sean is amazed. I’m overwhelmed. Except when he’s overwhelmed and I’m amazed.
    More shortly.”

    We know this request was passed through many channels. We are grateful to members of our community, and to everyone else who is donating, to help Sean with this critical and time-sensitive emergency.