“Worldcon is like a family reunion,” said longtime convention-goer and fanzine writer Curt Phillips, at a panel about the history of Worldcon. After a few days, 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 You might want to talk to them and listen to their stories, but you’ll have to tolerate some offensive and outdated opinions along the way.For the Daily Dot, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw examines how the growing generation gap is changing the face of fandom, comparing the recent London Worldcon with the Nine Worlds convention run the weekend before.
So when someone like John C. Wright holds up Heinlein as the best SF writer ever, I have to wonder what world they’re living in. An important writer in the genre, absolutely. The best ever? Really? Way to declare the race over before everyone’s even gotten to the starting line, buddy.Natalie Luhrs is unhappy about John Wright's invocation of Robert Heinlein to bolster claims of witch hunts against rightwing science fiction writers. [more inside]
Because that’s what he’s doing, right? He’s trying to draw a line around SF. In Wright’s world, there’s no room in SF for people who aren’t like him and, furthermore, no one’s work can ever come close to that of a man who died in 1988. That’s just. No. I don’t want to read that kind of SF anymore. I did my time there and it’s well past time to move on.
"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is without a doubt the most boring, soulless, stacked revolution I’ve ever read. The people of the Moon – that is, actually THREE people on the moon (the Prof, Wyoh, and a reluctant Mannie) – decide one day to revolt when supercomputer Mike informs them that cannibalism will ensue in nine years should things progress down the same path. This is especially troubling in the context of modern reading, considering the many revolutions around the world that have and continue to happen today – these are powerful movements with drastic, often violent but always life-changing consequences. In contrast, Heinlein’s contained, sanitized revolution – planned and powered by the smartest AI computer everrrrr! – is so theoretical, so calculated, so utterly artificial that it loses any meaning. Is revolution the simplistic, quick, predictable thing that Heinlein creates in this frankly soulless book?" -- To prove their real fan status, Ana Grilo and Thea James (aka the Booksmugglers) review arguably Heinlein's greatest novel and find it wanting. [more inside]
Then Ellison himself left some notes. They were bombastic, and far more articulate than the comments from the fans. One read, in part, “Goodbye Bradbury. Goodbye Lieber. Goodbye Aeschylus. Goodbye Pliny the Elder…” and continued at length. By the time he got describing me as a “manque, a poetaster, a no-price for whom the internet is a last chance slave market where, for free, he can bleat to his shrunken little heart's delight” my wife Olivia, who had been reading along over my shoulder, said to me, “Wow, I see what you mean. He really is a great writer! No wonder you like him so much.” -- Nick Mamatas on the importance of Harlan Ellison and why he still likes him. [more inside]
Why has there been only one non-white Worldcon chair? Because science fiction fandom is not welcoming to non-white people, because con-running has not done enough to address its own lack of diversity, because people would rather believe that fandom is inclusive than force it to become inclusive.Jonathan McCalmont writes on institutional racism in the science fiction fandom.
"Although their behavior was professional and respectful, I was stunned when I found out that mine was the first formal report filed there as well. From various discussions in person and online, I knew for certain that I was not the only one to have reported inappropriate behavior by this person to his employer. It turned out that the previous reports had been made confidentially and not through HR and Legal. Therefore my report was the first one, because it was the first one that had ever been formally recorded. " -- Well known science fiction fan Elise Matthesen was sexually harassed at Wiscon and decided to formally complain to both the convention and the harasser's employer. [more inside]
"We, the fans and pros of www.peterdavid.net, in order to form a more perfect union of fan/pro interaction...."
"When I said in the beginning that absolutely everything that’s represented in this document is in response to stuff that has actually occurred at conventions, that is not hyperbole..." Author Peter David has posted his Fan/Pro Bill of Rights for sci-fi conventions and convention-goers. [more inside]
Fans of George RR Martin's "The Song of Ice and Fire" series are eagerly awaiting "A Dance With Dragons", the next book. This anticipation has led to hostility from some fans as to Martin's work ethic and the manner in which he spends his personal time.
Before the internet, nerds communicated through Amateur Press Associations (APAs). Members wrote and photocopied their individual 'zines on a subject, then mailed them to a central mailer, who collated and mailed the completed sets to all the members. The earliest APAs were founded by printers and amateur journalists. The National Amateur Press Association is the oldest, founded in 1876. Later APAs were often the province of science fiction and comic book fans. They are still around [pdf]. A lot more inside... [more inside]
The Fan History Project documents the history of science fiction fandom. The site covers it all: local histories, professional art, fan art, fanzines, and photos. Yes, the photos. Lots more inside. [more inside]
The geekiest thing you will see this month is this fan-made comic called The Ten Doctors. Unexpectedly awesome, though!
"Claude Degler attended the Chicon in 1940, and at Denver in 1941 delivered a speech purporting to have been written by Martians." So begins the Fancyclopedia I entry on Degler's Cosmic Circle. Claude Degler believed that science fiction fans were destined to evolve into a new species superior to homo sapiens, "cosmen." In 2001 (the year) David B. Williams went in search of Degler, who had disappeard from fandom in 1951. Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote in 1986 a story/essay about the inner Degler called Hell, 12 Feet. He was as infamous as fans got, though some remember him sort of fondly. Degler crops up regularly in the "All Our Yesterdays" columns written by fandom historian, Harry Warner Jr. The ones with most information are the columns H.C. Koenig. Claude Degler, O Pioneers and The Cosmic Circle. Here's a Degler quote from the last link: We have created a fannationalism, a United World Fandom. Someday soon we will have our own apartment building, then our own land, our own city of Cosmen, schools, teachers, radio programme — later; our own laws, country perhaps! Our children shall inherit not only this earth — but this universe! Today we carry 22 states, tomorrow, nine planets!
Multi Genre Star Ship Comparison? "This site is intended to allow science fiction fans to get an impression of the true scale of their favorite science fiction spacecraft by being able to campare ships accross genres, as well as being able to compare them with contemporary objects with which they are probably familiar." Someone has spare time...