worldcon

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Honestly I’m just tired…

So anyway if nothing else last night’s Hugo Award ceremony is pretty much the last nail in the coffin for the relevance of so-called “old guard” science fiction and fantasy. CoNZealand can issue all the mealy mouthed apologies they want but when it comes down to it they were still the ones who booked Martin full-well knowing the guy has a long, long, long history of chauvinist community exclusionism.1 Everything that happened last night—and I do mean everything—was blindingly obvious from a thousand paces.

Oh but, yanno. Marin is Famous™. And if nothing else Worldcon can always be counted on to kiss the asses of anyone it feels may bring it even the teensiest, tiniest bit of cultural relevance to its table.

Incidentally, the rough estimate is that there are about one thousand people that regularly attend Worldcons. One. Thousand. When it’s held in larger cities, i.e. with populations in the millions, it scrapes up into the higher four digits.

I live in a city of about 300,000 people. Our local annual media convention got around 5,000 attendees the last time it was run. It’s considered tiny for its type.

When Worldcons are held in similarly sized cities they struggle to get numbers in the hundreds.

And to be super clear about this: this is by design. It’s an open secret that there are people associated with Worldcon that want to keep it small and cliquish and closed to outsiders—by which yes you may absolutely read “anyone not a white American man”, give or take a degree or two—and they want to do that while simultaneously wanting it to be seen as the “premiere” driving force in science fiction and fantasy. It’s all the kids who were2 laughed at and spat on at school stomping off to make their own Cool Kids’ Club so that for once they can be the biggest fish in the smallest pond and shove all the even nerdier losers into lockers.

Is it any wonder, then, this long, slow, wheezing stumble into irrelevance?

And, to be clear, I do think think there’s something salvageable there. The Hugo Awards themselves are evidence of that; evidence of a growing diversity and a youthful energy. So is the anger things like last night provoke. But nothing is going to change, not really, when the next two years’ of Worldcons have snapped back, rubber-band-like, to the comfortable mediocrity of being hosted in the United States, and nothing is going to happen when guests of honor continue to be all white and awards hosts can’t even be bothered to learn to pronounce people’s names in prerecorded video.

Nothing here is new. And it is systemic, it’s connected.

And I’m just so fucking tired.

  1. However he isn’t, at least to my knowledge, a “missing stair“, as they say, which makes him the “non contentious” choice to represent the Famous Old White Men of SFF. Yes, we really, really are at the point where “doesn’t sexually harass, assault, and/or creep on attendees” is the fucking bar that people are trying to clear. []
  2. Or at least felt like they were… []
2020-08-02T09:30:05+10:002nd August, 2020|Tags: cons, fandom, hugo awards, sff, worldcon|

Worldnon.

John W. “Slavery Was Good Actually” Campbell won the WorldCon Retro Hugo for best shortform editor because of course he did and honestly I’m just tired.1

And of course I still have no access to anything because the concom can’t handle people having Discord emails separate to their Worldcon registration emails, which… c’mon, guys. Surely someone there has a thirteen-year-old with a Fortcraft: Minenite server who can teach you how to do this. I even raised a support ticket about it and they… changed my Worldcon registration email to my Discord email and still didn’t give me access to the freakin’ Discord.

And of course panels are solely being broadcast via Zoom, which… can we just not? I mean literally do not use this platform. Not to get too topical but it’s like the computer science equivalent of going to a packed movie theater with no mask because it’s “just more convenient.”2

So yeah no Worldcon for me, I guess. I paid how many hundreds of dollars for this?

  1. And of course Lovecraft won Best Series for the Cthulhu Mythos, although the 2020 Retro Hugos are for 1945, which was after Lovecraft’s death, and most of the work being doing to actually make the mythos The Mythos—as opposed to just “Some Shit One Guy Wrote”—at that time was being done by August Derleth. []
  2. Like… is it, though? Is it? []
2020-07-31T07:56:53+10:0031st July, 2020|Tags: cons, conzealand, fandom, sff, worldcon|

Monstrous contents.

Hey y’all remember how I was editing that anthology of monsters? Yeah. That’s still A Thing That Is Happening, and we just announced the table of contents (i.e. the authors and their stories) and it is gonna be so good

Also spent all weekend booking things for both Continuum and the motherfreakin’ WorldCon and… it’s happening y’all. It’s really happening…

2020-05-12T08:39:07+10:0024th February, 2020|Tags: books, cons, continuum, csfg, sff, unnatural order, worldcon|

Any North American peeps who’re interested in some assistance getting to the New Zealand 2020 Worldcon may be interested to note the 2020 DUFF nominations are now open.

Honestly, it’d be really good to get some “new blood”, as it were, into this so… y’know. Check it out?

2019-12-03T10:21:00+11:003rd December, 2019|Tags: fandom, sff, worldcon|

In visibility.

[Worldcon] taught me a lot of things, about writing, about people, about life. But it also let me know that I’m invisible until I’m not, and it’s never for the reasons that I want it to be. My talent, my stories, my brain, the fact that I’m a fucking person who exists and is talking, none of that matters. When I do matter, those rare occasions, it’s my tits. It’s my ability to service your dick. It’s the fact that I’m a random collection of bumps and holes that just so happen to fall into the correct schema to spark desire when someone is drunk enough to not care that I’m not hot or young.

Marlee Jane Ward on visibility.

Marlee was Australia’s DUFF delegate to Worldcon 76 in San Jose. That is, she was the individual nominated and sponsored by the Australian and New Zealand fan communities to represent them at the Worldcon. Saying that she should never have been treated this way somewhat elides the fact that no one, ever should be treated this way… but especially not when they’re representing their region at an international conference.

The sheer parochially contemptuous disrespect would be staggering if it weren’t so depressingly common…

2018-09-10T14:02:58+10:0022nd February, 2019|Tags: culture, cw: sexual assault, fandom, worldcon|

The world in WorldCon.

Given that it’s Hugos nomination season soon, T.  R. Napper has an excellent (start of a) list of eligible non-USian works.

(For backstory, see this, this, this, this, and particularly this.)

2019-01-06T09:18:13+11:006th January, 2019|Tags: fandom, hugo awards, sff, worldcon|

Just who does win the Campbell?

So, apropos of yesterday’s post I decided to see who does, in fact, actually get nominated for (and who wins) the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Note that the data below was primary collected from Wikipedia. The “unknown” slices in the pies are because I didn’t go “deep doxxing” for biographical details, in the cases where nominees didn’t have obvious internet presences (e.g. Wikipedia pages, well-known social media profiles, etc.).

At least 76% of all Campbell award nominees are American.

All Campbell award nominees by nationality.

42 American winners, 4 Canadian, 1 British.

All Campbell award winners by nationality.

So, in other words: Who wins the Campbells? Americans, basically.


Other bonus fun facts (all caveats about unknown details applying):

  • The Campbell has been awarded since 1973.
  • In the first decade of the award, there was one Canadian winner (Spider Robinson in 1974), and one British nominee (James P. Hogan in 1979).
  • The first nominee I could find outside of the “US-UK-Canada” triad was Tobias S. Buckell, in 2002 (although note he currently lives in the US).
  • All known non-US-UK-Canada nominees are from the 2000s.
  • Nominees are about 37% female-identified to 49% male-identified (with 12% unknown, 2% nonbinary-identified).
  • Winners are 51% female-identified versus 49% male-identified.
2018-09-05T13:25:50+10:0027th August, 2018|Tags: fandom, sff, worldcon|

Oh, WorldCon, no.

Foz Meadows has a write-up of the current WorldCon 76 drama.

This all feels very much like people used to running a small-town parochial con1 with an established member-base suddenly getting in a twist because they have to accommodate (gasp) outsiders.

I do think it’s maybe indicative of the fact that WorldCon is finally starting, in the last few years, to live up to the “world” part of its name. In other words, you can’t just have your local con grab the host spot and expect to be able to run things in the same way you always run them…

Edit: Another write-up.

  1. I know San Jose has a million or so people in it… but on the other hand, Melbourne has about 4 million and it took me like two years to feel like I knew, at least by sight, most of the regulars at Continuum. []
2018-07-25T13:45:50+10:0025th July, 2018|Tags: cons, fandom, sff, worldcon|
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