October 17th, 2015


SF Won The Culture Wars A Long Time Ago. Isn't It Time Fandom Started Acting Like It?

"Let me take you back...back into time.
When the only people that existed were cave men...cave women...
-Jimmy Castor Bunch, "Troglodyte"

In the long-distant past when I was young, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (or were they Cadillac Coupe DeVilles?) and times were so different we referred to them by different numbers -MCMLXIV, I believe it was- it was a proud and lonely thing to be a science fiction fan. Reading that "trashy Buck Rogers stuff" was definitely frowned upon by most right-thinking Americans, middlebrow and high-class alike, and the same was true of comic books, which were regarded as fodder for children and the immature. TV shows and movies with science-fiction plots and themes were few and far between, and SF fans, many of whom were, to be completely honest, more than a little socially retarded, tended to get together at small "conventions" where they could talk with other people who also read Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Herbert, and this disturbing young fellow Ellison. It was regarded as quite remarkable when the 1974 World Science Fiction Convention held in Washington topped four thousand people in its membership.
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In the long term, though, perhaps what fandom (as opposed to Fandom) needs to do is build up a fan organization that welcomes all fans of science fiction and fantasy, no matter what door they enter by. Fortunately, one already exists, and has existed since 1941: the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F). The dues are lower, there's more to do between conventions, and eventually, given enough time and members, what the membership of the N3F thinks about anime, books, comics, games, and movies may prove to be more important than what an insular group of graying old WSFS members think.

UPDATE: Okay, closing the comments now for two reasons. One, the vast majority of you seem intent on beating the dead Sasquan/Hugos horse, which was merely an example of the larger issue. Two, I'm not particularly interested in hosting that beating.

That having been said, thanks to lydy and dd_b for politely correcting me on stuff I got wrong about Diversicon and providing another POV on the whole HRMP kerfluffle, respectively. No thanks to nwhyte for accusing Brad Torgersen of shenanigans regarding the SP3 pre-nomination crowd-sourcing and insisting Brad prove his innocence after being called out. That's not how it works, Nick, and you should be adult enough to know better.