Eastercon have released a questionnaire, so if you want a say in the future of that convention now’s your chance.
My main suggestion was to allow the general public into the dealer rooms, possibly even the art rooms. Frankly, I’m a little embarrassed for fandom every time the person on the door turns some curious hotel guest away. As a member, I don’t mind outsiders– it’s the events and panels I’m paying for–and I can’t imagine the dealers themselves don’t want the extra trade. Plus I can’t think of a better gateway drug into fandom than a hall full of cool stuff you can buy.
One thought on “Eastercon Questionnaire (and a suggestion I made)”
This is frankly a brilliant idea. It would also increase the foot-fall for the dealers, and might just make some of them a bit more money.
But it’s going to possibly bash up against the fact that fandom is very exclusionary. There’s too many people who want it to be a kind of cult, a safe space just for them and their mates. They do mind outsiders. These are the people who keep asking if person X is a ‘trufan’, or who suggest that the answer to hugo-award slates is to up the membership fee (Don’t want the working class wandering into fandom, oh no, no, no). Fandom, and even more so writerdom, have become clubs owned and controlled by a select group of people who you keep seeing on panel after panel after panel at cons.
The real question to be asked about Eastercon’s future is whether it really has one. What’s the median age there? This is even more pointed for events like Novacon, where at some point in the not too distant future most of their membership is going to drop off the conveyor-belt of life. Written SF is pretty much dead: I go into bookshops and all that’s on the shelves is ‘SF masterworks’ from 20+ years ago and Andy Weir. Recent Hugo award winners are no-where to be seen, because they give the middle-class professorial SF elite literary orgasms, and mean absolutely nothing to most people. That’s one thing the puppies had right, and Andy Weir would seem to be the confirmation of their claim that we should ‘go back ‘ to golden-age SF. But I suspect they’re wrong on that second half, that what we really need is SF that engages with the issues of the world today. The truth is that recent events have shown how backward and regressive modern SF is, with the right-wing crowd stuck in the ‘the only good alien is a dead alien’ 1950s , and the left-wing crowd stuck in the ‘smash the patriarchy!’ 1970s. Half of leftist fandom still dreams of a socialist utopia where we’ve “progressed beyond money”, and the other half wants to #KillAllWhiteMen. UK SF is a community that got pretty much completely owned by requires_hate, and they’ll never live that down. Honestly, they’re a joke, Druids are more relevant than these people in the modern age. If we have the public walking through the front door and bumping into these people, what are the public going to think of SF?
SF needs to get serious and re-engage with mainstream society and the common people. It’s become an ivory tower. This won’t happen unless it fragments. Put simply, people need to start up their own offshoot SF communities where they can get work done without having to go through the usual gatekeepers or put up with those who attack anyone who tries to do anything different. Eastercon doesn’t help to make that happen.