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Recently there was a controversy about SF conventions and if they were doomed because so many younger fans are brought in by gasp! MEDIA. This trend probably got it start when Star Trek's original series made its debut. But in true "Get out of my yard, you damn kids!" fashion, some elder literary fans have been predicting the death of SF conventions because oh noes, no one is reading classic SF anymore!

My question is, since it was getting stale and offensive when I myself was a teenager, why would we? I know someone wrote a really good column about that, so moving on....

I don't think it's fair that some purists place literature on a higher pedestal than TV or film. I mean, Babylon 5 anyone? Recently there has been a huge bounty of intelligent SF/Fantasy/Horror on TV. Sense8 on Netflix really made me want to growl at the "literary classics or you are not an SF/Fantasy fan" crowd.

Aside from the wealth of superhero shows on basic cable and Netflix, there is now a lot of short films on YouTube and Vimeo. I watched one on YouTube this morning, called "6th World", made by a Navajo producer and director, with Navajo actors.

Because of digital books, authors can now present their work in very professional formats without the hassle of agents and publishing companies. I've read some really good novels that way. (Also some really bad ones, but that's the risk you take.)

SF and fantasy still needs conventions. Perhaps it needs them even more, because we have more to choose from than ever.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
helenkacan
Nov. 28th, 2015 04:37 am (UTC)
Illogical (IMO) assumption, thinking that SF cons would die out. No matter what the catalyst (lit, tv series, film, webisodes), I don't think a SF fan exists who doesn't like to share perceptions/opinions/whatever about their fave characters, etc. Even introverts can get into a spirited discussion with like-minded folk (something I'd like to see studied by psychologists).

I still feel the call of the "weird" even if it's been at least 20 years since I attended a con.

selenite
Nov. 28th, 2015 04:44 am (UTC)
Eh. My local literary conventions have video rooms and panels talking about TV shows. The big comic cons get posts from authors talking about how many books they sold at their booth. There's a lot of overlap.
kallisti
Nov. 28th, 2015 05:55 am (UTC)
I've been working on conventions since the early 80s, and every 10 years or so, there is a "Conventions are going to die out because there are no younger fans" type editorials in fanzines, and now on-line. The reality is that as many fans start coming to SF cons as adults as they do as teenagers, if not more so.

As for the "mediafan vs trufan" split...well, there are those who go to only one type of con, or the other. And if a con is trying to have an on-going success, they need to appeal to both types of fans, because mediafen are somewhat fickle...that is, they my show up to see a star from their favourite show, but not show up if it's someone from a show they don't like. Literary or "trufen" are not so fickle, and will show up time and again if the atmosphere is convivial, there is a good consuite, and other fen who they are friends with show up. In fact, trufen will show up to a convention that *only* has a consuite, a good atmosphere and lots of friends showing up. That type of event is virtually non-existent for mediafen.

Recently at Comic Cons and Creation Cons there has been complaints that the fen who attend them are spending too much time *socializing* and not simply buying things. The shock!! Worse, a media con in Toronto recently bumped all of the authors tables to make more room for large media dealers.

Personally, I like both media and written SF, as long as it's good. But I founded and chaired a hardcore Literary SF convention as that is where my heart lays. But we do have media stuff, but we don't have actors, we have behind the scenes people, or if we have an actor, they come to do panels on acting, or how people can write dialog that is easier for actors to say, etc. Practical stuff, not fawning fan-boy things.
wombat_socho
Nov. 29th, 2015 02:26 am (UTC)
I think your second paragraph hits the nail squarely on the head. If someone comes to a convention without their friends and finds themselves shut out socially because they came to SF through the "wrong door", then they won't be back.

Not too surprised Comic Cons and Creation Cons are complaining about socializing; they've always been for-profit, all about separating fans from their money, and any time fans spend making friends and talking is time they're not spending giving money to dealers or actors (for autographs).

I think most people in geek culture these days have multiple interests - media fans into comics and steampunk, literary fans into TV and movies, etc. Most of the whining and complaining seems to come from a hard core of older fans who think SF books and magazines are the Best and that nobody who doesn't know them should be called Real Fans. I went on about the long history of this kind of asshat behavior here, if you're interested, but avoid the comments - a lot of people with poor reading comprehension skills assumed I was talking mainly about the Sad Puppies kerfluffle, which I really wasn't.

Edited at 2015-11-29 02:33 am (UTC)
kallisti
Nov. 29th, 2015 02:57 am (UTC)
Fandom is a *community*, and when you try to separate the community from the event, things go badly. That's what make Creation Cons bad, and is slowly doing the same to Comic Cons as they continue to grow and loose the people element. I have been vilified by Mediafen for being too "literary", and vice versa. There is a well know Toronto Trufan that refused to acknowledge my contributions because she doesn't consider me a true "lit" fan, despite starting and running one of the longest "lit" SF conventions in Canada, CAN-CON, and founding one of Canada's longest running APAs.

So, I try not to give a fsck, and just do the things I like doing. I don't have the money to go to a lot of cons anymore, and until recently, I really only put effort into my own convention, and chatting via facebook (which I consider to be a giant APA with only 'mailing comments'). I watch shows I like, read books, watch anime...I do think that most of the best SF has come out in written SF, but some original stuff has been done in the media real too.

I see you know some people I do, like dd_b and such, people I know from the Fidonet days.
wombat_socho
Nov. 29th, 2015 07:42 pm (UTC)
We seem to agree on a fair amount of things regarding fandom. Have you considered joining the N3F? A lot of what they do goes on online or via e-mail these days, and they're looking for SF/fantasy fans regardless of the medium.
kishiriadgr
Nov. 29th, 2015 03:48 am (UTC)
My take on this is that SF/fantasy is multimedia now. I can find good speculative fiction on TV. I posted about a Navajo-made short film about the Dene settling on Mars. And, of course, you can read it in novels--I'm not sure if magazines are still out there.

One thing you hit on is an elitism in SF fandom that I have always--ALWAYS--found alienating and offensive. I was griping about fans who dubbed themselves "fen" and everyone else as "mundanes" and pontificated about who is a "trufan" and who isn't. I wrote letters to friends while I was in high school about how repulsive I found this. That was my strongly-held opinion in high school and I've only become more assertive about it in my middle years.
wombat_socho
Nov. 29th, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC)
As you should be. One of the fannish sayings that seems to have been (conveniently) forgotten is "If you go around talking about who trufen really are, you aren't one."
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