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December 2014

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this is what you wanted

Concerning the latest round of Hugo gatekeeping cloud-yelling...

You know what? Pretty much anything I would have said on this topic has already been said by Scalzi, Seanan, or Cheryl.

Except this: I hear a lot about the graying of fandom. I hear a lot about the death of science fiction. I hear a lot about how SF is getting old, and not enough young people are coming in.

Dudes. I just got back from Space City Con. It was crawling with twenty-somethings. I can go to any anime convention in the land and be the oldest person in the room. Steampunk conventions are full of youthful faces. DragonCon, which is four times the size of a Worldcon, also skews about twenty years younger.

Have you been on Tumblr?!

Fandom is not graying. Fandom is evolving. Maybe our friends are graying, but fandom is not just our friends.

And that's what this is about. Fandom is not just our friends anymore, and the ideas and people we grew up comfortable with. And rather than finding that threatening, maybe what we need to do is make room for lots and lots of new friends and new ideas. Listen to some new music. Get out and dance.

Make some room in the Hugo balloting process for new kinds of fans, and young people on a budget. And then live with the results, which, I am sorry to say, is going to be girls and queers and brown people all up in the awards along with the straight white cis dudes.

It's okay. It's a good thing.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on.

Comments

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*applause*

WELL SAID! We have a "science fiction" collection at my library and I am trying my damnedest to get them to realize that sci-fi encompasses so much more now than what was written in the 1960s and 70s, or even 80s. The genre has grown and we need to, too.
Well said. Keeping the walls up and high is the guaranteed path to irrelevance.
I'm starting to see many sections of fandom turning into the grumpy old man from Attack of The The Eye Creatures. "You damn smoochers! Get off my lawn!"
Amen.

(I am staying the hell away from this discussion, otherwise, because I actually have a cane and I'm not afraid to use it on hidebound old fogies.)
Nicely put. Hey, things win Hugos that I don't personally like. Even when I administered them (1993, 1994, 2002 (where the icon photo was taken)), there were things I didn't like. (Administrators don't get to decide who is worthy, only who is eligible and got enough votes. Some people think Administrators should make the subjective "not fan enough" decision, but I think Down That Path Leads Madness.) That doesn't mean the Awards are Broken; it means that not everyone thinks the way I do. And that's not a bad thing.

Edited at 2013-08-09 05:36 pm (UTC)
*like*
Yes. Exactly. In San Jose over Memorial Day weekend, there is still the BayCon science fiction convention, which is mostly a traditional, i.e. graying white people, convention. On the same weekend, sometimes in the same convention center, is Fanime (with lots of twenty-somethings) and a steampunk convention. It's possible to go to all three, in shifts, for those with the money and energy.
Nitpick: not the same convention center. FanimeCon is at the San José Convention Center, while BayCon is at hotel next to the Santa Clara Convention Center a few miles away. To further muddy the waters, the steampunk convention (run by FanimeCon, with common membership) is in the hotel where BayCon used to be, and FanimeCon used to be held in the Santa Clara Convention Center. But BayCon/FanimeCon have never actually been in the same building (or building complex) at the same time.
You shoudl see the furs. The line was HUGE for Ms. Lackey at AnthroCon, and Peter S. Beagle did it a second year with a line for him as well.

I'll be at the business meetings this year (shoot me), in an attempt to help with the fight against the OWMS (Old White Male Syndrome) in fandom.
I do hope that not all OWMs are Evil. (I'm 47 years old, white, and male.) I hope that me even saying this isn't seen as being aggressive or troublesome. I'm not being sarcastic; I do actually worry about these things as a member of a hugely privileged class playing the game on the easiest setting.
I'm one old white guy who was on the fan writer ballot and has no objection to seeing those awards continue.
Absolutely.

girls and queers and brown people

Sometimes even a queer brown girl. I wonder if that's better or worse?

Realizing now that I should follow suricattus's lead and bow out.
Sometimes even a queer brown girl. I wonder if that's better or worse?

Oh noes! My beloved hobby, sullied by the queer brown girls. Wait. No. I'm from a different cultural context -- although one still white-straight-male oriented, but with somewhat different planes of fracture* -- but I feel that, well, if you get nominated for an award, you're probably pretty dang good at what you do. Skin colour, parts in pants-or-equivalent, parts in pants-or-equivalent that you get excited by: not part of what I should care about.

* Swedish society has its stress points more along class lines than race or gender, not least because the population's been pretty much homogenous, race-wise, until the last 30-some years**.

** I had children of some of my parents' friends who were adopted from East Asia -- pretty much the biggest single source of non-white people here until the last few decades -- but it's only really after George and Dick's Excellent Adventure that Sweden's had very much immigration/refugees from non-European or European-esque countries (apart from Iran, where there came a lot of people after their revolution, mostly highly educated and winding up with it going to waste because the only jobs they could get were various forms of menial labour, taxi driving, etc. -- a serious blot on my country!).
I do like cloud-yelling as a short description for this rant and its variations -- dog bless the Simpsons for giving us a word for this.
"Fandom is not just our friends." I want buttons. And maybe t-shirts. And I want to hand them out like M&Ms.
Yes!
Fandom is graying? News to me -- I just waved a tween off to her first major SF con and am collaborating with another on two fanart projects and happily accompanied them both to Local Town Library's ComicCon, which featured both young up'n'comers and long-established pros on the panels and had five year olds in Captain American suits, teens in Sailor Moon outfits, and thirty-year-olds in Ghostbuster get-up roaming the dealer's room. And me, who cut my teeth in fandom back in the paleozoic. Graying? More like rainbowing out!
Yeah, I never understood the "graying of fandom" argument either. My experience has been mostly the opposite, particularly at conventions.
Thanks to all you who are fighting in the trenches to all our mutual benefit.
I love watching Tumblr. It's so very fast and so very creative. I wasn't online at the time so I couldn't judge the time it took from the announcement of the new Doctor to the first fanart. I do remember there being only about five posts on my dash from Neil Gaiman saying something witty and profound and quotable and someone making poster-quality art of it.

There was a fan guest of honor at a Con I was at in the past year who was female but older and very much had the "you damn kids get off my lawn" attitude, and it was really both sad and disturbing. And this was at a Con that I find appealing partially due to the wide age range of people attending!
I couldn't judge the time it took from the announcement of the new Doctor to the first fanart.

New fanart went up all most immediately, within 4-5 hours at most. And fanfic? That took 48 hours at to start appearing on AO3. Currently the continuing the deluge of fanart is only rivaled by the deluge of links to and clips of Capaldi's previous work.

(from a tumblr lurker)
Are my teenage students who love sf and fantasy just chopped liver to these people? Okay, I only teach so many 16-19 year olds a year, but they're a microcosm of the entire population. Oh, they're also actually impressed that an old fart like me loves the genre!

Yes, Virginia, you CAN grow up to be an otaku...

naomikritzer read this post to me today while we were hanging out talking about the SF world and fandom, and I have to say that not only do we old fans need the influx of new blood, but they need us, too.

I recently came out as older on Tumblr. Frankly, I didn't want to. My fandom is anime, and, as you noted, I can easily be nearly 3 x the age of anyone at an anime con. But, she was a fan of my fanfic and she asked me if I was out of school for the summer. I thought about lying to her or... just not answering, but then, like with a lot of coming out in my life, I decided to take the risk. I mean, if I lost a follower because I was old, so be it. So, I wrote to her and said that, actually, I'd been out of school for a long time. I was probably old enough to be her mom. I expected silence, a quiet un-follow, but you know what she said? She was INCREDIBLY amazed to discover that growing up didn't mean abandoning your fandom. As I told her, and she later re-posted, yes, my dearie, you CAN grow up to be an otaku.

So you know, there were people like this for me when I first entered fandom. Wise, older pros that taught me that I was okay to squee and that maybe, if I worked hard, one day I could be on panels and maybe even publish... all of which I did, but it really was helpful to have mentors even if the only why they mentored was BY EXISTING.
Thank you for sharing.
Fandom is not graying. Fandom is evolving. Maybe our friends are graying, but fandom is not just our friends.

And that's what this is about. Fandom is not just our friends anymore, and the ideas and people we grew up comfortable with. And rather than finding that threatening, maybe what we need to do is make room for lots and lots of new friends and new ideas. Listen to some new music. Get out and dance.


WORD. <3 <3 <3
YES! YES! YES!


(This is me agreeing violently with you)
Amen. Fandom has been allegedly on the verge of aging to death for as long as I've been aware of fannish politics, which is back to the late '80s/early '90s.

Worldcon will always skew older than local conventions, because it's a 5-day convention that travels all over the world. That's okay! New people will keep finding it as long Worldcongoers maintain links with other cons.
Not sorry to know it. I am reassured.

Thank you.
:tumblr ftw:
George R. Martin had some interesting comments somewhat associated with this in a recent NERDIST podcast he did (recorded at this past Comic-Con), at least in terms of the Cons and fans
Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on.

I want that on a T-shirt.
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