Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I went to Minicon this past weekend. I was only there Saturday, but I spent 13 hours.

I have been going for something like 30 years, and I know a lot of people who attend.

Minicon used to be a 2000 to 3000 member extravaganza, full of costumers, gamers, media fans, book fans, a huge dealers room, a masquerade, everything you want at a science fiction con. It contracted sharply a number of years ago. This was done deliberately, because the people running the con felt it had gotten too big. They were right, but I didn’t like the method they used for making the con smaller. They made it crystal clear that costumers and gamers and media fans were no longer welcome. Most of the younger people left; and the con has maybe 400 members now. The people who remain are – many of them -- aging, hard core SF fans of the fannish variety, more interested in fandom than SF. There are still attendees I like a lot, but others I like less well.

I got in a fan feud in the late 80s over Minicon. A group of us thought there should be better programming, and for a few years we managed to take control of programming. We also thought the con should be more open and welcoming. The people running the con wanted to keep it as it was. In the end, when they downsized it, they changed it radically.

I guess the feud was about control. The old fans wanted to keep control of the con, which they ran superbly, though they had very little interest in programming. For them the con wasn’t about content. It was about running a con. The new fans – us – wanted our say, especially about programming. In the end, the new fans lost the fight and left and founded three new conventions: Diversacon, MarsCon and ConVergence. The first and last names tell you our agenda. We wanted diversity, and we wanted to bring diversity together.

Anyway, I kept looking at people and thinking, why did I waste so much time being angry with so-and-so? Does fandom matter enough to have a fight over a con? Even if the question is being welcoming to gay fans and fans of color and using programming to talk about questions such as the environment and race and class? Am I too sercon? Is fandom just a way to goof off and have fun? Does science fiction matter?

I was so tired by the end of Saturday that I spent Sunday on the living room couch, reading C.J. Cherryh’s new novel.

P.S. Some good things happened at the con. After I get some distance,I will talk about them.

P.P.S. The people on the other side of the feud would probably have an entirely different version of what happened.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want an edit function! Aren't most feuds and arguments about control?

6:58 AM  

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