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Ahhh, San Antonio Worldcon

September 22, 2013

Have you ever been on a trip, walked into a fast food restaurant and realize that you could be at home and not know it because everything is exactly the same? Well that was how San Antonio Worldcon was for me. It was just like every other Worldcon I’ve ever been to — except a much, much nicer location. As usual, Southern writers — unless they were the big shots, and then even some of the big shots had nothing (Charlaine Harris had an autographing and apparently sat in on another panel) — had little to no programing while unknown northern writers dominated paneling.

I had more paneling — thanks, I’m sure, to the Texas people who did manage to hang onto a fragment of programing — than I’ve had at other world-cons. Of the six I’ve done I’ve only had programing of any kind at three — but none of the paneling I had was anything on which I could promote my own work. There was a Gays in Spec-fic panel dominated by straight people. I was not invited to participate except by the only gay fan on the panel, who asked me to come and sit in the audience. I had a panel on CJ Cherryh’s World Building on which the moderator shut me down and went out of her way to humiliate me because I hadn’t studied for the test. In other words, despite being close personal friends with CJ and knowing how her process actually works, the other two panelists felt I had nothing to offer because I didn’t know the names of all the characters and the worlds and dates and places and such other things that people who have their own books to write and actual lives don’t remember twenty and thirty years after they have read a book. I had a DOCTOR WHO panel and a FIREFLY panel. I thought they had thrown me a big bone letting me have a YDP panel until I saw that the panel was at 11:00 Saturday morning. Then the our panel room was in the wing where they had stuck most of their “throw away” panels and we had to wade through the line of George RR Martian fans who were waiting in line to get their stuff signed in order to get to the room.

Here’s my beef. If, like north east coast fandom insists, the whole Worldcon thing is just a big party for the fans to see each other, why encourage pros to be there at all? And if they are going to insist on hijacking every bid, why not just keep the whole thing in New York and never move it? Then they can just have their party and celebrate those writers and artists they want to celebrate, and the rest of us can stay home or go where we’re wanted. No more local fan groups from the different bid areas will implode as the people who want to keep the con true to home fight with those who want to cave to “the powers that be.”

Here’s why. Because they can get local groups to do all the real work and still shame and bitch them into doing exactly the same thing that has always been done. They encourage the writers and artists they never intend to include at all because they help fill room blocks and keep their numbers up and their coffers full. In other words, they are using the rest of fandom and all the writers and artists that they will never in a million years support so that they can have the party they want to have, and then bitch every time that it’s out of the north east that the people who hosted did it all wrong.

Stop the bid parties; let them have the whole thing. Quit buying memberships, quit pre-supporting, quit the whole damn thing. Let them have it. They want the whole damn thing; let them have it.

They always put the dealer’s room at the end of the convention. We still made a small profit, but hardly enough profit for the amount of work we and our authors put out, and I know a lot of other people in the room lost their asses. Now some cleaned up, too, but for every booth that made big bucks there were easily five that didn’t break even. Why? Because north-east coast fandom sees the dealer’s room as a necessary evil. Often the dealers are their seed money.

We don’t need Worldcon; we certainly don’t need a Worldcon that is the same no matter where it is. Let them have it. I’m over it.

Selina

If you enjoy these bitches, please contact Selina directly at selinarosen@cox.net. Thanks!

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