Make Fandom Relevant Again?

Philadelphia’s Scratch Bacharach thinks fandom could stand some improvement: he’d like to get some people together to discuss what needs to be done. Says Scratch:

Since joining Anticipation, I have been talking to many Fans and not a few Pros. I have come to understand that some readjustments are desirable within Fandom at large.

I am therefore convening a meeting of interesting people in Philadelphia at a downtown hotel on December 12, 2009.

This gathering will have a working title of; The Relevance of Fandom to the Twenty-First Century. I have my ideas on this (as many of you know, I have ideas on almost anything) but they are only as valid as anyone else’s at this meeting.

There will be two sessions, one on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday morning. I would ask, if you plan to attend; to remember why you got into Fandom in the first place.

The rooms at the hotel will not be blocked but will be booked by the individual and I suggest that attendees use a hotel and travel dot com agency.

For more information, I may be contacted dedrell@epix.net and I will return a telephone call. I talk better than I type.

++ Scratch (Bill) Bacharach

Contact Scratch for other info, and about where he wants to hold the meetings.

8 thoughts on “Make Fandom Relevant Again?

  1. It’s possible folks interested in that will be interested in this.

    Be prepared to fall into gales of laughter when you get to the part where Mike Resnick explains that Worldcon is going to hell because of teh awesomeness of my mighty powers of thralldom over contemporary smofdom.

  2. “This gathering will have a working title of; The Relevance of Fandom to the Twenty-First Century.”

    One approach might be a discussion of the way that hundreds of thousands of people feel that “Fandom” means something different than what, say, people who semi-rugularly attend Worldcon think it means.

    An example.

    Another.

    Another.

    Simple dismissal may not be the most useful approach.

  3. I hop that for those of us who may be interested, but who couldn’t come, the results of this get-together might be written and published. It would be food for thought, and for writing about, too.

  4. “…Mike Resnick explains that Worldcon is going to hell because of teh awesomeness of my mighty powers of thralldom over contemporary smofdom.”

    It should be noted that in a later posting, Mike apologized for assigning you that much power in the halls of SMOFdom.

  5. Yes, Mike apologized on the conditional that “if” what I said was true, he apologized.

    It should be noted (passive voice) that in a later posting I accepted his apology, if we’re giving the blow-by-blow.

    Neither of these facts makes it less funny, or at least, it doesn’t make it less funny to me. YMMV.

  6. I’m gafiated enough that my opinion doesn’t count any more — I’ve only been to one worldcon, and indeed only one convention, in the last dozen years.

    Science fiction, as an art form, does not seem to need a non-profit, amateur fandom any more. The social structures of fandom were developed in a world where there was so little science fiction literature that most fans could read all of it, and then have plenty of time to become well-read in other fields. We were mocked for our interest in SF. TV and movie science fiction was so scarce it might as well not have existed.

    But it’s a different world now. The biggest blockbuster entertainments are now sf/fantasy/comics/genre-related movies, and the fields are now well represented on television, at least in terms of quantity. “We” don’t own SF any more; our carefully nurtured child has been sent off into the world to make its own way.

    What should “our” fandom do now? I have no idea. Become an aging last-person’s club, and treasure the influence that we have had on pop culture, and on the culture of the Internet. (On the net, we discovered that vast numbers of humans were fannish — they just were not willing to put up with mimeographs.)

  7. “I’m gafiated enough that my opinion doesn’t count any more — I’ve only been to one worldcon, and indeed only one convention, in the last dozen years.”

    Ken, the last Worldcon I attended was 1989, and the last convention I attended was the Novacon in England in 1998, and I attended perhaps two other sf cons in between those two.

    On the other hand, fandom started moving online in the late seventies, via the few on ARPANET, and then various bbs systems, and lots of fans were on Usenet by the early, mid, and later Nineties. Plus there was sff.net, the Genie RoundTables, Compuserve, and other loci of fandom/prodom.

    In recent years much of fandom is LiveJournaling and/or Facebooking (hey, Ken, join Facebook!). Practically everyone — okay, that’s an exaggeration — many sf pros and fans have blogs. Certainly almost every working writer does. There are various email lists, as there have been since the early Nineties or earlier, both open and closed.

    And, of course, a number of folks carry on doing old fashioned fanzines, some of which end up posted at efanzines.com, and a few of which stay only in print.

    “What should ‘our’ fandom do now?”

    Depends what you think your fandom is. We all live in our own chosen fandoms; for me, it’s been online since circa 1995, although I also was mostly gafia from most of online fandom from 2001 through recent times, aside from those who followed my own blog, where I’ve been blogging since 2001 (about 22,000 visitors in the past two days, but that’s very unusually high), or otherwise chose to keep up with me via email. Others have their own sets of fans/fandom/loci to view from.

    Nobody has the same view as anyone else. Some people may have similar views to others, but they do so by defining away some 99.999% of people who self-identify as some form or another of “science fiction fan” as “not really Our Sort.”

    It’s hard to find more than 3 people under the age of fifty who do that, though, I suspect.

    Do feel free to visit my blog, and other fannish blogs, and, hey, join Facebook.

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