The 2014 Worldcon has just issued a two-part press release.
First, Loncon 3, seeking “to represent the diversity of both our host borough and city and the sf genre as a whole,” will work with Con or Bust, a U.S.-based nonprofit that assists people of color to attend conventions such as Worldcons.
Loncon 3 has donated five attending memberships to Con or Bust, and will match up to another 20 donations from Worldcon members.
I expect that after this news is posted it will not be difficult to find comments here and there in the sf blogosphere that this initiative provides an unfair benefit – comments actually motivated by antagonism to diversity – because that’s what typically happens. And although Loncon 3 is bound to be familiar with the trend, I’m sure any connection between that and the second part of the press release exists only in my imagination —
2014 is the 75th anniversary of the first Worldcon, held in New York in 1939. To commemorate the history of the sf genre, Loncon 3 is offering a free Attending membership to anyone who was a member of either Nycon 1 in 1939 or the first British Worldcon, Loncon 1 in 1957.
Obviously most – possibly all — potential beneficiaries of the second policy will be old white men….
I just had to confess how ironic I find this.
The full press release follows the jump.
Loncon 3 celebrates the future and the past: Diversity and History
MEDIA RELEASE #19
Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention
14-18 August 2014 at ExCeL London
Loncon 3 celebrates the future and the past: Diversity and History
London, 6 May 2014: Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”), will open on 14 August, 100 days from today.
Loncon 3 has already achieved a higher membership than any previous Worldcon outside the United States, with over 7,300 people signed up, more than 5,200 of whom will be attending. It is on course to be an extraordinary event bringing together fans from over 50 countries to celebrate science fiction.
Loncon 3 today announces two initiatives to reach out to the future and the past of the genre.
Diversity: Con or Bust
Loncon 3 is being held in Newham, one of the most diverse boroughs in London, which is itself one of the world’s most diverse cities. In order to represent the diversity of both our host borough and city and the SF genre as a whole, Loncon 3 has joined up with the US-based non-profit organisation Con or Bust (http://con-or-bust.org/), which assists people of colour/non-white people to attend conventions such as Worldcons.
Loncon 3 has donated 5 Attending memberships to Con or Bust, and will donate up to another 20 to match donations from our members (7 such donations have already been made). In addition, if current members who find they cannot now attend donate their Attending memberships to Con or Bust, Loncon 3 will swap them for Supporting memberships, meaning that those donors will continue to have full voting rights in the Hugo and Retrospective Hugo awards and site selection, regardless of when they donate their membership.
To donate, send your name, address, email address, and membership number to [email protected] and request the transfer of your Attending membership to Con or Bust.
History: 1939 and 1957
Loncon 3 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first ever Worldcon, held in New York in 1939. To commemorate the history of our genre, Loncon 3 will offer a free Attending membership to any person who was a member of either Nycon 1 in 1939 or the first British Worldcon, Loncon 1 in 1957.
If you qualify and would like to join Loncon 3 or already have paid for a membership, please contact [email protected] or [email protected] respectively.
For more information please contact [email protected].
ABOUT THE WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION
Founded in 1939, the World Science Fiction Convention is one of the largest international gatherings of authors, artists, editors, publishers, and fans of science fiction and fantasy. The annual Hugo Awards, the leading award for excellence in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, are voted on by the Worldcon membership and presented during the convention.
Loncon 3 is the trading name of London 2014 Ltd, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England, company number: 7989510. Registered Office: 176 Portland Road, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 1DJ, UK.
“World Science Fiction Society”, “WSFS”, “World Science Fiction Convention”, “Worldcon”, “NASFiC”, “Hugo Award”, the Hugo Award Logo, and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Trophy Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.
Who are the surviving members of the NyCon? I know of Dave Kyle and Mel Korshak, but someone on the fmzfen list said there were only three, while I remember that when Fred Pohl died, it was said there were four survivors.
Bob Madle would be one.
Yeah, the surviving attendees of a 1939 or even a 1957 convention will mostly be old white men. Yeah, it’s a bit amusing running into that in the same press release as the Con Or Bust support. (And this says something about the sex split at such long-ago events, since women mostly outlive men.)
However, people with that long-running an interest in our hobby really should, it seems to me, be encouraged. Diversity is good, but keeping in touch with our own history (knowing it, not necessarily preserving every single tradition) is *also* good (and very traditionally fannish).
If I recall correctly, either the 50th anniversary Worldcon or the 50th Worldcon, or perhaps both, gave free memberships both to members of Nycon I and to those who had been excluded from it. I don’t think that any of the excluded group are still alive.
Obviously most – possibly all – potential beneficiaries of the second policy will be old white men….
Old? That would seem to be a requirement.
White? A fair cop, I suppose.
Women did attend the first Worldcon. I am not aware that any survive, but if any have, I have no doubt that Loncon 3’s policy would welcome them.
As for Loncon in 1957, the photos on Rob Hansen’s splendid site are positively teeming with women, compared to what I know of other fannish events of that era. Perhaps some will attend Loncon 3.
Finally, as DD-B suggests above, it’s clear the Worldcon’s organizers are eager for the participation of not only “fen of color” and our fannish elders. Both groups will contribute to making it a better con. I don’t see anything inconsistent about encouraging them, and if there’s an irony, it’s a damn faint irony.
Bill: You piqued my interest. There are 16 women in those Loncon I photos — Ruth Kyle, Sonja Jansen (a child), Lesley Minard, Belle Dietz, Barbara Silverberg, Joy Clarke, Pam Bulmer, Bobbie Wild, Ethel Lindsay, Rory Faulkner, Joan Hammett, Madeleine Willis, Peggy Campbell, Christine Moskowitz, Daphne Buckmaster, Jill Adams. Yet others are listed as members in the progress reports and programme book.
Loncon 1 had 268 in attendance but sold nearly 500 memberships (judging by the highest membership numbers). Looks like they have a chance to find a good number of survivors (even though most of the 16 women in the photos passed away years ago.)
answering Morris: I can’t say for certain about 1992 (#50), but the 50th-anniversary worldcon (Noreascon 3) did in fact offer memberships to all attendees and excludees of 1939.