The Shrinking Worldcon?

Emily Mah, an sf and fantasy writer (who’s also published as E. M. Tippetts) found Denvention 3 a cause for mourning, for a couple of reasons:

And sadly, WorldCon seems to be shrinking. This one in Denver was notably smaller than any other I’ve seen. Some think that WorldCon is slowly being cannibalized by ComiCon, and that’s definitely a possibility. Perhaps the saddest thing was how few of the Hugo nominees and winners came. The ceremony was dominated by other people reading acceptance speeches of little slips of paper.

What saddens me about all this isn’t so much that Denvention wasn’t the nonstop party that WorldCon usually is, though that too was a bummer. It’s hard to watch the community dissipating. One of the most interesting things about SF, that I learned coming out of Clarion West, was how interconnected everyone was. I.e. Connie Willis tells a story about turning down an offer to cowrite with David Brin, getting chocolates from him, losing said chocolates, and having Bruce Sterling help her find them again. Connie Willis, David Brin, and Bruce Sterling write in rather different styles, yet they all knew each other socially and artistically.

Best Novel nominees Sawyer, Scalzi and Stross all attended — if the voters wanted a winner to accept in person they only had to back one of them. Truly, I’d say the combination of (1) major sf/fantasy writers coming from all the largest English-language countries, and (2) Worldcons happening around the globe in places they can’t all afford to go, practically guarantees there will always be several proxies accepting others’ Hugos.

But Mah’s observation about the diminishing focus on the Worldcon for a closely-connected community of sf writers sounds like it may hold some truth. I don’t feel that way because Denvention wasn’t a large Worldcon, that may just coincide with the fading of the Boomer generation, which may be the real cause.

Update 8/21/2008: Cheryl Morgan points out that Ian McDonald (Brasyl) was at Denvention, too, so the only absent Best Novel nominee was the winner…