Lots of people have been saying of late that Worldcon needs to change, appeal to a wider demographic, it needs to market itself better, it needs re-branding and so on. Yes, I know. I have been saying this for years.
The trouble is that effecting change isn’t easy. The way that Worldcon works, with a different fan group in a different city running the con each year makes any sort of change hard to impose. WSFS has a democratic process, but like all such things it moves at snail’s space. Worst of all, there is a small but dedicated rump of conservatives who would rather see the convention die than have it change in the way that you want. In order to get change, they have to be fought, tooth and nail, every inch of the way. I’ve been doing that for almost 20 years, Kevin for almost 30.
Most of you who have been clamoring for change are not going to help with that fight. You are professional authors or publishers, or you are the sort of person who only wants to buy a ticket to a convention, not help run it, or you have an incredibly busy life doing other things and just can’t afford the time for all that volunteer work. That’s OK, I understand.
The thing is, though, that if you don’t help, who will?
The sad fact is that for change to happen, someone has to do the work, someone has to take a whole load of crap from the conservatives in the process, and that someone will probably also have to take a whole load of crap from people who want change for not making it happen fast enough. What they won’t get, the way things are right now, is help or encouragement.
It seems to me that, given this situation, Worldcon will die. Unfortunately, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, and the wealth bestowed on the boomer generation, it will take a few more decades to do so.
The upshot of this is that if you want change fast, either you need to help make it happen, or you need to go and find some other convention to attend.
(I do actually have a lot more thoughts about the future of fan-run conventions, and I’ll try to get those written down soon, but I have a publishing business and a bookstore to run, not to mention a whole bunch on non-Worldcon projects I’m involved it, so that will have to wait.)