In the past day or so, I’ve not seen a lot going on in the news or the blogosphere about the WorldCon 76 crash-and-burn fest, so I thought maybe there’d be something on their website. On their homepage, the words “We will do better” jumped out at me (If you’re having trouble reading the text in the image above, go to their homepage). The message was dated yesterday, and I can only imagine that behind the scenes, there’s a lot of frantic activity going on. There’d better be. Kevin Roche and the WorldCon organizers have got less than three weeks to pull victory (or something like it) out of the jaws of defeat.
Among the other words in Roche’s heartfelt missive was the sentence, “We are tearing the program apart and starting over.” Yikes. The whole chimichanga? That’s going to be a ton of work to get done in the meager time allotted.
I did notice one other thing, though. He wrote “It was intended to be a reflection of the cultures, passions and experiences of Worldcon membership, with room for both new voices and old“ (emph. mine).
Now, one of my concerns, not just about WorldCon 76, but about SF/F publishing and the larger entertainment industry in general, is that in their zeal to appear increasingly progressive, and to promote marginalized voices such as women, POC, and LBGTQ+ authors, among others, that more traditionally mainstream voices (not the really famous and well-established ones, of course), and particularly white, male, hetero, cisgender, socially and politically conservative, religious (especially Christians and Jews) writers, would be flushed down the metaphorical toilet.
That hardly smacks of “equality,” and is more like trashing the “old guard” completely and forever, to replace them with “the new, cool kids on the block.”
On a personal note, it also torpedoes any possibility of transitioning any part of my career into being an SF/F writer, especially because I am all of that “old” stuff, but also being on the high side of 60, I’m (relatively) old.
But I suppose I could interpret Roche’s statement as saying there might still be room for a fellow like me among the ranks of “Science Fiction-dom.” However, they have to recover from the current disaster first.
Oh, this is the third part of my continuing set of observations on this saga, the first being An Outsider’s Point of View: Why Did WorldCon 76 Implode?, and the sequel I wrote a day later: Is There Value Left in WorldCon and the Hugo Awards?.
WorldCon is held in a different city every year and run by a different volunteer group, so it would be easy to believe that it was just this year’s team who dropped the ball in a breathtakingly spectacular way. That gives me hope that, no matter how this year’s event works out, by next year, all of the wrinkles will become smooth as silk.
I have exactly zero objections to throwing the widest possible net over the authoring and editing pool, so let all comers enter the ring and participate. I’ve been called “uninformed” for my expressed concerns regarding making white, male, conservative authors at least obsolete if not extinct in this realm, seeing as how we are viewed as kryptonite to the social justice Superman.
But it doesn’t really have to be that way. If you really support diversity, then it can’t have such a narrow focus, and become exclusionary on a different part of the scale of humanity.
I suppose only time will tell if everyone involved will calm the *bleep* down and make writing and promoting good, entertaining stories the goal again without having to constantly hit readers over the head with a specific social agenda as if the rest of us don’t exist.
Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
Here’s Part Four.