I Was Curious About How the WorldCon 2018 “Refit” was Going


Screen capture of the WorldCon 2018 homepage

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.

5 thoughts on “I Was Curious About How the WorldCon 2018 “Refit” was Going

  1. *promote marginalized voices such as women*

    What always dumbfounds me about this pov is the fact that I have been reading SF / F written by women since the 1970’s. Women in SF didn’t start there, that’s when I found their books. C.J. Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, C.L. Moore to name a few. We now have Lois McMaster Bujold.

    In 2015/2016 Kristine Kathryn Rusch devoted an entire blog to Women In Science Fiction (womeninsciencefiction dot com) . She released an anthology of some of the best of their work. I have not read the book so I can neither recommend or pan it.

    As far as the other stuff … I don’t spend time wondering about the color of the writer’s skin or their sexual orientation. I only care if they spin a good yarn. ((For years I did not know that the author of Blood Child was a black woman or that David Gerrold was gay. I only know that I liked their work.))

    *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.*

    Amen! Bring it on, tell me a good story. Entertain me.


    • I fell in love with Andre Norton’s “Time Traders” series decades before I found out she was a woman. Just recently found out that Gerrold was gay, but I get what you mean. None of that changes my perception of their stories. However, I think the additional factor is not just the identities of the authors but their being able to write characters LBGTQ+, POC, and so on, in their #ownvoice. African-American writer Steven Barnes actually made a good point on that issue when he compared how the Black Panther and Wakanda were depicted in the film “The Black Panther” vs. “The Infinity Wars” movie, the former having an African-American director and the latter having a white director. I think there can be an advantage in having whoever is writing or creating a work of fiction being able to project their similar life experiences. After all, I’m writing a book about a 15-year-old African-American girl, and I’ve never had that experience, so I’m thinking of having someone with that sort of background beta read it when the time comes.

      All that said, we can’t just write about who we are. Otherwise, all I’d be able to create was a bunch of white guys and where’s the fun in that?

      Liked by 1 person

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