As films like Star Wars become more prominent, and with the growing importance of Chinese audiences, these kinds of marketing strategies that capitalises on the official and special edition merchandise will become more common. Fans as consumers will be normalised, as rather than participating in practices that often challenge the readings of the text or (Asian) societal norms, consumption advances the capitalist sensibilities of Hollywood studios that produce franchises like Star Wars.
Currently browsing tag
As part of my geography project, I am looking at factors of change in a community. I’m looking at the effect of Internet on the fandom, but I’m not old enough to know any fandom pre-Internet.
I’m hoping for some information on how fandom has been shaped and is being shaped by the Internet, whether it be higher visibility, easier access, different forms of fanworks gaining prominence, archives and more gathered communities etc.
I have looked at Fanlore, but since for this project I need primary as well as secondary sources, I was hoping to fulfil that requirement here.
Thank you so much.
Hi Aileen, do you mean you’re looking to hear from fans about their own experiences?
By the way, there are also a lot of other good secondary sources on this topic besides Fanlore, for instance academic work. Are you looking for that sort of thing as well?
Hi! I was wondering if anyone could recommend or share any information on undergraduate media studies programs that are fan studies-friendly (include fan studies courses, have fan studies scholars teaching, etc.). I’ve found a lot of graduate programs that seem to fit the bill, but I was curious as to whether any of you had great fan studies experiences at any universities/colleges at the undergraduate level. Would greatly appreciate any help you could give! Thanks! Hey there! We had a similar question a while ago that it’s been a while and the other question was more graduate-focused, so maybe people have more answers by now. Anyone? Crosspost: ift.tt/2aGJlyF
If Beatlemania quickly became synonymous with The Beatles as a star text, then so too did the powerful and self-determined performance of female desire. The Beatles fangirl did not so much experience a loss of control than she declared a rejection of control through her emotional performance as a fan.
The modern Beatles fangirl continues to recognize and pay tribute to this feminist legacy; the budding convergence culture which nourished her predecessors’ multiplicity of obsessive experience has become the norm for her.
Neal Pollack’s article defending Amazon has many points of interest. The only one I’ll engage with is that, contrary to the marketing, Amazon is still seeding Kindle Worlds with pro authors under contract—and apparently given advances as well as editorial assistance—to produce “fan fiction” in various authorized Worlds, while anyone else who takes Amazon up on its offer will not get an advance. Again, I don’t think Kindle Worlds is inherently bad. I do think that calling it “fan fiction” is misleading; this is not an organic, community-based set of works. I think it’s important to recognize, when Amazon says that it’s happy with the performance of Kindle Worlds, that it’s very different to write from an advance than not.
Hi! I would like the following articles for a research project, if anyone can share them:
Booth, Paul. Augmenting fan/academic dialogue: New directions in fan research. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 1 No 2.
Bennett, Lucy. Tracing Textual Poachers: Reflections on the development of fan studies and digital fandom. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Hills, Matt. Doctor Who’s textual commemorators: Fandom, collective memory and the self-commodification of fanfac. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Ford, Sam. Fan studies: Grappling with an ‘Undisciplined’ discipline. Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Coppa, Francesca. Fuck Yeah, Fandom is Beautiful. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Anyone have these? Please leave a comment!
Over the next few weeks I’ll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. I’ll be moving in order through the site, starting with information about the project and ending with some of my ongoing questions. I’ll link back to the site in each post. Please consider commenting here using the #fandomthennow tag or posting on the site to share your thoughts and ideas. This week we’re onto popular fandoms and stories.
In the past few posts I’ve been talking about popular stories from the 2008 survey and the fandoms they were connected to. Today, I want to continue discussing some issues I had when I began compiling popular stories by individual fandoms.
[This post picks right up on my previous one which you can read here.]
[My previous post] gets at an issue I struggle with in Fan Studies and part of the reason why my research is interested in looking beyond individual fandoms themselves and looking instead at the romantic and thematic connections in fan fiction. When talking about fans and fan practices, we often use a show, film, game, or franchise as the label for fans. (And, of course, fans self-identify in this way as well.) However, when we do this we are prioritizing the product in how we organize and conceptualize fan activities. This has the effect of positioning consumption as the organizing principle for fan culture. A move which may limit our view of fan networks.
This model seems to become particularly strained when it comes to certain forms of fan fiction. What the 2008 survey results tell me is that while many fans use fandom titles as a keyterm they can tag content with, input into user profiles, and search databases for, fans do not cohesively and harmoniously organize themselves within these clusters. Some fans of Supernatural may read slash, gen, het, and RPS fic interchangeably, but many of them stick to the story category they are most interested in instead. Indeed, fans of one type of story may have no interest at all in other types of stories within that fandom.
More than half of the 2008 survey respondents were participating in multiple fandoms at a time. This raises the possibility that many fans are seeking out various types of stories across multiple fandoms. Each time we identify one of these “multi-fannish” fans as solely a Harry Potter fan, a Doctor Who fan, etc. we’re framing the fan experience in a way that a) risks distorting how certain individuals are participating in fan cultures and b) leaves us blind to the broader and highly complex networks connecting fans to each other and to fan works.
Since fans often rely on their social networks to help them find new stories, many fans’ social networks are built around broader cross-fandom interests, in addition to any preferences specific to a single fandom. In terms of a fan’s overall experience, the “-dom” in fandom may be far less tied to a media product/franchise and far more tied to a character archetype, a kind of relationship, a mode of content, etc. Clearly, slash is one example of this broader view of fan culture, one that fans are well aware of. Slash has long operated as both a pairing category within individual fandoms and a larger interest area organizing fans socially across fandoms. But, here’s where this might get more complicated: Slash fans have had sense of a larger group identity for some time, but slash itself has experienced a great deal of stigma over the years. It is a reading category that, until recently, was harder to find in commercial literature. These are some of the many reasons why being a “slasher” might carry a stronger sense of cross-fandom group identity in ways that other reading interests do not.
What do you think about fandom labels? Do you prefer to identify your interests by fandom? Pairing? Favorite character? Do you find yourself sticking to one fandom at a time or do you seem to seek out similar types of stories, characters, or relationship dynamics across fandoms?
For many people, fan fiction is as much a part of their reading as commercial literature. Fan fiction websites and archives provide readers with novels, serials, novellas, romantic and erotic stories, non-romantic stories, experimental literature, video and visual art, etc. While fan writers and readers are certainly not exclusively interested in romance, fan writing frequently explores the romantic potential between two characters and fan fiction is often built on romantic foundations. The shift to digital publishing and reading is having a dramatic impact on commercial romance literature. However, what about the kinds of romantic and erotic stories fans produce? How is fan work being affected by the rise in digital publishing? The Fandom Then/Now project is designed to facilitate fan conversations and collect ideas from fans about fan fiction’s past and future.
What do you notice in the data from 2008? What do you think about the intersections between fan fiction and romantic storytelling? Now, in 2014, what has and hasn’t changed about fans’ reading and writing practices?
I think the choice of words in that article—”uncomfortable”—reveals unwittingly the feeling present through the silent parts of geek culture that may not explode in paroxysms of racist, sexist, and homophobic rage whenever anyone dares to intrude on their supremacist fantasies… but that quietly through their silence, through their discomfort, through their resistance to the 21st Century social order, give strength to the howling, spoiled princelings of the digital age.
To someone that draws their identity from outmoded conceptions of gender and sexuality, Monae’s genderqueer persona and her unstated, ambiguous sexual desire…is probably “uncomfortable.” To people unused to thinking about Sally Ride, Monae’s use of Ride as a touchstone is probably a little “uncomfortable.” She’s working with a repertoire that’s maybe not familiar to geeks, and if there’s one things geeks hate, it’s not being smarter than everyone else in the god damn room, so, again, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to posit discomfort and the bias it represents as a possible reason for Monae’s lack of attention in geek circles.
Janelle Monae: Sci Fi Queen Yet Uncrowned by Sam Keeper
Hello all! I’m requesting information on the (in)visibility of slash as a way of generating angst in fanfic pre-2008. Specifically, I want to know what causes or prevents the queering of canoncially straight characters from being used as the primary source of conflict in slashfic. I’m primarily investigating the Kingdom Hearts and Naruto fandoms right now, but information on any fandom based on a global media commodity (preferable originating in Japan, just for the sake of keeping my claims tenable) would be most welcome. If you were actively reading slash fiction in the early 2000s (or know someone who was) and would like to share you perceptions with me, I’d be most grateful! -rabidbehemoth Tumblr crosspost: ift.tt/1l8Y9Um
[P]arafanfiction…refers to a particular subset of parafictional art that claims to be fanfiction of, or some other record of, an external media object that does not actually exist. The most notable examples of this are the Homestuck Anime and Squiddles, both of which are spinoffs of the actual Homestuck hypercomic. The idea with those projects is to fabricate an entire alternate reality where Homestuck is an anime and the in-comic show Squiddles actually exists. The fans participating in these projects create objects ostensibly taken directly from the shows in question—screencaps, pictures of old VHS tapes, GameBoy Advance cartridges, gif edits, and so on and so forth—in order to sell the idea that these shows actually exist. Parafanfiction and Oppositional Fandom by
I’m not as involved as I was and I miss it, but it can’t be forced. It’s a combination of things; I wrote myself out of Buffy, Stargate and then The Sentinel; when you’ve written hundreds of fics based on a set amount of episodes, eventually you run out of ideas or just feel you’ve said all you want to say. But nothing has piqued my interest the way those shows did. […]
Add that to the slowly shrinking pool of friends on LJ as people leave for other sites, and I feel that my door into fandom has narrowed to a crack. I can still get through, I still belong in there — but it’s somewhere I visit, not somewhere I live.
I’m looking for attacks on Jane Austen fanfiction – preferably online fanfiction – from the cultural establishment (scholars, critics, journalists, etc), perhaps denigrating fanfic in terms of its popularity, literary quality, etc. Do you know any of these?
I’ve found comments along these lines on Star Trek ff, not so on JA’s the general stigma on ff and popular culture as something of a “secondary” order. To my surprise, there does not seem to be much scholarly work on JA ff, whereas there’s quite a lot on Star Trek, X Files, Harry Potter, etc.
European Fandom and Fan Studies: Localization and Translation One Day Symposium, 9 November 2013 Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and University of Amsterdam Department of Media Studies Call for Papers The increasingly global circulation of media often threatens to obscure local contexts of reception, identification, interpretation, and translation. This one day symposium at the University of Amsterdam seeks to explore the state of Fan Studies and the variety of Fandoms focused within the social and geographical boundaries of Europe, particularly with regard to processes of localization and translation, broadly interpreted. Inter-disciplinary papers are invited to explore the nature of the field itself, how different fandoms function within Europe, and how European fan cultures re-interpret, re-imagine, translate, and localize foreign media texts or foreign fan practices. Potential avenues of exploration may include how Fan Studies is represented, studied, and received within European universities, by funding bodies and publishers. Papers on fandoms may explore how European (English and non-English speaking) fans of European and non-European objects of fan appreciation participate in fandom, the differences between internet fandoms and local/national/international fan practices, and objects of fan appreciation that originate within Europe. Topics of interest include but are not limited to: -Regional fan histories. -Negotiation between international and local fan infrastructures. -Local and national adaptation of fan cultures and identities. -European fans’ impact on international public policy and industry practice. -Fans’ relationships to national media industries and public policy. -National and transnational economies within fandom and/or fan studies. -Crossing national, cultural, and language boundaries in fandom and fan studies. -Translation, both linguistic and cultural. -Fans’ local and international languages and economies of desire. -Framing local European fan objects and cultures within fan studies. -Processes of translation, adaptation, and localization in European fans’ interaction with global media. The symposium is associated with a special issue of the journal of Transformative Works and Cultures tentatively slated for 2015, with full papers due January 1, 2014. Event Details The symposium will be held in the center of Amsterdam, easily accessible from Amsterdam international airport. Submission Process Please send a 300 word abstract along with a short (100 word) biographical note to Anne Kustritz (A.M.Kustritz@uva.nl<mailto:A.M.Kustritz@uva.nl>) or Emma England (E.E.England@uva.nl<mailto:E.E.England@uva.nl>) by 10 September.
This is the third in a series of posts by Emma England on fannish issues surrounding Worldcon, the longest running science fiction and fantasy convention in the world. Emma is the 2014 Worldcon academic track organizer and is currently researching the history of conventions. The first post introduced Worldcon, the second post debunked the myth that “traditional” conventions are only about literature, and this post is about the site selection process for the 2015 Worldcon.
The location of Worldcon changes every year and is decided upon by members of the Worldcon at the convention two years prior. So Loncon 3, the 2014 Worldcon, was voted for at Chicon 7 (Worldcon 2012, Chicago). At the 2014 event, to be held in London, the site selection for 2016 will take place. The process for site selection involves:
1)People from a city decide they want to form a team and put on a bid, at which point they have to set up company, find a venue, hotels etc.
2)Each bid answers Smofcon’s Fannish Inquisition questions (Smofcon is an annual convention for science fiction convention organizers. Each con includes inquisitions for major conventions)
3)Bids organize election campaigns, including developing websites, running social media campaigns and sending volunteers to different conventions
4)Voting at the Worldcon. To vote a person must be a paid up member of the Worldcon where the voting will take place. Membership can be attending or supporting. If the person has supporting membership and cannot vote in person they can send in a voting form. The voting is undertaken by Preferential Voting. This means that each person votes in order of preference. If, when the votes are added up, there is not a clear winner, the candidate with the least votes is knocked out and the votes allocated to them are transferred to each voter’s second choice. This process is repeated until there is a winner. They then become the official Worldcon and can start the real work of organizing the convention. The site selection page for 2015 is here: www.lonestarcon3.org/wsfs/wsfs-site.shtml
Some years only one team is in (serious) contention. Other years there is more than one serious bid with a chance of winning. This is the case with the 2015 site selection, to be voted on at Lonestar 3 (the 2013 Worldcon, Texas, USA). There are three possibilities and with two months campaigning to go there is no clear frontrunner. This is all the more significant because the bids represent different kinds of approaches to Worldcon and SF/F fandom: traditional, radical, and mediatory.
Spokane (USA) If Spokane win, the Worldcon is likely to be fairly traditional given the extensive Worldcon history of the committee. The Bid Chair, Alex van Thorn, is a member of the establishment (with the positive and negative associations that brings). The location is safe and likely to have a warm but not blistering temperature, but it is not a major tourist destination, which may count against it during voting. The convention center, hotels, and transport to Spokane are all suitable and so far seem reasonably priced. Furthermore, there are authors already in place who are working on advertising the Bid, including C. J. Cherryh who does not fly and is therefore rarely accessible for fans. In order to win Spokane has to persuade people that experience and tradition is more important (or, at least, safer) than change and taking risks. They also have to persuade people that Spokane is worth visiting more than Orlando or Helsinki.
Orlando (USA) If Orlando win, there is the potential for a considerable shift in the nature of Worldcons. It is calling for a Revolution by explicitly aiming itself at media fandoms and other non-traditional SF/F (especially young and/or female) fandoms. Even the logo is radically different, focusing not on the location of the city, but on popular fandoms. For some this is a positive step at uniting fandoms and trying to extend the reach of a valuable and historic but stagnating fan enterprise, while for others it is an unwelcome challenge to the traditions of Worldcon. The event will be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort which keeps the costs down dramatically, both for membership and accommodation (i.e., a room with two queen sized beds is $139 per night). However, the size of the site is so vast that people will be relying on the free busses, which could mean standing around in very hot weather trying not to wilt. In order to win, can Orlando persuade enough non-traditional fans to pay to vote and/or can they persuade enough attending members that their convention will be well run and support existing fans. This is especially the case because the committee are, while experienced conrunners, not known to Worldcon members.
Helsinki (Finland) If Helsinki wins this will be the first time that Worldcon will have been held outside of North America for two years in a row. This will make the convention a truly world event, as well as it being the most northerly Worldcon ever. This has the potential to build a solid fan base for Worldcon among Europeans who go to Loncon and Helsinki, perhaps even tempting them to go to America for future cons. It is, however, controversial among many American fans who do not want to have to miss the con two years in a row or to have to decide between them if they can only afford one. US fans are, even at European Worldcons, the largest single nationality represented. On a more detailed level, the convention center seems very well equipped and the city is providing free transport for all Worldcon members, but the hotels are widely dispersed around the city. As far as content goes, the committee are diverse with experience of running a range of SF/F cons for different media and types of fans. This suggests that the Helsinki Worldcon would be able to attract a wide range of people not necessarily accustomed to going to more traditional Worldcons. To win, however, it needs to persuade enough non-attendees to pay to vote or to persuade attending members that travelling to Europe two years in a row is manageable.
It is perfectly possible that the 2015 election will be chosen in the second or third round and that people’s second choices will win it. If people do vote and they don’t have a second or third favorite, they may do better to leave some blanks.
As the election draws ever closer it will be interesting to see how the voting campaigns progress and who eventually wins. Surely, it is worthy of some study!
For further commentary see:
File 770. Commentary and news about the Worldcon sites, each with their own tag and tagged under “Worldcon”
Lawrence M. Schoen. “Spokane vs Helsinki: Cognitive Dissonance and the 2015 Worldcon” 17 September 2012
CD Covington, “On Worldcon Bids” 10 September 2012
Cheryl Morgan, “Forthcoming Worldcons” 5 September 2012
Site Selection Presentations, 3 September 2012
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is currently in its third edition and encompasses over 4 million words about all things SF. It is published online in collaboration with Gollancz and the SF Gateway.
This new version follows thirty-five years of work (on and off), and is heavily expanded from previous editions. The first being under the GeneralEditorship of Peter Nicholls in 1979; and the 1993 Second Edition, being edited by John Clute (the most prolific contributor to date) and Peter Nicholls. The third edition is based on the 1995 CD-Rom “printing” and it has David Langford as the primary technical editor as well as a contributor.
As a resource for fan studies, the encyclopedia is useful because it includes a whole section titled “Culture” including separate categories/tags for “Publication”, “Fan”, “Award”, and “International”. It is by no means comprehensive but it does offer information not always found elsewhere, especially regarding SF fanzines and Big Name Fans (of literature especially).
This is the second in a series of posts by Emma England on fannish issues surrounding Worldcon, the longest running science fiction and fantasy convention in the world. Emma is the 2014 Worldcon academic track organizer and is currently researching the history of conventions. The first post introduced Worldcon; this post debunks the myth that “traditional” conventions are only about literature.
Fan history is a disparate venture, with fans and scholars often limiting their explorations to that which interests them, as everyone does. A result of this is that many (but by no means all) people believe that media fans have never been welcome at Worldcon and that media was never a part of it as a traditional con. There may be a predominance of literature Guests of Honor, but the historical records prove that film and TV are part of Worldcon history (with comics getting their first dedicated panel in 1966). Worldcon is part of media fandom history. Some significant examples demonstrate this:
- There was a screening of The Lost World followed by a Masquerade Party (costuming, early cosplay) at Denvention I, the 3rd Worldcon, in Denver, 1941.
The Day The Earth Stood Still had an advanced screening for attendees of Nolacon I, the 9th Worldcon in New Orleans, 1951.
Star Trek screenings were included on the Tricon program at the 24th Worldcon in Cleveland, 1966.
Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, gave a talk entitled “To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before” at Baycon, the 26th Worldcon in Oakland, 1968. In the program book there is a full-page ad “from Roddenberry” thanking Worldcon attendees for their support of Star Trek. Amusingly, there is also a quarter-page ad claiming “SPOCK is a bad lay.” With the words: “This ad was sponsored by the committee to nominate Patrick McGoohan and ‘The Prisoner’ for a HUGO.”
Ray Harryhausen, the groundbreaking Visual Effects Designer, was a Guest of Honor at Conspiracy ’87, the 45th Worldcon at Brighton, England, 1987.
Roger Corman, the famous horror movie director, was a Guest of Honor at L.A. Con III, Anaheim, 1996.
J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, was Special Guest at Bucconeer, the 56th Worldcon in Baltimore, 1998 and the following Worldcon, Aussiecon Three in 1999 in Melbourne, Australia.
Frankie Thomas, the actor in the early science fiction series Space Cadet, was Special Guest at L.A. Con IV, Anaheim 2006.
Additionally, the Hugo Awards have given awards for Best Dramatic Presentation, in various formats, every year since 1958 (except 1964 and 1966). Winners have included episodes of The Twilight Zone, Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica (reimagining) and movies such as A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars, and Inception.
It is also worth noting that Worldcon has, in most programs throughout its history, included plays, ballets, bands, and numerous other art forms based around science fiction and fantasy.
If Worldcon has historically included media, why is there an apparent separation in contemporary fandoms and fan analysis? Why did Star Trek fans start their own conventions, with many claiming that they no longer felt welcome at Worldcon and other traditional cons and club meetings? A common answer is “gender and snobbery,” but there are alternative answers, although these are not mutually exclusive. Reasons for the separation may include the idea that types of fannish activities are valued differently; a critical mass of fans for one specific show/author/medium leads to a separation (as well as Star Trek conventions, Tolkien, comics etc had their own meetings and events) to maintain pre-existing diversity of the original event while enabling more focused activities around the new fandom; and some fans are more interested in going to conventions only of their specific subject.
Whatever the reasons are for the seeming separation of fandoms, it is true today that it is possible to be in a fandom for one specific TV show, book series, comics franchise, and so on without having much, if anything, to do with other fandoms. In reality, however, it is rare that fans only enjoy one text, or even type of work. Few fans are only interested in reading books or watching movies.
A challenge for Worldcon today is what direction to take the convention in: should organizers expand and overtly reach out to fans who would not normally attend a traditional con and who may bring their own “non-traditional” fan practices and (fan-)demographics; should Worldcon stick with the current attendees and format, thereby maintaining traditions; or is there a middle way that encourages media fan attendance by acknowledging the traditions of Worldcon and, perhaps, media’s place within it?
Currently, site-selection is in progress for Worldcon 2015 and the three options could be seen as representing different approaches to the challenge of identity and the marketing of Worldcon. This challenge will be discussed in the next post in this series.
Both websites are primarily concerned with the history of long-term “traditional” science fiction fandom, such as that associated with Worldcon.
In their own words, “The Fanac, The Fan History Project” is:
devoted to the preservation and distribution of information about science fiction and science fiction fandom. Here you might find your favorite fanzine, pictures of Walt Willis in Ireland or Harlan Ellison at the 1955 Worldcon. You can also find the words to an early filk song, information about an SF con near you AND all sorts of strange and wonderful information about fandom’s past. And the present, too, because that’s tomorrow’s past.
Fancyclopedia begins with:
Science fiction fandom began in the 1930s, when readers of the pulp magazines began to write to each other. While fandom can be a very loose association, its members identify with fandom and with each other, and know many other fans.
Fancyclopedia 3 is a collective enterprise of all of fandom. Based on the previous works by Jack Speer (Fancyclopedia 1), Dick Eney (Fancyclopedia 2), and Rich Brown, it is written by fans who want to contribute.
It continues with:
Like most encyclopedias, Fancyclopedia contains articles on people, events and organizations. It has a Fanzines category. It contains a glossary of fanspeak which is referenced by any articles using fannish terms…
Articles should be relevant to science fiction fandom as such. While comix fandom, animé, and the Society for Creative Anachronism (as examples) arose from science fiction fandom, they are now largely independent. Articles on other fandoms should note their relationships with science fiction fandom and provide links to sites concerned with those fandoms.
Both resources offer a wealth of information to researchers of science fiction and fandom. They are particularly good at providing essential background information on the development of the diversity of contemporary fandoms.
This is the first in a series of posts on fannish issues surrounding Worldcon, the longest running science fiction and fantasy convention in the world, by the 2014 Worldcon academic track organizer Emma England. First up is an intro to Worldcon and its fans.
The World Science Fiction Convention is the longest running SF convention in the world. The first Worldcon, retrospectively known as Nycon I, was held in New York in 1939 with an attendance of 200 people. The Guest of Honour was Frank R. Paul. The convention has taken place every year except during the Second World War, usually around American Labour Day weekend. By the mid-1970s attendance rose to about 4,000-5,000 fans, with more or less attendees depending on the host city.
Traditionally, Worldcon is a space for fans of literary science fiction, although in recent years media in all its forms has been popular. Chicon 7, the 2012 Worldcon in Chicago, had panels on The Walking Dead, Firefly and Torchwood to name but a few. Increasingly, there are panels, talks, and workshops on Anime/Manga, costuming (barely, if at all, distinguishable from cosplay), academic criticism, the history of fandom, gaming, and most other topics of interest to the wider “geek” communities.
There are only three essential requirements of a Worldcon:
(1) administering the Hugo Awards,
(2) administering any future Worldcon site selection (and if Worldcon is being held outside of North America, NASFIC, the North American Science Fiction Convention), and
(3) holding a World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting.
In reality, Worldcon has developed many traditions which fans expect to see. These include a Hugo Awards Ceremony, the Masquerade, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, a Regency Dance, signings, readings, the art show, exhibits, dealer’s room, guests of honour speeches, 15 tracks of programming (all running parallel to the permanent exhibits, hospitality suites, signings, readings and other activities), children’s activities, many parties every day and more.
The events are all included in the membership fee. This also includes the souvenir programme book, which has been known to be a hardcover and slipcased tome, as well as the Hugo voting pack. Members of each Worldcon get to vote for the Hugo Awards, the world’s most prestigious science fiction award, which has been held every year since 1955. People who cannot attend Worldcon can still vote by buying a supporting membership which entitles them to all of the publications including the Hugo Awards voting pack. This pack is an electronic collection of all of the nominated works and is worth considerably more than the price of membership (attending or supporting).
The location of Worldcon changes every year and with it so to does the name. In 2013 Worldcon is called Lonestar 3 (Texas, USA) and in 2014 it is Loncon 3 (London, UK). The site for each Worldcon is voted for at the convention two years prior. At Lonestar 3, the site selection for 2015 will be made and the choices are between Spokane (Washington, USA), Orlando (Florida, USA), and Helsinki (Finland). All Worldcons are organised on a not-for-profit basis by volunteers. Although there is some continuity as people volunteer for many Worldcons, each convention is organised by different people. The staff alone, without onsite volunteers acting as gophers and stewards, can number 200 people.
Fans who attend Worldcon can be broadly categorised in three ways. They are:
1) the regulars, people who go most years and who may have been going for sixty years already,
2) the irregulars, people who consider themselves part of fandom and who may go to other events and happen to go to a particular Worldcon because of the location, the guest of honours, the cost etc., and
3) the walk-ins, people who go because it is local to them, they may only go for the day to visit the dealer’s room and get some books signed.
All of these groups of fans are important to the continuing success of Worldcon. The event has a unique place in fan history and for scholars of fans and fandom, or fans who just want to try something different or meet a specific guest, Worldcon is an institution not to be missed.