What Can We Learn From WorldCon?

Plenty, as it turns out.

We learned we need better mobile computing solutions. Our tablet device is good for “consuming” web material, and not great for producing it. Combine it with a spotty internet connection and you don’t produce the posts you wanted to. I still hope I was able to add something to the Puppy community who were not in attendance: Based on our traffic stats I think we did.

We learned George RR Martin has psychic powers. He called the evening flawlessly a couple of days before the con began. I’d link to it but I’m exhausted. Mdm Valkaska’s services are worth every penny, apparently.

We learned that jokes told in one venue can die a crushing death in another. During the ceremony they explained all the great things that happened, and when you combine them all you get this nifty asterisk! The audience gave a loud round of laughter. They told the same joke in the green room where all the nominees (and cartoonist guests!) were waiting before the ceremony, and it was met with only a few courtesy laughs. The nominees knew the significance of the joke, and the implications were not funny.

We learned that WorldCon fandom participation was way up. The convention set a record for both attendance and associate memberships: i.e. revenue. Who do you think was responsible for that? We were assured often and repeatedly that “There is room for everyone in fandom.” The ceremony hosts said it. The presenters said it. The early winners said it; and WorldCon demonstrated it by voting to hand out No Awards in four categories. Getting your membership money is great, but listening to your opinions is not.

We learned you do not have to read any of material nominated for a Hugo in order to vote. Codex and I had several people admit they had not read the material, and yet voted No Award. Other people we ran in to said they heard the same thing. Upwards of 3500 people voted to No Award several categories, and many did not even bother to read the stories.

We learned it is perfectly good and acceptable to buy votes “scholarships” for people who would otherwise be too poor to participate. I’m almost certain nobody will do this next year. I think I typed the last sentence without laughing.

We learned slates are bad. Recommendations are bad. Talking about who you think should be nominated is bad. Unless you are Locus, in which case it is all good.

We learned that WorldCon fandom will shaft their longtime community members (cough)Toni Weisskopf(cough) in order to teach the completely and totally welcome new fans a lesson. Even when it was completely unnecessary to do so. They did this:

Editor Choices:  1) No Award = That’ll learn ’em!

When they could have done this:

Editor Choices: 1) Toni Weisskopf 2) No Award = Toni wins a Hugo! Yay!

And the point would have still been made.

The applause in the hall grew louder and more gleeful as each No Award was announced. I learned this was sad, and that WorldCon members should be ashamed of their spite. They are not.

I learned that those in charge of WorldCon are much closer to the SJW crowd than I ever thought before the convention. Or before I saw them in action at the business meeting. They sound like Home Owner Association members arguing over whether a sprinkler head is two inches too close to a sidewalk; using the complete Roberts Rules of Order to dither and look important. Before Worldcon I was convinced there was a SMOF/CHORF divide. No longer.

I learned it is okay to make jokes about killing someone, and everyone will cheer and laugh as long as you wish death on the right target. Connie Willis is better than that: It was beneath her. More on this in a later post, probably Tuesday.

We learned that Hollywood cares enough about the Hugos to send a very personal response to Worldcon when one of their films or shows won: “Thank you for your support.” The producers behind the Hugo-winning Orphan Black, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ms Marvel,  had nearly the same brief, meaningless message.

We learned that the Tempest that took place during the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention really did take place in a puddle smaller than a Teardrop.

–> Q

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