359. Westercon Who?

I always think of Westercon as a big deal, but really, most people have never heard of it. Star Trek conventions, sure. Comicon, oh yes: especially since The Big Band Theory showed our four nerds in attendance.

Worldcon is the mother of all science fiction conventions, genealogically, although not in size. It began in 1939. Hugo Awards are handed out at Worldcon.

In 1948, local science fiction fans in the Los Angeles area decided to hold their own convention, because Worldcons were being held on the east coast, and coast to coast travel in 1948 was no small chore. The first Westercon drew 77 people — the first Worldcon had drawn 300.

You might say they have both grown since then. Conventions have also fragmented into specialty venues for fans of fantasy, comics, Star Trek, Star Wars, zombies, manga/anime and who knows how many others.

I love science fiction, but I’m not a fan. That means I read it a lot, read everything my favorite authors write, re-read frequently, and eventually became a writer myself. But since I’m not gregarious, and no one in my world shared my interest, I never talked to anyone about science fiction. Until this blog, that is.

Fans talk about their favorites, and also the %*#*@ jerks who are ruining the genre. They used to write fanzines, and now they produce webzines, websites, and pod casts. And they produce conventions, go to conventions, and volunteer at conventions.

I guess this website takes me half-way into fandom, since I have written quite a few appreciations of Heinlein, Clarke, Norton and others of my favorites. And now I’m volunteering as a presenter at Westercon 70 in Tempe, Arizona over the fourth of July weekend this year.

I’ve actually done this before (see How to Build a Culture), but it has been a while. I’m tentatively scheduled to be on five panels:

What made the golden age golden?
Fantasy world building
Alien autopsy: the biology of ET
Science & Technology versus Magic: what makes this such a compelling trope?
Fake it ’til you make it: a survivor’s guide for the introverted author

I’m not the kind of guy who can flop down behind a table with three or four people I’ve never met and pontificate. Not gregarious; as I said above. I will be preparing my thoughts on these topics over the next month, and as I do, I’ll be sharing them in the form of posts. That way you will be in on things, even it you don’t make it to Tempe. This will work well with Spirit Deer in Serial. That short, short novel is going to turn into a bit of a how-to through posts over on this side, and that will work well alternating with how-to posts made in preparation for Westercon.

This should be fun.

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