I Have the Answer, but You’re Not Going to Like It

The old guard convention-going SF/F fandom is graying. There are younger readers, but they’re a distinct minority. The meme floating around now is that the established sf/f conventions are set in their ways, insular, almost reactionary in their clinging to the glory of conventions past. There’s much discussion across the interweb tube thingies about how to attract more young readers, how the convention circuit can be more teen friendly, many a cetera. Some of it even makes sense. Most, however…

[Sarcasm mode on.]

The graying of fandom is a problem easily solved—we just turn conventions like ReaderCon into media/anime/comic conventions. Look at DragonCon. It draws 30,000+ without breaking a sweat. ComiCon, 20,000+. What’s a WorldCon go these days, 5 to 6 thousand, if we’re lucky?  I mean, it’s a nice, hopeful idea that young sf/f fans are staying away from conventions because they’re not welcome, because their elders are doing something wrong. All the conventions have to offer are the best sf/f writers in the field meeting with fans, autographing, talking to each other and their audiences about their work and the field they love. Who wants to see that?

[Sarcasm mode off]. Now we get serious. Continue reading