|The difference between a worldcon and a Worldcon
||[Sep. 3rd, 2010|08:48 pm]
The below is my opinion. No one has asked me to write this and if you have any problems with what I'm saying, take it up with me and no-one else.
There are a lot of pro-authors at this con, a chunk of whom I have met at other Worldcons, conventions and events. What has been amazing to me, and gratifying because I have some dear friends who have been responsible for the program, is that every one of them without exception has said that this is the most interesting and diverse Worldcon program that they've seen in ages.
Now I haven't been responsible for any of it. They have no reason to tell me this beyond simple conversation and the enthusiasm they feel for the program.
These people have been around for years, been to a lot of conventions, and they are seriously impressed, not just because it's a good program, but because it's a program so good they want to go to a lot of it. They've also commented on the way the programmers worked with them very favourably.
I mention this because there's stuff that has not been allowed to happen here.
The base reason seems to come down to - this is Worldcon, and you aren't allowed to do this, this, and that, because we don't do things that way. This is why the madcap entertainment events that are pretty much a staple of the evening program at many Australian conventions aren't happening here, because Worldcon doesn't do that.
I think the elephant in the room here is this - what is the bloody point of having the Worldcon in different countries if they have to do everything the same? Seriously, why even bother? It's like travelling all over the world and instead of eating in a variety of restaurants, only ever eating at McDonalds.
I would think the reason for having a World convention that moves from country to country would be to experience those other fandoms. Yes, there will be stuff you don't like, but there will also be the surprises. It's the difference between having a worldcon and a Worldcon.
I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of good advice to be given, a lot of experience to help avoid common perils and pitfalls, but there is a huge difference between offering help and knowledge, and dictating terms. And let's face it, even with all that pressure to do things in very particular ways, there are still Worldcons that are utter disasters.
So if even with all the pressure to do things the 'right' way it all goes hideously wrong, is there any point to trying to force the cookie-cutter convention on people? Why not instead help people to run their Worldcon, complete with all those exciting differences? Help them find ways of introducing people to the unique ways they celebrate they genre in their country, not to mention the individuality of the country itself.
Or is this need for things to be just so yet another example of that old fannish paradox, that the people who are in theory looking excitedly at a new and different future, are deathly afraid of anything remotely resembling change?