Since this has been unofficial “let’s respond to Worldcon” week at the TWG, I figured I should say something about it here today. The thing is, I’m having problems coming up with something to make fun of. Worldcon was depressingly . . . well, normal.
I’ve always heard (usually while attending World Fantasy Con) that Worldcon was crazy. Now, perhaps this particular one was an aberration, but I certainly didn’t see what I was expecting. No embarrassing outfits, no random groups of filkers—not even a single stormtrooper! The vast majority of the people looked at least passably professional, and even most of the costumes happened in conjunction with one event or another. There were a few wacky outfits, but not the number I was expecting.
I am forced to consider that maybe we SF geeks are losing our edge.
There was a time when admitting that you liked Star Trek was enough to consign you to eternal nerd perdition, completely destroying all hope of future socialization (and probably future breeding as well). Once, reading “fantasy” was enough to set you out as a strange aberration. Harry Potter and the LoTR movies have mainstreamed that genre, and Trekkies have been around so long they’re becoming blasé.
It’s time to admit the truth, folks. The “New Wave” of geeks are just willing to go further than we are. Most of these New Wavers are anime fans, and they’re just completely bonkers. It’s more than the fat guys in Sailor Moon outfits—it’s their willingness to go to extreme lengths in an attempt to disassociate themselves from the mainstream. We SF guys, we’ve always known that we didn’t deserve our ostracization—many of our differences can be traced back to simple intellectual or creative excesses. The anime geeks, though . . . they’re just plain STRANGE.
The proof of this? Worldcon vs. more extreme cons. Go search for pictures of cosplayers or shots from the Anime Expo. (Or even ComicCon.) At Worldcon, I get this sense that most people there—even the extreme fans—understand the limits of good taste. Many of them harbor a desire to someday break into the field professionally, to become writers or editors, and therefore maintain a level of professionalism.
So, that’s what’s holding us back. I think it’s a fatal flaw. We’ll just have to accept it, people—we’ve been mainstreamed. No use fighting. In my current creative writing class, there are six people writing fantasy—and two of them are actually female! We’ve tried to cull ourselves from the gene pool, but Darwin has thrown up his hands and moved on to bigger and better things.
Don’t be sad. It was fun while it lasted, but we should take defeat gracefully.
After all, there’s absolutely no way we can compete with this.
This post first appeared on TWG.