This year’s World SF Convention is being held in San Jose, CA in a couple of weeks, and I’m sorry to say I will not be there. It’s an economic decision, not a political one. However, I was also part of the large number of people who got left off of programming this year. It’s a simple calculus: Can I afford to spend a couple of grand attending a convention that could otherwise be fun and interesting, but will net me no opportunity to build and connect with my audience? Not this year.
Side note: Having been to worldcons where I was turned away from programming, I can say that it’s a lousy feeling. In contrast, last year in Helsinki I got to do some great programming, and I came away feeling that I had contributed to the success of the con, and was appreciated, as well.
You may have read about the programming brouhaha this year, where many new writers and minority groups of various sorts felt overlooked by the program committee. I’m not close enough to the action to have any meaningful insight, except to say that, first, they are not the only ones to have felt overlooked. Second, I think any good programming effort has to find a way to make a place for both the young and the old, the bestselling and the newbie, the well-known and the little-known, all with the same degree of welcome. Many conventions do that successfully; I hope this year’s worldcon, with its hurried regrouping, manages as well. I’m sure it’s no easy task.
I’m not staying away in protest so much as disappointment. It just didn’t work out for me this year. Next year it’s in Dublin, and the year after in New Zealand! Here’s hoping!
And best wishes to all of the Hugo nominees!