November 15th, 2005

Conrunner Kevin

How We Won (and Lost) the Culture War

In response to my nagging, some of the people in Calgary fandom who I've been prodding to come up with a definition of "general interest SF convention" have responded. As I rather expected, their definitions are a bit different from mine.

To me, a general SF convention is an event like BayCon, OryCon, Norwescon, Loscon, Westercon, or Worldcon. The primary purpose of SF conventions are for fans of the genre to meet and talk with other fans and, as Ben Yalow put it very well at OryCon, to "continue the discussion" that started about 80 years ago. I am obviously a stuck-up elitist literary snob, because I'm being told that Dragon*Con is what a general-interest convention should be.

In essence, science fiction and fantasy has become so mainstream that those of us who consider ourselves SF fans in an older tradition have been completely passed by and are in a literary backwater that actually respects written words and think that's where the roots of the genre are, whereas the majority of people equate SF & F with movies and television and are probably all-but-unaware of the older tradition.
  • Current Mood
    depressed depressed
Conrunner Kevin

And This is How They Treat Their Friends!

I am, as anyone reading this probably already knows, a train fan and a supporter of railroads. I'm a member of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (an organization that I note most Amtrak employees don't even know exists, even though NARP's goals include lobbying for improved Amtrak funding). I take the train a lot of time it makes sense, and sometimes when possibly it does not. For Thanksgiving next week, I plan to take the train from Fremont up to Sacramento, where Lisa will collect me. (This is IMO the sensible way to travel -- the roads are jammed solid that day; in fact, there's a good chance the train will be faster than driving that day, which is unusual.) I wrote to my congressman complaining about Amtrak's Board of Directors having fired the very competent and straight-talking David Gunn. But my patience is growing thin with Amtrak in certain areas.

Collapse )

I still don't know how to report a broken ticket vending machine to someone who can actually repair it.