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Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life
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Monday, September 1st, 2008

Time Event
A Matter of Perspective
Many people have observed over the years how inexpensive a Worldcon is compared to a large professional conference, only to have people dismiss the extra expense of the professional conference as, "That doesn't matter because it's Big Bad Business, and they get to take it off expenses." There's a certain logic to that, but how about other hobby organizations whose members are all paying their own way? In the latest issue of Trains magazine, editor Jim Wrinn writes about this past year's National Railway Historical Society's convention, which is held in different places each year and is organized by a different local group each year. (This year it was in Fort Worth TX.) This line stood out to me:
Convention Chairman Skip Waters says he aimed for diversity in content and cost -- the latter frequently cited as a reason for not attending. Waters said a fan could go to NRHS for under $750 in tickets.
Imagine us trying to sell a $750 Worldcon membership and describe it as "inexpensive." Even though it was seven days long rather than five, that's still quite a bit of money just for the admission! And it's not an event where you can write it off your taxes. It's a hobby group whose members, in my observation, share a lot of similarities with SF fans. After all, I'm both an SF fan and a railfan. I've never attended an NRHS convention, however.

Now, to be fair, registration for the convention only was $35. The rest of the cost was the "event tickets" for all of the different things happening at the convention. They have what I've called an "a la carte" model, where everything is charged separately and you only pay for the events you want to attend. Worldcons take the "one price pays for all" model that most SF conventions use instead. Still, $750! Whew.

Current Mood: thoughtful

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