Geeks in groups

This is a late-night update from Boskone. Clam Chowder, the filk guests of honor, were more folky than filky. Fortunately, I also like folk music.

I missed David Brin’s reading, but I did get to hear him lecture the attendees about fen going extinct because they aren’t attracting enough young people. “Look around you,” he said, and I looked around and saw a sea of greasy pony-tails, grey beards, thick glasses and ample waistlines. I’ve never felt so attractive in all my life, and I’ve been to my share of academic conferences.

I’m not saying that to be snarky. I’ve never been to a con before, but in any case I don’t believe in doing things for the children. No one made any efforts to attract me to Boskone - I signed up all on my own. I’ve tried to get involved in NESFA in the past and gotten little response and no encouragement. A group that has a clubhouse that isn’t on the T, gatherings at people’s houses that aren’t on the T, and, until this year, even conventions that weren’t on the T, is aimed at an older, suburban crowd and is going to get one. It’s no use trolling high schools for proto-geeks when the problem with fandom is…fandom.

There are plenty of teens in on-line fandom and a huge sci-fi section when I visit the bookstore, so I don’t buy the doom-and-gloom scenario. The genre of science fiction has a permanent audience in the N’s, one that will never get much larger but will also never shrink, because personality type is more nature than nurture. The cult of science fiction may be dying out, but if that concerns the faithful they might want to start by attracting 30-year-olds and work their way down to teens.

That’s just my two cents.

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