— DisCon III – The 79th Worldcon (@worldcon2021) December 19, 2021
It’s been a solid quarter-century since I gafiated — drifted away — from sf fandom. (And even then, I was a dedicated fanzine fan who went to a few cons every year, just to see my friends in person.) So it was a pleasant surprise to see a photo of this year’s Hugo winners; I can imagine any number of puzzled fans, back in my day, complaining ‘Why are the winners standing behind their… dates?’
And in those long-departed days, the ‘Worldcon’ was not much more inclusive than baseball’s World Series — the sf ‘world’ we shared was the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia / New Zealand, and some token Europeans. Pretty much English-monolingual, and almost entirely white. But yesterday:
Congratulations to Chengdu. I know many people are not happy with this decision, but can we please not blame the Chinese fans who voted to have a Worldcon in their home country for any issues, no matter how legitimate, we have with the country and its policies. https://t.co/lACgdHjYAI
— Cora Buhlert virtually @DisCon III (@CoraBuhlert) December 18, 2021
From what little I’ve seen on social media since then, the Chengdu fannish community has put on regional conventions, and there’s obviously a solid readership base in China. The 2023 attendees may end up being mostly Mandarin speakers — Murphy the Trickster God only knows what China’s leadership will be like, even leaving aside the pandemic — but it won’t be the end of sf/f culture if ‘American’ isn’t the default setting for once.
Things do get better, even in ways we may never have expected…