Thursday, October 19, 2006

The neo-fan manifesto

Many newcommers to fandom, like myself are intimidated by the "old guard" of fandom. Here is a Manifesto from a flier that was being circulated at Chicon 2000. It reminds us of our obligations to each other in the community, and can serve as a guide for convention planners of tomorrow.


1 - We all need to feel like we belong somewhere, that's why we're here. Many people feel like fandom provides a sense of family that they don't find elsewhere. Fan snobbery, or a sense that some fans are more welcome than others is the last thing we need if fandom is going to survive in the 21st century.

2 - Don't assume everyone knows your name, or your work (if you're an author, artist, costumer, etc.). Wear your nametag. Introduce yourself. Have a name card if you are a panel participant. "Hi, I'm Arthur Grande and you should all know who I am." does not cut it.

3 - It doesn't matter how you came to fandom, what matters is that you're a fan. It shouldn't matter if you like science fiction, fantasy, horror, movies and television, comic books, anime, role playing games, costuming, writing, filking, collecting books or painting yourself blue. Anyone who identifies themselves as a fan should be welcomed to fandom.

4 - Fandom changes. So do fans. Get used to it now. As the world of science fiction has gained popularity it has grown. It is no longer possible to read every piece of science fiction published every year, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

5 - Explain your references. Not everyone has read every book, novella or short story that you have. Not every one has seen every science fiction movie out there (some people haven't seen Star Wars, believe it or not...). Not everyone reads your fanzine. Help us out. Costomer's corollary - not everyone has seen your greatest costume. Bring pictures, please!

6 - Don't assume that we're all on a first name basis with authors or big name fans, use last names when you refer to people. (There is more than one guy named Bob out there you know...) We all wear nametags for a reason. Help the Neo Fans meet new people and find new authors to read.

7 - What was a seminal work for one generation may be completely unknown to another generation. Let the Neo Fans know what you're talking about. We may not have been born yet. And remember, some books improve with age, while others are dated rather quickly. Also, a work that changed your life when you read it at age twelve may not have any effect on your thirty-year old friend when you suggest they read it.

8 - Moderators should try to avoid only calling on their friends when they take questions. It makes the Neo Fan feel left out and not wanted when every hand acknowledged is called by name.

9 - Neo Fans are eager to learn, there is so much out there we haven't read yet. Help us out, if you're doing a panel on "100 Books You Must Read." come prepared with a *handout* so we can take it home and try to find them.

10 - Remember, out of print may as well not exist for the Neo Fan. If we can't get our hands on a copy, we can't read it, no matter how great you think it is.

11 - It doesn't matter if you call it Science Fiction, SciFi, SF, or Speculative Fiction, it's all the same thing. Let's quit wasting time arguing about what name to use.

12 - Always remember, someone in the audience is at their first convention (Or their first WorldCon, or "insert name of con"Con). As fans we need to assure that they feel welcome and enjoy themselves enough to come back for another visit next year, and hopefully bring a friend.

-Julie Stickler (SF ACAD
Permission to reproduce and distribute this flyer at other conventions is granted, as long as the author's name continues to appear on it.

Ganked from Emerald City.

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iRob said...

Good advice for all. If more people read this Con would be more fun.

Although there are people who do the things they do because they want to. There are a lot of old school 'elite' around who think that because they are called on by their first name and nobody gets their references that they must be knowledgeable or important.

People are still people, even at Con.

Foxman said...


That should be in every con's goodie bag...