I’m still recovering from a day spent at Lunacon, the premier New-York-area literary SF convention.
The con was definitely smaller than it was last year: There were fewer items the art show, fewer vendors in the hucksters’ room. There were notices on the back of the membership badges and in the con newsletter that if they didn’t get more volunteers, this might be the last Lunacon.
I’d be sad if that happened. For decades, Lunacon has been put on by the New York Science Fiction Society, the Lunarians. It has provided a gathering space for professionals and fans.
It’s a reflection of a general trend in SF fandom and cons: the interest is shifting from the written word to other media. Lunacon is not the only SF con in the area, but all the others are “media-cons,” emphasizing TV shows, movies, comics, etc. They are run by media companies instead of fans. In my eyes, they’re more giant advertisements than a gathering place of ideas and dreams.
On a personal level, and if I’m to be brutally honest, the loss of Lunacon would not affect my life all that much. Don’t get me wrong; I like Lunacon, I’ve had good experiences there, and for many years it was my central contact with SF fandom. It led me to establish a regular game night at my place that, among other benefits, allowed Isaac Bonewits a chance at regular social activity the last two years of his life.
My tastes in science fiction and fantasy are more-or-less fixed in the 1980s and 90s. I can’t relate to much of the SF that’s currently published. This is the first year I remember that I don’t recognize the names of any of the Lunacon Guests of Honor, not even by reputation. I purchased a book or two at last year’s Lunacon; they still sit on my “to-read” shelf (partly because I have so many other books to read for the biography).
I wouldn’t have gone at all this year if B hadn’t suggested it. I spent almost the entire time in the gaming room. That’s all well and good, but if my interest at an SF con is the gaming, I might be better off going to a game convention instead.
I don’t want Lunacon to die. But it’s for historical reasons, not because the con enhances my life in any direct way.
Is that a good enough reason for a con to exist? I don’t know.