So after that long journal entry I wrote, why should you pay $40-50 to get a supporting membership (non-attending) to WorldCon?
Well, it depends. I’m guessing this applies more to my fans than to furries in general, because you guys at least have read a furry book. But if you’re interested in reading and in science fiction in general, you should consider dropping $40-50 a year on a supporting WorldCon membership, and here’s why:
It entitles you to vote in the Hugos.
In recent years, Hugo voters have received an electronic packet of all nominated materials, including all the fiction, all the graphic novels, examples of works edited by the various editors…things that if you were to buy them retail would easily cost you over $100, maybe $200. Some of the things aren’t easily available–stories published in Asimov’s and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF for short) aren’t generally put online, although they will do that for Hugo nominees. But this year, you would have gotten Kim Stanley Robinson’s “2312,” John Scalzi’s “Redshirts,” Saladin Ahmed’s “Throne of the Crescent Moon,” Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance,” and Mira Grant’s “Blackout.” You would have gotten thirteen great short fiction stories, and Grandville: Bete Noire, and Saga vol. 1, and Locke and Key, and Schlock Mercenary, and Saucer Country. You’d have gotten the anthologies “Armored” and “Edge of Infinity,” and an issue of Asimov’s, one of Analog, one of Clarkesworld.
And–here’s the important part–you would have gotten to vote on which one you thought was best. Not only that, but before the packet was even sent out, you would be allowed to nominate works you liked.
I’ve talked before about the Ursa Majors and how important it is that we vote and recognize our creators. Well, if you want to be part of the science fiction community, you should at least be reading what’s out there. I’ve talked before about the free online magazines: Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons. Those cost you nothing to go browse. And when you read them and come across stories you like, it’s important that here, too, you vote for them and get them recognition.
And as we in the fandom start producing more professional-grade content, which is already happening in graphic novels (Digger actually won the Hugo for Graphic Story), this is one way to make people aware of that. Fandom authors are starting to be published in F/SF professional venues, and the very small sliver of overlap between the F/SF fandom and the furry fandom is growing. On previous posts, the point was raised that the F/SF community wants to distance itself from furry stuff, and that may have been true in the past. I’m seeing it less now. There’s a movement in F/SF to include more and more diversity, and the younger fans are embracing the label “speculative fiction.” Yes, there are still people who will turn up their noses and sniff, “but why do they have dog heads?” Those people will always be there. If we don’t reach out with the really good stuff we have to offer–and we do have great stuff in this fandom, so much that I’m not familiar with it all and am not going to list anything for fear of offending the people I’m leaving out–then we will never reach the people who are open to furry fiction.
I know there are people out there who just like furry fiction and not F/SF, and that’s cool. This isn’t directed at you. But if you did grow up on science fiction and fantasy, like me, consider dropping a bit of money and seeing what you get from the Hugo packet and if voting makes you invested in it. I got to read a couple books and a bunch of stories I wouldn’t have been able to if I hadn’t voted, and I liked them a lot. Also I want to talk about them with people. :)
So yeah. If you like F/SF and you want to be part of the process, consider a supporting membership to LonCon. (And UKFurs, let’s have a get-together during LonCon even if you won’t have an attending membership!)