The rise and fall of the fandom

Rise and Fall

Rise and Fall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being a sci-fi fan for more than thirty years has been a great ride so far, but I can’t help to notice that fandom is changing again and I’m not sure that I like the new situation.

This is not about the sad/bad puppy campaign for the Hugos or related rants, nor it’s about a specific set of people. It’s about the changes that are in motion, my personal feelings and a handful of ideas about what’s going on.

For instance, we’re witnessing the shutdown of activity of very dedicated fans, the closure of well-established magazines (both pro and semipro) and, every now and then, new stories of harassments and other bad stuff at conventions or meetings. Not to mention what’s going on the social networks almost every day.

I also know that, as a community, the sci-fi fandom has never been immune from bad feelings. We were (we are!) a bunch of weirdos, no matter how high the medium IQ level could be. The change is that almost everybody become very short-fused these days and the political arguments overflowed on the usual activities.

A book is a book, no matter how good or bad it is. The same is for movies, comics, art, reviews and everything else. So why all the rage about same-sex marriages should affect a normal debate on a book? And again, how come all this hate against women in the fandom? What caused the shift?

Capek_play

Science fiction has been always a genre orientated to the future, a place to be for anybody who wanted to imagine something new. Sci-fi was about experiments, about daring perspectives, about a future that has to be different from the current status. Nowadays the focus is about dystopian and grim futures, it looks like that the average fan is a deep-rooted conservative, afraid of any change that could occur around his/her “normal” life.

I’m sick and tired of all the trash I have to read on the social media when it comes on fandom-related flames. No education at all, people who became a master at trolling (as they are far away from the others, shielded by nicknames and avatars), a basic sensation of mental emptiness that cut away every thought of human empathy.

Is there anyone around here who’s still thinking that we can go on this way?

As you may see, there’s a link below (related articles) about what happened in the past  (1947, no less). It was a debate, then. Not a public riot.

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