Spent four hours at the EuroCon 2011 science fiction convention Sunday afternoon. That’s about enough for me. Though I love sf, and I’ve made a few appearances as speaker and panelist at cons, I’ve never really been part of sf fandom. It has always struck me as a strangely rearward-looking kind of futurism as Swedish sf fandom’s oft-recalled glory days occurred in the 70s. But there certainly is life in the movement still: this con was the biggest one ever in this country, with ~800 international participants.
I came mainly to hear Charles Stross do a reading. iPad in hand, he gave us an excerpt from his forthcoming novel The Apocalypse Codex (July 2012). It will be the fourth of his “Laundry” series of Lovecraftian spy novels. This time Modesty Blaise gets the treatment. Here she parachuted onto the roof of the Schloss Neuschwanstein, broke in and was menaced by a finely described Hound of Tindalos. Then I enjoyed an interview with the fan Guest of Honour John-Henri Holmberg, and Guest of Honour Elizabeth Bear’s speech (another writer of fine Lovecraft homages) and humorous Q&A.
Holmberg said something that confirmed an old suspicion of mine. 40s, 50s and 60s sf fandom mainly consisted of young boys and men of various ages. Looking at pictures from gatherings of that era (suits, ties, brylcreem), I’ve been thinking “woah, that looks at least latently homoerotic”. And Holmberg said it was indeed so: a considerable number of the adult men, including the most famous of all US sf fans at the time, were very fond indeed of the fresh-faced younger fans, though Holmberg himself (father of five, thank you very much) did not partake.