Reflecting on 48 years of congoing, and what the years to come should be

Scott Edelman writes, "I devoted my World Fantasy Convention Guest of Honor speech to talk about my 48 years of attending convention, and about what they’ve been, what they are, what they could be, and what they should be."

My first cons, and those recent cons, were one, are one, a continuation of what began when my grandfather drove into Manhattan to take me to that first convention in 1970. I hope you get to experience that sort of feeling in your own futures. But most important, I hope you decide you want to hang around these rooms long enough to experience those wondrous moments when decades can vanish.

I can understand, though, why some of you might not want to, understand that some of you are not feeling welcomed, or embraced, or wanted, and might be thinking, what’s the point? Why am I banging my head against the wall? Is it really worth the effort?

I have heard too many stories about moments like those, filled not with the feelings of welcome I experienced in my privilege, but the feeling of exclusion. And I believe those stories, all of them.

I believe N. K. Jemisin, who in a moving acceptance speech earlier this year when she won her third consecutive Best Novel Hugo Award for The Stone Sky — a speech much better than anything you’re going to hear out of me today and one of the best I’e heard in a lifetime of con-going — spoke of the naysayers who told her to tone down her allegories and anger, who didn’t believe anyone but black people wanted to read about black people. And who in her recent Locus interview said, “When I come to Worldcon, I am braced to enter a space that is not friendly, that is hostile, and that is not safe.”

Watch my World Fantasy Convention Guest of Honor speech [Scott Edelman]

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