November 23rd, 2010


Putting the Baby Down and the Debt of Honor

This weekend I attended PhilCon 2010. PhilCon is our nations oldest convention - like many things in Philadelphia, it is the first of it's kind, an invention that inspired others to follow suit. Perhaps there would be a DragonCon or a PAX without PhilCon - perhaps - but every convention since PhilCon owes PhilCon a debt of honor, a tip of the hat for being the first.

Next year, PhilCon turns 75 years old, a testimonial to the commitment of the fans that kept it going. It was the first convention that invited me to be a panelist - an invitation that lead to other invitations, that then lead to a community of friends. I too, owe it a a debt of honor, because it was the first to treat me as a professional, which was no small part in how I entered the track to becoming one.

But to understand this years PhilCon, it's important to take a look at how the people who attended the event perceived it. I did a google blog search, and this is what popped up:

. . .the con is still in danger--of irrelevance, of pricing itself out of the market it still has, of being mown over by entropy.

Last night, I took part in the GSHW reading. Considering the event wasn't listed in the PhilCon events flyer (nor mentioned on the PhilCon noticeboard outside the room), we had a reasonable number of people there.

I had an enjoyable time at Philcon this weekend.

The low numbers is a problem. It was small last year, and it felt absolutely tiny this year. I don't know what the numbers are, but it felt like just a few hundred people. This is the prototypical con, the first even Science Fiction Convention. Next year is its 75th Anniversary. It's right next to a major city, and less than two hours from two of the most prominent cities on the continent. Philcon should not be as small as it is.

Basically, it was small. Estimates I heard were 600-700 folks at a con where a thousand used to be the norm. Too many people there used that phrase “used to be”, esp concom members who reported a general lack of excitement about their project and the general desire to put the baby down and just walk away.

Philcon is over for another year. It was a nice con, but small, as it has been every year I've been there.

This weekend was Philcon. It was curiously small, and I heard this attributed to the Con Committee not sending out Program Participation invites until three weeks before the Con itself.

because this is the 75th Philcon, and its got to be the bestest awesomest thing ever. i remember Philcon 50 and i want THAT philcon back.
that was a great philcon.

Back form Philcon My Lovelies! WOO HOO! I had a blast!

I attended yet another PhilCon. It was held in Cherry hill NJ for the third year in a row. There don’t seem to be many panels I want to attend this year.

You can click on the links to read the full blog posts.

PhilCon is a convention that is entirely organized by fans, for fans. If the fans want it to be better, they have to make it better. The next question, the real question is - is the help wanted? I don't know the answer to that yet, but I intend to find out.