Sunday, July 30, 2017


Next weekend (August 4-6) I will be at Confluence near the Pittsburgh airport spouting crap about science fiction, indoctrinating young minds in the wisdom of joining SFWA,  and renewing contact with my avid fan fans. I'll also be signing and hawking books to help pay for gas*

Since I first discovered confluence back in 1998, when I was invited by a group of Pittsburghians at the Baltimore WorldCon, I've became a more or less a regular attendee.  The first pleasant surprise when I first arrived was discovering the con's focus on reading and the dearth of media, games, or costumes present. The second thing that amazed me was the volume of books being sold in the dealers' room.

Sadly the book-selling performance in the dealers' room has been declining for several years.  At every con fans are walking around with faces glued to the tiny screens of their phones and talking about the latest eNovel they've bought from Amazon or some bulk download service. Printed books, be they anthologies or novels seem to appeal only to those who want them as trophies or as a means of getting an autograph from a favorite author.  The extreme example of this was Ad Astra, the
SFWA Cookbook.  The cookbook is a collection of recipes from SF and Fantasy writers [Full disclosure: my recipe is included as the very last recipe even though it was the first one submitted**] which has achieved success more as an autograph book than a kitchen tool.  It's also sold in eformat, but where's the fun of that?

Perhaps this transition is a consequence of technological progress or the preferences of the millennials, but that trend has sadly allowed more games and whiz-bang-crash media to catch fans eyeballs and take attention away from the printed word.  It's a trend I deplore, but accept as an old and crotchety writer.

I hope to see you there and, if I do, please mention reading this blog post even if it is electronic

* Writing is not a path to great wealth, far from it
**It 'is written as a  fantasy trope            


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