In the current issue of the SFWA Bulletin (Oct./Nov. 2009), Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg rip into Worldcon. As Resnick says, Worldcon used to draw 6,000 to 7,500 people all the time, but now brings less than half that. Add in poor planning--recent Worldcons like Denver and Montreal spread attendees across 7 to 10 hotels over a mile apart--and the fact that so many of the conventions are held outside the U.S., and what results is a cycle of death and incompetence which pushes editors and publishers toward friendlier venues like Comic Con, the World Fantasy Con, and DragonCon.
And where editors and publishers go, so go the writers.
Resnick made similar statements in his editorial for Baen's Universe earlier this year. And while I haven't been to a Worldcon before, I'd love to go some day. But since I'm raising a family and working full-time, my money and time are closely guarded. Next year I plan to attend the World Fantasy Con, and after that I'd like to go to DragonCon. But Worldcon? Not on the radar screen. I don't see where it brings enough bang for the buck, even if it would be fun.
According to Resnick, more and more it's the older writers who go to Worldcon, a demographic which is obviously trending only one way. So I wonder: Is Worldcon truly dead? Or is a new generation ready to embrace the convention and breathe new life into it?