Sep 22 2013

A thing I will not do


Hot news in the SFF world:  the 2013  World Fantasy Convention in Brighton England has decided to charge people extra to attend Kaffeeklatsches.

I frankly find this appalling!

I have been at many, many kaffeeklatsches.   I remember when they were invented.  They’re a great idea that spread from Readercon to pretty much every SFF convention around, and are now a staple of the convention experience.

No other convention has charged for them.

WFC claim that they need the money to provide the coffee and biscuits (or cookies, as we call them in the States).   Very few klatsches I’ve been at have provided any cookies.   Occasionally, they don’t even provide coffee.   We grab some from the Con Suite, or the Green Room, or Starbucks and bring it, in those cases; and I’ve been known to buy something at the Tiptree Bake Sale and bring it to my klatsch for the fans.  Cookies and coffee are not the point.

The point is: hang out and converse with an author you like.   Sign up –  because there’s limited space, and there’s a limit to the number of fans an author can coherently interact with all at once — but no charge, for heaven’s sake!

So, here’s my promise:

If I am ever attending a convention as a professional, and they ask me to do a kaffeeklatsch, and they try to charge the fans, not only will I turn down participation in the kaffeeklatsch…

…I will also pick a time and a locale — like a nearby actual coffee-shop, a corner in the hotel bar, or one of the hotel rooms — and be there, available to meet and hang out with at the specified time.  We can bring our own coffee, as we would if we were just naturally hanging out together.    I’ll announce the time and location on my blog, on twitter, on any other social media I can think of, or the convention newsletter if there is one and they’ll let me.  A sign on the party board, whatever!

Honestly, what are they thinking?

Fortunately, I’ve heard that Worldcon 2014 in London (where I definitely will be going), won’t charge for kaffeeklatsches.

Here’s what John Scalzi says on the subject, because he’s a sensible man and a nice guy, and my favorte former SFWA president.

PS: to add injury to insult, WFC is holding their kaffeeklatsches in non-handicapped-accessible room.  That’s just mean!