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Election 2012: The fannish connection

By Petrea Mitchell| January 27, 2012 | Comments Off on Election 2012: The fannish connection

While the term “science fiction convention” was inspired by political conventions, sf cons have had very little to do with the formal political world since. But now, it appears we have our first major presidential candidate with visible ties to fandom– no, not the president, despite his reputation for being a bit of a geek, but rather: Newt Gingrich.

The Washington Post chronicles some highlights of Gingrich’s space policy here, including:

1986: Gingrich proposed taking the money we spend on farm subsidies and investing it in space travel. Former farmers could get jobs in factories orbiting space stations, Gingrich said at the World Science Fiction Convention in Atlanta.

What was he doing there? Well, often a Worldcon will bring in a local dignitary, ideally one who’s also an sf fan, to say a few words at opening ceremonies. As Gingrich was a local congressman at the time, he would have fit the bill perfectly. A fuller account says that he had in fact already attended a Worldcon in 1983.

There appear to be no fannish sources online describing the speech, but there is the MidAmericon archive does have a photo here.

Does this mean that if Gingrich wins the Republican nomination, the science-fiction-fan vote might be actively contested by the candidates? Well, probably not. However, if Gingrich does keep invoking Asimov and the space race, those of you attending conventions between the nominations and the November election may wish to have an answer ready in case a reporter desperate for something new to write shows up looking for the sf angle on the election. Especially if you happen to be attending a large, highly visible convention located in a city strongly associated with one of the candidates, such as, oh, say, Chicago or Atlanta.



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