Fandom Is A Way Of Life (FIAWOL)
The mission of OSFES is to promote the richness of Science Fiction and Fantasy and encourage education in the arts and sciences. The community of fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy are a very diverse group of individuals with many interests and talents, each having a distinct viewpoint and experience to bring to into the mix. Our goal is to bring that talent, that experience, and that knowledge to the forefront and share it with the world.
Actually, participating in the genre we enjoy goes all the way back to the first Worldcon ™ in 1939. Fans of the genre came together to celebrate their interest in the fiction being created and published. Some of their activities were to design and wear costumes representing some of the characters they enjoyed, to trade story ideas, and to begin the tradition of fanzines.
Fanzines are amateur publications that run the gamut from letters to friends in distant locations through original stories. Today, the University of Iowa Library houses the Zine and Amateur Press Collections, one of the largest collections of fanzines in the country, is doing preservation work with the Organization for Transformative Works and making the collection available for scholarly work by individuals wishing to study the rich written tradition that has brought us to where we are today.
Early professional publications included ‘pulp’ magazines, which were printed on cheap paper but featured a colorful and imaginative cover. Artwork still has a place within the genre, as artists explore the endless possibilities within their chosen mediums. Quite a few conventions include an art show, which makes the artwork available for all the participants to enjoy.
Costume creation and display has gone from a few dedicated fans and their sewing machines to dedicated guilds with various specialties of costume design. These can be seen today in groups like the 501st Legion, the Klingon Assault Group, and the Superhero Costuming Forum. There is a group of dedicated costuming fans that choose to share their talent and experience with the each other and anyone wishing to attend their annual CostumeCon. This is a traveling convention, like the annual Worldcon ™, where a host city provides the facilities and the Master-Class costumers put on workshops and seminars to improve everyone’s costuming skills. If you doubt the enthusiasm of these fans, check out DragonCon some time.
NYCon 1 (the first Worldcon) was held in New York City and had a list of attendees who went on to be giants of the genre: John W. Campbell Jr. Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp, Edmund Hamilton, Julius Schwartz, Forrest J. Ackerman, Ray Bradbury, and Harry Harrison, to name a few. Since those early days, conventions have sprouted up throughout the world and have morphed into many variations on that early theme. Something new tried at a Worldcon ™ soon translates into a new sub-genre. Anime is a good example of this; in the early 1980’s, various dubbed and subbed versions of Japanese animated programs made their way into fans’ hands. The fans traded these programs amongst themselves and found themselves wanting more. Today, even local anime conventions will number in the thousands of attendees, all wanting to share their love of the genre with each other.
Today we have conventions that focus on the written word, anime & manga, comics, Star Wars, Star Trek, and almost anything you can imagine. Convention sizes run from less than a hundred to several thousand. All have their own merits, all have their own mystic, all have something to offer those who seek them out and attend. For it is at the convention that we are able to meet those other people who share our love for this genre, speak its special language, and understand the passion that drives what we do.
One frequent method of sharing ideas and information is through the convention ‘panels’ or seminars. One or several people are scheduled to speak on a specific subject, which might be scientific, instructional, informational or just plain fun. A good program director will endeavor to schedule a wide variety of panels throughout the duration of the convention. It is through these seminars that many fans discover a new facet of the genre that they had not known before, and thus their interest is expanded.
Fandom Is A Way Of Life (FIAWOL) has been acknowledged for a long time. OSFES is dedicated to encouraging the fans in the Omaha area to come together, share all their talents and experience the richness that is our cultural heritage known originally as scientifiction or today as science fiction. Our yearly convention here in Omaha is OSFest where we get together with hundreds of fans to celebrate Science Fiction, Fantasy, and related topics, and have a blast while we’re at it.
We welcome you to join us on that journey!